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OPETH

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Sweden


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Opeth biography
Yes, some people would consider OPETH to be a pure (melodic) Death Metal band but you have to differentiate a lot. The four guys from Stockholm/Sweden feature a lot of different elements on their albums. We have the aggressive death metal with Mikael's growls (which are not generated with help of a computer, it's actually his voice) with lots of breaks, mostly acoustic including Mikael's clear voice. Mr. Åkerfeldt himself always underestimates his clear voice and often points out that he is a novice regarding this kind of singing. But that's not true, false modesty is the term here. His clear voice is warm and simply beautiful. The whole music is guitar orientated, on the one hand we have great riffing for aggressive parts, awesome melodic solos and on the other hand acoustic breaks with admirable melodies with some Scandinavian folk influences here and there and of course Mikael's clear vocals. Sometimes you even get some PINK FLOYD or PORCUPINE TREE like parts or whole songs.

Sure, the band started out as a pure Death Metal combo regarding to their first release" "Orchid" but from their second release on the prog elements got more and more. The second album "Morningrise" for example features a pure Prog song with PINK FLOYD like parts as well as epic song lengths. Mikael Åkerfeldt who also is the indispensable head of the band, often mentions that he is a proghead and mostly likes bands like CAMEL and PORCUPINE TREE. No doubt, you can hear those influences on albums like "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" but their highlight regarding to pure Prog for sure is their 2003 release "Damnation" which features an entire album in the style of PORCUPINE TREE. Not really astonishing regarding the fact that Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE is a good friend of Mikael and Peter and even worked together with the band for their double release "Damnation" and "Deliverance". Steven Wilson also produced their album "Blackwater Park" which is regarded as their best work so far, not only by death metal fans but also by many others normally disliking death metal growls (like me). "Damnation" for sure is the album most of you would be interested in because it is a pure Prog album. But Mikael said that the band will not do something similar again, he even announced the next album to be their most heavy, we will see. Sure isn't that this release opened the door to new fans and certainly displeased some of their old fans coming from the death metal origin.


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Ghost ReveriesGhost Reveries
HiFi Sound
Roadrunner Records 2005
Audio CD$4.00
$0.42 (used)
Blackwater Park: Legacy EditionBlackwater Park: Legacy Edition
The End Records 2010
Audio CD$7.41
$5.70 (used)
Pale CommunionPale Communion
Roadrunner Records 2014
Audio CD$4.42
$7.60 (used)
Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London)Lamentations (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London)
SIN/MFN 2016
Vinyl$33.38
WatershedWatershed
Roadrunner Records 2008
Audio CD$7.57
$3.99 (used)
Still LifeStill Life
Remastered · CD+DVD
Peaceville 2008
Audio CD$8.99
$6.96 (used)
HeritageHeritage
Roadrunner Records 2011
Audio CD$4.99
$4.94 (used)
DamnationDamnation
Import
Sony Import 2007
Audio CD$4.29
$2.91 (used)
DeliveranceDeliverance
Original recording
The End Records 2007
Audio CD$2.74
$1.73 (used)
Damnation/DeliveranceDamnation/Deliverance
Import
Imports 2015
Vinyl$31.58
$39.13 (used)
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OPETH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OPETH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 529 ratings
Orchid
1995
3.73 | 604 ratings
Morningrise
1996
3.93 | 632 ratings
My Arms, Your Hearse
1998
4.32 | 1352 ratings
Still Life
1999
4.26 | 1395 ratings
Blackwater Park
2001
3.75 | 775 ratings
Deliverance
2002
3.94 | 1092 ratings
Damnation
2003
4.25 | 1294 ratings
Ghost Reveries
2005
3.94 | 1003 ratings
Watershed
2008
3.85 | 1053 ratings
Heritage
2011
4.24 | 784 ratings
Pale Communion
2014

OPETH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 101 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd Bush Empire 2003
2006
4.08 | 182 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2007

OPETH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.02 | 196 ratings
Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush
2003
4.06 | 132 ratings
The Roundhouse Tapes
2008
4.68 | 212 ratings
In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall
2010
4.58 | 12 ratings
Live at Enmore Theatre Sidney Australia
2011

OPETH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.55 | 40 ratings
Limited Edition Box Set
2006
3.98 | 62 ratings
The Candlelight Years
2008

