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introChristuskirche, Bochum, Germany
23rd November 2012
Opeth & Anathema

The tickets for this event sold in a heartbeat. No wonder since it was the only time around here where both bands could be seen playing unplugged sets. The queue was long and everyone was anxious to get in to get out of the cold and the rain and to nail a good seat...


Anathema

Weaving shadows into music and adding dashes of purest melancholia are things ANATHEMA achieved a grand mastership in over the course of their career with it providing a soundtrack for the lost and those experiencing the darkest days of their lives. But there’s something different about the successor of 2010’s ‘We're Here Because We're Here’. At various points ‘Weather Systems’ is much brighter, even hopeful. This evening we would get to witness the special atmosphere of the new album live, plus the ones descending from different stations of the band’s time-line. ANATHEMA on this evening was Vincent Cavanagh (vocals, guitar, vocoder), Danny Cavanagh (guitar, vocals), Danny Cardoso (keys, piano) and Lee Douglas (vocals). http://www.anathema.ws/ / http://www.facebook.com/weareanathema

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Music & Performance
Unlike OPETH, I knew that ANATHEMA songs tend to work greatly in an acoustic setting and they did here as well. It all started with Danny coming on stage, introducing us to the evening and starting with 'Thin Air' by clapping on his guitar and looping it afterwards for the rhythm. Vincent followed a few seconds later and that's where the show actually took off. Great performance of the track! I couldn't picture 'The Beginning and the End' without the piano prior to this. Turns out that works really well after all and with all the emotional impact it has. 'Dreaming Light' on the other hand wouldn't work without the piano. For this we could welcome Daniel Cardoso on stage whose contribution made this stripped down version as magical as it was. The following duet of Vincent and Lee on 'Untouchable, Part 2' steeped the air in purest melancholy and hope before 'A Natural Disaster' occurred.

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“Everyone in the fucking world knows this song” is what opened 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' where finally the audience joined in singing along and clapping. Coming down from an emotional height it was 'Fragile Dreams' to close this very special show

Setlist
01. Thin Air
02. The Beginning And The End
03. Dreaming Light
04. Untouchable, Part 2
05. A Natural Disaster
06. Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 (Pink Floyd Cover)
07. Fragile Dreams

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8.9 / 10

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Opeth

OPETH is really a unique band on the world metal scene. Even though many modern formations try to combine incompatible, to absorb different styles and manners, to experiment with music and vocals, OPETH brings each opposite to its maximum. Most often the band’s style is described as progressive death metal, but the description doesn't quite cover it. OPETH’s mastermind Mikael Åkerfeldt in some interviews mentioned at least three influences on his music, which are progressive rock of the 60’s and 70’s (PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, RUSH), heavy metal of the 70’s and 80’s (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest) and extreme metal of nowadays. It’s well-known that Sweden is a motherland of so-called Swedish death metal and of course, this fact had an effect on OPETH as well. With their 10th album 'Heritage', released in late 2011, the band abandoned the Death Metal elements in favour of a more vintage approach to prog rock and metal. OPETH is Mikael Åkerfeldt (lead vocals, guitars), Martín Méndez (bass guitar), Martin "Axe" Axenrot (drums, percussion), Fredrik Åkesson (guitars, backing vocals) and Joakim Svalberg (keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals, percussion). http://www.opeth.com/ / http://www.facebook.com/Opeth

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Music & Performance
Under great applause the band entered the stage after the rebuilding break and without a word started playing this evening's introduction 'Heritage'. Just milliseconds afterwards, Mikael was throwing dry jokes into the crowd again. Honestly, I think he should do a stand-up comedy program some time. Upon playing the first proper track 'Credence', we went straight back in time to 'My Arms, Your Hearse'. All the details, the emotions were laid bare for the world to see at this very moment and the following applause was justified. The 'Damnation' record probably was most suitable to take songs from it for an acoustic set. In My Time of Need' was the first one taken off it and its jazzy vibes vibrated through the church and filled it up completely with its all-encompassing atmosphere. The next song has a stolen title ^from a Swedish author If I recall Mikael's elaborations correctly. Doesn't matter anyway, the song is what counts and is genuinely one of the few o the new album that would be up for discussion. I mean, try to imagine 'The Devil's Orchard' acoustic. Anyway, in my opinion this one had the most impact so far with the keys and the acoustic elements combined. Magical! Welcome to the cover section now, starting with a Swedish song. We were told the lyrics are real good. If it wasn't for the expression on Mikael's face I'd have believed they are. The song on the other hand was a great one.

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The next one was the shortest in the history of songs, a cover of the NAPALM DEATH song 'You Suffer', lasted like 3 seconds or so. But we were asked and we said “yeah” and afterwards we all laughed hard. 'Solitude' then closed the section with a classic BLACK SABBATH song. 'Benighted' then treated us to a classic OPETH song before 'Demon of The Fall' let your jaw drop to the floor. This was a real transformation from a heavy monster to a laid-back ode. Prior to announcing the next song off 'Damnation', Mikael got interrupted by a request to play 'Windowpane'. Answer “Sorry, wrong guitar”, tried it anyway and stopped like “Nah, this sounds like shit”. The actual track was called 'Hope Leaves' and did make you forget the missing other track in no time. 'Atonements’ then was the last proper track before 'Marrow of the Earth' came full circle with the opening track again. I think that everyone who was there would agree that this was an absolutely fabulous show from start to finish. Only one thing was missing: an encore! I doubt that we will see both bands like that for a very long time, so store those memories in a safe place and re-live them whenever you like.

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Setlist
01. Heritage
02. Credence
03. In My Time of Need
04. Häxprocess
05. Var Kommer Barnen In? (Hansson de Wolfe United cover)
06. You Suffer (Napalm Death Cover)
07. Solitude (Black Sabbath cover)
08. Benighted
09. Demon of the Fall
10. Hope Leaves
11. Atonement
12. Marrow of the Earth

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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