Alcatraz Line up: 2019
In the early nineties, most Swedish death metal bands would crush the crowd like a freight train with basic but efficient rhythms and pounding guitars. Then in 1995 the rules changed overnight when Opeth released their debut ‘Orchid’. Opeth single-handedly created a flamboyant crossover between progressive seventies rock and the melodic but brutal death metal of their hometown Stockholm. The result is a cocktail of sharp contrasts where subdued, semi-acoustic passages with soothing vocals suddenly degenerate into face-crunching riffs punctuated with bowel-churning grunts. This may appear an unlikely combination to the uninitiated, but the ease with which these musical geniuses create seemingly endless and spellbinding compositions will convince even die-hard sceptics. Their seminal album ‘Blackwater Park’ (2001) brought widespread mainstream recognition and signalled their definitive breakthrough. They became the flag bearers of ‘progressive death’, a title they vacated quite unexpectedly with the release of their tenth album ‘Heritage’ (2011), on which blast beats and grunts were conspicuously absent. While this is also true of ‘Pale Communion’ (2014) and ‘Sorceress’ (2016), the latter is somewhat heavier than its predecessors. While ‘In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (2010) caters to the old fans, last year’s ‘Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre’ chronicles the musical direction they’ve taken since 2011. Rendez-vous at AMF2019 for a combination of both and – who knows - some new material from the upcoming 13th studio album.