Sunday, May 4, 2003 @ 10:07 AM
Opeth, Lacuna Coil & Yakuza Li
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REVIEW BY: R. Scott Bailey
Three months ago I had never heard of Opeth. I have never been much of a fan of "Death Metal." I knew of some bands, liked the style of music, but the music could never overshadow my dislike of the vocals. You know what I am talking about-- the growling, undecipherable sounds of a particular cookie eating muppet. Opeth changed that for me.
It happened when a friend told me of this band that he had found. A band that would blow my mind. He let me borrow Deliverance. After about 3 songs, I was hooked. That CD never left my side. In the house, in the car, out for some exercise, it was always in the player. He made it even worse about a week later. He gave me Blackwater Park and Still Life. Now the obsession was underway. Trying my hardest to find out more about this band led me to find out that Damnation was going to be out soon and a tour to follow. I was on the lookout for tour dates now.
I saw the ad for the Opeth show when it first hit our local music rag. DAMMIT, I was going to be out of town that week and would miss it. But luck was on my side and the date changed to 2 days before I left. HOT SHIT!! I got 2 tickets in my hand. I am ready to be blown away.
Damnation comes out a week prior to the show and I am ecstatic with the results. I love the sounds that they can come up with. I love the more mellow style that seems to accentuate their talents as a band. So at this point, I am ready to hear them live.
My friend and I get to the show during Yakuza. Never heard of them, but was intrigued by the genre-twisting sounds they brought. I had thought the mixing of styles had gone extreme, but the not so subtle mix of Acid-Jazz meets Aggro-Metal was definitely different. After a short set, that seemed to get some decent crowd reaction, they thanked us and off they went. Lacuna Coil was up next.
Lacuna Coil hail from Italy and were sort of gothic sounding. That was the extent of my knowledge of them. They came out and the crowd seemed to be in their favor. So some sort of fan base in Seattle exists for them. They came out with high energy (programmed background sounds and goth dressed guitar players). They sport 2 singers, one male and one female. At first listen they would sound kind of like current radio faves, Evanescence. Lacuna Coil seems to have more style and substance, though. The flawless vocals resonated well in the small club. The fact that they sang one song in Italian did not deter the crowd from getting into the band and showing their appreciation. I was impressed that the hard edge guitars mixed well with a female voice and then the shredding metal vocals of the other singer. After about a 40 minute set, I was intrigued with this band. But the show was still all about Opeth.
Opeth hit the stage at 10:15, right on schedule. Opeth is an unassuming group of guys. They don't look like rock stars. They don't act like rock stars. They don't pose like rock stars. They are musicians! And from the get go they proved that with vengeance. As I am mostly unfamiliar with their early albums, I was at a loss for some of the songs, but it just made me want to find the old stuff even more. Three songs into the set they hit 20 minutes on stage. Just what any fan would want.
They have never been to Seattle before and singer Mikael Akerfeldt said a few things about his lack of knowledge of our town. They just need to play here more often. After letting the crowd know that they will be around again to perform songs from Damnation (crushing my hope to hear some tonight), they ripped into the title track to Deliverance. And I mean RIPPED! The pure intensity of the song is enough just coming out of the stereo, but live it turned into a monster. The crowd bounced and thrashed around and a couple morons crashed up on stage, but the band was undeterred and proceeded to kill this song. “Deliverance” is a musical journey of raw power, speed, emotion and pure musical talent. Fast and heavy at times and melodic and beautiful at others, this is the song I was waiting for. I was definitely not disappointed.
For a change of pace they introduced the ‘ballad’ “Credence” off of the My Arms Your Hearse album. Beautifully performed, it showcased the mellow side and clean vocals that is a signature sound of this band.
“Godhead's Lament” was another highlight of the set. The band seemed to enjoy playing this song. The guitars were fast and furious. I was amazed at the lead changes between Akerfeldt and guitarist Peter Lindgren as well as how flawless they made them seem. But this song puts a strain on the rhythm section. They exploded and my chest was getting crushed by the double bass drums of Martin Lopez. I was on the left side of the stage and could only catch glimpses of bassist Martin Mendez. But the flailing hair and soul crushing sounds showed that he was in true form.
After a short break, they returned for the obligatory encore. I am not a fan of this old tradition, just play the songs and tell us to chill while you get a drink. But I digress. The crowd was hungry for at least one more Opeth opus. We got it with “Demon of the Fall.” This song I am not familiar with, but I will be. '”Demon” is a massive wall of sound and a great show closer. I need to find their first 3 albums!! As they left the stage, Akerfeldt thanked the crowd (which he did throughout the night) for the support and a promise to come back on the Damnation Tour. No need to thank us. The pleasure was all ours.
Opeth's set list:
The Leper Affinity
The Drapery Falls
A Fair Judgement
Demon Of The Fall