Season Premiere! Opeth on Into the Machine

Ok, I mentioned before that Steven Wilson produced one of my favorite albums. Blackwater Park by Opeth.

I discovered Opeth in the bins of my 1st favorite record store, back in Columbia, SC around 1998. Morningrise was the album that I bought first, although My Arms, Your Hearse was already out (it took me forever to understand that album title, though I don’t know why. At first I thought his arms were in her hearse. But of course that would be silly).

Morningrise was a revelation for me. The mix of death vocals and proggy, jazzy riffs was new to me. MA,YH was an even heavier album with the likes of Demon of the Fall, but it was with 1999’s Still Life that I was totally sucked into the genius of this band and their frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. Still Life was everything I loved about Prog (long dynamic songs, concept album, check) and Metal (heavy riffs, guttural vocals, check). I became a full-fledged fan of the band and they took their place as my 2nd favorite band alongside Dream Theater.

When I moved to NYC in 2000 to start film school at The School of Visual Arts on 23rd street, I brought all my CDs up with me (I’m still a CD collector and have more than 1500, i think). In February of 2001,  Blackwater Park came out. Everything they had done on Still Life they perfected. And the new production quality with engineering by Fredrik Nordström and production and mix from a Mr. Steven Wilson (as well as some wonderful duet vocals) was not lost on me. To my luck, they toured the USA for the first time that year, together with Nevermore (oh god, I could talk about my love for Nevermore for a few days) and a very cool German power metal band, Angel Dust (they still around?). My brother drove up to pick me up from college that summer and we went to see Opeth together at the now defunct L’amour club (RIP) in Brooklyn (i also saw Symphony X play there before they closed). I can remember that the encore was Demon of the Fall.

About 14 years later, I mentioned that to Mikael, when Kai and I visited the band in Offenbach am Main, Germany to shoot the very first episode of our new modern prog series, Into the Machine. Opeth were celebrating 10 years of Ghost Reveries, another of my favorite albums from them.

Mikael’s response was a little suprised: “Wow, you went to THAT show?”.  I nodded with a smile but was not really sure what he was implying by THAT show. Anyhow, that was a lot of fluff to say that it was a great pleasure when I finally got to make a small movie with Mikael and Co. And by this moment, I had made films with him and Steven Wilson which pretty much completed my personal Blackwater Park journey. Perhaps I can reconnect with them for the 25th Anniversary of the album in 2021!

When this episode came out, we literally doubled our Youtube subscriber count in about a week. We earned 1k subscribers the first year of FreqsTV. Opeth was the premiere film of 2016 and within the first week we gained another 1k subs on YT. That was amazing.

That really set the stage for the effect that this prog series, a major passion project of mine, was going to have on our little channel.

FreqsFact: L’amour in Brooklyn was known as the “Rock Capitol of Brooklyn” until it closed in 2004. I saw 3-4 shows there just before it closed. Everyone in the rock and metal scene from the early  80s to the mid-2000’s played there. Metallica, Megadeth, Kiss, Amorphis, Dream Theater, Opeth and the club was super important to the NYC Hardcore scene giving birth to bands like Biohazard, Madball, Agnostic Front, Candiria and Pro-Pain. Luckily, Brooklyn now has Saint Vitus for keeping metal alive, but for a few decades, L’amour ruled the roost. Metal Hammer wrote a great article on the history of the club, if you want to read more.

Randy M. Salo

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