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Opeth - Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush CD (album) cover

LAMENTATIONS: LIVE AT SHEPHERD'S BUSH

Opeth

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars At a time in their career when their core audience were still reeling from the release of 'Deliverance' a straight forward progressive rock album, Opeth release 'Lamentations', the ideal starting ground for all those who have heard all the debates regarding their musical direction (especially here at Prog-Archives).

Akerfeldt & co took over the Shepherds Bush Empire for an evening and performed two distinctly different sets, opening with a complete performance of 'Damnation', then continuing after the break with their more, er, strident material which made their name and reputation.

Although the opening arpeggio of 'Windowpane' is greeted enthusiastically, the level of applause does diminish as the slower set progresses, even leading Akerfeldt to say about halfway through, "don't worry, we don't always sound like this", and to comment later that 'Deliverance' was a one-off experiment, almost as if apologising for the slower material. This is a shame, as the first set is played faultlessly, Akerfeldt's voice in particular coming over beautifully (the only fault being that the keyboards of Per Wiberg tend to get lost in the mix occasionally).

For Opeth's core following, the second half of the show sees them in fine form - Akerfeldt & Lindgren playing off each other as tightly as you could want, and the combined rhythm section of Mendez & Lopez driving Opeth hard, but never losing cohesion, even during the more complex arrangements (yes - it is possible for extreme metal to be played in other than 4/4 time). As an example of this, you need go no further than the epic 'The Drapery Falls' - love them or loath them, you cannot fault their skills as individual and group players.

The DVD also contains a 'making of' documentary, which is generally exactly as you would expect, but it does portray Steve Wilson (effectively the fifth member of Opeth for these sessions) as not so much a producer/player, more of a mentor/guide - one cannot but wonder how those sessions would have turned out with a different hand on the reins.

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Send comments to Jim Garten (BETA) | Report this review (#34699)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
phan_tastica@
4 stars If you like studio Opeth, you will love live Opeth, it's amazing... Master's Apprentices, for example, es a very complex and sophisticated song, though, if you listened to the studio version first and you liked it, they you will like this one even more, if you watched the dvd first (or if you were at the concert), I'm not sure you will like the studio version, at all... therefore GOTTA WATCH THEM PLAY LIVE!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34701)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars While I am giving this DVD overall a 4-star rating that I think is well-deserved--let me be most clear: I'm giving it a 4 for highly unusual reasons, so be sure to read the full review to get a sense of whether or not you'll agree.

The concert portion I'm afraid I can only award a 3 to, although the musicianship is quite good, most especially from drummer MARTIN LOPEZ. Unfortunately, the main problem was MIKAEL AKERFELDT's clean vocals in concert for the Damnation material, with which he seemed less familiar than "Harvest", the soft song from Blackwater Park. Don't get me wrong...AKERFELDT is certainly miles better in concert than, say, ROGER WATERS, but it may be that he needs a better in-ear monitor, or that he has trouble playing and singing at once, because there are times when he's singing noticeably flat, most particularly in "In My Time of Need". This seems to give backup vocalist PER WIBERG some trouble in dealing with him, but I can't really blame the future OPETH keyboardist for this. The other difficulty with the concert was a sound problem as well--on the 5.1 setting I could hear some strange volume drop-outs during the heavy section. Finally, due to a record-contract problem over which the band had no control, only songs from Damnation, Deliverance, and Blackwater Park could be included on the DVD--please don't hold that one against the band, of course.

All of this notwithstanding, the heavier sections were, of course, excellent, like the crowd-pleaser "The Drapery Falls" and also notably "The Leper Affinity". AKERFELDT's growls--and the fact that he can transition into reasonably good clean vocals live--really are impressive, and the whole band goes crazy. I would've liked to hear a bit more from new keyboardist PER WIBERG, and I hear from a friend of mine that PER's synth broke during the concert and that's why it's not heard for a few of the songs on the heavy set. I should also mention that some of the songs from the soft set were very good, most especially "Closure", where LOPEZ' drumwork really contributes to a PINK FLOYD-like section that was added in concert. "Weakness" also comes off in a surprisingly FLOYDIAN manner, with its intro reminding me of the bootlegged FLOYD song "Fingal's Cave". One unintentional, but eerie sound was the periodic hissing of a fog machine, which sounded rather like the respirator from "Don't Leave Me Now" or the opening of AYREON's The Human Equation--and considering the song's lyrics, that was quite chilling, to say the least.

