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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was particularly looking forward to Opeth's new live album, The Roundhouse Tapes not only because I think Opeth are one of the finest bands working in the Prog Metal genre but also because I wanted to hear if new Drummer, Martin Axenrot was capable of replacing the excellent Martin Lopez. Well perhaps a live release isn't going to be the best comparison against Lopez' studio performances so I'll reserve full judgement for Opeth's next studio album but initial impressions are good. I didn't doubt they would find someone capable of the heavier more bombastic moments but Lopez knew when to hold it back and injected a lot of subtleties into his playing. Fortunately Axenrot seems to have grasped the importance of this and gives it a good shot.

But what of the performances of the rest of the band? Well in the main I'm pleased to say very good indeed which you would expect from a band containing the calibre of musicians as in Opeth and overall the production is good too. We get a diverse choice of material here with at least one track from each of Opeth's eight studio albums with the exception of Deliverance.

Surprisingly this double disc set opens with When from their 1998 album, My Arms, Your Hearse but it turns out to be an inspired choice, great riffs, rolling double Bass Drums, lots of changes and their lighter interludes too. I prefer Akerfeldt's clean vocals over his Death Metal growls though he is one of the better purveyors of this style.

One of my favourite tracks by the band is next, Ghost of Perdition from their most recent album, Ghost Reveries. Unfortunately it comes across as a little flat here which is a shame.

Orchid has always been my least favourite Opeth cd but Under the Weeping Moon is a pleasant surprise here and I found myself warming to it considerably. The other three tracks are all well performed too, the first disc closing with a dynamic version of The Night and the Silent Water from Morningrise.

The second disc is somewhat shorter at thirty five minutes and only contains three tracks. Perhaps I'm being greedy but an extra couple of tracks could have really rounded it off nicely, something from Deliverance perhaps. Still, a minor complaint as it opens with Windowpane from Opeth's excellent and more mellow Damnation album. The mood soon changes though as we head into a powerful version of Blackwater Park from the album of the same name, one of the bands most celebrated songs.

Coming full circle we're back to the My Arms, Your Hearse album for a cracking version of Demon of the Fall.

There's not too many live albums that get me excited these days but Opeth have produced one of the better ones of recent years. With a beautiful fold out sleeve this album is a must for any fans of the band. Apparently it is also going to get a DVD release in the New Year which is great news.

Report this review (#151100)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A word of warning here: this review does not come from a long-time fan of the band, or even from a prog-metal expert. As a matter of fact, I got into Opeth only recently, and so far I have only heard two of their studio albums ("Damnation" and "Ghost Reveries" to be precise). Therefore, I apologise beforehand for not writing a very detailed account, filled with accurate references to the band's output, or comparisons between studio and live versions. My review will mostly be based on my personal impressions as an Opeth and prog-metal novice, though one who is more than willing to learn more about both the band and the genre.

The first Opeth live album comes in a stylish, sepia-toned package that reprises the Gothic-themed artwork of their last studio offering, "Ghost Reveries". Far from being fixated with gore and violence as so many 'typical' death metal outfits , Opeth have always presented themselves as a classy, erudite band, taking their inspiration from fin-de-siècle literary sources rather than from anatomy manuals or serial killer stories. Their music reflects this image - a blend of elegance and aggression, hard-edged and complex, rich with classical and ethnic influences, the latter probably due to the mixed background of some of the members.

"The Roundhouse Tapes" is a great showcase for a band who haven't yet attained the peak of their creative powers. It includes tracks taken from all of Opeth's album except "Deliverance" - CD2 being somewhat shorter than CD1, and featuring only three songs. Per Wiberg's keyboards are very much in evidence throughout the record, adding texture and depth to the band's dark, sometimes claustrophobic sound. On the other hand, Opeth can do melody as well as other, less metal-oriented bands - their secret weapon being Mikael Åkerfeldt's amazing 'clean' vocals. Though I would be lying if I said that I am a fan of death growls, I have to admit that Mikael's growling is really in a class of its own. However, his 'singing' voice is undoubtedly one of the best in modern prog bar none, his velvety, melancholy baritone somewhat reminiscent of another great prog singer, though from a completely different genre - Canterbury icon Richard Sinclair. In addition to his skills as a vocalist and a composer, Åkerfeldt is possessed of the sort of dry wit that very few people would associate with death metal, which makes his between-song banter quite refreshing, even endearing. Check his presentation of elegant, melancholy ballad "Windowpane" - "this is a song that will get us chicks backstage"!

