Year of Release: 2004
Label: Koch Records
Catalog Number: KOC-DV-9540
Total Time: 188:00:00
Last year's Damnation introduced me to Opeth and since that day, I've been a die-hard fan. I was lucky enough to catch the Opeth/Porcupine Tree show at the Fillmore in San Francisco, where Opeth opened and played Damnation from beginning to end. An excellent show, to be sure, one that further cemented my devotion to the band. I bought up most of Opeth's back catalog and quickly fell in love with the music I'd been missing.
Lamentations documents Opeth's performance at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in late 2003. For those who got to go, that must have been a great experience, especially knowing that the cameras were rolling to capture it all for a DVD release. Opeth were certainly aware of it, as Mikael Akerfeldt noted that "we're a little nervous", but didn't let that awareness get in the way and played a superb two-part set. The first half consisted of Damnation, with "Harvest" (from Blackwater Park) inserted between "Ending Credits" and "Weakness." The second half featured five of Opeth's excellent, melodic metal epics, including my favorites "Deliverance" and "The Leper Affinity." Inspired by the adoring crowd, Opeth played with inspiration (check out Martin Lopez's hyper-speed bass drums on "Master's Apprentices" - talk about fired up!), wringing the most out of every riff, and were sincere and gracious in their thanks to the fans ("Thank you very f*cking much!"). The performance was "clean," i.e., no pyrotechnics, lasers, or "gimmicks" other than the band logo back-projected on a screen and basic colored lights, and demonstrated just how talented Opeth truly are and how well they connect with their fans.
The documentary consists of band interviews - with each member offering insights into how he came to become a member of Opeth, the evolution of their music, and the challenges faced during the Damnation and Deliverance sessions. Drummer Martin Lopez gets the best inadvertently funny moment when, while discussing Opeth's creative process, he smiles and says, "Mikael is a very strange guy to write with - he has his own way of writing." Each member speaks emphatically about the problems Opeth had recording Deliverance and Damnation (recorded simultaneously) because of technical problems at the first studio, and how Steven Wilson's stepping in as producer and moving to the Gothenburg studio saved not only the albums, but possibly even Opeth itself. Wilson himself talks about his relationship with Opeth and gets a great clip where he introduces Mikael Akerfeldt to the mellotron - the look on Akerfeldt's face is one of pure rapture, the look of a man who's just found the Holy Grail. The soundtrack of the studio clips is amazing in itself; the instruments and the vocals are crisp and clear and sail out of the speakers, sounding like very much like a finished album that any band would be proud of.
Honest, rocking, and - above all - entertaining, Lamentations belongs in the category of "DVDs that you need to get" this year, so go get it - you'll be glad you did.
Windowpane / In My Time Of Need / Death Whispered A Lullaby / Closure / Hope Leaves / To Rid The Disease / Ending Credits / Harvest / Weakness / Master's Apprentices / The Drapery Falls / Deliverance / The Leper Affinity / A Fair Judgement
Documentary: The Making of Deliverance and Damnation
Mikael Akerfeldt - vocals, guitars
Peter Lindgren - guitars
Martin Mendez - bass
Martin Lopez - drums
Per Wiberg - keyboards, backing vocals
My Arms Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)
Blackwater Park (2001)
Ghost Reveries (2005)
Lamentations: Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003 (2006)
Opeth Box Set (2006)
Blackwater Park/Deliverance (2007)
The Roundhouse Tapes: Opeth Live (2007)
The Candlelight Years (2008)
Lamenations: Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire (2004)
Genre: Death-Black Metal