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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.98 | 1324 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars OPETH . I'm a fan for years now but the band didn't get a real chance on our site (except a concert review and a recent interview) because it was clear that proggers were resented by the heavy intermezzi and the rolling grunt. From time to time there were some voices rising that rather liked the music. And, as Mikael told us recently during the interview, "Damnation" is a CD that will be appreciated by the most obdurate progfan. There's no excuse for not buying this any longer. It doesn't mean that the band is selling out or that they want to get round a larger public by all means but it's just a natural evolution from this collective of skilled musicians. After the heavier "Deliverance" there's now the quiet "Damnation".

The music of OPETH has always been an achievement for which you needed to spare some time. The mission for the listener was "getting into it", not a volatile in-between. And there's no change for this one, because the longer tracks still contain several atmospheres, but the changes are very smooth and make this "Damnation" generally speaking a lot easier to digest than the modal OPETH album.

Mikael Akerfeldt is a man with an open view on the (music)world. He didn't make a secret of his appreciation for adventurous progbands of the seventies. Inspired by this period, he started to occasionally compose fragments which became this "Damnation" album. "Windowpane" is bursting with mellotron sounds, but has also a Gilmourian guitar solo pasted on. I suppose I don't need to tell you that Akerfeldt has a beautiful, sensitive voice with a sad touch. During the community singing, you can hear the influence of pal and producer Steven WILSON.

"In My Time Of Need" could have been a KATATONIA track. The chopped off phrases of the vocals are a direct cross-breeding with Jonas Renske. But then the song flourishes into Mellotron heavens again. I would dare say that it's a crossing between PINK FLOYD and PORCUPINE TREE. The choruses are so strong, that you can't get them out of your mind. And don't underestimate the vibrating bass play of Martin Mendez, who takes care of some beautiful marginal notes in "Death Whispered A Lullaby" and is present in an entertaining but humble way on the whole album. A bit later, there's a special spacy guitar eruption which, together with the floating keyboards, will even bring every ascetic into the clouds. In "Closure", I hear a relation with ANATHEMA, especially in the vocal style (Vinnie) and in the classical, acoustic guitar playing. (Danny).

The timbre of this song evolves into some jazzy style and changes to a friendly chaotism, it seems like a whirling jam session in progland. Even almost acapella pieces appear, community singing like CSN&Y and psychedelic outbursts for which PORCUPINE TREE (especially in the early days and live) took out a patent for.

Slightly distorted vocals and fine guitar riffs are the ingredients for "Hope Leaves". The "crescendo" choruses are each time very strong and believe me, it's on these moments that this CD reminds me of the latest Dan Swanö. After all, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other of rising talent up there in Sweden. Just check the small writing on any OPETH, NIGHTINGALE and KATATONIA CD! (yes, when I notice that if 1 fish is frying, why not take the whole breeding pond with it, haha)

The instrumental "Ending Credits" would be a beautiful soundtrack for a documentary about all the beauty of the high north. With images of Mother Nature and all those musicians, even the title would be appropriate. And when the last sounds of "Weakness" have faded out, I eagerly push the repeat button of my installation. The fan of the early OPETH runs a high rish to be waiting for an outburst, because this is QUIET. But it's so marvellous, melancholic and artful, that this feeling is merged into pure delight.

If you aren't convinced now, you'll never be. And I can't help mentioning: I feel a bit triumphant that you finally freak out for musicians who are my heroes since long. And as they would have written in ROLLING STONE during the seventies: this album must be in every record collection!

>>> Review by: Vera "Gothica" (9/10) <<<

Clayreon | 4/5 |


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