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Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.10 | 217 ratings

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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.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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