Two of Europe’s finest metal bands, both with a penchant for more progressive influences, both formed in the ’90s, and both celebrating critically-acclaimed 2016 albums, Sweden’s Opeth and France’s Gojira are set to kick off a small co-headlining spring run with a date right here in Nashville tonight, May 4 at War Memorial Auditorium. Between Opeth’s expansive, progressive, and death metal rooted style, and Gojira’s more intense, technical, take on thrash, there’s a lot to love and equally as much to unpack for even the most seasoned metalhead, and tickets to see two of the scene’s finest, both of whom haven’t passed through town in several years, are still available here. Find out more about the lineup and below!
Sweden and metal go together like peanut butter and jelly, and progressive death metal outfit Opeth have been doing their Scandinavian homeland proud now for more than 25 years. Formed in the suburbs of Stockholm, the band’s early years were characterized by a revolving door of lineup changes and modest early releases aimed largely at Europe, with only intermittent touring throughout their formative first decade as a band in the ’90s. By the turn of the millennium, however, Opeth, whose creative core comes from frontman and only constant member Mikael Åkerfeldt, had gained a reputation for being an intriguing and fresh figure in the death metal scene, bagging increasingly larger record deals and broader distribution until, by 2005 eighth album Ghost Reveries, they landed on major label imprint Roadrunner. With a stronger global push, Opeth found more acclaim stateside a little over a decade ago, and since beginning to tour more regularly a few years prior, and with their five full-lengths since, including last year’s Sorceress, the band have only experienced an upward trend in commercial success and critical praise. Though much of the early output was undisputedly black metal, Opeth have always channeled the sounds of ’70s and ’80s prog, unafraid to pen long and weird compositions, as well, and even incorporate less obvious flairs for folk, jazz, and mellower subsets of metal. A fierce and beloved live force, Opeth are, by now, a heavy metal insinuation, and with their far-reaching sonic palate, they’re pretty awe-inspiring to watch even if you don’t typically go for heavy music.
Hailing from France, a country perhaps not quite as well-known for metal as Scandinavia, or even as their neighbors in Germany, Gojira are an intense force to be reckoned with. Formed in ’90s, originally as Godzilla (they had to change the name for unsurprising legal reasons), the band have developed a blend of thrash metal, technical death metal, progressive metal, and groove metal, wrapped around environmentally conscious themes, over six full-lengths released since 2001, most recently last year’s Magma, which scored two Grammy nominations in the U.S. With their unusual rhythmic patterns, intense instrumentation, and crushing vocals, the band are, perhaps, more consistently heavy than Opeth, though they also share a love for prog. Over the last 15 years, the band, who grew up in a small town on the French coast, have organically risen through the ranks of metal prominence, adding tour with the likes of Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, and even the mighty Metallica to their impressive resume. Well-balanced to work with Opeth, though distinct and intriguing in their own right, Gojria are the perfect fix if you’re craving something intensely heavy but still fresh and weird, with an unusually earthy theme to boot. They blew us away with Mastodon a few years back, and we’ve been itching for their return ever since.
Opeth and Gojira will perform tonight, May 4 at War Memorial Auditorium. The show is all ages, begins at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $34-48.