Originally booked for the Palladium, tonight’s audience with Opeth was forced to move due to production issues. The grand stage is overlooked by three screens, projecting myriad hypnotic visuals – from playing cards to heart monitors – and a dozen candelabra light the room like a demonic mass, with Mikael Åkerfeldt acting as preacher.
Mikael is the architect who bridged the chasm between death metal and progressive music over Opeth’s 25-year lifespan, and tonight die-hards of both genres are out in force with grown men headbanging their necks to dust while remaining firmly seated.
Opeth fit two sets into the evening, the first being Ghost Reveries in full (an album celebrating its tenth anniversary) and a set of greatest hits – which could have been twice the length. Between the likes of crushing The Baying Of The Hounds and ethereal Hours Of Wealth, countless requests and bellows are hurled toward the stage that Mikael easily dismisses with his signature dry Swedish wit.
As the night flows from Eternal Rains Will Come to The Leper Affinity to Voice Of Treason, it becomes an exercise in synesthesia with different colour schemes devoted to each song – enshrining the theatre in bloody reds or rich golds depending on the mood. And despite the Swedes’ penchant for the melancholy, there’s an overriding sense of joy as the show draws to its noisy conclusion. A quarter of a century of making music, Opeth are still in a league of their own.