Monday, September 22, 2008

Opeth at the Nokia Theatre

Via MetalSucks: Nachtmystium announced that they've left the Opeth/High On Fire tour due to "issues beyond [their] control." I suspect those issues were due to label support, or at least to the need to fire their merch agents: I went to pick up a copy of Assassins in between sets, only to find that the only copy left was a Japanese import with an extra track (for $10 more than the American edition). A friend of mine also scoped out their stock of t-shirts and found that while they had a bunch of cool designs, they had almost no stock whatsoever.

Musically, on a scale of leave the room or rock me out, both openers scored a "stay and stand in judgment." I had spent some quality time with Nachtmystium's Worldfall EP (but not, it should be noted, Assassins), so I was expecting something...bigger. The crowd didn't get the band at all (which, in retrospect, doesn't come as so much of a surprise) and the band didn't have the wherewithwal to generate their own energy in the face of so much emptiness, so they just seemed flat. They'll get another chance from me, though.

I saw High on Fire on Gigantour III earlier this year. While they didn't make enough of an impression on me to garner an inclusion in my review, I didn't remember disliking what they did. This time around, I found myself forming some very definite negative opinions, which eventually resolved themselves into one judgment: I like High on Fire better when they're imitating Motorhead than when they're imitating Black Sabbath, but either way their songs are consistently two or three minutes too long.

Opeth was everything that I had hoped for, right down to the stage banter: Mikael telling a story about trying to blow Morbid Angel off the stage in the late 90s while touring Morningrise, describing the album as froufy minstrel metal trying to compete with the brutality Domination, or spending several minutes during the encore introducing the band by pointing at them and demanding solos. Thinking about it, it seems like Opeth's tagline could be, "Come for the music, stay for the antics of the world's funniest black metal band," because somehow they make both parts of their set work in equal measure. I had the requisite bangover the next day as tribute to the band's musical energy, but I needed the doses of odd, funny Swedish frontman just as much as I needed the music to make the night complete.

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