Opeth
Garden of the Titans


4.0
excellent

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel STAFF
February 15th, 2019 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The kind of quality all live albums should strive to achieve. Opeth deliver the goods with an impeccable performance and continue to prove they're one of the finest progressive rock acts around.

An outdoor theater in Colorado is an interesting choice of location for a band to record a live album, but progressive rock and metal band Opeth were never ones to stick to the ordinary. They make it work with an amazingly clear sound and an impressive performance. All the band members are top notch and play with note-for-note precision on each song. However, these are not just accurate recreations from the studio albums; the keyboard solo in a sublime performance of "In My Time of Need" and the layered intro to "Era" are highlights that can't be heard anywhere else. Frontman Mikael Akerfeldt delivers his brand of high quality banter to the audience for pleasant respites in between each prog epic. The high quality of the recording and the stellar performances are more than enough reason to give this a listen, even if you're familiar with the material.

Unfortunately, there are two factors that hold this back from being a classic live album. Firstly, Mikael Akerfeldt, for all his guitar-playing and singing talents, just cannot pull off the death metal vocals anymore. He hasn't done them on any recording in over a decade, and might as well have ceased doing them live as well and stuck to traditional singing. The performances of older material are somewhat marred by them, and the brilliance of the music could've just been emphasized even more for the better. Jonas Renske of Katatonia had the same issue and gracefully bowed out of performing those kinds of vocals anymore, so there is no reason Akerfeldt can't do the same.

Secondly, the selection of songs in the set list could have been much better. Including no songs from before Deliverance and Damnation except for one, which is partially ruined by the harsh vocals, makes for a missed opportunity and lots of material instead from the recent three prog rock albums. This may disappoint some seasoned fans who would like to hear material from their earlier work or their two best albums, Still Life and Blackwater Park.

While this is a dense listen, it could have perhaps benefited from a longer performance and expanded set list. Other prog rock and metal giants like Dream Theater and Steven Wilson regularly play 3-4 hour concerts, so there's no reason a band like Opeth couldn't extend the run time to be even just a bit longer than one hour and twenty-eight minutes. Still, the strengths of the recording and experiencing the band members' playing make for wonderful results nonetheless. Garden of the Titans is a strong entry in the band's live catalogue by showcasing their talents delivered with fantastic sound quality that does the material more than enough justice.



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user ratings (41)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2019


18141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All their other live albums have reviews so figured I'd give this one a quick write-up. Fans of Damnation should check out this version of In My Time of Need at the least.

Digging: Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1

tommygun
February 15th 2019


26847 Comments


m/

DominionMM1
February 15th 2019


17817 Comments


was at this show. while i was a little bummed that they didn't do a single song from blackwater park or still life, they did do ghost of perdition, deliverance, demon of the fall, and heir apparent so i can't complain too much.

nice review btw

kzy
February 15th 2019


34 Comments


the sound in this live album & DVD/BR was amazing, i wish Gojira/Devin Townsend had a plan to make this one. and finally The Devil's Orchard got playing in this concert!

Lord(e)Po)))ts
February 15th 2019


41739 Comments


K so I glanced at the album cover and assume that Opeth decided to Heritage agaib

Digging: Edyth - Bare II

lecolumbus
February 16th 2019


157 Comments


I'm glad somebody agrees that Mikael clearly can't do the death growls anyway, it's been a disappointment in that regard the last 2-3 times I've seen Opeth.

That's why it's so baffling they pick songs like Heir Apparent. Great song, for sure, but it's solely death growls and thus almost ruined because of that. Why not something like Hessian Peel? Same problem with Demon of the Fall, although you can't exactly substuite much else on MAYH given it's all pretty heavy.

Also, if you've been to as many Opeth shows I have (and that's probably not even much compared to real Opeth fanatics) you're probably sick of hearing Deliverance. Really wish they would pick a different song for a live album.

I guess since they're only dedicating roughly half their set to older heavy songs you can't exactly pick a bunch of deep cuts but if you're doing a live album, I'd much rather want to hear songs that aren't already on the other live albums (and rendered worse than previous iterations due to inferior death growls).

StonedManatee
February 16th 2019


125 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

So an album my dad would totally 5, but would disappoint me? Figures... I can't stand Deliverance...

Digging: Dip - I'll Slip Into the Inner Light

BigPleb
February 16th 2019


57516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great performance but, as you said, Mikael’s vox are completely shot.

Digging: Faith No More - King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime

Eons
February 16th 2019


2145 Comments


I like that In My Time of Need is in the setlist. Ghost Of Perdition is quite trite and overplayed though. Wish they'd switch it out with one of the deeper cuts from Morningrise or MAYH but that'll never happen. For some reason they don't play those songs.

BigPleb
February 16th 2019


57516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably cos Mikael feels obliged the play the bigger tracks? Also, with them completely abandoning DM this past decade I imagine he has no desire to play a lot of that material.

Eons
February 16th 2019


2145 Comments


The thing is I don't remember them playing a lot of those deep cuts even when they were putting out Ghost Reveries and touring 2005-2006 or so. This is common for many bands not just Opeth. It's really annoying how common it is. There's songs from many band's catalogue that I wish they'd play. Even massive bands like Metallica do this.

One of the worst offenders with doing this is the band Deftones. They completely ignore almost entire albums.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


18141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like I say in the review, they should really play longer shows given how vast their catalogue is and how long their songs are. It's not unreasonable to want a little more from 5+ other albums they've done that're as beloved as they are. I get they want to promote the new stuff they're releasing, but not playing anything from the first third of the career except for one song is a little lopsided.

They seem to do Deliverance live a lot, and it's a great song and all but there's everything from before that album they can choose from too if they're only gonna play 90 minute shows, and half of that time being the 2010s material. Imagine how nuts a crowd would get if they played The Moor or Blackwater Park once in a while.

DominionMM1
February 16th 2019


17817 Comments


didn’t they play all clean vocals songs when they were touring heritage?

BigPleb
February 16th 2019


57516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, virtually 3/4 Heritage then clean cuts from other albums.

DominionMM1
February 16th 2019


17817 Comments


at this point i think that’s something they should do for every tour going forward. they could do melinda, fair judgment, hex omega, or anything from damnation on top of the recent stuff

i can see me in one of the pics on one of the record sleeves btw. pretty cool little thing for me.

lecolumbus
February 16th 2019


157 Comments


As much as we complain about Akerfeldt's weaker vocals these days, I think we'd probably rather still hear some heavy stuff rather than none. The Heritage tour I saw where they only played clean stuff and it was about 3/4 Heritage was extremely disappointing and I vowed to never attend another Opeth show if it was gonna more like that. I imagine a lot of Opeth fans feel the same.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


18141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love their lighter material but I'd be disappointed to not hear any of their prog epics live. They should play them and just sing melodically, maybe change some arrangements of the songs if needed. You'd hardly notice a difference with White Cluster and The Drapery Falls for example.

DominionMM1
February 16th 2019


17817 Comments


“it was about 3/4 Heritage“

that’s the problem right there

Wubs
February 16th 2019


615 Comments


I reckon they could do their older epics and give the vocals a clean (but still aggressive) spin

Digging: Orchestra of Spheres - Mirror

MO
February 16th 2019


22531 Comments


Yep this was solid



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