OPETH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.32 | 19 ratings
Apostle in Triumph
1994
4.47 | 39 ratings
The Drapery Falls
2001
4.00 | 28 ratings
Deliverance
2002
4.70 | 37 ratings
Still Day Beneath the Sun 7''
2003
3.05 | 22 ratings
Selections From Ghost Reveries
2005
3.23 | 36 ratings
The Grand Conjuration
2005
3.00 | 20 ratings
Watershed - Radio Sampler
2008
3.74 | 39 ratings
Porcelain Heart
2008
3.64 | 39 ratings
Mellotron Heart
2008
3.71 | 55 ratings
Burden
2008
3.49 | 62 ratings
The Throat of Winter
2011
3.65 | 81 ratings
The Devil's Orchard
2011

OPETH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.32 | 1352 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO / Avant / Zeuhl Team & Moderator

4 stars Prayer for our still life. Regardless of my first OPETH, I could not help feeling as if this album should be one of my musical roots. Based upon melodic core metal, they keep sending out fresh troops of sensitive sound shower. Their musical box is full of sound essence of Swedish metal scene ... heavy riffs with grindcore vibes, sensitive melodic Fantasia, refined chorus along with strict rhythm section plays, extreme sharp-edged guitar solos ... all of OPETHeoretical energetic progressive strategies would be accumulated and integrated like a powerful pyramid.

On the other hand, I guess they might play fully with artistic delight for letting the audience listen to their complex melody lines in such a complicated manner, of course their playing skill, instrumental technique,or composition faculty should be awesome though. We can get immersed in their world just as if we would fall into catastrophic illusion via this massive production.

Cynically mentioning aside, their theatrical schemes and movements can be felt pretty innovative. Assume that such a death-metallic style could be heard via North European progressive metal originated with the giant vanguards in North Euro melodic (non-progressive) metal scene ... basical metal sound visions with explosive loudness and deathcore voices would be shifted to mystic gorgeous rock phrases tinged with classical flavour somehow. The first repetitive confusive conductive phrases, beautiful acoustic storytelling, aloud hardcore voices plus deep explosive phases, and polished chorus or verse ... they all hold their hands and merge themselves into others completely. There is no useless tone nor unnecessary sound. On a natural course.

We cannot frequently come across such a colourful creation filled with nonpartisan sound variations, let me say. Afraid there might be pros and cons for / against this album but this innovative cornerstone was / is another multi-flavourful gem.

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 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 1092 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AndyJ

2 stars Opeth's 'Damnation', the mellow half of the 'Deliverance/Damnation' double album, is a curious and somewhat difficult album to review. The musicianship is impeccable, the compositions refined and the production, courtesy of Mr Steven Wilson is obviously top-notch... But (there had to be a but). Despite all of those things the only thing I feel when listening to 'Damnation' is cold and empty. Maybe that's the point?

Opeth really did get the dark and depressive thoughts down on this record - but where is the emotive joy to balance things out? And I'm not talking about happy-go-lucky lyrics or anything inane like that, but the odd major chord progression or positive uplifting melody would have done wonders for this record. Everything, or almost everything, is played in minor key and just sounds way too depressing, and, dare I say it, a little bit sterile. If I want to be depressed I'll listen to a Radiohead album! Okay, there are a few exceptions to this, such as the very cool track 'Closure', but overall the musical theme is just too bleak throughout.

I have read that 'Damnation' was some sort of tribute to the progressive rock bands of the 1970's that we all love. And I definitely hear that in some of the passages, particularly with the use of the mellotron, but here's the catch - those classic albums of the 70's that we all love had the full gamut of emotions running through them, not just the darkness. Imagine 'Suppers Ready' without all the fun bits? Just wouldn't be the same, would it?

Technically I think 'Damnation' is very good I just hardly ever want to listen to it despite being a huge Opeth fan. And while I'm at it I don't think much to 'Deliverance' either! I think this is a bit harsh, but 2-stars is about all I want to give this one.

