Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Change the World. I found this song on a fluke, and I absolutely love it.
She's amazing live too, judging by that video. And she's still got her looks, too.
I'll be seeing Opeth live this coming Saturday. REALLY excited!
The new Opeth Heritage is pretty good...
np, lots of Tangerine Dream albums.
My write up from the Opeth show this past Saturday in Seattle:
This was my second time seeing Opeth. I first saw them when they hit town a few years ago touring for the Ghost Reveries album. This time around, it was almost like seeing a completely new band. There were a couple new guys in the line-up and the set list consisted completely of songs where Mikael Akerfeldt sang in his clean vocal style. From reading about other shows from this tour on the web I had a feeling it would be a pretty mellow set, but I wasn't expecting the show to be completely devoid of death-metal growls.
Despite not playing their heaviest songs there were definitely some metal moments, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the show was lacking because of the lack of growl-age. Still, Opeth is a band that is so musically gifted that seeing them live is a real treat.
They kicked off the set with The Devil's Orchard which is one of the best songs off Heritage. Around the middle of the set, in minstrel like fashion, Mikael sat down with an acoustic guitar and played three obscure Opeth tracks. One, which can be found on the deluxe edition of Heritage, another which I think he said was a song they wrote for a game, and the last which was written around the Blackwater Park era. On the one hand, it was cool to hear three Opeth songs that were completely new to me, but at the same time, I was a bit frustrated that such a large chunk of the set was dedicated to music that was totally obscure to all but the most devout Opeth aficionado.
My disappointment was almost immediately erased when Porcelain Heart and A Fair Judgement (my favorite Opeth Song not titled Black Rose Immortal) followed the obscure songs in close succession.
Like most things in Seattle where lots of people are drawn together, the crowd enthusiasm would best be described as tepid. There was also a strong sense of disappointment in the air when it became quite clear that the band was intent on putting on a mellow performance. I think a lot of fans still yearn for the Opeth of old where blistering, yet melodic riffs shredded the silence and the double foot bass pounded out the beat to yet another epic song.
After hearing Heritage, and seeing them live, one thing seems abundantly clear: Opeth has evolved from their death metal roots into a progressive, technical metal band. Like many fans, I'm also still coming to terms with this fact, but unlike many fans, who seemed unsatisfied with the show on Saturday, I enjoyed the show. Sure there may not have been any growly vocals, but Opeth is still incredibly gifted and talented. As a band they are incredibly tight, and play together well. They slowed down and sludged out the ending of A Fair Judgement, and it was one of my favorite moments of the show, and seemed completely spontaneous rather than a rehearsed alteration to a back catalog song.
Interesting review CB, looks like there's going to be a bit of discontent with the fans going forward. I see what you mean though, when you go to an Opeth show you at least want to hear some of the heavy stuff, as it's such a prominent part of their sound.
I wonder how much the other band members fully support the style change (they say they do on the DVD, but it's Mikael driving it - I wonder how it will pan out?)
Damnation is a stunningly good album. I keep playing it and thinking, 'they should do more of this'.
Dark Matter by IQ. A great album to listen to while typing away at work.
Sons of Northern Darkness- Immortal
Also, a snippet from my Opeth Heritage review:
Heritage is definitely a unique sounding album, and a definite departure from their previous works. From the melancholy piano intro on the first track, Heritage, it is clear that this album is going to take the listener to new places. Those new places are even more evident on the following track, The Devil's Orchard, a song that serves as a good example of what you can expect from the rest of the album. You might think: with new members comes new influences, new approaches, and the end result: new sounds. However, I would argue that Opeth's new direction is less a product of who is new to the band and more likely due to who is still there.
It seems pretty clear to me that Opeth is fully Mikael Akerfeldt's band, and the rest of the band marches to the beat of his drum. It could be argued that this has been the case for some time, but with additions like Martin Axenrot and Fredrik Akesson, guys with death metal in their blood, I wonder how they feel about the band taking the less heavy road.
The Devil's Orchard makes three things distinctly clear: First off, this is by far Opeth's softest album since Damnation. Secondly, this is most likely Opeth's most progressive, and experimental album yet. Altering time signatures, tempo shifts, and trippy sounds are all in abundance here. Lastly, and maybe the most important factor of them all, is that Heritage is an album completely devoid of the death metal growl. A detail the metal lover in me had a hard time coping with.
That said, it is really only on the first few listens that the death metal growl is missed. Once I had a better taste for the album, and I had adjusted to it's sound, it became pretty clear that there really is no place for the growl on the album. This set of compositions is truly much better served by Mikael Akerfeldt's liquid honey vocals. For a guy who can deliver some beastly growls, he really does have a beautiful singing voice. That voice does have it's limits though. There are times when Akerfeldt sings high, with less than great sounding results. Still, for this set of songs, the clean lyrics work well in harmony with the music.
Instrumentally, Heritage breaks new ground for the band. Not only is it softer than most of their previous output -look no further than the lovely guitar riff intro to I Feel the Dark- it also features some musical elements not often used by a metal band. Aside from the occasional acoustic guitar, you'll also find some stand-up bass, hand percussion djembes and congas, and in the case of Famine, a healthy dose of some flute. These elements all serve to prove the fact that Opeth has taken a much more progressive and experimental approach with Heritage.
For the most part, Opeth's new approach makes for some beautiful music, but at other times, the band goes a bit overboard with the progressive elements and, as is the case on Slither, wanders into the danger zone of rhythm damning avant-garde nonsense. While The Devil's Orchard is a great example of progressive metal done well, complete with time changes, and tempo shifts, it never stops being a good song with it's roots firmly planted in metal soil. Slither on the other hand, takes the progressive elements to the extreme and becomes an incomprehensible mish-mash of buzzing, swirling sounds that barely resembles music. Maybe this is a case of the listener needing more time to acquire an appreciation for the unique sound, but I'm more inclined to say Slither is a dud. When a band takes a new approach to music and explores new avenues, one dud out of ten isn't too bad, and Heritage delivers 57+ minutes of mostly wonderful music.
Pretty good review CB, I agree with most of it too. I was just listening to Heritage again this morning and it is definitely growing in me, but overall it just seems in some of the songs there's no overall direction and very few killer riffs that are so ever-present in previous albums. I guess that's the style they're playing anyway.
Interesting your take on Slither; this was one of the few tracks that warmed to me instantly and I still love it! Must be the inner hair/glam/hard rock 80's days still having a hold of me. But I know where you're coming from, and I saw Mikael mention this song in the DVD and it was almost like he was making up excuses for including it (tribute to Dio, fun song, etc.), so he recognises it's a fairly "un-Opeth" track.
Though one "band" I recently discovered and absolutely love is Ihsahn - the ex lead singer from Black Metal band Emperor.
Have a listen to "Angl" or "After" - brilliant progressive metal with black influences.
Thanks Westsiyeed. I gotta see that DVD. Heritage is still better than most anything out there, but going by the high standards I have for Opeth, it just doesn't quite cut it for me.
I don't really listen to black metal that much either, but a friend loaned me the CD, so I figured I'd check it out. Pretty good stuff. Not something I'd listen to a lot, but a great change of pace.
Ihshan is pretty cool, thanks for the recommendation!
The Chemical Wedding by Bruce Dickinson, one of my all time favorite albums.
It derserves it's own shrine in the farce that is the rock and roll hall of fame. It would add some much needed integrity.