Opeth DVDs are always something that I have enjoyed watching. Be it the first one, Lamentations, or the most recent one where they played two sets at the Royal Albert Hall, they have always showcased some of the best musical talent I have ever seen. I approached this one a little hesitantly, as unlike the previous three releases, this one features some of the newer material. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Opeth but some of the newer stuff doesn’t really do it for me. After watching this DVD though, I have a newfound love for all of their material.
The first thing that needs to be stressed is that this has been mixed/mastered in post. No DVD that is released these days is a straight board recording with no post-processing. With that out of the way, the mix on this release is nothing short of amazing. From the expert bass playing of Martin Mendez and the Joakim’s keys to both the clean and harsh vocals of Mikael, everything just works. You can tell it is a live release, but it sounds better than some studio releases you can find these days. The quality of the video is excellent as well. You can tell it was filmed outside in the evening but there is no noticeable grain or artifacting present. The change in shots is also logical as opposed to jump cuts every few seconds. Each track is composited differently as well which again keeps it fresh from track to track.
One joke that has to be made though is Mikael’s comment about the ‘fuck-ups’. “So all the hiccups that you hear might magically disappear.” Well, there is one in there. As is custom on Opeth DVDs, there is one technical issue. This time it was Mike’s piezo pickup not correctly sending to the house system. A minor hiccup but it was handled perfectly by the band as if it was intentional. Frederick also did a cracking job in holding the note for as long as he did, again a testament to the musical skill of the band.
In comparison to other Opeth DVDs, this one feels a little less polished and that’s a good thing. The previous DVD the band did, was very polished and was at the time a perfect snapshot of where the band was. With this release though, it feels a lot more live and in some ways real. There’s nothing that feels rehearsed or choreographed, it all looks and sounds very natural. And that, in my opinion, makes it one of, if not, the best DVD that Opeth have released.
Garden of Titans is released on November 2nd via Moderbolaget Records.