Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes
Peaceville Records
Opeth Metal
Disc 1: 6 songs (60.02) Disc 2: 3 songs (35.19)
Release year: 2007
Opeth, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
As the new Opeth album is tantalizingly close on the horizon, I felt the need to bring forth some commentary on the appetizer the band put forth last year to quench the thirst of its fanbase. The Roundhouse Tapes is Opeth’s first official live album, as the Lamentations-package was put out only on DVD. I won’t go into a detailed commentary of the songs in this review, as almost all of the band’s records have been reviews on this site. I will rather tell how I see this double-CD set as a live album, of which I am generally very much fond of.

The only problem with the Lamentations-DVD was that due to contractual factors with several different record companies that Opeth has been a part of during its history, they were only able to present their newer material on that one. Those songs are awesome as well, but whenever I buy a live album, I’m expecting at least some sort of cross-section of a band’s history, unless it has been strictly specified otherwise, for example, The Who’s live renditions of Tommy. I digress. Fortunately, as The Roundhouse Tapes is coming out on Peaceville, the companies have been able to strike a deal that allowed the band to record an official release consisting of tunes from nearly every album. When from My Arms Your Hearse is an excellent opener when followed by the proggy devastation of Ghost Of Perdition. Night and the Silent Water was quite the surprise when seeing the track list on this disc and it slays. However, I’d say my favourite track on disc 1 is Bleak, which just tears you to shreds with its energy. The 19-minute rendition of Blackwater Park is brilliant and you can’t end your set much better than with Demon Of The Fall.

Anyone familiar with Opeth knows that they can easily fill up a 2-hour set list with less then 10 songs, so this might be a moot point, but I’m going to say it anyhow: The only major letdown on this release – with possibly the exception of the keyboards being too low in the mix – is that it’s too short. Even for a band like Opeth, two discs with nine songs leave me too hungry. One can of course view that in a positive light, that I will just spin the discs again, which I have, but it doesn’t take away the feeling, that it would be so much more awesome with more songs. I think the group also wanted this record to represent a single show in its raw form, which I do appreciate as I like those kind of live records much more then the ones that have material cut together from several different locations. Yet I just have to say that I would have liked more.

The band is in überstrong form technically as I think this show was held at the end of the Ghost Reveries-tour. Axenrot is a beast on the drums with a dynamic touch as well, contrary to what many of my drumporn-addicted friends have claimed. Åkerfeldt growls and whispers the whole set with a beautiful range and is convincing in all modes. One particular thing that I must give Opeth and especially Åkerfeldt major props on, is that they keep the live atmosphere with the crowd close, loose and humorous when they feel like it. Mikael’s between-songs banter is golden, whether making the crowd sing along to a single note of guitar feedback, introducing Windowpane as “the song that will get us chicks backstage” or asking the crowd whether the mellow, “porn-moviesque” jamming that the band does before Demon is from the blow job- or the anal scene. I’ve have often had a disdain for bands whose live interaction with the crowd consists of mere “thank yous” and “the next songs”. Åkerfeldt displays a sense of humor and especially irony that many performers could take notes about.

Overall, The Roundhouse Tapes is an excellent representation of the live majesty and skill that Opeth displays on the stage. It’s a real shame that the tentative release of the DVD from this same show was pushed back by so much, that even the new album, Watershed, appears before it. Then again, it might be good as the new album seems to be damn good, and my Opeth-thirst will undoubtedly need more quenching come the fall. For now, I’d say everyone who likes their visuals when possible with live releases, hold out for the DVD, but this 2-CD set is excellent as well, and something every fan of the band should own and probably already does.

Killing Songs :
All of 'Em
Aleksie quoted no quote
Other albums by Opeth that we have reviewed:
Opeth - Sorceress reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Opeth - Pale Communion reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Heritage reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
Opeth - Orchid reviewed by James and quoted 79 / 100
Opeth - Watershed reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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