By Erin Jardine
October 26, 2016
VANCOUVER — “I don’t think they designed this place to play rock music but we’re going to do our best,” dryly joked John D. Cronise of Texas-based outfit The Sword after they had played a few songs to the seated audience at the Orpheum Theatre. The band has a distinct southern feel, with accessible riffs in a distinct nod to classic metal such as Led Zeppelin. Their set was concise, playing favourites that many sung along to. After an interlude of Bryan Richie on synthesizer, the band took a turn to the heavy, with more technical lines and driving drums.
A lengthy changeover had guests staring at two pedestals on the stage, one with an extensive drum kit and the other with a synth set-up. Opeth began with a solo bass intro by Martin Méndez, leading into the entry of guitarists Mikael Åkerfeldt and Fredrik Åkesson. Opeth is an interesting band to see live; their characteristically long songs have a tension and build that can only be witnessed in-person. With a fantastic light show, and the entire audience standing, one might almost forget they were in an orchestra hall. Periods of prolonged instrumental parts seemed heavily influenced by jazz fusion, to which keyboardist Joakim Svalberg lent a hand. Opeth wound in and out of heavy metal breakdowns, and melodic soloing with clean singing. It was not all serious business, however, with the first words Åkerfeldt addressed to the crowd being, “we are from the superior hockey nation of Sweden,” and it didn’t end there: “This is the last day of our North American tour, tomorrow we go home, so we are happy.” Åkerfeldt is a very talented frontman, effortlessly switching from low growls reminiscent of Opeth’s early material, to clean wails backed by Svalberg making the sound almost symphonic.BC, British Columbia, Opeth, Orpheum Theatre, The Sword