» Opeth 2005 09 21  
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Reviewed by Niklas
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue: Klubben
Date: 21 sep 2005
Set length: 120 mins



When a band manages to sell out a venue the size of Klubben (which has a capacity of about 700 people), it often means that the band in question is ready to move along to bigger venues. Surely, this means that Opeth should house the considerably larger Arenan (located wall-to-wall with Klubben) next time around? Hell no, I say. I do feel sorry for the poor souls outside the venue, who are desperately trying to get tickets in the 11th hour, but I still want Opeth to stay exactly where they are. The keyword is intimacy.

"The Baying Of The Hounds" (from the new album Ghost Reveries) sets the tone of the evening right away. It contains everything you could ask for in an Opeth-song; clever melodies played by both acoustic and electric guitars; deep growls mixed with clean vocals; eerie keyboards… Plus, it's more than 10 minutes long. This is the case for most of the ten songs on the repertoire tonight, which means that the gig lasts for roughly two hours. As long as that might seem, the fans would surely stand up for twice that time to hear ten more songs.

The mastermind behind Opeth, Mikael Åkerfeldt, plays an important part of the performance. When he's not handling the singing duties as well as playing the guitar, he loves to have a dialogue with the audience. He takes his time to converse with each and every drunken loudmouth in the crowd, making the breaks between songs last several minutes almost every time. And while he is both charming and witty (he could easily host his own talk-show), one might think that the band could have crammed an extra song into the set list instead of all this babbling. But with Åkerfeldt being as funny as he is, it's easy to let this disadvantage slip. Besides, when Opeth let the instruments do the talking, the playing is as flawless as it gets.

It's hard to pick favourites from the set list, but one has to mention the second new song of the evening. "The Grand Conjuration" (the first track ever the band has shot a video for) sums up pretty well what the album Ghost Reveries is all about. It actually sounds a bit like a mix of the two previous records. While Deliverance was harsh and brutal, Damnation felt more laid-back and mellow. "The Grand Conjuration" is a dazzling example of how well the two different styles can work together. Other highlights include "Face Of Melinda" (from "the slightly understated album Still Life", according to Åkerfeldt) and "Deliverance", which is 13 and a half minutes of sheer brilliance.

Ghost Reveries will doubtless make Opeth (who are now signed with America's biggest metal-label Roadrunner Records) superstars, and while they move on to bigger venues I fear that some of the magic might get lost. As of now, the absorbing music and the entertaining chatter creates an atmosphere that is this band's trademark. Same place next year, Opeth?

8,5 chalices of 10


1. The Baying Of The Hounds
2. When
3. Deliverance
4. In My Time Of Need
5. To Rid The Disease
6. The Drapery Falls
7. The Grand Conjuration
8. Face Of Melinda
9. Blackwater Park
10. Demon Of The Fall

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