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Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes CD (album) cover

THE ROUNDHOUSE TAPES

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.08 | 204 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I bought this live album completely out of the blue, just around the time of its release, not knowing more about it than the fact that it was another Opeth release which felt welcome since it's been already two years since Ghost Reveries.

The Roundhouse Tapes features Opeth in their transition phase when new drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot made his first recorded appearance after the departure of Martin Lopez plus Peter Lindgren was still in the band. The change of drummer usually makes a huge change in a a band's sound, a change that can only be surpassed by a vocalist change. Luckily this time it didn't feel all that extreme since The Roundhouse Tapes doesn't feature any new material meaning that the rest of the band has not yet been affected by the impact of a new drummer even though Axenrot seems to sound on the heavy side in comparison to his predecessor.

The Roundhouse concert gives us a set-list of 9 track spanning from every album of the band's career with the exception of Deliverence and with a slight emphasis on the albums My Arms, Your Hearse and Blackwater Park. Even though I would have liked to hear some material off Deliverence it was even more exciting to see how material from the band's first three albums would sound together with their later stuff.

The concert began with the third album's When and it's an excellent rendition of the great but not as interesting studio take. This might have to do with the energy that Opeth delivers in their performance or just the mere fact the underlying keyboard sounds make the textures seem much thicker in comparison to the original. Ghost Of Perdition does sound more vitalized than its studio counterpart but ultimately it doesn't add anything all that new to the track we know so well. Under The Weeping Moon definitely sounds more intense than the way it played out on the debut album while Bleak felt just that in comparison to the excellent production sound that was offered on Blackwater Park plus I don't like how it ends so abruptly. Face Of Melinda was another great surprise since I honestly didn't expect this much emotion to be put into the live performance which ultimately resulted in another highlight. I also have to add that I find Mikael's "thank you" at the end of the performance sound hilariously robotic which is just one of those spontaneously fun moments.

Mikael also jokes around about how pretentious he was back in the and The Night And The Silent Water definitely shows some of those qualities even though this live take enhances its sound. Towards the end of the show Mikael becomes even more talkative which is both a hit and miss for me. The generic joke he pulls before Windowpane is just plain stupid while the one before Blackwater Park actually put a smile to my lips. I should also mention that anyone expecting to hear a 19 minute version of the track will be disappointed since the last 7 minutes consist of a band introduction. Demon Of The Fall is another interesting rework of the My Arms, Your Hearse although this one is much more heavy and doesn't incorporate the keyboards all that well.

Overall this live album shows that the band has a great back catalog of material and even though they didn't play that many of my personal favorites Opeth still managed to make me notice new things about some of their older classics that I so bluntly overlooked during my exploration of the studio material. Simply put an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: When (10:28) Face Of Melinda (9:58)

**** star songs: Ghost Of Perdition (10:57) Under The Weeping Moon (10:28) Bleak (8:39) The Night And The Silent Water (10:29) Windowpane (8:01) Blackwater Park (19:00) Demon Of The Fall (8:14)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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