Opeth at Vicar Street (18th Nov 2008) - REVIEW


20. Nov. 2008, 13:02

Tue 18 Nov – Opeth, Cynic, The Ocean

For the first time in two years, a stream of metal heads gathered in formation outside Vicar Street, armed with Opeth T-shirts, hoodies and any other apparel they could get their hands on. Even more eager than the Opeth fans were those there for the primary support band. Seven o'clock rolled around, the crowd rushed in and the festivities began.

Opening the proceedings for the evening were The Ocean, a gang of experimental German nut jobs with a taste for the eerie and the haunting, if their quiet, ambient intro was anything to judge by. Building nicely into an impactful assault of their heavy brand of post-metal, The Ocean did a great job of whetting the appetite of the Opeth crowd. Well, aside from those who were whetting their appetite at the bar, that is.

Following The Ocean was the highlight of the night for some - possibly even the only reason to attend Vicar Street that evening - the reunited Cynic. Having finally released a follow-up to their astounding debut album "Focus", after only a mere decade and a half, this was the moment many had been holding their breath for. It was worth the wait, simply put. Mixing songs old and new, Cynic's aim seemed to be promoting the new "Traced in Air" album whilst satisfying the "Focus" devotees. A tricky job in a support slot, Cynic made the most of the time they were given and accomplished their goal nicely.

Old familiars such as "Veil of Maya" and "Uroboric Forms" gelled perfectly with new tracks "The Space for This" and "Evolutionary Sleeper". Closing the set was the first song released from the new album, "Integral Birth". A powerful song to close a powerful set, the reaction from the crowd suggested that the Cynic diehards were satisfied and the Opeth devotees were impressed by this band many of them had never even heard before.

And thus, it was time for Sweden's golden children to take the stage. Launching in to "Heir Apparent" off their latest full-length, "Watershed", Mr Åkerfeldt and company were poised to impress from the very beginning. The tricky thing with Opeth is the length of their songs. If they play a song you don't know, you may wind up lost for ten minutes of the set. Accordingly, opening with a new song is slightly more of a gamble with these lads than it is with most bands. However, based on the crowd's reaction, "Watershed" has had enough time to be fully absorbed by the masses, with "The Lotus Eater" in particular getting one of the loudest reactions of the night.

Spreading fewer than ten songs over the space of an hour and a half or thereabouts, Opeth selected songs released over the past decade. Numbers played ranged from 1998's "Demon of the Fall" to 2005's "The Grand Conjuration" and up to the aforementioned tracks from this year's "Watershed" album.

"Hope Leaves", off their softer "Damnation" album, gave the sold-out Vicar Street crowd a rest about halfway through without breaking their momentum or changing the atmosphere. Also, it gave some insight as to how much of a purist Mikael Åkerfeldt may be, demanding that lighters be held aloft by the crowd. Absolutely no cell phones.

Finally closing with "The Drapery Falls", Opeth's performance was near-flawless from beginning to end. Opeth have played Vicar Street twice within the space of six months in the past. After a performance like that, one would have to hope they'll return again very soon.

The Ocean - 3.5 / 5
Cynic - 4.5 / 5
Opeth - 4.5 / 5

Mark Doyle


  • Re-Inanimate

    Cool review, I might post one myself if I have the time! T'was an epic gig :)

    20. Nov. 2008, 17:08
  • Anjoli

    Thanks for the review and the nice photos! Godhead's Lament was a surprise - with some tricky lyrics... // Jonas

    20. Nov. 2008, 22:30
  • silver52

    Excellent review. Fantastic photos too! What camera do you use? I go to see them in Bristol tonight. Hope we get Godheads Lament there as well, love that song

    21. Nov. 2008, 10:43
  • DennyMcG

    T'was a great gig indeed

    21. Nov. 2008, 20:02
  • hasacz123

    Sexy pics. The gig was savage too, nice review.

    22. Nov. 2008, 17:26
  • Bringa

    Actually I have to disagree with you on your assessment of Cynic. See, I'm a huge Cynic fan and I like the new album even more than Focus, but what they did live was definitely sub par. And I know because I can compare that performance to the one they gave at Progpower this year, and let me tell you, day and night doesn't begin to describe it. The Cynic you saw opening for Opeth were wooden, static, unconfident (with Paul even cutting a few vocal lines short to have more breath for the next line--something he didn't need to do at PP). At Progpower, they were absolutely electrifying. They played a one and a half hours gig during which they played every single song they ever released. I'd been looking forward to at least a similar level of enthusiasm at Vicar St, but sadly something was off that night. Opeth, however, were gods as always.

    25. Nov. 2008, 16:18
  • krame

    Ah fair enough! I thought Cynic were great, but that was my first introduction to them live. I just love that kinda sound live, so I guess I'm biased towards it. Ah well. At least we're agreed on Opeth!

    25. Nov. 2008, 18:29
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