But what pushed this DVD back up to a 4 was its documentary, which as far as I was concerned, was just about perfect. This documentary, a making-of for the Damnation and Deliverance album, walks you through the process of how the album was made--and all of the stories and commentaries were exactly the kinds of things I would have asked to hear if I had been conducting an interview with them. STEVE WILSON also features on the documentary; his fans might be interested to see how he worked with OPETH. But my favorite person in the documentary was, without a doubt, MARTIN LOPEZ. Don't judge him by his accent--if you listen to what he has to say, he tells some of the most memorable stories on the DVD and really gives the viewer a clear insight into what the band is like (certainly much better internal relations, than, say, PINK FLOYD!). The one thing I wish could've been added along with this documentary would be additional interviews in Spanish with LOPEZ and MARTIN MENDEZ, the bassist. That being my second language, I would have really enjoyed it, and I imagine that the band has a healthy number of other Spanish-speaking fans besides me in the U.S. and abroad. But I guess you can't have everything, so I'll just have to hope for next time!

Overall, I do think that if you're an OPETH fan, you'll want to have this one, or if you are a casual fan interested in seeing a quality look into how an album, the documentary is without doubt an hour very well spent. Casual fans or beginners probably shouldn't start here, though--for that I would recommend Blackwater Park or Still Life, or Damnation for those not sure they're ready to graduate into the band's heavier side.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#39187)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Vanwarp
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This DVD contains a live performance recorded in London and a documentary about the band and the studio recordings of both Deliverance and Damnation. The documentary reveals a lot about the band and really is essential material for bands interested in seeing how "the big" boys do it exactly, both on stage and in the studio.

As for the show, Opeth performs two sets, the first part playing a lot like an MTV unplugged session containing all 8 tracks from their all acoustic Damnation album. Plus you get a little bonus song, "Harvest" off Blackwater Park. The second set contains 5 classic Opeth tracks showing the heavier, more brutal side of the band.

Set 1 - Time: 1h03m

There is no denying the very high calibre and overall level of musicianship found here. Very impressive performance by all. Akerfeldt sings with a clean soothing voice and plays acoustic and lead guitars. Akerfeldt also does most if not all of the solo work here, relegating all rhythm parts to Lindgren. I was most impressed though with Lindgren's performance. This guy can really play the guitar but here he demonstrates just how a good musician he really is and how one must not neglect his rhythm playing abilities. This skilful demonstration of his rhythm playing - I'm talking about all the varying picking and strumming patterns here and not just in every song but within every song - and it is even more evident during the second set where he shares a little more of the solo duties with Akerfeldt.

As a musician, I have stressed the importance of rhythm guitar playing to my daughter, and I believe this has inevitably made her a better guitarist and songwriter over the years. Every great guitarist is first a great rhythm guitar player and nobody demonstrates this better than Lindgren. When you watch the documentary after the show, you will see and hear Lindgren play in the studio. This guy plays half the solos on the albums. So, it doesn't matter how good a guitar player you are, when performing live, Lindgren's prowess on the guitar and impeccable playing keeps everything flowing along wonderfully. So when Akerfeldt states during the performance that he hopes they don't make to many f**k-ups during the show, I think he must be talking about himself? Because the rest of the boys don't f**k-up and Lindgren certainly doesn't f**k anything up. Bass player Martin Mendez is always in the groove, taking his cue from the drums and banging his head when the music requires him too. Even Per Wiberg who makes a guest appearance for this show performing keyboards and doing all the backup vocals really does a bang job here.

On first viewing the concert, drummer Martin Lopez almost looks like he's going to fall asleep during the acoustic set! Actually, with all the intricate rhythm patterns and cymbal work that he does, it is amazing he doesn't get them all screwed up from song to song. I don't know how he does it? He never misses a beat. On second look, you can see that when he closes his eyes, that he is actually fully concentrated and committed to the drum work at hand.

