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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.96 | 1209 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Having been introduced to Opeth via "Ghost Reveries" I was intrigued enough, particularly by the lighter moments, to want to explore this album. I had to wait a while, two of the UK's leading high street/internet retailers were apparently unable to obtain it and I only found it recently, retailing for a miserly 5.

But let's start with an admission of some personal prejudices/preferences. I love the hard edge of modern metal, the scooped distorted guitar sounds and the tight production values. However death metal growl as a vocal style does absolutely nothing for me. So "Ghost Reveries" was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

With "Damnation", the death growl is non-existent and Akerfeldt sings in his 'natural' voice, which let's face it is pretty damn good. The guitars are clean, sometimes acoustic, the drums light and precise. There's even the gentle touch of Mellotron in places.

My first impressions on listening were that the production was absolutely excellent and put me in mind of Porcupine Tree. At this stage I hadn't read the sleeve notes or any PA reviews of the album so wasn't aware that it was in fact PT's Steve Wilson who'd produced it (and presumably played keys). SW has a rare talent for production, letting every instrument shine without allowing any to dominate unnecessarily.

So the overall sound is delicate and beautiful in parts. However my only reservation is a fairly major one. I don't feel like the tracks develop fully into something truly memorable. With that in mind I feel I can't rate it higher than 3 stars, though if it does suddenly grab me I'll gladly eat my words, delete this and re-review.

I sincerely hope Opeth continue to mix their disparate styles. I'd like to hear some more of their heavier stuff accompanied by Mikael Akerfeldt's non-death vocals, interspersed with some of the lighter moments present here. Kind of "Ghost Reveries" meets "Damnation". Most of all though I'd like to hear a bit more structure and development. I'm not necessarily talking Verse/Chorus/Middle 8, just something that gives you a hook to grab onto and makes you really want to go back for more.

zedkatz | 3/5 |


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