Opeth bring the winter and joy from Sweden
GIG: Opeth Sorceress World Tour
VENUE: The Tivoli, Brisbane
REVIEWERS: Brooke Bijl and Marc Stapelberg
Support: Caligula's Horse
This review has one purpose and one purpose only - to encourage people and fans in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to get out there and purchase their tickets for Opeth as soon as possible.
Opeth are quite frankly one of the best bands in the world at the moment and if you are a music lover you cannot pass up the opportunity to see them.
It is no secret that Opeth forged a new sound that was quiet different to their early death metal material and as a result reviews of gigs by fans have been as mixed as the fans themselves.
This because often fans want to mosh and headbang and the softer material doesn't necessarily provide the impetus to do so.
But I am here to tell you not to listen to the naysayers who may cast doubt in your mind about purchasing a ticket.
Opeth are 100 per cent pure metal and the songs are actually really heavy and really dark and executed with such perfection and passion that they outstrip the material on the albums.
It is bizarre - it sounds the same but is just better live.
There were a few things that stood out about their live performance in Brisbane.
The level of musicianship is through the roof - spectacular and superb.
The selection of songs from the 12 album back catalogue is magnificent and satisfying.
The band move and get into the performance ( a fear that some might have that Mikael just stands and sings)
Mikael Åkerfeldt should start a career as a comedian - his dry Swedish sense of humour is a complete crack-up and welcome surprise.
While the music is progressive and complicated it is free of any stereotypes -the complexity is sort of hidden and it is not in your face. The acoustic and melodic parts and the heavy chords flow like velvet and are super smooth.
In summary the whole gig was refreshing.
Mikael's stage presence and banter with the crowd and hecklers was so calm and un-rushed and razor sharp that it was a welcome change to all the posturing of other bands; the songs had such ambience, mood and variety that you just couldn't wait to see what was coming next; and the music is heavy but manages to span so many influences that you feel you are witnessing something more than a metal gig.
The songs and atmosphere seem to swirl round the room each adding to the next, but never at anytime feeling overburdened or long in the tooth.
The music switches gears at just the right moment and this is where the difference to the recordings may lie.
Opening with Sorceress it was fun to see the new material crunch into action and that downtuned riff and chug really set the tone for the rest of the gig.
Moving into Ghost of Perdition and Demon of Fall off 'Ghost Reveries' and 'My Arms, Your Hearse' respectively it was apparent the set list would draw on the vast back catalogue.
Mikael's laid back manner, not rushing with his tuning, processing what he was going to say to the crowd and almost taunting them slightly was fascinating to watch.
At no point was it condescending but you could see he was prepared for fans screaming out songs they wanted to hear played and it was freaken hilarious to witness his response.
New song 'The Wilde Flowers' was more amazing live than on the album and Mikael's voice breathed so much emotion into the melodic rises and dips it was a true stand out moment in the performance but wouldn't be the last with a song from Damnation still to be played.
Face of Melinda continued the beautiful ambience but the real clincher was when they broke into 'In My Time of Need'.
It was like it just expanded into every nook and cranny, entrancing and powerful, there was no room to breathe.
Devils Orchard and Cusp of Eternity picked the moshing energy up again and had everyone moving away and head banging to the groovy riffs.
Drapery Falls and Heir Apparent took the concert to a darker place and felt slightly long as they are such intense songs, but a surprise realisation was still to dawn on the audience as they listened.
The shock was when Mikael announced it was the last song.
Two hours had flashed by.
It was incomprehensible as it felt like the middle of the set.
After joking about the mandatory nature of encores the band broke into Deliverance and the crowd responded in equal measure hoisting a man in a wheel chair up and having him crowd surf twice.
Opeth are in fine form and this gig is worth every cent.
Opening for Opeth were Brisbane band Caligula's Horse.
It was an incredibly tight set with Jim Grey nailing every set of vocals and the band keeping it nice and heavy.
There were some great prog breakdowns and it was a high energy performance which very possibly had a freshness and heaviness that allowed the band to stand among the likes of other aussie prog legends Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool.
There was mention of Zac Greensill departing the band, and as a farewell for him a call by Jim on the crowd to let loose and get into the last song.
It will be exciting to see what new things await this fine progressive Brisbane outfit.