There are some highlight's worthy of mention during the acoustic set. I really enjoyed "Windowpane" and "In My Time of Need", excellent tracks to open the show. I was very impressed with the very energetic performance on "Closure" and the excellent and incredible vibe created on "Ending Credits." The only "problems" worth mentioning are probably Akerfeldt's own "flat" vocal moments and perhaps some of the camera movements during the show...

Set 2 - Time: 58 minutes

The band wastes no time opening the second set with headbanging double bass drums and crunchy guitar riffs with Akerfelt's growl for a more heavy brutal sound and all out death metal experience. In all honesty, every song is an experience in brutal bone crushing extreme metal and they alternate between some very heavy moments found on both Deliverance and Blackwater Park. To go from an all acoustic session to a most extreme metal experience in the same show is disconcerting for the uninitiated viewer. As Akerfeldt states after the opening song in the second set: "There might be a few people who have never heard this side of Opeth before, but this is really what we sound like!" A progressive death metal band is really what they are, combining soft atmospheric acoustic passages with heavy as hell musical moments and they make it all look so easy!

There are no pyrotechnics, no laser light show to detract you from the music, just some very modest lighting equipment. The boys perform like the professional veterans they are and everything just looks and feels like second nature to them. This is perhaps the reason why every band should view this DVD.

There are highlight's during the second set as well. Martin Lopez woke up from his semi- dormant trance and comes out swinging and pounding just in time to finish the show in style, clearly demonstrating he is in total command of his drum set. Both "Deliverance" and "The Leper Affinity" were big moments for me during the show but every song in the second set was a highlight! The solo work of both Akerfeld and Lindgren are awesome and a must see.

If you take the acoustic parts found in set one and add some brutal bone crushing moments, you would start to get a feel for Opeth's very complex and lengthy "death metal" songs. When you see how they do it, how they put it all together and pull it off in a live performance, you also "get" the magnitude of the talent inherent in this band. Even if you are not into death metal, view it for Akerfeldt's occasional smooth clean vocal lines (in set two), view it for the drum work, the bass work or for all the guitar work including the atmospheric keyboard work of Per Wiberg! You'll understand why he joined the band after seeing this performance. The boys deliver big time and it's all here for your enjoyment...

The Documentary

In addition to viewing the bands recording process, here is where you get to see each member in action in the studio. You also get to hear what each member has to say about the band and how they got started in music. There is no mistaking that Akerfelt is the man. He writes the songs (music and lyrics) and he takes everything to the studio without rehearsal. (Although there's talk about rehearsing a little for the next album...lol) Akerfelt allows the members of the band to give their input, he is very open to suggestions and when he likes what he hears you can see him smiling a lot. With the overall high level calibre of musicians on hand, and the obvious chemistry and compatibility between the members there's no wonder we see Akerfelt smiling at every turn. He is surrounded not only by great musicians but by good, very sensible guys.

The documentary is not only an opportunity to see each individual band members showing off their skills and home studios but it is the chance to see and hear what everybody thinks as well! Just an ordinary bunch of guys in an extraordinary band! Any one of these guys could have excelled in just about any genre or style of music. And they are all members of Opeth, the most recognized progressive death metal band in the world!

The DVD is worth the small amount of money it is going to cost you, which is less than the price of a CD! You also get to choose the sound which comes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround or DTS. If you like progressive rock and acoustic settings, you will enjoy the first set and the documentary. If you are into heavy metal or extreme metal, you will really enjoy set 2 and the documentary. If you are a musician - guitar, bass or drums - and you like all genres of music, get this DVD as a learning tool.

With this documentary, Lamentations is so much more than just another live DVD, you get a live performance and more importantly, you learn so much more about the band.

