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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.96 | 1211 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Following the critic and fan hit Blackwater Park, Akerfeldt decided to take the two defining aspects of Opeth's sound, the death metal and the soft, jazzy progressive, and separate them into two album, Deliverance and Damnation. Damnation represents the mellow half of Opeth. It takes quite a few cues from Porcupine Tree frontman Steve Wilson, who produced this, Deliverance, and Blackwater Park. Mikael's haunting clean vocals combine with Wilson's knack for layering many simple sounds into a complex whole.

This is usually pointed to as the album to get people who don't like death metal into Opeth, and it is indeed good for that. However, I just can't get into this album the way I can get into other Opeth records. I must confess I've never been a fan of bands carving their sound into two albums (Ayreon did this with Universal Migrator). Now, the songs on Damnation are at the very least enjoyable, and the morose atmosphere that is present on all Opeth records has moved from the background to the fore. Goth rockers could never hope to achieve the state of depression this album oozes. However, I feel that to divide the band's sound robs them of their uniqueness. The masterful combination of ethereal, haunting Gothic misery and blistering death metal (Akerfeldt has hands down the best voice in death metal, and that's before you add his wonderful clean vocals) is what put Opeth at the top of the modern prog heap with Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater.

Damnation is by no means a bad album. It captures a feeling of emptiness that no silly emo album could ever come close to duplicating. However, I feel that had the sounds of Deliverance and Damnation been combined, th result would likely have been Opeth's best album. Instead, we got two very good albums. Not a bad trade-off, but I'd still take the one masterpiece. As has been said, this is the best album to introduce critics of death metal to the mighty Opeth, but it's hardly representative of the rest of their catalog, so there's a risk people won't really get into the band. Still, if you want some of the most atmospheric music on the planet, look no further.

Grade: C+

1800iareyay | 3/5 |


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