Even though some hardcore fans will object to the omission of some track or the other, the songs selected for "The Roundhouse Tapes" represent the best of Opeth's output. Most of them exhibit the band's trademark brooding, crushing intensity coupled with moody, rarefied atmospheres and exquisite melodic breaks. On the other hand, the aforementioned "Windowpane" (from Opeth's 'official' prog album "Damnation"), and the hauntingly gorgeous "Face of Melinda" (from "Still Life") forgo heaviness altogether, showing Åkerfeldt's more sensitive side.

While fans patiently wait for the release of the band's next album, "The Roundhouse Tapes" captures Opeth at a time of change, after the departure of two key members. In spite of that, they sound very tight and cohesive, and - even more important - they clearly enjoy being onstage and communicating with their audience. As an almost absolute beginner, I am curious to see what new paths they will take with their new release. In the meantime, open-minded progsters will find a lot to enjoy in this excellent live album.

Report this review (#159863)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Roundhouse Tapes was a fairly overlooked live album, which is a shame. It's understandable, though. After all, a live album coming out on the heels of not one but two lineup changes. Modern drum genius Martin Lopez quit due to the panic attacks his medical condition brought on. Then, guitarist and Mikael's founding partner Peter Lindgren left due to his apprehension at Opeth's mounting fame. This album captures one of his final performances. Inevitably, these lineup shifts make this live album look like a quick attempt to make a greatest hits disc in case the new lineup can't bring the fans in. Happily, this is a more than solid outing and even the coldest cynic can't deny these guys gel together.

The setlist reminds me of Dream Theater's Score in that it takes a song from each of Opeth's albums (save Deliverance) rather than go for a greatest hits collection. It gives you a great cross-section of the band's sound: a blend of intensely heavy metal and haunting acoustic folk, propelled by jazz metal drumming and Mikael's unique voice. Åkerfeldt has hands down the best growls in extreme metal, but his greatest asset is his range. His 'clean' vocals are so penetrating and deeply haunting that they are far more terrifying than his growls. He's also a rather funny guy, quipping with the audience and even chastising some fan that yells Free Bird!.

Somewhat ironically, when I was done listening to this I found myself that they had released a big greatest hits type live album instead. They were so good I didn't want it to stop with the 9 songs we get. I was a little concerned at how well their complex arrangements and rapid vocal style changes would play in a live setting, but these guys nailed their set. They easily switch from crushingly heavy tunes like When and Demon of the Fall into softer numbers like Face of Melinda and Windowpane. They also handle complex numbers like Ghost of Perdition and Bleak with panache.

All in all, a great live album, but by no means a perfect one. It's too short (which can't hurt the album's quality, but I can't help wanting more), and the songs don't really differ from their studio versions. Listening to this just makes me look forward to their next project even more.

Grade: B

Report this review (#162333)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Hard to believe that this is OPETH's first live record. Maybe that's why they made it a double,while dipping into 7 of their 8 previous studio albums for material. Which is no small feat considering there are only 9 songs on this double disc set. The only album that isn't represented is "Deliverance".This was recorded in London during their "Ghost Reveries" tour which would be the last tour for lead guitarist Peter Lindgren before he would leave the band.Travis Smith creates another amazing album cover.

