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Opeth - Pale Communion CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 1017 ratings

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4 stars Gosh, this is not what I normally would expect from a band like OPETH! They never have totally disappeared off my radar, but I seem to remember that Mikael Åkerfeldt has been a friend of death metal and growls in earlier times, which is not my cup of tea in general. Now yet this sounds like a radical turn somehow, spirtually akin to Pain Of Salvation with their album 'Road Salt Two' maybe. Well in any case, while trying to regard this music totally unbiased firstly, 'Pale Communion' marks a great leap towards melodic heavy progressive rock, for what it's worth.

Some may say this comes because Steven Wilson is involved in the production. This might be only half of the story though - I'm quite sure Mikael Åkerfeldt and his mates wanted to produce such a thing with intent, and so they've invited him to get on board, just in order to make it good, really good. Wise idea, isn't it? Take your chance, as not every artist or band will ever get the possibility to collaborate with such a prolific musician and sound engineer. Anyway, now to the songs as such which are arranged like a chain of pearls.

The opener Eternal Rains Will Come makes it immediately clear - the keyboards are placed with a symphonic touch overall, due to the vintage expression, which also includes mellotron and Hammond organ. Åkerfeldt's voice is beneficially charming, yeah, especially proved on the following groove rocker Cusp Of Eternity. Like on Elysian Woes beautifully relaxed parts are given featuring acoustic guitar and piano. The fantastic Goblin steps out of line a bit, as the song appears like a fusion infected jam, probably in reminiscence to the eponymous Italian band.

Provided with some oriental delicacies I do like the dramatic Voice Of Treason very much, excellent musicanship, a real treasure. With 'Pale Communion' the band offer a rather accessible, though by far not trivial album, which excludes nearly any (extreme) metal approach this time. Provided with symphonic and jazzy touches here we have a recommendable production which by now belongs to my 2014 top ten list. Congrats! That makes my day in the end, as I'm fond of being surprised here and there!

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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