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




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.03 | 223 ratings

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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.

FloydWright | 4/5 |


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