OPETH GARDEN OF THE TITANS
Progressive metal from Red Rocks
It’s hard to believe there was a small but vocal curmudgeonous pocket of Opeth’s more fanbase that continuously lamented the addition of Martin Axenrot to the band following Martín López’s 2006 departure. López was well-loved for good reason; the Swedish-Uruguayan injected some wonderful latin flourishes into the band’s earlier progressive death metal. But that was then: Opeth have moved onwards under Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vision, and the idea that Bloodbath and Witchery drummer Axenrot was ‘merely’ a death metal drummer was trashed on 2008’s Watershed and 2011’s experimental Heritage. As Opeth have moved further into rockier seventies-influenced tones, Axe has further cemented his position as the perfect energetic foil to Åkerfeldt’s rhythmically detailed writing.
Here, at Colorado’s stunning Red Rocks Ampitheatre, the band splits staple Lopez-era favourites like the 14-minute ‘Deliverance’ with what can be called Opeth’s fourth age: the post- Heritage era. With a superb sound mix – great separation and detail – this further highlights what an incredible chemistry this lineup of the band has honed. Its’ also Opeth’s best-shot live document to date.
It’s easy to take for granted just how groundbreaking songs like ‘Ghost Of Perdition’ and ‘Heir Apparent’ are as they sweep between ethereal acoustic tones and syncopated death metal double bass. But it’s perhaps the more recent material that allows Axenrot to shine brightest; ‘The Wilde Flowers’ really comes alive on stage, the eastern-tinged ‘Cusp Of Eternity’ has wonderful fill work, and his Ian Paice influence is in full force on the relentless power of ‘Era’. [RL]
Extras: AudioCD Goto: www.opeth.com