Things get started with "When" from the "My Arms, Your Hearse" album. You can hear the restless crowd noises as the sounds of guitar start to rise from the stage with the audience roaring their approval. A crushing 3 minutes of metal and growls is replaced by a beautiful interlude followed by clean vocals for the first time after 7 minutes.These guys really pull it off live the way they change from brutal to beauty in a flash. "Ghost Of Perdition" from "Ghost Reveries" is next with again the contrast of brutal vocals and crushing instrumental work with the mellow,melancholic passages continues. It sounds like flute 7 minutes in. "Under The Weeping Moon" is from their first record called "Orchid". Akerfeldt announces that the lyrics are really black metal nonsense. The atmosphere 3 minutes in is spine tingling and it continues for 3 1/2 minutes. A mellow section ends the song. "Bleak" from "Blackwater Park" is my second favourite song on here. I can't play this one loud enough. Akerfeldt actually sounds like Steven Wilson after 3 minutes. This is such an emotional track for me. "Face Of Melinda" from "Still Life" is my third favourite song. The first 5 1/2 minutes are quite reserved actually and then the power is turned way up with some great guitar to end it. Akerfeldt named his daughter Melinda. "The Night And Silent Water" is from "Morningrise". As Akerfeldt tells the audience a story he can't handle the crowd noise and tells them to Shut the f#*@k up in a calm slow voice, then goes on to tell them that he brought a lute to the recording studio for that album but never used it. So where you hear the guitars at the beginning of the song that is where the lute would have been played. A crushing wall of sound a minute in as Mikael spits out the lyrics. A calm 3 minutes in as contrasts continue. "Windowpane" is from "Damnation" and is my favourite tune on here. This is so melancholic yet so gorgeous. Mellotron like waves after a minute and later after 6 minutes with mournful guitar melodies in tow. "Blackwater Park" is heavy going until 3 minutes in when it becomes pastoral. A powerage comes in after 6 minutes with growly vocals. Great track. The band is then introduced by Akerfeldt while for over 5 minutes we hear them play this mellow background music which happens to be them covering "Through Pains To Heaven" by POPOL VUH from their "Nosferatu" record. Cool. OPETH end the evening with "Demon Of The Fall" from "My Arms,Your Hearse" which is very brutal sounding for the first 5 minutes before a pleasant melody arrives.

OPETH fans shouldn't even hesitate about getting this one. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#163789)
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent adrenalin generator ..!

One thing I love about Opeth is the combined hard-edge rhythm section, ambience, growling vocal and the normal one, sudden breaks after full blast of metal music vein. I was only impressed by the band when Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree got involved in the album making. That's because of at first I did not like anything that growls. But Mikael Åkerfeldt's growling is different with any other metal music. So since then I love the music of Opeth because it has everything: power (for sure!), energy, complexities and melody!

This live set provides songs with this kind of characteristics. This Swedish band's latest opus is the 2 CD live set The Roundhouse Tapes, which was recorded in November of 2006 at London's Camden Roundhouse during their Ghost Reveries Tour. There are only 9 songs on the 90 minute set: six songs on CD one, while another 3 songs on CD Two. A DVD version of the concert is scheduled to be released in early 2008.

This concert is like a representation of their albums with only "Deliverance" not being represented. The opening track "When" and "Demon Of The Fall" are taken from their "My Arms, Your Hearse" (1998). It's really uplifting to start the live concert with a full blast music like "When" where you can hear all the heavy sides of Opeth and the slow parts as well. As this is live concert, I like the fact that this was taken from the live concert. Even though the arrangements are exactly the same with studio version but I can feel the live vibes. Actually, this track starts something like any other metal band deliver: high-tension rhythm section with drive and energy, full blasted with all instruments they play, followed by low register growling vocal (this is really cool .!!!).

The next track "Ghost of Perdition" refers to their "Ghost Reveries" album and as the opening track this one starts with full blast and in fact more complex than the first. It then moves into a musical break with soft riffs like Tool has normally performed in their music. But Opeth is of course different from Tool, musically. "Bleak" provides a kind of break as the previous tracks are truly heavy one. This is not to say this track is mellow, but it's softer as compared to previous ones. I enjoy the ambient of this track, really! There is also track with softer style like "The Night and The Silent Water".

