Thursday, October 22, 2015

Opeth at the Beacon Theatre

Mikael Åkerfeldt
In the 1970s, a young Mikael Åkerfeldt was in Stockholm, Sweden, listening to progressive rock and heavy metal bands. He started playing in a band called Eruption as a teenager, but in 1990, at age 16, he accepted an invitation to join the newly forming band Opeth. The band changed personnel often, and vocalist/guitarist Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth's last founding member. The current band consists of Åkerfeldt, guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, keyboardist Joakim Svalberg, bassist Martín Méndez and drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot. Opeth's 11th and most recent album, Pale Communion, was released on August 26, 2014.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary as a band and the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking album, 2005's Ghost Reveries, Opeth performed a select few shows where the album was played in its entirety, followed by a second retrospective set. In years past, Opeth's hybrid sound was sometimes labeled progressive death metal. At the Beacon Theatre tonight, even that genre was inadequate, as much of the music was quite soft. Not purists to any form of music, Opeth tested the boundaries of many styles of progressive rock, hard rock, death metal, acoustic folk, classical, ambient, and jazz. Frequent shifting time signatures and key and chord changes manipulated each movement's mood, and intricate and innovative prog-metal oddities, particularly from the keyboards, generated curious twists. The lengthy compositions came out sounding somewhat like King Crimson with an occasional death growl. The question remains as to whether the band's original death metal fans will continue to follow Opeth's chameleon sound.

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