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Send comments to Vanwarp (BETA) | Report this review (#45713)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Today I was at my friend's flat.He has a DVD-player,and I use to watch some movies or concerts with him.Suddenly he said:"I got a DVD of one band...I like the first part,it sounds very atmospheric,Porcupine Tree/Lanberk-like"(He likes these bands,but he isn't a prog-lover as a whole)."They're from Sweden.But I disike the second part -he continiued- there's something wrong with the singer...he growls as if he {CENSORED}.But I think you'll like this second part".The few seconds of silence followed.I said:"Wow,I know a great band from Sweden.Their singer uses to growl,but he also likes Camel.I have all of their CDs but the mellowest one - DAMNATION,I guess...".Few seconds later we've realised that we talked of one and the same band!!! A minute later we were watching the show.It was stunning.I'm going to buy "Damnation"(it was released by Russian license).That's it :-) What?The show?Ah,marvellous.I adore them.Excellent musicianship,wonderful melodies,a moody atmosphere and insanity in the heavier part.Highly recommended for prog newbies(they may like the first part) and metal fans(the second part is their Valhalla)

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#74060)
Posted Tuesday, April 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Opeth's sole home video is an informative, insightful, informational, and fun watch. Although 2/3 of it consists of their concert at Shepherd's Bush Empire, the other third is an informative documentary on the making of Deliverance and Damnation. The video quality is dynamic and every member gets an even amount of screen time. The audio is crunchy and very well mixed, with the drums in particular having a great overall sound. The concert set itself is half acoustic and half heavy (although the heavy material should have come from a wider range of albums in my opinion), with the acoustic set featuring Damnation in its entirety with Harvest as a bonus. You'll find no Pink Floyd laser light show, no dynamic Genesis theatrics, no out of this world videos to accompany the songs, only the musicans and their instruments doing what they do best, and they really perform well.

The acoustic set consists of Damnation in its entirety, and it was an ambitious choice by the group. As the set progresses, you can hear Akerfeldt apologize to the crowd about the slow pace of the set. Even if it's played wonderfully, especially by Martin Lopez and Peter Lindgren, who play perfectly, with absolutely no flaws. Martin Mendez is always in a tight groove with Lopez and provides the basic foundations for all the songs, and Per Wiberg offering up the Steven Wilson's mellotrons and organs to suffice that end of the sound spectrum. I only can really fault the set with slow pacing and Akerfeldt's voice, which although sounding great, can go flat during many sections and sounds as if he's straining himself to hit those high notes.

The second set of this show consists of their genuine no holds barred metal. AKerfeldts vocals in this set vastly improve over the last one, he's just fits the cookie monster vocals mold so well. Per Wiberg becomes absent during this part (although he makes an appearance during A Fair Judgement", but that is simply because they don't need a keyboard for the material here. Lopez is also at the top of his form pounding out performance after performance, he really is one of the best drummers around nowadays. My only real complaint here is that there isn't enough variety between the songs. All of them come from either Deliverance or Blackwater Park, and although they are some of the best songs on those albums, I would have liked to have seen some Still Life or My Arms, Your Hearse material sprinkled in there.

But that's not all, kiddies! There's more! You also get a 65 minute documentary about the making of Deliverance and Damnation. The key speakers here (the only speakers really) are Mikael Akerfeldt and Martin Lopez, who give incredible insight into all aspects of creating the album, from the brush to the canvas. You get insight into Steven Wilson's contributions as well as how the songs were crafted and why Deliverance and Damnation were recorded using the funds that would be necessary for one album. I certainly like watching this documentary because it verses you in information well beyond what any ordinary Opeth fan will know and it's fun to watch the creation of two great albums.

In the end, this is a great dvd. The concert has its problems, but most live excursions do have their little problems here and there. The documentary is fascinating as well as informative, and the concert aspect is well balanced between acoustic and heavy (but the acoustic tends to drag). Any fan of progressive metal will find some enjoyment out of this, but some who like Damnation and not the heavier Opeth will find comfort in the first set of the concert, with no cookie monster vocals or metal sections. Me? I find this dvd to be excellent, though no masterpiece. 4/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#83709)
Posted Friday, July 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Opeth's first official DVD, Lamentations, documents a London performance in 2003, at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, as well as a behind the scenes, in-studio "making of" Deliverance and Damnation, featuring interviews with each musician concerning the experience. For Opeth fans, this is mostly interesting and satisfying viewing, particularly for those who think highly of the last three albums, as all of the material on show here is taken from those releases. The concert finds the band in fantastic form, and will be of note for anyone who has yet to experience Opeth in the live arena. The show is split in two sections, with the first featuring the band's mellower approach, including the Damnation album in its entirety, as well as "Harvest" from Blackwater Park. The second section features the standard, heavier Opeth material, all pulled from Deliverance and Blackwater Park. The performance is captured gloriously, with fulfilling camera angels and sound. The major issue here is the absence of material from the first four albums, excluded here because of label politics. This means that during the "mellow" set, there is no "Benighted" or "Credence", and during the "heavy" set there is no "Demon Of The Fall" or "Forest Of October". In other words, their best music is not represented here, as Blackwater Park and Deliverance are devoid of the imagination, adventurousness and atmosphere that made the first four works essential. The in-studio footage is of interest mainly for a glimpse inside an Opeth recording session, and the interviews are generally informative enough to keep the skip button unattended through the viewing. This DVD is of high quality and attraction for Opeth admirers, but fans who have been following this act from the start will no doubt find disappointment in the lack of Peaceville-era material.