For me personally, "Blackwater Park" is something of special due to the fact that I like the album very much. It has everything that heavy music offers: solid rhythm section and riffs, nice groove and soul, good flow of music coupled with well managed transition pieces involving great guitar riffs and solos. This is suitable for those of you who like long duration track with many passages ranging from soft part as well as heavy part, growling as well as normal vocal line. And everything is blended nicely in the tight composition of the music.

The overall performance by Opeth on this CD is excellent. The arrangements are very similar to the original recordings, and the sound quality is excellent too. I cannot wait the issuance of the DVD! Mikael Akerfeldt speaks quite a bit between songs, and you can hear some crowd noise. The Roundhouse Tapes is a good offer before the band release their new studio album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#165949)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite I'm a huge fan of Opeth I can't help but think that this record isn't as good as the other reviewers pointed out. It's not the musicianship that annoys me; no, every song here is played without flaws or mistakes, the guitar interplay between Akerfeld and Lindgren is perfect and so is the drum work by Axenrot. The keyboards and bass are also very well played, so what's the problem?

The big problem about "The Roundhouse Tapes" is its durability. You won't listen to this album too many times, that's for sure, mainly because the studio versions are much more enjoyable and carry a better atmosphere than the live numbers. Atmosphere, yes, that's the right word, that's what this album lacks; Opeth is a "studio band", is a band that creates songs that need a certain sound and special atmosphere. The majority of the group's songs are melancholic and dark, and I can't get those feelings from this live album, the songs sound somehow... different.

But, hey, this piece isn't that bad, all in all! As I've already said, the musicianship is great, every song is played FLAWLESSLY, and that's saying something because songs like "Ghost of Perdition" or "Bleak" aren't easy to play at all. Mikael's clean voice remains as beautiful as on the studio albums, just listen to his vocal performances on "Face of Melinda" and "Windowpane"... Beautiful! On other hand, his growls sound a bit weaker here than on the studio albums, sometimes he even stops growling during the songs, it's like he's slowly losing his harsh voice. Anyways, a fantastic performance overall.

Mikael also constanly delivers some nice jokes that keep the listener happy and interested. I especially like the small musical section that the band plays after "Blackwater Park", in which Mikael presents the band. That part is absolutely hilarious, especially when he calls Martin Mendez "the legend from Montevideo, Uruguay!" and Axe "a pretty (or cute, I can't remember now) guy". Another funny bit is when he asks the crowd, in his monotonous voice, to "shut the [%*!#] up" during "Face of Melinda".

So, highlights? "Ghost of Perdition" is absolutely nailed, which is impressive since that song must be one of the most demanding tracks Opeth ever written and recorded. Kudos to Legolas, pardon, Axe, for the flawless performance during it! "Face of Melinda" is really nice too, with an extended jazzy intro and outro. "Windowpane", the song that "will bring chicks to Opeth's backstage", is another highlight: great keyboards, Per! "Under the Weeping Moon" is another personal favourite, the breakdown sounds even better here than on the studio (the production of "The Roundhouse Tapes" is 10000 times better than the one of "Orchid"). On other hand, the biggest disappointment is the allmighty "Demon of the Fall", which is ruined by the poor growls of a tired Akerfeldt. Anyways, the crowd interaction is a plus.

Concluding, despite the great production and overall performance, this record won't hold your attention for many time, that's for sure. It's an enjoyable album, though, if you like live records I recommend this one, also because the tracklist has songs of almost every Opeth album (I miss a "Deliverance" track, though, I absolutely love "Deliverance"). Ah, I would like them to perform "The Moor" or "Atonement" too, but oh well...

One last word to the stunning artwork, Opeth got be one of the best bands out there, artwork-wise (Iced Earth occupies the second place, perhaps).

Best Moments of the CD: -Mikael's jokes.

If you're a big fan of the band, get it, but if you aren't, search for other records.

Report this review (#176669)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Could have been (a lot) better

Live albums are usually tricky to rate for 2 reasons, mainly: 1) you probably were not there, so you lose a great deal of energy from the gig only listening to it (you don't have human contact, you can't see the band play, etc) and, therefor, your whole perception of the show is considerably narrowed; 2) you may not like the whole setlist, think they left some song behind or that they didn't played the song you like the way you like. One way or another, all live albums will have those 2 problems in some degree, and Opeth's only live album to date, The Roundhouse Tapes, is no exception to that rule.

