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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.97 | 1304 ratings

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4 stars Wallowing is an underrated state of grief. Feeling sorry for oneself and allowing that profound bitterness and disappointment to wash over oneself can serve to put the darkness in its place and set the stage for slinking back into the crepuscular light. I have found that journaling can make the process more productive and even enjoyable. I suspect artists find solace in their craft, and assume that is part of what is transpiring with Mikael Akerfeldt on "Damnation", an album that has as little to do with extreme metal, and as much to do with mellotron drenched disconsolateness, as does BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST's "Everyone is Everybody Else".

Thanks to the production and keyboards of Steven Wilson, and the delicate somber vocals and guitars of Akerfelt, this album sets a mood and does not relinquish it. The melodies ache with fragility, and on "In my Time of Need", "Hope Leaves", and the CAMEL-influenced "Ending Credits, are the main attraction, but this is more about the atmosphere, conveyed brilliantly in the excruciatingly elongated "Windowpane" and the final few hair raising minutes of "Closure". The late lamented mellotron era of the 1970s and its essential gravitas is distilled in a manner rarely witnessed at that time, putting a fresh face on a familiar friend.

I'm not saying "Damnation" is bliss but its grasp of the essential value of wallowing makes it a more suitable instrument of salvation, however it might have been intended. Grief never sounded this good.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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