Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.96 | 1233 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 33

First of all, I must explain how I met Opeth. A couple of years, my eldest son told me about this band, and he said to me that they are a very good heavy metal band. He and one of his best friends really love the group, and they listened to their music very often. So, I must confess that I became very curious about them. As I didn't know if they were a progressive group, I decided to take a look on Progarchives. In reality, I confirmed that Opeth was a progressive metal band, but I stayed suspicious, when I read that they have a strong influence of death metal and that their vocalist often uses death metal growls, when he sings. Sincerely, I don't like really of death metal and usually I don't like growls. Probably, somehow, I'm an out of fashion guy. I belong to those who think that a real vocalist must sing. However, as my son likes the band, I ordered few albums to my usual supplier. If I didn't like them, they would be for him.

One of their albums received by me was their seventh studio album "Damnation" released in 2003. As I had already read, it's the band's most accessible work and hasn't any kind of growls. So, I decided to start my introduction to their music, beginning to listen to this album. Sincerely, I must confess that I was very surprised when I listened to the album for the first time. "Damnation" is the most radical departure from Opeth's musical career, until then. It's the first album that explores the group's non heavy metal sound, it's almost completely devoid of any metal trappings, and it's almost focused on acoustic instruments and traditional song writing. By the other hand, the vocalist didn't use any death metal growls, and surprisingly, he has an excellent and beautiful clear voice. So, "Damnation" was for me a very nice surprise. It's a totally different kind of work of the group, full of beautiful ballads and melodic songs and has a very peaceful musical atmosphere. But, as I said before, this is an atypical musical work of the group, until then.

"Damnation" was again produced by Steven Wilson, the mastermind of Porcupine Tree, who also contributed playing and singing on the album, beyond co-write the song "Death Whispered A Lullaby". All the other songs were written by Mikael Akerfeldt, the mastermind, front man and the main composer of Opeth.

The line up on "Damnation" is Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals and guitars), Peter Lindgren (Guitar), Martin Mendez (bass guitar) and Martin Lopez (drums and percussion). As I wrote before, it has also the cooperation of Steven Wilson (backing vocals, keyboards, electric piano, piano and mellotron), as a guest musician.

"Damnation" has eight tracks. The first track "Windowpane" is the lengthiest track on the album. It's a very tasteful song, a beautiful and creative composition, with a pleasant guitar backed by the sound of the mellotron. The second track "In My Time Of Need" is a very beautiful ballad, with some of the best lyrics on the album, and the mellotron continuous sounding on the back. The third track "Death Whispered A Lullaby" is another nice composition, and is most notable for its vocal harmonies and the fairly aggressive guitar solos, on some parts of the song. The fourth track "Closure" is a song with some really nice guitar work, and is probably one of the strongest songs on the album. It oscillates between the calm and aggressive parts, during all over the theme. The fifth track "Hope Leaves" is another beautiful and very calm ballad, probably the most beautiful on the entire album. It has some pretty good lyrics too. The sixth track "To Ride The Disease" is another song full of mellotron on the back, which reminds me King Crimson. This is one of the best songs on the album, with simple vocals, a strong melody and it has a good guitar work, too. The seventh track "Ending Credits" is a very pretty and romantic instrumental track. It sounds very much like an Andy Latimer's song composed by Camel. This is also another very beautiful song. This isn't properly a great surprise, since Akerfeldt always had sustained that he likes very much of Camel, and Latimer is one of his musical influences. What better propaganda can a group have, when it's done by someone you aren't expecting? The last track "Weakness" is the softest song on the album, and ironically because its name, it represents perhaps, the album's weakness. I don't mean that this is a bad song, but in my humble opinion, it's a little bit out of the general quality of the album.

Conclusion: "Damnation" is a very special Opeth's album and represents, at the time, an exception into their musical career. It's one of the most beautiful albums made by the group. This is really a very good and enjoyable album. If you don't know Opeth yet, and like me, you dislike death metal growls, you must listen and buy "Damnation". In the first place, it's a very beautiful album and the most accessible of the group. In the second place, may be you start to be attracted by the band and you start to love the group, like me. So, "Damnation" may be your starting point with Opeth, and the beginning of a great love between you and them. Opeth is undoubtedly one of the best groups in our days.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this OPETH review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives