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Opeth Stops By Philadelphia In Support Of New Album "Heritage"

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Opeth’s latest album “Heritage” has divided the band's fan base in a way not seen since 2003 with “Damnation,” and even back then, it never got as heated as some of the discussions on “Heritage” going off in various forums, blogs, and web sites. With Opeth’s 10th studio album released just a few days prior, the band made a stop in rain-soaked Philadelphia on the first U.S. headlining tour in support of “Heritage.” With fellow Swedish act Katatonia as direct support, the Trocadero was sold-out for the show. What fans got was from both bands was a few solid hits and a mellow atmosphere that caught many off-guard.

If anybody has seen Katatonia in the past few years, then the set this night would be eerily familiar. The band pulled material from their past few albums, with a strong amount of focus on “The Great Cold Distance” and “Night Is The New Day.” Vocalist Jonas Renkse has dropped the harsh screams of the past for bold, clean ones; it’s a move that has given Renkse new dimensions as a singer. While it can be hard for some vocalist to recreate those type of vocals live, Renkse does it with no difficulty.

In fact, many of these songs sounded much better live. “Forsaker” and “Evidence” are hard-hitting without a studio sheen backing it. “Evidence” was a particular noteworthy song, as it was one of the few that got the crowd going crazy. There might have even been a circle pit at some point in the set, which seems almost against the grain for a band like Katatonia. Compared to how laid back Opeth would appear, Katatonia was the energy rod of the evening.

One could tell that Opeth’s set was going to be interesting when they started off with the one-two “Heritage” punch of “The Devil’s Orchard” and “I Feel The Dark.” The band would go on to play half the album, including the B-side “Pyre,” which vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt said was the first time the band has played the song live (thought they played it on a Swedish morning TV show a couple of weeks prior). The new songs came across fine, though based on talking to people and the audience reaction, it was clear a good portion of the audience wasn’t familiar with “Heritage” yet.

Like Katatonia, Opeth didn’t travel too far back in their backlog. “Face Of Melinda” was the oldest song brought out, as the band mostly stuck to post-“Deliverance” material. The band pulled out an acoustic section in the set, playing great rendition of “Closure,” “Patterns In The Ivy II,” and “The Throat Of Winter.” Akerfeldt was his usual witty self, going off on lengthy banters with the crowd in-between songs about everything from buying vinyl of old Mountain albums to asking random audience members what they had for dinner.

Almost as a necessity, Akerfeldt addressed the crowd near the end about their concerns that “Heritage” meant the end of their death metal sound. He questioned what the future held for the band, but said that having a prog album like “Heritage” doesn’t signify the end of death metal for the band. The crowd cheered loud for this proclamation, either because they were hoping that “Heritage” was a one-shot deal or because they appreciated Opeth’s willingness to buck trends and go their own route.

Opeth has always stepped to their own tune, doing everything the complete opposite of what fans expected. Nobody expected “Heritage” to be an ode to ‘70s progressive rock and nobody expected them to pull a set out with no growls and softer tunes. While the band didn’t fully lived up to the opportunity given - a song like “To Bid You Farewell” or “Isolation Years” would had been fantastic - the band still proved to be one of the most endearing live acts today. With the ever-reliable Katatonia to open things up on a high note, this pairing made for a daring live show.

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20 Comments on "Opeth Stops By Philadelphia For A Sold-Out Show"

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RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

1. RememberMetal? writes:

It would be nice if Ackerfeldt surprised everyone and released a purposefully heavy album a year after "Heritage". Sort of a reverse to the "Deliverance" then "Damnation" twist.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 5:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

2. R10 writes:

Hmm,dont think Akerfeldts ruled anything heavy out in the future. After this touring cycle,im sure he'll look at the response to the shows(yawn) and decide he might want want to include heavy metal in either his next release or tour. After all,its the metal community thats still paying his bills! Its good he gave the Philly crowd an explanation on the set,the Worcester crowd got nothing but "im actually quite nervous" after song two. Wasnt sure if that was way of apologizing for the nights set or what. Im actually glad i have seen them on the Blackwater Park,Ghost Reveries,Watershed tours! Adapt,or fall by the wayside Opeth,i know i wont see them again unless they reconnect with thier metal roots!

