Opeth, Poem // Gagarin205, Athens, Greece // 20.03.2015
After a three year absence from Greece, OPETH returned to Athens few months after their 14th album release “Pale Communion”. Having seen them live in Greece from 2003 and since, I could easily admit that this was their best show by far. Playing for over 2 hours, they proved why they are a big part in the wider progressive rock / metal music scene. Constantly expanding their fan base despite the dissimilar musical direction which they follow through the years.
The show started on time as scheduled and for the next 45 minutes we had the pleasure to watch the opening act POEM presenting songs mainly from their upcoming album “Skein Syndrome”. Poem is one of the best bands Greece has to present and with just one studio release they have managed to create an active role in the music scene. Their new stuff sounded quite different than their debut album which was released 6 years ago. A lot of line up changes contributed to this, but the band seemed very tight and judging the new songs the upcoming album is quite promising.
After POEM left the stage and after a short intermission it was time for Michael Akerfelt and his band to begin. Opening with two songs from their new album “Eternal rains will come” followed by the “Cusp of eternity” soon from the first note the band played with passion and intensity. The sound was excellent and contributed to emphasize the complex musical structures and dynamics of their songs.
Despite the latest line up changes the band seemed tighter than ever and determined to make a good show. Michael announced that they will be playing songs from all of their discography (strangely they forgot “Orchid”). The crowd seemed to like this and as soon as the band launch into the old stuff the crowd comes alive. The reception to classic OPETH songs is huge and it is obvious how the energy in the venue becomes powerful.
So we have “The drapery falls”, “The Moor”, “April Ethereal”, “The Lotus Eaters” and many more where we witnessed the essence of OPETH’s music: long length songs with multiple dynamics, impressive breaks, death metal bursts , alongside with 70’s prog rock melodies.
Many were disappointed on how Akerfelt sings the brutal vocals, well I think it was far from obvious that the guy is protecting his voice. On the other side the clean vocals were astonishing. The finale came with “The Grand Conjuration” from Ghost Reveries , and the prog masterpiece “Deliverance” on the encore.
OPETH made perhaps their best show in Greece (until the next one I hope), and made clear that despite any change in their musical style, they have their own musical identity. On each album they evolve musically and personally I love the fact that they’ve grown increasingly prog-oriented. “Pale Communion” was for many one more controversial album, however the show was sold out and the Greek crowd seemed to accept OPETH’s effort for musical experimentation.
PS. I have to mention that fortunately they didn’t use any prerecorded tracks (as Michael said “we don’t use the fucking tape..”) which is a trend that a lot of bands seem to follow.
Report: Thodoris Tsiolakis
1. Eternal Rains Will Come
2. Cusp of Eternity
3. The Drapery Falls
4. The Moor
5. Bleak (first verse)
7. Elysian Woes
9. The Devil’s Orchard
10. April Ethereal
11. The Lotus Eater
12. The Grand Conjuration
Check S&D Photography for more photos.