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Opeth - Pale Communion CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 1117 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |


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