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 5:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

3. Cynic writes:

It sure will be an interesting next step RM - I mean Heritage isn't really that surprising of a release, all bands evolve (especially after 9 albums!) but the question is, is this Akerfeldt getting bored of making metal/Opeth albums or is it letting off artistic steam? (as heavytothebone2 also said)

My prediction, Akerfeldt will make less Opeth albums and more side/solo projects so as not to annoy fans.

Great show review. Renkse has always had trouble with harsh vocals I think, that's why Akerfeldt did "Brave Murder Day". Great clean vocals to make up for it though! One day I'll see them...

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 5:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

4. R10 writes:

More Bloodbath would be a great start! Fvck all the artsy,fartsy sh**e! Dorks might rejoice in his move,fvck him,let him open for Yes then!

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 6:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

5. R10 writes:

Furthermore in these trying economic times its best not to piss of your " core"! Artististic steam? Pffft! Blow that sh** to fvck off,open for some obscure 70's band then! Ol' Mike will come around,im sure! Once he figures out who pays his bills,allows him to buy those super rare/expensive 70's vinyls. Opeth will be back in old style,growling like a motherfvcker!

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 6:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

6. Blindgreed1 writes:

I know some folks that went to this at the Troc. Off the fvckin hook is the words I got.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 6:44 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

7. R10 writes:

Off the hook mellow,im sure! Especially the three song acoustic part. Martin A. was using a brush percussion wise ! Fvckin off the hook mellow thats for damn sure! Hey,Katatonia was awesome!!!! Opeth? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 6:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

8. R10 writes:

Btw,i liked heavy to the bones review. At least he didnt sell it with some sh** like " Opeth destroys a sold out Philly crowd". Good he at least warned potential Opeth fans what they are in for.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 7:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

9. Blindgreed1 writes:

The peeps I know were chicks so they dug it. Hotties at that.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 7:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

10. R10 writes:

They must have been in the balcony,with pillows,go girls!

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 7:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

11. Blindgreed1 writes:

Not these two. I'm betting they were in the pit for Katatonia and right up front for Opeth. Smokin hot blonde and red head.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 7:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

12. R10 writes:

I was 15 feet from stage,right side at Palladium show. One drunk chick,not far from me bellowed " play something heavy" during thier acoustic interlude. Some dude in balcony bellowed " play some metal you fvckin hippies". Seriously,it wasnt an easy Opeth show to witness. Wished i had grapped a nice balcony seat myself,by the time i thought about it,balcony was pretty full. Not much of a pit for Katatonia,mostly head bobbing. Opeth got a hearty response to start,as the show wore on it was mainly polite golf claps,to even some jeers. Tough show.

# Sep 29, 2011 @ 10:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Progressivity_In_All's avatar

Senior Reviewer

13. Progressivity_In_All writes:

Hmm... Interesting. We'll have TWO road reports from this tour, because I'll have one up tomorrow from seeing them in Nashville on Wednesday.

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 12:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

14. RememberMetal? writes:

Unless I'm mistaken, metal fans are among the harshest of judges and prone to snap judgement and exolosive retribution. Ackerfeldt likely knows this better than I. If he can have a pleasant experience playing sets of strictly mellow material to a ravenous audience expecting metal -and- survive with the lions share of his fan-base intact, he'll react either by distributing some red meat in kind or pushing his luck further...

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 6:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

15. Blindgreed1 writes:

Good call RM.

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 12:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
PorcupineTreeFan's avatar

Member

16. PorcupineTreeFan writes:

RM?: I disagree. From what I gather, I honestly don't think Ackerfeldt is concerned with losing fans with this album. He has made it known in interviews that he hopes Opeth fans are open minded to such an album. If they are not, I'm not sure he would be upset over it, or change his music to suit them.

It's crazy we are already talking about Opeth's next album. I wouldn't rule out more heavy albums, but I wouldn't be upset if they never came. Opeth has produced 7 amazing death metal albums (excluding Damnation and Watershed) in the past. How many bands have done this? Not many.