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 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.26 | 1395 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by MonsterMagnet

4 stars Me too, I must add a four stars rating to what's one the finest Opeth record's ever. Blackwater Park is a concept about a park for leper people, in eight songs: the violent Leper Affinity, powerful Bleak, quiet Harvest, nostalgic Drapery Falls, sad Dirge For November, evil Funeral Portrait, instrumental Patterns In The Ivy and merely brutal Blackwater Park. No doubt this is extreme metal blending prog influences (jazzy chords, asymmetrical rhythms, ten minutes pieces). However, Opeth isn't a technical metal band as Meshuggah with impossible riffs or as Symphony X which plays lightning fast. Opeth's tortuous riffs are an element of their style but each part isn't so complicated: there are still a lot of four chords riffs, rhythmic linearity and a restraint of a single minor key. But whereas some bands like Iron Maiden are just using receipts of the genre with talent, Opeth has moreover the ability to make the mould softer by arranging uncountable surprises and bringing originality, especially a melodic finesse (chromatism, dissonances, unusual scales). Actually, Opeth's trademark may be in the balance between melody and the art of headbanging riff. Which is the most impressive in this album is the formal mastery. Each part has a reason to be because it brings something new and fits perfectly at the same time. From that point of view, Opeth reveals itself as brillant as the big names respected on this website. Yes, I mean it!

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 Ghost Reveries by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.25 | 1294 ratings

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Ghost Reveries
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My first Opeth acquisition was "Heritage" which I really admired for its bold take on retro-prog. But I knew this was not the Opeth known to most and I stepped in a got "Blackwater Park" and "Still Life". Thanks to these two albums, I started to enjoy and even appreciate death growl vocals. Then came "Pale Communion" and now I had two albums by the old Opeth and two by the new. It was time to reach in between and bring home "Ghost Reveries".

Now while the newer albums impressed me for their creative arrangements and explorative song construct, the older albums had a rich power with blast beats, ominous riffs and those vocals that could give Beelzebub the shivers. Though the old albums included some acoustic guitar, piano, and clean vocals, I often felt there was still such an extreme between the light and the heavy dark. How did Opeth make such a huge transition in style and sound from way back then to now? Yes, I heard about "Damnation" but that was more toward the "Heritage" extreme (maybe?) and not so much the middle ground between the two. But "Ghost Reveries" answers my question.

The opening track "Ghost of Perdition" is essentially one of Opeth's intense and dark death metal songs but blends in clean vocals and softer parts in a more natural way that flows well with the music and doesn't seem so obviously placed as an opposite extreme to the heavy side.

"The Baying of the Hounds" carries this thread by adding something typical from the old albums in the slower clean vocals segment but I feel there is a clear understanding within the band of how to shift from gruff and heavy to clean and slow to acoustic much more naturally. Overall I feel the musical creativity is on the rise and the band want to expand further than they went with "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". Furthermore, the guitar sound in the heavier parts seems rich and bottom heavy (perhaps thanks to the bass and production) and Åkerfeldt's vocals are as earthshaking as ever. You'll also notice the use of Mellotron in the "Baying" and if not then certainly at the beginning of "Beneath the Mire".

It's here in this third track that I feel the progressive death metal act known as Opeth are really building on what they had been developing. The exercise with "Damnation" must have taught them a lot about how to expand their non-death metal capabilities and develop the heavier parts as well.

"Atonement" avoids any metal contact entirely and could have been a precursor to "Pale Communion". Notice the hand drums which will show up more on "Heritage" and "Pale Communion". In particular, I find the percussion section is a key factor in the development of the band's newer sound as it's the drumming on "Heritage" that especially caught my attention.

Then follows "Reverie/Harlequin Forest" which returns us to the explosive metal sound but with clean vocals. There's an awesome riff that comes in shortly after the death vocals start. Both "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" have one song with a killer riff that I love to hear and on this album that one riff for me is here in this song. This song (or song pair) is so far the most varied track on the album and though it doesn't resemble anything from "Heritage" in rhythm and is too heavy at times to be like that future album, this track really sees Opeth taking their music to new heights, blending a bit of everything they've been working on so far (as far as I can tell and I've since acquired "Orchid" and "My Arms Your Hearse" as well).

The track list continues with the very beautiful "Hours of Wealth" including some soothing acoustic guitar, piano, and Mellotron, perhaps a highlight in Opeth's softer side so far. By now, Åkerfeldt and company are showing how capable they are of stretching out and away from their heavy dark side, though at this point they haven't really reached the point that "Heritage" would find them at. The latter half of the song is comprised of clean electric guitar and vocals, and it is here where I feel the album has shown its first weak moment.

