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Sweden’s Opeth and Norway’s Enslaved played to a reverent near-capacity crowd at the 9:30 Club last night. Putting these two bands together was an inspired idea, as both currently play a kind of heavy progressive metal with melodic passages and clean vocals mixed into the downtuned riffs and growls. However, the bands’ backgrounds are different enough (Opeth coming from more thrash/death origins and Enslaved from a pure black metal past) that there was a healthy variety, although another thing both bands have in common is a funny, talkative frontman.
Brief recap and a few photos after the jump. Full gallery here.
Amusing and occasionally sophomoric banter aside, both bands put on a good show, although I was more excited for Enslaved, as I love their last four albums (well, I love the latest one, Vertebrae, a little less than the others) and Opeth has been getting continually less interesting to me. Enslaved’s set suffered a bit from muddy sound, but they had a great setlist; I think the earliest thing they played was “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth,” the titanic opening track from Below the Lights. A couple songs from Vertebrae came off better live than on record, as well, with a strong Pink Floyd influence making itself felt.
Opeth’s set reached deep into the band’s long history, which was a treat. “Godhead’s Lament” from 1999’s Still Life is the song that got me into Opeth and from there into extreme metal, and I think last night was the first time I’d heard them play it live since 2003 (and I’ve seen them five times since then). They also had classics like “The Night and the Silent Water” and, of course, “Demon of the Fall” on the setlist – although I didn’t stick around long enough to see those, as I’m still recovering from Maryland Deathfest. Unlike Enslaved, Opeth’s sound was flawless; like Enslaved, their performance was spot-on. This was the last show of the tour and both bands basked in the crowd’s enthusiasm. It was pretty much a feel-good experience all around.