Review Summary: Damnation is Opeth's most mellow and progressive album to date. It's also better for doing so.
Since the old review has dissapeared, I have taken it upon myself to make another review for Opeth's Damnation
Mikael Akerfeldt - Vocals, Guitar
Peter Lindgren - Guitar
Martin Mendez - Bass Guitar
Martin Lopez - Drums
Steven Wilson*- Vocals, Mellotrons, and Keyboards
*Steven Wilson is not a regular band member
Well, where do I begin with Opeth? It's hard to describe everything about this band without going on for ages, but I'll do my best. This band has really made a mark on the modern metal scene with their constant ability to make amazing albums. Three of their albums (Still Life
, Blackwater Park
, and Deliverance
) have been said by many to be masterpieces. For the most part, I would agree with that statement. Every member in the band shows their talent without making the songs boring (like Dream Theater).
Damnation and Deliverance were made to be a back-to-back double album force, much like System of a Down's Mezmerize and Hypnotize. Deliverance was made to be the heavier half of the two, while this album was to make up for the other one's lack of clean material by making only clean songs. This album only has one song with a distorted guitar in it, suprisingly. This is not what you would expect from your average metal band, but it's great that Opeth was willing to experiment with their sound and pull off another great album.
The songs are all clean tracks often loaded with lovely finger picked guitar riffs and crooning vocals. Mikael Akerfeldt has really improved vocally since their debut album, Orchid
. I know many Opeth fans that used to complain about his older clean voice on past albums, but by now he has one of the best, if not the best clean voice that I've ever heard from a metal vocalist.
The rhythm section has always delivered a solid performance on past albums, and they certainly don't let up on this album just because the songs are slower. Lopez actually goes beyond what he normally does with his drumming and fills the albums with technical beats and some very fast fills. It's quite impressive and fun to listen to. Mendez also backs up the band with some very groovy bass lines and occasional fills that make the album that much better.
A tremendous asset to some of the Opeth albums is the fact that Steven Wilson has produced and plays in the album. In case you don't know who Steven Wilson is, he is the master behind the progressive band Porcupine Tree. His keyboard work certainly adds to the creepy and often depressing feel of the album, especially on songs like "In My Time of Need". You'll also be able to hear his enjoyable vocals from time to time. Wilson makes the album go from great to superb.
What I also really like about this album is that the band didn't just make another "normal" Opeth album. Their past works have balanced out heavy and clean to make some of modern metal's best songs, but this album strayed away from that. I like a band that experiments with new sounds because who wants to hear the same album eight times in a row? I know I don't.
In My Time Of Need
-- Tremendous clean songs
-- Improved clean vocals
-- A very tight rhythm section
-- Steven Wilson's additions to the band
-- Great production quality
-- Die hard metal fans wouldn't like the fact that there isn't a heavy song on here.
Final Rating: 4.5/5