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Send comments to bleak (BETA) | Report this review (#86107)
Posted Monday, August 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The only official live release by this band is a damn good one, but unfortunately, it's still just a DVD. It is somewhat regrettable that the only material found here is from the 3 albums of the Steven Wilson, but that is mainly due to corporation contracts and the like which would not allow other material on the DVD(Demon of the Fall was cut out, for example). Even still, the perfomance is spot on, with my favorite track being Closure, which sounds even better live.

My only detractor is that Mike's voice is sometimes off, but this is overshadowed by the wow factor in knowing how easily he can go from growling to ethereal singing. The best part for me was the making of the two albums section, which I found to be very informative and interesting, especially as a fan.

A wonderful DVD, and assuredly the most treasured live performance in my collection.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#90868)
Posted Thursday, September 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Last night (31 Mar 07) I hosted a 3.5 hours Saturday Night Rock programme for local radio station network Trijaya with two topics: "Progressive Rock" (first session) and "Legend at 9: YES" (second session). What's this anything to do with Opeth? Yeah, there is, my friend. You know what? I started the first song under "Progressive Rock" session with "Beneath The Mire" by Opeth (taken from "Ghost Reveries" album). Wow man ..!! It's like dream comes true . It has been quite a rare occasion that a decent FM station targeted at young professionals who used to hear easy listening tune from this station and suddenly it changed everything last night with the sound of "growling" vocal. It was really fun and I did enjoy it very much.

And then I really wanted to watch the DVD of the band which I have owned it for such a long time ago (more than a year) and got no chance to review it. Oh yes .. this is one of the best live DVD that I have ever seen. Not in a way how the stage was set for the show. In fact this live performance was set in a relatively simple setting. The first set of music comprises all of their repertoires that are considered as light set, under unplugged version. The music is cool and it reminds me to the music of Camel. All of them were performed flawlessly. Those who like heavy riffing would find themselves getting bored with this acoustic set, I think. Some great tracks include "Hope Leaves", "Harvest" and "Ending Credits".

The second part which is the Heavy Set (58 minutes), as the name implies, comprises all what metalheads expect for this DVD. Of course, my favorite is those from the "Blackwater Park" album even though I also enjoy "Deliverance". Mikael Akerfeldt performs his vocal job excellently, especially on parts with growling style. It's quite surprising that he does the heavy throaty vocals in a cool way, without having to force himself for the voice. This is unbelievable. On drum stool, Martin Lopez changed his drum sets for the heavy set to provide dynamic sounds required.

Overall, this is an excellent live performance DVD that would favor those who like heavy side of prog music as well as the light side (first set). I can not imagine how to see the band playing "Beneath The Mire" (my favorite track from "Ghost Reveries" album). It must be a fabulous show!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#121002)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opeth are best-known for their fusion of death metal and 70s-style progressive rock through monstrous epics. While they are amazing at that style, they have a habit of stripping everything down and doing songs that are entirely free of death vocals as well. This DVD release is the culmination of that, and features in its 14 song set 10 tracks without death vocals. They play the entire DAMNATION record, a fantastic album, as well as "Harvest" and the epic closer "A Fair Judgement". But fear not, for there are also songs to soothe the drooling metalhead in us all, "The Leper Affinity", "Master's Apprentices", "The Drapery Falls", and "Deliverance" appear as well to provide some headbangability.

