Opeth - Damnation

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Koch Records
Catalog Number: KOC-CD-8652
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:18:00

For the second time this year, I'm slack-jawed. First, NiL dazzled me with their marvelous Quarante Jours Sur le Sinai; now, Opeth has knocked me out with Damnation (the ?companion? album to last year's Deliverance), a darkly beautiful album that shows there's more to the group than just pounding death metal.

Opeth has always shown a real knack for the softer progressive moments, normally including them as movements within the structures of fearsome metal epics. On Damnation, Opeth eschew death metal in toto, opting instead to explore a more subtle approach using acoustic guitars, mellotron (courtesy of producer Steven Wilson), and Mikael Akerfeldt's emotive vocals. The combined talents of Opeth and Wilson are put to the test here, balancing layers of instruments and vocals to create a deceptively simple, melancholy atmosphere, and both succeed admirably. Plucked-string guitar melodies serve as the framework for most of the songs; underneath the two Martins (Lopez and Mendez) construct alternately simple and complex rhythmic foundations, while Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren adorn the acoustic lattice with mournfully elegant electric solos. Akerfeldt's wondrous vocals hang clearly in the fore, like shimmering water droplets suspended on a spider's web, while producer Wilson adds spot-on (uncanny?) harmonies and lends a somber gloom with accents from the mellotron and synthesizer. Oddly dynamic arrangements demand strict attention from the listener, especially during ?Closure?, which dances to a tabla-driven, Middle-eastern style conclusion.

A daring gamble on the Opeth's part, Damnation is a huge winner that pays off handsomely for discriminating rock listeners. Diehard death metalheads may hate it, but progressive rock fanatics will find plenty to love and should definitely give Damnation some serious attention.

Windowpane (7:45) / In My Time of Need (5:49) / Death Whispered A Lullaby (5:49) / Closure (5:15) / Hope Leaves (4:30) / To Rid The Disease (6:21) / Ending Credits (3:39) / Weakness (4:10)

Mikael Åkerfeldt - guitars, vocals
Peter Lindgren - guitars
Martin Lopez - drums
Martin Mendez - bass

Orchid (1995)
Morningrise (1996)
My Arms Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)
Blackwater Park (2001)
Deliverance (2002)
Damnation (2003)
Ghost Reveries (2005)
Lamentations: Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire 2003 (2006)
Opeth Box Set (2006)
Blackwater Park/Deliverance (2007)
The Roundhouse Tapes: Opeth Live (2007)
Watershed (2008)
The Candlelight Years (2008)

Lamenations: Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin SE

Added: July 13th 2002
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website: www.opeth.com
Hits: 662
Language: english


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