On Wednesday, October 19th the Swedish band Opeth came to Tempe Arizona to play at the Marquee Theatre. They started as a Death Metal Band back in 1989 and over the years, they have migrated to a more Progressive Metal sound. Their current tour is to promote their latest album, Sorceress. The concert was a mix of their newest Progressive songs and great Death Metal songs from the past. The current band is made up of founding member Mikael Åkerfeldt (Lead Vocals), and newer members Fredrik Åkesson (Lead Guitar), Joakim Svalberg (Keyboards), Martin Mendez (Bass) and Martin Axenrot (Drums).
The concert started with The Sword, a Heavy Metal band from Texas. Their music was good, but for some reason, the bass was overdriven to a point of massive feedback and John D. Cronise’s vocals were almost non-existent due to being drowned out by the band’s instruments. The other issue was the lack of light on the band. For the most part, you only saw the members of the band silhouetted. This was a real disservice to this band. Their music and musicianship were very good. Hopefully, they will fix these issues at future shows.
When Opeth hit the stage, I was concerned that the same sound problems would follow. Fortunately, they corrected all of the sound issues. Mikael’s vocals were clear and well balanced with the other instruments. Also, the bass was powerful but not distorted. I was extremely impressed by Fredrik’s ability to shift from power Death Metal riffs to smooth laid back jazz/progressive cords. They started the concert with the title track of their newest album, Sorceress. It was amazing to watch the band switch between a jazz fusion rhythm and heavy metal during Sorceress. They then moved to a more Death Metal sound with Ghost of Perdition. For the rest of the show, they switched between Death Metal songs and Progressive songs. Finally, they completed the set with Hex Omega, a heavy metal progressive song. They came back for an encore with their most heavy song for the night, Deliverance. During the song, they switched between death metal growls with heavy guitar riffs to cleaner vocals and more rhythmic guitar cords.
The band had a great stage light show with multiple strobes, rotating spotlights and laser/led lights. The strobes were timed to pulsate with the heavy guitar riffs. For the most part, none of the band members had any of the house front spot lights on them during the songs. At times it was hard to even see them other than their silhouettes. However, the band and their music were great. If you like Death Metal or Heavy Progressive Metal then Opeth is a band you really need to see. They are much better live than their studio albums.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Lucky Man
Venue: Marquee Theater
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2016
Ghost of Perdition (Ghost Reveries)
Demon of the Fall (My Arms, Your Hearse)
The Wilde Flowers (Sorceress)
Face of Melinda (Still Life)
In My Time of Need (Damnation)
Will O the Wisp (Sorceress)
Cusp of Eternity (Pale Communion)
The Drapery Falls (Blackwater Park)
The Devil’s Orchard (Heritage)
Hex Omega (Watershed)