So what makes this DVD so special? Quite a few things, actually. First of all, it captures the essence of a live Opeth performance. The music is perfect and after a hundred viewings, I've only actually noticed one note played differently than on record. They ooze energy in a live setting, and yet they never screw up.

Another element is that the crowd noise wasn't deleted, and was hardly even reduced. You can hear the fans chanting for "Demon of the Fall" and "Black Rose Immortal", as is commonplace at an Opeth show. Mikael is visibly distressed as he turns them down to play A Fair Judgement. It would seem that Music for Nations/Koch Records only wanted Opeth to play songs from the albums released on their label, so BLACKWATER PARK, DELIVERANCE, and DAMNATION are the only albums represented. The performance isn't any less amazing as a result.

Another exciting thing about this concert is that it foreshadows keyboardist Per Wiberg's entry to the band. His performance is flawless and you can really see what Mikael and Co. saw in him as a player.

The bonus feature on this is surprisingly rewatchable. It's an hour long documentary on the making of DELIVERANCE and DAMNATION, two painstakingly difficult albums. The story of Opeth's development to their present (well, in 2004) state as well as the process of creating the two aforementioned albums, a process which no doubt caused many sleepless nights for all involved. You get to see unused takes in the studio as well as just what a hand Steven Wilson lent to the project. Truly amazing, and as I said, rewatchable.

Overall, I can't think of any reason you shouldn't buy this if you like Opeth. It was only $15 from a Suncoast Motion Picture Company of America for me, I'm sure you can find it in an FYE or something somewhere. So find it, and buy it.

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Send comments to DethMaiden (BETA) | Report this review (#130102)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Actually i give it 4.5 stars! First i must say im not a fan of the cookie monster vocals, therefore my rating is mostly based on the performance of the "damnation" and "black water park" songs. Anyhow, who would´ve thought evil music could sound so damn beautiful. I understand that opeth are all about heavy riffs and death metal style vocals, but boy can they create amazing harmonies, lush arrangements and wonderful melodies. Songs like "closure", "death whispered a lullaby" and "hope leaves" make this DVD totally worth it. I also enjoy the final performance of "a fair judgement", great song to finish the set. I only have one regret, i cant understand why they took away the backing vocals on the chorus for "to rid the disease", its the best part of the song!

Overall a great collection of songs and a great balance between peacefulness and agression. The sound mix is very well engineered, actually id say flawless. Video imaging is also great. The documentary is a bit long to my liking, but entertaining, for instance i didnt know that 2 opeth members are actually latin. Also its highly entertaining to see Steven Wilson help opeth produce the "damnation album", the guy is a genius! Highly recommended, play it LOUD!

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Send comments to progaddicted (BETA) | Report this review (#145738)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A flawed concept ?

Don't get me wrong the "Damnation" album is gorgeous but the first part of this filmed concert is a little boring. Let me explain my point of view : I would say that Opeth's repertoire is 1/4 "mellow"-3/4 "heavy with growls", but here we have half-mellow half-heavy and here lies the problem (IMO), I understand that due to copyright issues the entire set couldnt be released but the dvd fails here. It wasn't a problem for me the first (and maybe second) time I watched it, but after that I'm tempted to skip the mellow songs and go directly to "the real thing".

Maybe it's the fact that I don't have any problem with growling and heavy music (I listen to bands like Nile or Suffocation ...) or it's because I know that there is a heavy set ....

I think I would have liked this more if the songs were more "mixed" during the set.

Maybe the next dvd will adress this issue ?

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Send comments to rakam (BETA) | Report this review (#150380)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
progkidjoel
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A good first live recording from one of modern prog,'s and metal's, finest.

Opeth's first DVD, Lamentations Live at Sheperd's Bush Empire, is a good showcase of the two extremes the band is able to play flawlessly - Acoustic, folky based prog rock, and death metal, often with progressive tendencies and sections. The two sets are recorded lovingly and played flawlessly. The atmosphere is brutal at times, and beautiful at others. The lighting suits the concert perfectly - Black and grey, laced with shades of green, purple and blue. The band is tight, and the interplay between the members is perfect. The presence of the now full-time member Per Wilberg on keyboards adds a little extra atmosphere, like a finishing touch. Unfortunately, Wilberg's presence is hidden in the metal tracks, which may dissapoint.