Not a big deal though as the song is followed by the monster track "The Grand Conjuring". I get the shivers every time this song begins. For me, this is where Opeth have pulled it all together into one phenomenal song. The Mellotron, acoustic guitar, and hand drums appear alongside the crushing death metal side, at times in tandem, at other times they are there to enhance the tense and brooding atmosphere of the quieter but dark moments. This quickly became one of my favourite Opeth tracks.

The album closes with "Isolation Years", the shortest track at just under four minutes. It's another slow and clean number with some surprisingly beautiful vocal melodies from Åkerfeldt. Not a highlight but not a weak point either.

I have to say that this must be my favourite Opeth record so far. I love the heaviness of the older albums but sometimes find the overall atmosphere miring. The newer albums have more texture, flavour, and interest but don't have that awesome heaviness. This album does very well to capture what it sounds like Opeth was striving to become while also hinting at the future to come.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 784 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Opeth had strayed from the path of their progressive metal back in 2003 when they released Damnation, a companion release to the much heavier Deliverance. By Ghost Reveries they were back to the heavier stuff on probably their most progressive release so far with the usual mixture of clean vocals and death metal growls. In 2011 they released Heritage, like Damnation sung with entirely clean vocals and also their mellowest album since that release. Pale Communion is the second consecutive album to ditch the growls and this time it looks like there's no going back.

Pale Communion is the album that Heritage should have been. Not a weak album by any stretch but sounded a little fragmented at times, unsure where it wanted to go. Pale Communion is also heavier but more heavy rock than metal but also has a very retro 70's prog style which is fine in my book. Where it really shines though is in the quality of the songwriting, the first three tracks in particular are truly breath taking with Mikael Akerfeldt's strongest, most melodic and confident vocals yet. The arrangements and melodies of these songs in particular are so strong played with much light and shade and Moon Above, Sun Below has a particularly haunting vibe. The rest of the album barely drops the quality even if Goblin, a nod to the Italian prog band Goblin? is a little throwaway in comparison to the illustrious company its keeping here but fun nevertheless.

Most of Opeth's albums have still been heavy enough to keep their early death metal era fans happy but with the last two I'm sure they'll have lost a few as there's no metal elements left at all as well as ditching the growl vocals. However, they'll have no doubt gained many who found their more extreme elements hard to swallow. Personally I think they got the perfect balance on Watershed but Pale Communion is still one of their best albums and I'm happy to see them continue down this road in the future if that's where they're going. 4 1/2 stars.

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 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.26 | 1395 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars At this stage of their career, Mikael 'kerfeldt and company were a little heavier, a little harsher, a little more ensconced in the world, sounds, and stylings of metal music. As a matter of fact much of the music is not so very far removed from the metal of the 1980s. Some of the differences include: the influence of djent guitar sounds and playing styles; the different lead guitar sounds used here--they are a little more evolved from those used in the 80s; Mikael's use of death metal growls; the way the drums are recorded, and; the greater presence of the machine gun bass drum play. Also Opeth shows a tendency to the use of longer song forms with multiple style formats incorporated within each--as is put on display right from the start on "The Leper Affinity" (10:21) (8/10). The two best songs are by far and away "Harvest" (6:02) (10/10) and "Drapery Falls" (10:55) with its wonderfully memorable multi-instrument-played melody carried through to the end (10/10). The title song (12:08) is also quite a nice composition--it's performances quite powerful. (9/10) As everyone recognizes, I will here reiterate: Mr. 'kerfeldt has quite a lovely voice when he's singing in his normal voice. I am glad that he eventually moved away from this aggressive, abrasive style of music--though I recognize the talent and skill involved in creating music such as is present here.

A solid four star album from some seriously talented musicians.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 784 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ghost_of_Prog

5 stars My opinions on Opeth's recent release have changed considerably over time. As someone who got into them through albums such as Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries, the change that I saw them going through was a little too much for me. I saw Heritage as good one off album, but nothing I'd want to hear again. Then came Pale Communion and I was very disappointed, deeply missing the death metal elements that made me fall for Opeth.

However, the things about palettes and tastes is that, with proper training, they mature over time. Many bands in both the heavy metal and progressive rock community that I initially loved I don't listen to anymore. When you love something at first, you consume as much as you can, but once the taste becomes familiar, you begin to weed inferior options out. From a heavy metal perspective, Opeth still survived and as a heavy metal fan, their pre- Heritage material will always have a special place in my heart. But what about from a progressive rock standpoint? I gave this album a listening to again about a year later, and I realized how unfair I was towards it.

