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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.97 | 1246 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This short record is simply beautiful. So beautiful it makes me cry. Not because of the emotion the songs engender, but because of the missed opportunity. OPETH have put together an entire record of the type of 'halfway' songs that have characterised their albums, the best example of which is 'Harvest' from 'Blackwater Park'. No multi-layered distorted riffs, no growling vocals. The result is a record that sounds like a cross between a mid-70S prog outfit and PORCUPINE TREE. Imagine the best of these songs combined with the three or four best from 'Deliverance', OPETH's previous album. With the miracle of the digital playlist, you can make it happen. But you shouldn't have had to ...

There's only one snag: choosing the best songs off this album. 'Windowpane' has to be one of them, with the mellotron and the GILMOUR-esque guitar wafting us along on a breath of cool 70's prog air. 'In My Time of Need' isn't quite as good, but it does have a splendid KING CRIMSON balladesque feel. It really could have featured on an early KC album. 'Death Whispered a Lullaby', a collaboration with STEVEN WILSON of PORCUPINE TREE and NO-MAN fame, is another beauty, with quite a PAUL MCCARTNEY vibe in he chorus. Beautiful. Oh dear; which track to leave out of our 'Damnliverance' compilation?

And it is at about this point I wish there were a few riff-laden meat-slab ten-minute epics to separate these tracks. Listening to 'Deliverance' and 'Damnation' separately is like being forced to eat all your meat for lunch and your veggies for dinner. Or like being given an exquisitely crafted mechanical toy for Christmas and having to wait until your birthday to get the batteries. I'm greedy: I want the whole package.

So it goes. Lovely acoustic work, soaring electric guitar, lovely drum fills and runs with no sign of the double-kick, and beautiful vocal harmonies. No weakness here: even the last track has its place, closing a gentle album in the most gentle fashion. OPETH have created - well, a frustrating half of a great album. I am forced to tip my intellectual hat to their creative brilliance, but my heart is not stirred by this foolish record company decision.

Make your own genuine OPETH album from the best of their 2002/3 work. Call it 'Damnliverance' or 'Denation'. It's worth the effort.

russellk | 4/5 |


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