Though Opeth made a great job by playing songs from almost every album they released (there is not a single song from Deliverance), thus trying to please every kind of fan they have, i think they should play a longer concert because there were a big number of songs that were left behind, like The Drapery Falls or The Moor, my favorite Opeth songs. The Moor would actually make a better opening song for the gig than When, that should be played right after, and The Drapery Falls would make a better closing song than Demon of the Fall, so it should be played right after Demon of the Fall. Maybe with those two songs I would rate this live album as a masterpiece, but who knows. . . However, the setlist of The Roundhouse Tapes is not so bad after all, being reasonably pleasant for every Opeth fan.

This live album also have some pretty good features, like the participation of Per Wiberg and his keyboards / organs in every song, making all old Opeth songs even better than what they were, probably because he uses the keyboards in a non-intrusive way, making, mainly, the harmonic basis for all other instruments, what makes the music sound thicker or gives it more energy, but not in an aggressive way.

Another good feature of this live album is that you can see (hear) in first hand Mike Ankerfeldt good humor and sympathy towards the fans and the audience in general.

The Roundhouse Tapes also show us how the band is made of competent live musicians: not a single mistake in the instrumental department nor in the vocal department. About the vocals, it is important to note that Mike Ankerfeldt vocals are even better live than in studio, because (or, at least, it appears to be so) the thrill of the live concert makes him sing and growl with more emotion.

The highlights go to: Ghost Of Perdition, Bleak, The Night And The Silent Water, Windowpane and Blackwater Park.

Grade and Final Thoughts

The only live album released by Opeth is a good enough album by itself, without adding any song i mentioned. There is no question that the band has the potential to meke a better album still, so to rate this as a masterpiece would be a mistake. For those reasons, 4 stars seems a fitting grade to me.

Report this review (#208430)
Posted Monday, March 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'The Roundhouse Tapes' - Opeth (8/10)

Having been lucky enough to see this fantastic band live in concert, I naturally compare any recorded live material this band has to offer to the actual performance I witnessed. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the band is one of my favourites (at the time of writing this review; third favourite band after Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree) I was a bit dissapointed with the live concert I went to see. The sound was not that great, their setlist was a bit harsh (skipping great songs like 'Serenity Painted Death' and 'Ghost Of Perdition' for less memorable songs such as 'Wreath') and while Mikael Akerfeldt's performance was fantastic (his humourous banter with the audience was among the most memorable parts of the show) the band's performance as a whole sounded a bit sloppy.

As a whole, it was a bit dissapointing to see one of my favourite bands live and realize that they are only 'fantastic' as a studio band. As well, the 'Lamentations Live' CD I have also affirmed my belief that the band isn't too great live. Keeping all of this in mind, it came as a suprise that 'The Roundhouse Tapes' actually turned out to be a fantastic recording of a great performance.

The band is in top-gear for this show. I must have missed the band at their peak when I went to see them live, but 'The Roundhouse Tapes' is a real treat for any fan of the band's work. There is everything you can hope for in an Opeth concert, including Akerfeldt's famous wit.

While there's still alot of stuff here I prefer in studio (I am rating this from a live-album perspective) there's actually stuff here that sounds alot better live than it EVER did in studio. In particular, 'Under The Weeping Moon' is a fantastic Opeth song, but it was hindered at the time of it's studio recording by rather lacking production quality (a burden that the entirity of 'Orchid' suffered from, unfortunately...) but live, one can appreciate the composition to it's brim. 'The Night And The Silent Water' is another gem from the performance; the epic finale in particular. The build-up is complimented greatly by the reverb that the venue gave the instruments; an effect that can't be replicated in studio without sounding contrived and lame.

While this isn't 'essential' in the overall kingdom of progressive music, as far as live progressive music goes, this is one of the best live albums I've listened to in the genre, or even metal for that matter. Great renditions of a great set-list.