I deeply respect Mikael Akerfeldt as a musician, and I can sympathize with him that he was tired of doing heavy metal and wanted to do something different. His love of seventies music is seen all throughout the album and the death metal elements are fading away. There are barely any "death metal" guitars and no death growls. I know some are disappointed by that, but I've always been surprised of how beautiful Akerfeldt's normal singing voice is and that is the only voice used on this album.

Because of this, Pale Communion is Opeth's most accessible work, even though I know that in both the metal and prog communities, that might as well be the genre's red letter. But I feel like it works for Opeth's benefit here. Many people I have introduced Opeth to enjoy it to an extent until Akerfeldt's death growls come in, and while I believe he's one of the few that can actually do those growls very well, I can understand why people would be turned off by them. This album allows people who would normally be turned off by the extreme metal aspects of Opeth to see just how talented Akerfeldt and his team are.

Eternal Rains Will Come and Cusp of Eternity seem to be the two most popular songs on the album and for good reason. They both feature strong vocals, strong songwriting, and that perfect mixture of the heavy 70's prog and Opeth's unique style. However, there are two songs I feel the need to comment on. The first is Goblin, the album's instrumental and a direct reference to seventies music. It's catchy and ethereal, something that I have never seen Opeth produce. The second is the album's finale, Faith in Others, a simply beautiful song that sounds like the perfect marriage of their albums Damnation and Watershed, which really, is the style of the entire album. It reminded of the two immensely, especially the latter is it was cleaned up a bit.

While it's not a perfect album, I feel like I can in good conscience give it an essential rating. It is essential because it shows a well known musician exploring a different style and pulling it off well. The only other band I can think of in the past who pulled that off successfully was King Crimson with Discipline. Now speaking to those on the heavy metal side of the spectrum, yes, the old Opeth will be missed dearly, but judge the album on it's own merits and not on the band's past output. I say this because certain album's that I have dismissed outright I ended up enjoying based on their own quality and merits rather than what I thought the band should be or should do (Deep Purple's Purpendicular for example, but that's another story for another day).

Five stars easily. Stands side by side with Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries as Opeth's best.

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 784 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I had very complimentary things to say about Opeth's previous album Heritage; in fact, I think I said that it is pretty much my favorite of this band's many excellent works.

That is, until I let the lush, emotive, dark, nuanced, and all together captivating experience of Pale Communion sink in.

I'm going to just say it: this is probably the best Opeth album to date, and for a band with a constant string of prog highlights over the past 15 years, that's saying something. Pale Communion shows the band topping themselves once again with what is their most textured, subtle, and beautiful album yet. The moments of song writing class and instrumental virtuosity here are beyond count, from the heavy opening and aggressive playing of the opening track, the sweeping drama and myriad tempo and tonal changes of the epic "Moon Above, Sun Below," to the final melancholy sustains of the closing "Faith in Others". Songs are intense and mellow and soaring and delicate and cryptic and poetic and memorable all at once.

The band plays incomparably well, especially the rhythm section; bassist Mendez gives what may be host most interesting and melodic performance yet. Svalberg's mellotron and keyboards are achingly well utilized, giving the album a very classic prog sound without sacrificing the dark and brooding tone of the band. Akerfeldt's vocals are simply smashing, perhaps his best yet, especially during the moments of crescendo that punctuates the poetic melancholy of the lyrics. Simply outstanding playing from each member. They've created an exciting, engaging, and brilliantly executed record.

Pale Communion shows Opeth drifting more and more from the death-metal harshness of their early releases, yet not the spark of energy that helped make those albums so great. Maybe the growls and electric devastation will return in subsequent works, but I am very happy that they've taken this direction recently; it's created genuinely excellent musical experiences, with Pale Communion being what may be impossible to top. Not to be missed!

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 784 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by yair010390

3 stars For me, what is missing is the jump the band in some of their songs were announcing. In the parts when the rhythm and melody are soft and slow, the obscure melancholic background is great. The problem, I believe, is that it left you with empty hands. I mean, it is like if the song were promising something that never arrive. Thats why after a while I got bored hearing the same tune over and over again. Some parts where interesting, I really enjoy hearing that creative moments particullary with the guitar and drums. But it do not last to much when it turned again to the same melody.

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 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 1092 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 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*)

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