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Opeth - Damnation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.96 | 1213 ratings

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Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Clearly, Opeth are the type of band that forces a reaction from the listener. Nothing more, and nothing less. "Damnation" proves nothing else in that it causes no exception to this theory in that one either hates them or loves them. Mikael Akerfeldt was inspired by a good friend of his from Katatonia to release a sort of 2-part album, and the idea then became the thoughtful, yet brutal "Deliverance", and the sensitive, dismal "Damnation".

Opeth's "Damnation" is a one-off album. Ok, we got that little detail out of the way. This isn't meant to sound like Opeth at all. If you know ANYTHING about this band, it should be that Mikael Akerfeldt absolutely worships the psychedelia movement of the 70s, and most importantly, Camel.

Listening to this album, you get that old Yes feeling. Sadly, this album lacks the acoustic guitars that Opeth has favored in their clean songs in the past, choosing a clean electric guitar for most of the songs. But even then, the album is just superbly done. Everything you expect to find in an album of this genre is there: the amazingly clean and melodic vocals, the soft, clean guitar tone, progressive drumming, and of course, the vocal harmonies that made the genre what it was. It's all there, and this effort just goes on to prove how well rounded the musicians in this band are.

As for the individual songs, I tend to favor the middle of the album, from tracks 3- 6. "Closure" stands out for me, in part because of that wicked ending section, in which that guitar effect makes it sound like three guitars being played, and the tamboril being played in the background adds more percussion and acoustic tones to the whole thing. It's great, and I know many people that were usually turned off by Opeth were giving them a try after this album, and not just this one ;). I also enjoy the song "To Rid the Disease", which is written and performed in a way so it sounds like the moment is morosely hopeless. I also think it's the first time I've ever clearly heard Martin Mendez's bass playing in an Opeth record. O_o

The other songs on the album range from decent to good. "Death Whispered a Lullaby" and "Hope Leaves" have some pretty good lyrics to them, and Mikael's voice on the chorus of "Hope Leaves" is just great. I'm not too wild about "Windowpane" or "In My Time of Need", but I'll give IMTN credit for having the most distinguishable acoustic guitars along with Closure. The track "Ending Credits" is a pretty nifty instrumental, and Mikael wasn't kidding when he said on the Lamentations DVD that they "ripped off" Camel. The influence is there, and I think it sounds great. The only song that should have not made it is "Weakness", and it's probably why I didn't give this album a higher score. The keyboards aren't very good for this track, and it just seems very rushed. Maybe a little more effort and it could have been better.

All in all, most metalheads hate this record. Fine, I don't care. They are truly missing out. People that actually enjoy different types of music besides metal can appreciate this album. Enjoy it for what it is folks. It's not meant to be compared to Morningrise, Hearse, or Still Life. This one is for you prog people, but don't have too high expectations on it, since it's lacking the variety/alternations of Opeth's other material.

album rating: 7.5/10 points = 76 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Marc Baum | 4/5 |


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