Review Summary: It was expected that Mikael Akerfeldt would eventually expand upon his love of 70's progressive rock through Opeth. What wasn't expected was one the metal world's most unique and emotional albums of all time.
At some point in our lives, we all encounter a feeling of sorrow. Those who have encountered some particularly difficult times in their lives can especially relate. Damnation is defined as the state of being condemned to eternal punishment in Hell or condemnation to everlasting punishment. How would you react to such a thing? Many emotions may initially come to mind…anger, resentment, misery, and confusion spring to mind. Most of us, considering the nature of the damnation, would immediately sink into a state of depression. This state of melancholy produces the darkest, most discouraging thoughts possible in one’s life and mind.
is the perfect title for Opeth’s seventh album, an experimental record delving into the band’s interest in 70’s progressive rock. Damnation
is the musical embodiment of the feelings one experiences while shunned in such a way. Throughout the gloomy clean guitar riffs and melotronic effects, There is a wound that's always bleeding , There is a road I'm always walking , And I know you'll never return to this place
echoes eloquently amidst the music. No artist has ever created such a beautiful yet hauntingly perfect incarnation of a terrible emotion.
As vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt always held great interest in 70’s progressive, this album was a long time coming. Mikael favors his soothing, clean singing voice over his ferocious growls for the full 43 minutes. With help from good friend and famed producer Steven Wilson on tracks such as Death Whispered a Lullaby
was given a flavor that past Opeth albums had never seen. Songs range from bluesy to melancholic with great variation in between. One of the best traits of Opeth has always been their ability to create sounds that invoke deep thoughts and images, almost on a spiritual level. On a personal note, this album above all others has affected me greatly. Listening to the melodies and words have made me contemplate who I am as a person, where I’m going, and why I’m here. It’s made me think about my relationship with someone very special to me and was a great incarnation of the emotions I felt when that person left.
The music of Damnation
is a low, subtle sound with steady drum and bass rhythms, complimented with guitar melodies and primarily the voice of Mikael. The entire album is based mainly around his voice aside from the songs Ending Credits
, a blues/rock instrumental (I IV V just never gets old), and Weakness
, an ambient song created with Wilson’s melotrons. At times the entire band comes together in songs like Windowpane
to create a gentle yet incredibly powerful sonic force with a wide array of styled results. The former of those also excels in creating simple yet beautiful guitar harmonies and melodies with a largely instrumental basis. In between, the album features the haunting track Hope Leaves
, arguably one of the saddest songs ever written in this century. In My Time of Need
and To Rid the Disease
complete the package with a somber yet serene soundscape of melodic riffs and rhythmic choruses.
is unlike anything any metal band was thought capable of. At the end of the last song, if no part of the album has hit you emotionally, you weren’t listening.