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Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.10 | 217 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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

1800iareyay | 4/5 |


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