Swedish death metal to take over Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House's 1,056,000 glazed white granite tiles were imported from Sweden.
Now, another Swedish import is about to 'rock' the Opera House and it is bound to be a historical event with prog-metallers Opeth unleashing a mammoth three hour set for the capacity crowd.
Since forming in the tiny Stockholm suburb of Bandhagen in 1990, the Swedes have eclipsed convention, defiantly crushed the odds, and, most importantly, crafted 12 stunningly beautiful, intrinsically intense albums to become one of the best bands on the planet; whether that be live or on record.
The 'Evening of Sorcery, Damnation & Deliverance' concert is running as part of a once-off tour that includes two other iconic venues including Radio City Music Hall in New York and SSE Wembley Arena in London.
Guitarist Fredrik Åkesson said they were well rehearsed with 35 shows down, and more than 4000 people attending both gigs in New York and London.
"We've played many shows together and I like that feeling when all the details click,” he said.
"It is going to be a very different show for us because the crowd is going to be all around us.
"We won't have a backdrop like in usual shows.
"We have never done a show like that before.”
Opeth are known for their spine-tingling performances which bestride different genres and create a truly emotional atmospheric haze which listeners can be absorbed into.
The beauty of this show is the three hour set includes songs from albums 'Damnation' and 'Deliverance', as well as a slab of more popular album hits and new songs from the latest album 'Sorceress'.
Fredrik said the band were used to the large sets after doing the 20th anniversary show at Albert Hall and retrospective concert for 'Ghost Reveries'.
"Three hours for me on stage actually passes really quickly compared to travel which is something else,” he said.
"I'm very much in the moment all the time and then time seems to stop existing in a way.
"Sometimes you have to focus on a tricky part to play in a song but I like to see what the crowd is up to.
"And sometimes they crack me up when there is a mosh pit in a ballad.”
After the Sydney Opera House sold out Opeth announced a barrage of local dates around the country for the tour of their monumental 12th album 'Sorceress' which sees a reinvigoration of the dark seminal tones epitomising the bands earlier material, but mixed with a jazzier, psychedelic feel symptomatic of later albums.
Fredrik said he found working with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt invigorating and interesting.
"You have your vision set on one thing but then you have a riff that changes the beat completely or something like that.”
"For the song 'Strange Brew' for instance we recorded that heavy ending with that kind of chord change with that chorus that only comes in at the end.
"We recorded that and I went over to his house or apartment and he played me back the vocal line he came up with and I was really impressed.
"It was really cool and came out better than I could have imagined.”
He said the album progressed very smoothly with rhythm guitars taking a few days to track and the acoustic nailed within a day.
While Fredrik prefers to demo on amps at home, Mikael tends to DI his guitars, but most songs were fined tuned in the rehearsal room at the studio.
"I think we felt it as soon as the bass and drums were done,” he said.
"In the studio everything always sounds fantastic but especially this time.
"The sounds of the bass and drums was really mighty - like thunderous.”
The song that posed the most difficulty was 'Era' which had a highly repetitive riff which required some serious 'stamina' according to Frederik.
"I had a blister of blood on my finger and it was getting pretty big like a big blood bubble,” he said.
"And playing that part I was always hitting that blood bubble basically on every stroke.
"And it was really painful and I was just waiting for it to explode and splatter blood all over the consul but it lasted.”
The end result though has proven to be another album that defies expectations and stretches the boundaries of Swedish death metal.
OPETH's twelfth full-length is an unparalleled adventure, where visions cleverly and secretly change, colours mute as if weathered by time, and sounds challenge profoundly.
'Sorceress' is, by definition, moored in Åkerfeldt's impressive record collection-his one true vice-but, as always, there's more invention than appropriation at play.
Thursday 2nd - Auckland, Powerstation - Sold Out
Saturday 4th - Brisbane, Tivoli Theatre
Monday 6th - Sydney, Opera House - Sold Out (limited release tickets now available)
Tuesday 7th - Melbourne, 170 Russell - Sold Out
Wednesday 8th - Melbourne, 170 Russell
Friday 10th - Adelaide, Thebarton Theatre
Saturday 11th - Perth, Metro City