Opeth
Damnation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (74 Reviews)
November 25th, 2013 | 21 replies | 1,047 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A beautifully recorded progressive rock album from the progressive metal titans.

It's no secret that Opeth is an extremely well known and respected band in the genre of death metal. As someone who is not a fan of death metal, Opeth was one of those bands that I really wanted to love because of the overwhelming talent that are capable of. Blackwater Park has often been called a masterpiece on sputnik and outside of it as well. Once I read that the band had an album that did not contain their characteristic death metal elements, I rejoiced. Damnation is a beautifully recorded progressive rock album that is incredibly bleak while still being soothing and peaceful at the same time.

Damnation marks the third time that Opeth collaborated with Steve Wilson and he is the reason this album sounds so great. Everything is recorded so beautifully with no instrument having the spotlight over the other and whenever that spotlight it needed, the instrument is at just the right volume. It really shows Steve Wilson’s talent as a producer and he should have been commended for that. “Death Whispered A Lullaby” has lyrics that are even written by Wilson and sung by Mikael which is both a positive and a negative. The song is very Porcupine Tree like which is fantastic, but at the same time, this is an Opeth album and not a Porcupine Tree album. Thankfully, most of the songs on the album have a very unique and somber vibe to them that are extremely inspired by 70s progressive rock.

The album opens with “Windowpane” and it is without a doubt the best song on the album. The incredibly gentle guitar riffs scattered throughout have a very bleak yet calming effect and Mikael’s clean vocals are very well done. The beauty continues into the next track and it also showcases some of the record’s catchiness. “In My Time Of Need” features some fantastic verses and an overwhelmingly touching chorus with Mikael singing “And I should contemplate this change/To ease the pain/And I should step out of the rain/And turn away.” The song is has some great effects in it and every texture collides perfectly.

Make no mistake the overall tone of the album is quite soothing, but it also tends to be incredibly bleak too. “Closure” contains a sense of dread that most tracks on Damnation tend to not convey as a result of its mysterious guitar and sorrowful lyrics. There is even a track entitled “Hope Leaves” strangely enough if that doesn’t convince anyone who is reading this of the record's tone I don't know what will. Thankfully, “Hope Leaves” is also another highlight of the record because of its occasionally Pink Floyd like style of guitar and Mikael’s extremely gentle performance. He really holds his own on this record and he really shows that clean vocals are no problem to him as opposed to his death growls.

The record does not falter until the very last track of the album. “To Rid The Disease” is another catchy track with fantastic piano melodies and some stand out bass lines while “Ending Credits” makes for a very well written instrumental track. Unfortunately, the final half of the album is weighed down by the incredibly tedious “Weakness.” The song is basically the same boring keyboard melody over and over again with nothing substantial happening in between. It is a strangely uneventful track and it really disappoints considering it is the album closer.

Despite any gripes, Damnation makes for a great addition into Opeth’s gigantic discography dominated by progressive death metal albums. It definitely is not the best modern progressive rock album out there, but there is no denying that the album is well recorded and brings incredibly emotional vibes. For anyone wary of trying this out due it not being the genre of death metal, simply have an open mind. Due to the fact that Opeth possesses a staggering amount of talent, Damnation will impress you just as much as Blackwater Park.



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user ratings (2963)
Chart.
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excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is prob in the 4.1-4.3 area for me. Any mistakes I may have missed please point them out thanks guys!

JS19
November 25th 2013



4154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ghost neg wtf

Digging: Sadistik - Ultraviolet

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmmm gotta love those people who don't even point out what they don't like whatevs. How's my rev JS

KILL
November 25th 2013



70379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

prog got negged cos you didnt mention camel BRO

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh shit I forgot I'll do that next time! Lol

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2013



9597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Can't say I fully agree, but this is quite a nice review. Good work, man :]

Wadlez
November 25th 2013



3780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can always rely on Kill to mention Camel or Rush at any random moment.

KILL
November 25th 2013



70379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well its not actually random because this album is heavily influenced by camel and if you knew anything you'd be kissin me boots

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha I know it's influenced by 70s prog a lot but didn't know which in particular :D

Thanks FiveLeaves!

tommygun
November 26th 2013



23508 Comments


pos

Digging: Obliteration - Black Death Horizon

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013



4690 Comments


Review was well written, pos. Not sure why someone negged this.

Haven't gotten around to listening to this one yet unfortunately, but I will try to next chance I get.

Digging: Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestite

Rowan5215
November 26th 2013



24415 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd
Love Weakness, amazing atmosphere on that one

Digging: Dot Hacker - How's Your Process? (Work)

climactic
November 26th 2013



18307 Comments


jamming windowpane

NeroCorleone80
November 26th 2013



28339 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review Mongi. Summary though should be prog metal titans

SitarHero
November 26th 2013



4602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey mongi, you know I got love you bro, which is why Im gonna give it to you straight. There's a lot of room for improvement in this review.

"As someone who is not a fan of death metal, Opeth was one of those bands that I really wanted to love because of the overwhelming talent that are capable of. "

Talent is something that people have, but it's not something that they can be capable of.

"It really shows Steve Wilson’s talent as a producer and he should have been commended for that."

It's probably better to say he 'should be commended' rather than 'should have been commended'. Otherwise this sentence implies that Steven Wilson has been snubbed.

"lyrics that are even written by Wilson and sang by Mikael which is both a positive and a negative."

SUNG* by Mikael

"Thankfully, most of the songs on the album have a very unique and somber vibe to them that are extremely inspired by 70s progressive rock."

The 'thankfully' at the beginning of the sentence makes it seem like it's a counter-point, but no point precedes it, making it a non-sequitur.

"Make no mistake the overall tone of the album is quite soothing, but it also tends to be incredibly bleak too."

This is the third time you've mentioned bleak yet calming or bleak yet soothing. Use a synonym because it sounds like you're repeating yourself.

"“Closure” contains a sense of dread that most tracks on Damnation tend to not convey as a result of its mysterious guitar and sorrowful lyrics. There is even a track entitled “Hope Leaves” strangely enough if that doesn’t convince anyone who is reading this."

These two sentences make no sense. You've mentioned how bleak the album is so the dread in Closure is not surprising. And what is Hope Leaves supposed to be convincing us of?!

"He really holds his own on this record and he really shows that clean vocals are no problem to him as opposed to his death growls."

You used 'really' one too many times in the sentence.

"For anyone weary of trying this out due it not being the genre of death metal, simply have an open mind."

For anyone WARY* of trying this out...

Overall, the review seemed a little jumbled and unfocused. I'm sorry to be such a nitpicker about this, but I really think this is one of your weaker recent reviews and that you can do better. :-)

SitarHero
November 26th 2013



4602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, and the ghost neg wasn't me.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys and none taken sitar there's always room for improvement. And I guess would prog metal be considered their primary genre? I'll change that.

NeroCorleone80
November 26th 2013



28339 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aside from Mikael's growls there isnt that much death metal in Opeth. They're just an extreme prog
metal band.

JS19
November 26th 2013



4154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review man, you are getting better. Might even get a bit more noticed if you reviewed some new stuff, instead of stuff that already has a load of reviews, but it's your call

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013



8977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The only thing new that came out in the past couple weeks that I know of and doesn't have a review is daughtrys new album. I actually wasn't to review that for that reason but I don't have time to really focus on something new until friday



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