I mean the idea of Opeth making an album that truly disappoints me is such a alien idea...That speaks volumes about their talent.

NP: "No Part of Me" by Steven Wilson <;-- Grace for Drowning is yummy

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 1:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

17. Blindgreed1 writes:

PPTF: I think he war referring to a live audience, at least that's how I interpreted it.

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 1:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Drum_Junkie's avatar

Member

18. Drum_Junkie writes:

RM? and PTF, I can see support for both sides of your arguments.

Akerfeldt has obviously known their would be a 'backlash' to Heritage even before its release. From all the interviews prior to the release, it seems pretty obvious that he has been trying to prepare the fans for something different. If he was truly concerned about poor sales or fan reception over his own creative desires, Heritage would not be the ablum that it is. He has always stayed true to himself and went in the direction that HE wanted to go. He is also not afraid to rebuke the fickle fans that aren't able to follow where he is leading. Remember the small uproar when they signed to Roadrunner? I think Mikael will take Opeth in whatever direction HE feels inspired to go, and let the fans follow or not. For us to say what direction that will be is pure speculation.

I also can see things from the fans viewpoint and RM?. As a fanbase, we have been proven harder to please than a woman with multiple personalities. Also, with a backcatalog as awesome as Opeths', the pressure to raise the bar each time increases significantly. And there is a common desire among us to hear the heavy epics that have characterized Opeth since Orchid. As much as that has been ingrained into the DNA of the entire band, it's hard for me to believe that all members of Opeth will want to remain 'soft' - including Akerfeldt. Opeths music has always been about balancing the dark and the light. Heritage is obviously on the lighter side. And this tour will test how much Akerfeldt enjoys playing this music live. Part of the enjoyment for most musicians is interacting with the crowd and the feedback in the live setting. His assessment of this tour will undoubtedly play a factor in what he deems enjoyable to play live. And live shows are where metal musicians earn a good portion of their living. So, who's to say that he won't balance it with something heavier next? (Just speculating)

Personally, I like Heritage. I was going to buy it last payday, but the sh!tty Hastings didn't have it, so I bought Opeths' first four albums instead. I am rediscovering my love for Still Life. The song that turned me onto that album was the mellow Face of Melinda, oddly enough. It is entirely possible that Heritage can be the springboard for other new fans to jump into the lake of Opeth.

NP - White Cluster

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 2:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

19. Blindgreed1 writes:

Still life is a great album. Don't know about all the ghost story stuff but the material is solid.

# Sep 30, 2011 @ 4:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
metal2death's avatar

Supporter

20. metal2death writes:

i was front and center for this whole show. ive been a fan of opeth for a good 4+ years now and i still find new tides of dedication, love, and respect for them. they have a balance of material that many have striven to reach. this show was absolutely mind blowing! i feel like opeth fans are not like the fan base of thrash bands where the following is not all the same. as i was in the crowd i saw a crack head couple dancing, a nerdy computer fat dude rockin out, 3 kids first metal shows, a school group of middle easterns, some kids trippin balls, Odin himself with his band of viking Orcs, and old head grandparent looking kinda people all grouping together and forming one amazing link of unity. this show helped me realize again that music is not made for just one specified group of people...its for the masses to interpret and have it mean something different to every audience member. while i agree that there could have been a better balance to please the boisterous jackals, opeth knows what the hell they're doing. they portray their heart and soul through every album which is why we feel the messages throughout every release. yes it was a mellow set and people who came to hear "ghost of perdition", "the leper affinity", and the rest of their heavier archive left disappointed. but the portion of the crowd who recognized the feel of the band at the time could notice the brother hood of the band. from them making jokes at other members off time performances and messing up new songs, seeing mikael basically force fredrik to do the classic scorpions backwards feet stomp during a solo, dedicating songs to Dio, the border line jam room feel during hex omega (in which they slowed it down and waited for each member to toy with each other and improvise. making the song larger than it is on record) in the end i couldn't be happier with the show. it was a night i will never forget in the legendary Trocadero Theater. opeth is an unstoppable mammoth of excellence that will somehow surpass themselves as each release woes listeners.

# Oct 3, 2011 @ 2:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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