Opeth
Damnation


5.0
classic

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
March 23rd, 2007 | 1250 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Opeth softens up their sound, completely eliminating the extreme metal influences from their song writing. Needless to say, the 43 minute progressive rock offering is among the greatest albums released over the last few years.

As I sit in my bedroom, writing the opening sentences of this review, I take a look out the window. The skies are cloudy, grey, and gloomy. The street is quite, dull, and empty. After the long winter, it's quite a familiar, unwelcome scene. When I gaze upon the cover art of Opeth's 2003 album, Damnation, I get the same sort of feeling. Like the scenery outside my window (Well, actually the clouds are kind of clearing up now. Whoops), Damnation's art conveys a bleak, grey, unpleasant picture. Yet (unlike my street), it has a mysterious feel to it. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what it's trying to depict, but it does seem to reflect the emotions of the album. Often portrayed as an experimental record, Damnation isn't so much a change in musical ideals for Opeth, but it does introduce a new sound. The polar opposite of Deliverance in terms of delivery (pardon the pun); Damnation is a softer offering, void of any distortion or death metal growls. Yet despite this, Damnation still manages to be my favourite album from Opeth.

As I mentioned earlier, Damnation is not totally different from the band's previous outings. For me, just as in the past, the most important part of the album is the emotion that Opeth crafts and delivers. Even without the extreme metal influences, Opeth still manages to produce fantastic arrangements, which make use of soloing (electric guitar is used in Windowpane), harmonies, as well as enjoyable acoustic and clean guitar elements which draw in the listener and do not really let go for the entirety of the album. Songs from Hope Leaves to Closure to the four minute instrumental Ending Credits all feature impressive guitar work. Both guitarists, Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren, play a series of complex riff work which, due to the subtlety in which the guitars were laid out, feels very simple. Now how about these emotions I've mentioned. Opeth's seventh full length studio effort covers a variety of feelings, the most notable in the 43 minute recording is that of deep regret and sorrow. But when listening to Damnation I feel a sense of appreciation. It's a very powerful record in this sense, especially the album's closer Weakness, with its depressing, melancholic mellotrons.

Perhaps the most impressive physical element in Opeth's musical arsenal is the vocals of Mikael Akerfeldt. As I had mentioned earlier, his powerful screams and growls were not made use of during the entirety of the album. So instead, Mikael has to rely on that of his cleaner singing. And I must say, his efforts here are quite superb. Much like the guitars, Akerfeldt's voice is soft and crooning, evoking similar emotions to what the guitars create. Some of the strongest vocal offerings I've heard from Mikael, they fit the attitudes or Damnation exceedingly well. Sombre, soothing, calm, any of these words would be a fairly accurate description of what's to be heard from the Opeth frontman. To go with Akerfeldt's impressive performance is the lyrical element of Damnation. With lines such as "I can't see the meaning of this life I'm leading / I try to forget you as you forgot me / This time there is nothing left for you to take, this is goodbye" or "Weaker now, drawing fluid from me / You kill me / I'm not afraid of what you have just done / But of what you've just become" this is obviously the most frightening or depressing aspect of Damnation. But don't let negativity of the lyrics turn you off from the album, as they fit the direction of Damnation very well, and are very powerful underneath Mikael Akerfeldt's voice.

Originally to be released as a double-disk album with Deliverance, Damnation was pushed back a few months after the release of the former. Yet, this isn't a problem at all and in fact might have been a rather good thing. Throughout the entirety of the eight track, 43 minute album, Damnation holds its own rather well. The obvious progressive rock influences work exceedingly well with the emotional, intertwining sound Opeth employs, as tracks such as In My Time of Need, Windowpane and Hope Leaves show listeners. This is probably my favourite of the Opeth albums I have heard, even without the extreme metal influences, as the song writing is superb, the feel of the album is excellent, and the subtle yet complex performances are quite enjoyable. A definite classic which I wholeheartedly recommend.

Recommended Tracks:
In My Time of Need
Weakness
Hope Leaves
Windowpane



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user ratings (3063)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
March 23rd 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh noes another review praising Opeth.

Digging: Grimes - Visions

Two-Headed Boy
March 23rd 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Frankly, after hearing Ghost Reveries a couple of times, I can see why all the praise. I'd get more, but they're danged expensive.

Great work as always, Mike.

trustxdialect
March 23rd 2007


1502 Comments


Can someone get a song featured so I can hear it first?

And good review and such.

Angmar
March 23rd 2007


2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent, this album is awsome. The same can be said for your review. :thumb:This Message Edited On 03.23.07

antihippy
March 23rd 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is it just me, or are the solos in death whispered a lullaby fooking epic?

Angmar
March 23rd 2007


2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey Mike, did you notice your ranked as #1 on the site , congrats.

Shattered_Future
March 23rd 2007


1541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's great. Not perfect, but great.

SynGates
March 23rd 2007


2467 Comments


One of my favorite Opeth albums. Good Review.

actionfan32
March 23rd 2007


2 Comments


Great review of an incredible album, it's also one of my favorite Opeth releases.

trustxdialect
March 24th 2007


1502 Comments


This wasn't what I was expecting at all. I like it, a lot, but it's certainly not what I was expecting.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

MAN THIS ALBUM IS GREAT!!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their heavy stuff is better though mkay.

trustxdialect
March 24th 2007


1502 Comments


I like Blackwater Park hellalot.

edit: And yeah it's a lot better. Anything in particular I should get next?This Message Edited On 03.23.07

jrowa001
March 24th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^i recommend Still Life or just about any Opeth album. greatest band in the world (or at least my favorite ever).

great review for a beautiful album

trustxdialect
March 24th 2007


1502 Comments


^I'm actually downloading Still Life and Morningrise right now. I've already got BP, Ghost Reveries, and Damnation. What I've listened to so far has been fantastic.

jrowa001
March 24th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

morningrise is great too. i doubt there is an opeth album that isnt fantastic

Altmer
March 24th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, but it's not a 5 imo. Too many spots lapse on here. I don't like a couple tracks. Weakness for example.

However, most of this is really good. That drum pattern on Windowpane is wtf and In My Time Of Need, To Rid The Disease and Death Whispered A Lullaby are just too awesome.

TheHamburgerman
March 24th 2007


1297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Decent review. I actually expected more from the #1 reviewer of this site.

The album is just as your review, it's incredible enjoyable, but at times very boring.

Dethtrasher
March 24th 2007


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Congrats for being #1 ranking reviewer. :thumb:

Confessed2005
March 24th 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well done Mike Good review and further congrats for being #1.

I adore everything Opeth have ever released. They are quite possibly the most consistent band alive today and will continue to astound me forever it seems.





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