Live at the Ryman
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Sweden’s Opeth are preparing to release their most important record to date with In Cauda Venenum. Certainly, fans and critics will have their opinion, but few records in the Swedes oeuvre are as engaging, delicate, panoramic, intense, and musical as Opeths lucky thirteenth. Sporting a clever Travis Smith cover—replete with inside jokes and a nod to King Diamond—Opeths usual five-star musicianship, and lyrics entirely in Swedish, In Cauda Venenum raises the bar markedly. While a record in Swedish is a first—there’s also an English version—for front man and founding member Mikael Åkerfeldt, the 10 songs feel and sound completely natural. As if years of listening to and being a fan of Swedish rock and hard rock has paid off. In a way, Opeth have come home. But the Swedish lyrics of the primary edition of In Cauda Venenum shouldn’t distract from the quality presented in Opeth’s new songs, the lot of which sneak up and take control after repeated listens. In Cauda Venenum is like that, tricky in its complicated simplicity, resourceful in its ability to charm with delightful if wistful melodies. Really, its just Opeth being Opeth.
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