Opeth concert review

Last weekend, one of our students (13 years of age) went to her very first concert. To mark this momentous occasion, she wrote a live review for those of us who were unable to make it. We think you'll agree we have a budding music journalist in our midst! OPETH (live at Enmore Theatre, May 3 2015) by Sid R.

I am a metalhead. I have identified as one for two, going on to three years. Why am I a metalhead? It isn’t certainly for the image, though metal fashion does add a lot to the genre’s wow factor. Yes, bullet belts, wrist cuffs and black attire are really cool, and if it were socially acceptable to casually wear battle jackets to school, then I’d do that in a heartbeat. But the reason why my love for metal is indeed a love for metal has to exist thanks to the hundreds upon thousands of artists out there that wake up every day and make their music for us metalheads to listen, enjoy, revere, look up, and of course headbang to! Seriously, if it weren’t for the Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax) I don’t know where I would get the confidence to fuel my day from.

Every day, more and more things are integrated into the metal subculture to make it what we define it as today. Metalheads live a lifestyle – that lifestyle takes into consideration an entire universe of facets that if distilled, cannot make a metalhead. Concerts are one of these. I understand that in today’s ramshackle economy it’s hard to feed ourselves with the petty money we’ve got, but once you hear that Amon Amarth is touring again or Jeff Hanneman is coming back to life for one last show, there is no doubt you‘ll drop everything and start saving. Up until May 3, I wallowed in envy as those I knew attended all the concerts they could go to – heck, my friend even met Dragonforce! (Lucky, but I’m so jealous.) Soon enough for me however, Sydney, the city I love and live in, became enshrouded with posters. These posters appealed to me. Not because they were large and my favourite colour, black, but advertised something I as a metalhead had to see for myself. What I speak of, without an iota of falsehood in my mind, are none less than the Swedish metal legends we know as Opeth.

I tip my hat to Opeth. Here we have five guys, writing lyrics not in their native language – something we should accredit them for immensely – and composing unique music that incorporates the brutality of death metal, amplified progressive rock guitar riffs and the serenity of classical music to conceive their rare, dynamic sound. The metalhead community of Sydney were privileged to have Opeth perform Pale Communion and a concoction of other influential metal in Newtown’s Enmore Theatre on May 3.

The concert commenced shortly after 7:45pm, when a supporting band from Newtown itself had taken the stage and blared their music for a crowd of hundreds to crowd surf and mosh to. In an hour’s time, the crowd could notice the silhouette of a man, followed by four others and bearing guitars or a pair of drumsticks.

Opeth made their appearance with Eternal Rains Will Come. No traditional initial welcome was made, however the essence of songs like Elysian Woes and River manifested that in the most permeating and openhearted way possible.

With its introductory knee-slapping bassline, and Joakim Svalberg’s keyboard, Goblin fuelled the audience’s anticipation all the more, and complimented what was the suspense of the moment, as the song gained in intensity till a throwback to groove stemmed through the burst of Mikael’s silver-tongue guitar. You heard me correctly, groove. Relative sounds of groove and blues were demonstrated on the night of the concert to remind us of its influences on metal and the wide range of genres Opeth is capable of in and out of the studio.

Reverbs faded and Mikael took it upon himself to introduce Opeth to the audience. “Welcome. We’re Opeth. From Sweden. Comfortable? We have a lengthy set for you guys tonight… There will be some metal stuff, there will be some vocal stuff … some death metal stuff,” at every pause, the audience showed their approval with their horns up, and voices wooing.

Opeth has a reputation of interacting with the audience, and that is exactly what happened on the night. Direct conversation was frequently touched upon between Mikael and a few, may I say privileged, members of the dancefloor.

Cusp of Eternity, Opeth’s most spirited track on Pale Communion slots in a pulsing, definitely headbang worthy beat that radiated not only through the theatre but in the spirits of all of us who were there that night. The atmosphere was rife with excitement and a sense of belonging I had never experienced before, from the moment I laid eyes upon the other concert goers I knew that I am metalhead and that this was my place in the world.