The playing is all fantastic on this disc - Some stellarly soft moments, and some ear-bleedingly brutal segments. The two things which make Opeth special for me are their unpredictability and their quick changes from fast to slow, heavy to soft, a angry to heartbroken, or any combination of the few. These always change up the atmosphere and emotion of the songs, and they are displayed here in full force.

My only complaint is about the acoustic set - I find Damnation to be one of the band's least dynamic and thrilling albums, although this may be a plus for a viewer who is a large fan of this album. The second set, however, is quite a bit better, playing two of the band's best (and heaviest!) tracks in The Drapery Falls and Deliverance. Its hard to believe a band can play such soft music so perfectly and genuinely, and then play such brutal metal with such vigor and enthusiasm. It really does still surprise me after multiple listens and watches of this DVD and the album it concerns - At one moment I'm stunned by the beauty of Hope Leaves, and the next I'm picking myself up off the floor from Master's Apprentices.

This DVD never reaches into 5 star territory in my opinion - Its a great showcase of the band, but it is not a masterpiece in any way, so I'm giving this DVD four stars.

Stay prog.

-Joel

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Send comments to progkidjoel (BETA) | Report this review (#260302)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
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3 stars Impressive dual-mood show

After explaining to the audience that the show was being filmed and that the band was a bit nervous, they were told the first half of the show would be material from the somewhat mellower previous album, and that the second half of the show would be "a bit heavier." And with those words the crowd goes nuts. It's pretty obvious by watching the reactions that much of the crowd was being polite on the first half, waiting for the payoff in the second. But for people who are not big Opeth fans (like myself) this first set was a nice chance to see the band in a different light.

Songs like "In My Time of Need" and others from the leadoff set are both intriguing and often quite lovely, with serene vocals delivered carefully over the wonderful dialogue between the guitars. The mood of this "clean" material is very spacey at times and often relaxing. The drummer is an incredible player and I found myself most trained on listening to him above any of the others. Both sections of the show are filmed well and presented in my favorite manner: showing the musicians actually playing, from a tight perspective and without the insanely fast edits.

I'll be brief on this one. Without question essential for fans of Opeth, and I have a ton of respect for the quality of their performance and the sincerity of the material. My average rating just reflects the fact that their compositions have yet to capture me to any serious degree.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#344323)
Posted Sunday, December 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Opeth have a thing with classic UK venues. Lamentations was their first DVD and it was shot at Shepherd's Bush. The Roundhouse and Royal Albert Hall would follow suit. Lamentations captures the band on the Damnation/Deliverance tour and mainly concentrates on the material from those two albums. The only other album featured is Blackwater Park, making this set into a sort of Wilson-years retrospective.

Especially Damnation features in all glory and is played in its entity during the delightful first half of the show. The band goes fluently through the material and Akerfeldt delivers his clean vocals just perfectly. It's a shame that this quiet material didn't really seem to connect well with the young and mainly meteul! audience. Prog fans would have greatly enjoyed this delicate mix of early Camel and Floyd with Nick Drake. The performances evoke a mood very similar to Swedish prog acts such as Landberk and Paatos.

New man in the band is Per Wiberg who adds great backing vocals (mixed a bit too much to the background though) and of course excellent keyboards, often changing the arrangements slightly in comparison to the studio originals. The most outstanding part of the set would be Closure, where the bands explores the psychedelic closing section more thoroughly and more intensely then on Damnation. The second part of the set features heavier material and is more likely to please the metal fans. These songs deviate less from the studio versions but they sound a bit rougher and harsher, which suits them fine.

The audio on this release is superb, the DTS version blasts from the speakers and especially during the quieter songs, it brings out a lot of details. The drums and bass are nicely upfront and have a lot of oomph, with a deep kick and a very warm and round sound. The photography could have been better though, unless you're a fan of extreme close-ups and think it's fun to be able to count Akerfeldt's nasal hairs.

Overall a superb release that should primarily please the more prog-oriented part of Opeth's fanbase. DVD's are always fans-only territory, but it would seem a bit iffy to rate this 2 stars just for that reason. So, for fans only, but excellent it is.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#376201)
Posted Saturday, January 08, 2011 | Review Permalink

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