For an Opeth fan, it’s a bit of a non-issue—if Opeth puts out a new record, you buy it. That’s just how it goes. The band has been continually gathering steam since their inception over a decade ago, most recently through their Roadrunner debut, Ghost Reveries, and fans have followed suit.
But since their leaving Music For Nations (well, the label folded) after their Deliverance and Damnation records, there’s been a bunch of firsts from Opeth. From there, the band released their first DVD, Lamentations; their first music video, which was awful; their first time using drop-D via Reveries, which was surprisingly cool; their first lineup changes in years, adding a keyboardist in Per Wiberg, losing Martin Lopez and then long-time member Peter Lindgren; and now, through Peaceville, their first live album.
And as a live document, it’s a solid cut of the retrospective tour of 2006. Reaching all the way back to their first record with “Under The Weeping Moon,” the band hits every record (save Deliverance, curiously) to the present day on The Roundhouse Tapes, with a particular focus on their two best-received records, My Arms, Your Hearse and Blackwater Park.
So this is really a fan release. You won’t even find the single from Ghost Reveries. Most fans forgot there was one, anyway.
A further nail in the casual listener coffin is that, besides for track markers, there’s barely any editing here. No fade-outs, no clipping of between song banter. There’s down time on this album—it’s the tapes that you’re hearing here. Even Akerfeldt’s tongue-in-cheek band introductions before the encore are completely uncut. It’s a charming listen, and it brings anyone who’s seen the band right to their always stellar show. No gimmicks.
A recognition of their past, even via their choice to release on Peaceville, the label that put out Still Life, The Roundhouse Tapes is a delineating marker in Opeth’s chronology. And even though a reminder of a retrospective doesn’t seem very, well, necessary, any revisiting of this material is more than welcome.