Review: Opeth/Anathema, Rock City, by Joel Wainwright
THE advancement of technology has been seen as a major progression in our civilisation. But not all things that are progressive necessarily mean advancement.
In terms of progressive-rock, the advancement is only really seen in the way that this sub-genre is given more artistic merit by its adoring fans.
For Opeth and Anathema, two bands who, in their own separate ways are at the forefront of this type, the adulation of the fans is the key.
Opeth, from Stockholm, Sweden, have been plowing their own furrow in both prog-rock and death metal for over twenty years. Their fanbase is borne out of the Scandinavian death metal scene of the early nineties, and gradually, year by year, has encapsulated the devotees of metal that don't rely on mosh-pits or heavy riffs to feed their musical souls.
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Don't get me wrong, it's not as if these motifs are absent from their output, it's just that they aren't always used as the hooks that draw the listener into their songs.
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt is the driving force of Opeth, yet his laid back demeanour and almost dismissive attitude, simultaneously belies and reinforces the nature of their work.
It's a free-flowing mix of high quality instrumentation and seemingly agonized lyrics that can also be attributed to Anathema are the greatest exponents of the genre this country has to offer. Their signature tune, Fragile Dreams, is immense.