Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Live Show, March 5, 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Opeth: Lamentations - Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire (DVD)
This DVD combines high production quality* with a stellar performance by one of the most interesting and compelling bands playing in the metal/progressive/difficult-to-categorize vein. Let me begin with a bit of advice: if you have the technology to do so, record the audio from the DVD to CD or into mp3's. Lamentations is now a fixture in my iPod rotation, and listening to Opeth's live playing in headphones as I am walking or falling asleep is sublime. (Hate to moralize here, but how about not sharing those files with people who haven't bought the DVD? Instead, encourage people to support this tremendous and talented band.)
The tour that included Shepherd's Bush Empire emphasized their last two discs, Damnation and Deliverance. Indeed, here they play Damnation in its entirety, thereby showcasing their introspective, melodic, slow-groove talents. To be sure, the nearly hour-long second set of frenetic heavy songs (including Blackwater Park's "Drapery Falls" and "Leper Affinity") reminds you of who Opeth is, but - if you didn't much like Damnation - you will probably not feel like you are getting your money's worth.
One of the ironies of Opeth is that, on the one hand they can produce the blissful brutality of "Deliverance," while on the other the banter between songs is modest and laconic. Another is that they never appear to be reaching or striving for their music; it is somehow at their fingertips, well within a gentle grasp. Opeth's playing here is so astonishingly relaxed and precise that mistakes leave you snapping back to attention and wondering whether it mightn't actually have been intentional. Akerfeldt's singing is lovely and clear (or impressively guttural and menacing on the heavy tracks), and the guitars weave delicate textures. One of the treats of a DVD is seeing who plays the various parts in a song, and making sense of Opeth's division of guitar labor is suitably entertaining. Lopez's drumming is, in my view, the high point. He is a metronome even as he plays groove, and his fills are extremely tasteful. It is a shame that we don't get more camerawork on his feet.
From the long, otherworldy, and almost 70's jam to close "Closure" to the avalanche of sound that starts "Leper Affinity" to the immaculate rendition of "Windowpane," Opeth's Lamentations is a dreamy window into a live sound that exceeds any studio prowess.
* The only downside of the impeccable recording is that you hear the annoying and childish calls of the concert fans (there is an especially egregious screech right as the vocals begin in "Hope Leaves").
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