Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 1023 ratings

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3 stars Let me wear my heart on my sleeve: I don't care for the Progressive Metal genre; I usually find frenetic and/or unsubtle 'chopping axes' a real turn off. I should also say that this is the only OPETH album I've heard to date.

This album was a pleasant surprise. I enjoy the music and have absolutely no trouble at all listening to it. Yes, it's guitar-laden music, but not in the way I was expecting. In fact, to the contrary, the music is restrained and lush: laid-back even. Oh, and the music is definitely Progressive Rock. I hear similarities with PORCUPINE TREE (and I promise I formed that impression before reading that Steve Wilson guested) and PINK FLOYD, both bands I like. Another thing I find pleasing is Mikael Akerfeldt's singing. Not only does he have a decent voice but also his singing in English is excellent, with only a slight - and pleasant - hint of an accent as he sometimes almost whispers the lyrics.

The album is a real mix of styles: middle-of-the-road rock, haunting Prog Rock, a bit of jazz here and there, some Arabic rhythms in 'Closure', and, yes, even some heavy axe work in places. To me at least, the album is more of a mood-setter: something I would put on to chill out, and not to listen to intently, despite the melancholy lyrics. The mood of the music is subdued but the lyrics are not so attention-grabbing that I take much notice of them. I like the way that acoustic guitar has been woven into the music, but then I also like the use of electric guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. In fact, the playing on this album is a perfect example of the tenet "sometimes less is more".

My only slight criticism would be that the music is a little samey, perhaps a little unmemorable. But then, why disturb a mood? As to my advice and rating, I am happy to recommend the album to any Prog fan, although I don't think it's essential. If such a thing were possible I'd go with 3.5 stars but will settle for 3 stars (Good, but non-essential). But if you do buy it, I doubt very much you'll regret it.

Fitzcarraldo | 3/5 |


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