Opeth Pale Communion in Australia 2015 (Melbourne, VIC)

7 May 2015 at The Forum
Opet… translates (probably roughly) as 'city of the moon', and like the moon, opet's namesake Opeth makes and performs music that waxes and wanes.

Listening to Opeth's musical offerings can be compared to the movement of the tides. Each album has focussed on experimental sounds that are identifiable as overwhelmingly melodic or as the darkest black metal, and whilst Opeth's sound is somehow theirs alone a novice may think that the albums were recorded by different bands. Opeth's 2015 tour promotes their latest release Pale Communion and it is in this, their eleventh studio album, that the sounds finally synthesise, but evolve into something truly unpredictable.

Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals, guitar), Martin Axenrot (drums), Frederik Akesson (guitar), Joakim Svalberg (keyboards) and Martin Mendez (bass) know the recipe for a great show. Much of the set list held songs from their newest work, but the recent tunes were interspersed with classics that cajoled the crowd into an excitedly polite state.

Akerfeldt is a superb front man, and had a natural rapport with the people. He ribbed his country, listing the things that Sweden was famous for and basically ran through the food menu at Ikea. On another occasion he wondered aloud as to why everyone was so quiet. Perhaps we were all stunned buy the beauty and power of the music.

To fully appreciate a band that is basically an orchestra on hell's steroids, you must see them live. The power of Opeth is truly incredible and its musical range so broad that it's like seeing six bands in one. Compare Opeth's diverse musical styles to Melbourne's weather: if there's something you don't like about their playing, wait five minutes and everything will be different.

Line-up: Opeth

Reviewer: Sharon Brookes