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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.96 | 1213 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars The conjuration of a wisp of beauty

Opeth are one of the most revered progressive death metal bands in the entire progressive world. Since the mid-90s, the band has gotten progressively more.. well' progressive in their approach to the genre. With the groundbreaking Still Life, they amazed the community with their truly innovative style and willingness to bend the rules of metal. With each consecutive release, the band developed their sound into one of the most mature death metal acts out there. When they released their 2002 album Deliverance, Mikael Akerfeldt had the idea of doubling the metal-laden album with a near metal-less album the following year (without the consent of his band mates). The result was the sublime Damnation in 2003. The album, full of incredible mellow melodies and jazz inspired and appropriate rhythmic qualities, was a stark departure from their normal style, yet it seemed appropriate for the direction they were headed. Overall, the album is a beautiful representation of this band's potential.

From a band so well known for their inventive metallic output, it's often difficult to believe such a mellow, melodic album came from the same band. The songs, consisting of clean guitar riffs, jazzy rhythmic backings, and a strong bass line accented by various keyboard textures contributed by none other than the revered Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame. The whole atmosphere of the music is truly incredible ' Akerfeldt composes melodies to compliment dark lyrics and themes, with the jazz inspired rhythmic work of Martin Lopez carrying the gentle guitar work along paths of melodic grace, traversing into the airwaves with the conjuration of a simple wisp of musical beauty. This music is truly special. Wilson's accurate use of the mellotron, Rhodes, and other keyboard textures adds to this almost dissonant ambience, filling in the gaps between the band's playing, the vocal melodies, and the harmonic dissonance. This ingenious and minimalistic keyboard work really adds to the music beautifully.

In the end, I must profess my love for this album. It's essentially perfect. It may not be a 'masterpiece' in PA terms, but this album is still damn good. Full of infectious yet highly progressive melodies, inventive playing, composing, and drumming, the whole album is brimming with a sense of vigor and life, yet is easily the band's gloomier and doomier album. Naming this album's genre would be difficult, for it's almost composed entirely of 70s progressive influences, contains no real metal, yet still has that melodeath twinge of Opethian fame and a slightly doom metal edge going on. However, the album is still a spectacular display of this band's might. It's really incredible that this four piece (five including Wilson) has crafted such a magnificent work of art. Overall, this album is truly spectacular. 4+ stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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