‘Lamentations’, ‘The Roundhouse Tapes’, ‘Royal Albert Hall’, and now ‘Garden of the Titans’. If anyone knows how to do a live album, it’s Opeth.
As any member of the cult of Opeth will know, 2010’s ‘In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall’ featured the entirety of what is arguably the band’s most popular album, ‘Blackwater Park’, and was released prior to their last three studio albums: ‘Heritage’, ‘Pale Communion’, and ‘Sorceress’. Therefore, it is only fitting that half of ‘Garden of the Titans’ is comprised of tracks from said albums, but sadly, does not include anything off of ‘Blackwater Park’. However, I quite enjoy the set list, which includes material spanning twenty years, going from ‘My Arms, Your Hearse’ to the most recent ‘Sorceress’, in back-to-back pristine performances.
Already released as a teaser for the album/DVD is their oldest song to make an appearance, “Demon of the Fall”. From there, legendary frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt takes a couple of minutes to speak with the crowd, then goes into “The Wilde Flowers”, which is an opportunity for fans to marvel at the skills of guitarist Fredrik Åkesson. Fan favourites like “Ghost of Perdition”, “Heir Apparent”, and “The Devil’s Orchard”, were also added to the three ‘Sorceress’ tracks, rounding things off nicely with “Deliverance”.
The gloriously grand Red Rocks stage provides the perfect setting for a live album. Particularly for a song like “In My Time of Need”, off of the ‘Damnation’ record. The acoustics of the theatre allow both soft and bold elements to resonate all the way through, even to fans’ home speakers. Going from the trebly smoothness and exciting pace of “Cusp of Eternity” right into the eerie keyboards and thick, heavy texture of “Heir Apparent” without pause might just be my favourite section of ‘Garden of the Titans’. The energy and precision behind drummer Martin Axenrot drives the whole thing further, providing a crisp backbone to an already awe-inspiring performance.
Many famous concerts have taken place on the beautiful outdoor stage of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, such as The Beatles, Jethro Tull, and U2. In May of 2017, Opeth was added to the roster of legend, performing a healthy smattering of new and old material in an hour and a half of the Swedes’ usual perfection. And although Åkerfeldt jokes that mistakes will be edited out of the final product, I have witnessed Opeth live enough to say that it probably wasn’t necessary in the slightest. The overall mix and recording is crisp, with every note, growl, and cymbal coming through evenly. Opeth is as clean, tight, and classy as ever, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a visual copy.