Serving up a psychedelic ambience aimed at death metal fans, Brit-based Porcupine Tree and Swedish ponderers Opeth can count more than a decade’s worth of recorded music and touring, providing uber-credibility in the Euro and American underground metal community. And at this sold-out show, both bands — co-headliners who played nearly 90 minutes each — made light references to death metal, a too-narrow tag for these experimental, at times progressive, lineups.
Porcupine Tree vocalist Steven Wilson serves as Opeth’s producer, and the musical connection between the bands is strong, especially on Opeth’s latest, the gentle, acoustic “Damnation,” a departure from their growling, death metal past. Wilson and PT smack of early Pink Floyd with touches of Black Sabbath on songs such as “Futile,” sometimes reaching epic musical heights with their unique heavy metal augmented by layered vocals that are grandiose without being bombastic.
Opeth played mostly tunes from “Damnation.” The sometimes-soaring songs were by turns gorgeous and percussive, even trance inducing. Past the witching hour, Opeth delved in the “old song section,” thrilling the hardy, dude-heavy audience with a few never-before-played gems, guitar harmonies and a cover of Deep Purple’s “Soldier of Fortune.”