Report this review (#221638)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ghost Reveries is the first live album from swedish prog metal masters Opeth (without counting the DVD only Lamentations). It was recorded at The Roundhouse in London during the Ghost Reveries tour, but features only one song from that album.

The music is very good, mostly old tracks (4 of them are from the first three albums) and then a few newer ones. As I already mentioned, one major disappointment is that it features only one track from their phenomenal album Ghost Reveries , the title track. I was excpecting to see some of the (imo) better tracks from that album, like Harlequin Forest or The Grand Conjuration. Anyways, fantastic setlist. And the performance is just as great. This is their first album with their new drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot. He is good and proves that he can handle the tracks well, but he does not have as much style and smoothness that Martin Lopez (the previous drummer) had.

Highlights are are actually the older tracks, wich sound much better here than on their original records, and the epic Blackwater Park.

The production is excellent, the audience is mixed at a proper volume, and the tracks have a good, organic sound. This is a fantastic record, but it could have used some more new tracks. 4 stars.

Report this review (#256249)
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Very Nice Taste of Live Opeth

Anyone who has seen Opeth knows what a great live act they are. They play their complex music note-perfect, and if anything the energy is better live. Mikael's growls are spine-numbing live and the crush of the guitars is immense. Mikael has a great extremely dry, dark sense of humor that offsets the serious music quite well. My biggest beef with the band live is that the softer parts sometimes seem a little weak. Luckily, this has been fixed in production on The Roundhouse Tapes. So we get Opeth in their full live glory.

This album was recorded after the Ghost Reveries tour, with Per Wiberg on keys as a full time member by this point. His presense makes "Faces of Melinda" actually better than the original (I always thought the production on Still Life was a little weak anyway.) He also provides some atmosphere during the interludes and harmony vocals. Martin Axenrot is behind the drumset and though not as jazzy as his predecessor, is still very heavy. This is the last album featuring guitarist Peter Lindgren.

The track list features a nice variety, with "Ghost of Perdition" clearly taking center stage. Other standards like "Bleak," "When," and "Windowpane" are well done, but the treats are the less played songs like "Under the Weeping Moon," and "Demon of the Fall." The version of "Blackwater Park" is crushing and brutal, just as it should be.

The jokes are typical Mikael, but you also get the sense that he really enjoys what he's doing and is genuinely grateful to the audience. The sound on the album dances the line between the live rawness and being cleaned up quite well.

Bottom Line: Great Live Album. No weak moments, and at least one song substantially better than the studio recording.

Report this review (#282823)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
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)

Report this review (#283040)
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
2 stars While on paper this live offering by Opeth feels like an obvious success, the end result is actually a little sketchy. Either Opeth's gigantic and intricate metal doesn't translate very well into a live setting, or Roundhouse Tapes misses the mark in presenting it, because for each compelling moment of raw, dark, soul-crushing power comes just as many ten minute stretches of blandness.

The album opens with a classy and mysterious vibe, exploding with the older song "When" followed up the by the excellent "Ghost of Perdition". The performance of "Ghost" is easily my highpoint of this album, being one of my favorite Opeth songs. The rest of the setlist is very hit and miss, since the band emphasizes tracks from throughout their career. Songs from the group's early three albums pale in comparison to their newer work, so most everything that follows "Ghost" falls flat. Although, even "Bleak", and "Blackwater Park" don't muster up any live magic either.

I didn't find anything here that I couldn't find on a studio release-- in fact, I think the energy, playing, and intensity is stronger in them than on this live album... so what's the point? Sure we can snicker along to Akerfeldt's dry humor, but beyond that there isn't anything new brought to the plate; these songs are played straight-faced, with none of the nuance or ephemerality that makes a great live perfromance. On top of that, the audience is annoying (you can actually here some of them carrying out conversations during the quite moments of "Windowpane" and "Silent Water").

Here's to waiting for a live Opeth release which doesn't fall short of presenting this excellent band.

Setlist 2 Instrumental Performances 4 Stage Energy 3 Live Experience 2

Report this review (#297447)
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2010 | Review Permalink

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