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OPETH/Pain Of Salvation
O2 Brixton Academy, London,
Sweden is a
country with a very rich musical heritage (no pun intended) so the fact
that it is bands from this part of the world that have been
predominantly receiving much deserved attention from fans and media
alike over the last few years should not come as a great surprise to
One of these
bands is Mikael Akerfeldt's Opeth - a band whose latest opus 'Heritage'
signalled a departure from the brutal vocals and Metal riffs of the past
and seems to suggest the beginning of a much more experimental,
a fan of their music since 2001, the year that their magnum opus 'Blackwater
Park' first saw the light of day, meant that I would not have missed
their show for the world.
This led to
me dedicating a weekend to seeing the band's Birmingham show on Saturday
and the London show on Sunday, both of which were supported by Pain Of
Salvation, who are on tour with them and a band that I personally
consider to be the ultimate masters of their craft.
having successfully recuperated from the quite impressive Birmingham
experience I arrived back in London early afternoon, and after having
conducted an interview with Pain Of Salvation's frontman Daniel
Gildenlow, we found ourselves standing outside the venue, forming part
of a very long and impressive queue.
Our entrance to the venue was far quicker than originally expected as we
were part of the group that was given priority access as a result of
having an O2 mobile phone contract, something that I am sure must have
really annoyed all those die hard fans that had been standing at the
head of the queue for more than two hours.
a small fortune on merchandise, we managed to find a great spot very
close to the stage and prepared ourselves for another night of good
As was the case in Birmingham, the stage of the Brixton Academy was a
very welcoming environment to Daniel Gildenlow and his colleagues, with
banners being placed in strategic positions and with plenty of free
space for them to move around.
lights first went off and the 'Road Salt Theme' intro filled the room,
the crowd's reaction could be described as positive, yet restrained -
something that was bound to change throughout the band's forty minute
Pain Of Salvation's set was based on their latest album 'Road Salt
Two', starting with the heavy-sounding 'Softly She Cries' during which
both Daniel and departing guitarist Johan Hallgren performed stage
antics, such as jumping from the top of large guitar amps!
chemistry that this band has on stage is second to none and when
provided with a decent sound, something that was somewhat lacking during
their Birmingham set, the results can be truly rewarding.
did his best to attract people's attention and acquire their
participation, both of which paid off when both the classic opus 'Ashes'
and the groovy anthem 'Conditioned' were performed.
'softer' side was represented through the highly emotional '1979' and
the cleverly-crafted melodic theme 'To The Shoreline'.
that I really missed during the band's set in Birmingham was the lack of
any material from 'Remedy Lane' so I was really pleased by their
decision to incorporate a beautiful rendition of 'Fandango' tonight.
they would soon have to leave the stage, Pain Of Salvation closed their
set with the heavy riffed 'Linoleum' and the equally impressive 'No Way'
- both of which helped them to receive a warm round of applause prior to
leaving the stage for what is to go down in history as the band's last
London show in the current line up.
It did not
take long for the well-trained crew to clear the stage of any Pain Of
Salvation related equipment and make all necessary preparations for
Opeth's set, but it was enough to realise that most of the
conversations taking place around me focused on one main question -
would Mikael Akerfeldt perform any songs with Death Metal vocals?
to the band's set, the more nervous people around me were becoming so
the first few notes of 'The Devil's Orchard' came as a relief more than
Just as in
the case of Pain Of Salvation, half of Opeth's set was based on their
prog offering 'Heritage' so the second song to be performed was the
emotional opus 'I Feel The Dark'.
sound was immaculate; their performance on stage as solid as ever and
Mikael was in high spirits, taking the first opportunity to indulge in
his trademark banter with the audience by introducing 'Face Of Melinda'
- a song that was received pretty warmly by all those who feared that
none of the band's older material would be performed.
Next in line
was 'Porcelain Heart' - a song that incorporated a very basic and
somewhat unnecessary drum solo by the otherwise quite capable skinsman
Martin Axenrot, but which anyhow won him a warm round of applause.
was further represented by 'Nepenthe' following which the band indulged
in a three track acoustic set which included the single 'The Throat Of
Winter', 'Credence' and 'Closure'.
It was at
that moment that Mikael made a very emotional dedication to legendary
frontman Ronnie James Dio by introducing the Rainbow-sounding 'Slither'
to the audience - a song that Mikael mentioned that was written to
honour the legendary frontman.
exchanges of niceties between Akerfeldt and fans took place throughout
the show, including an attempt at singing along to,...wait for
it...George Michael material, while 'Hex Omega' also incorporated
the beginnings of Whitesnake's classic opus 'Slow An Easy', following
which the band left the stage.
minutes later Mikael and came back on stage and finished off with a
beautiful rendition of 'Folklore', one of the stand-out tracks of the
new album, and left the stage having ensured that the vast majority of
the crowd showed their appreciation by screaming their lungs out for
show was very important for both bands involved. Pain Of Salvation were
finally given the opportunity to perform in front of a larger audience
than the one that they are accustomed to in the UK whereas for Opeth
this was a 'make or break' performance in the sense that it would prove
whether their decision to change their musical direction would also be a
commercially successful one.
experience beneficial for both bands? Well judging by people's reactions
I believe that the answer is yes! There were quite a few people buying
Pain Of Salvation T-shirts at the end of the show and those already
sporting Opeth ones also looked pretty pleased.
As for me, I
believe that what I have experienced was the best gig of the year - not
a bad deal at all, don't you agree?
Pain Of Salvation Set List
Road Salt Theme/ Softly She Cries/ Ashes/ Conditioned/ 1979/ To The
Shoreline/ Fandango/ Linoleum/ No Way
Opeth Set List
The Devil's Orchard/ I Feel the Dark/ Face Of Melinda/ Porcelain Heart
(+Drum Solo)/ Nepenthe/ The Throat Of Winter (acoustic)/ Credence
(acoustic)/ Closure (acoustic)/ Slither/ A Fair Judgement/ Hex Omega
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