Opeth has made waves in recent albums as longtime fans noted a change in theircreative direction. Any time Opeth is mentioned it provokes the debate of whether or not it’s for the best. Regardless Opeth still knows how to synthesize a visually appealing aesethetic and a set list bound to appease even the most stringent fan.
I won’t deny that there is a major difference between Opeth’s older music and their newer stuff. It’s obvious. Their newer stuff has more pronounced jazz and rock elements and subdued more modern aspects of metal. I feel like much of it is a nod to music from the ’70s. Given I really enjoy music from that era I see it as a boon. What did make it feel like a ’70s throwback were the psychedelic visuals and emphasis on red and yellow lighting. It certainly harkens to a different period, and I question the meticulous attention to detail. There seems to be a clear purpose in going this direction but I can’t figure out if it’s for artistic or personal preference.
As for their older content it stands strong in its own merit. Ot was amazing to watch the audience dynamic go from a subtle rocking out (at least compared to the rest of the night) to the same frenzy found with the other acts. When the older songs were played the frenzy came out. It even led to a few hilarious moments where Mikael Åkerfeldt demonstrated just how well he can handle hecklers. That is the first time I saw anyone handle hecklers with deft and poise.
Opeth was able to handle more than just hecklers and visuals. The set list itself was created in such a way where the audience truly gets lost in the musical experience. It may be the answer to my earlier ramblings about why the meticulous recreation of ’70s aspects. I’ll be honest it was just as easy for me to get lost in the moment there as it is for me to get lost in ’70s music. It may just be about creating an experience rather than any particular aesethetic.
Whatever the reason Opeth provides powerful music tempered by melodic tones. In doing so it provides the audience an experience that permits not only getting lost in the music but a sense of nostalgia and, for me, lots of enjoyment.