Release date: 20 August 2014
Style: Progressive rock

Rating:

7.5 | 88 votes

Owners:

60 have it
204 want it


01. Eternal Rains Will Come
02. Cusp Of Eternity
03. Moon Above, Sun Below
04. Elysian Woes
05. Goblin
06. River
07. Voice Of Treason
08. Faith In Others
09. Atonement [live] [Japanese bonus]
10. Demon Of The Fall [live] [Japanese bonus]

Review
Lyrics (8)


Line-up
Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt - vocals, guitars
Joakim Svalberg - keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Fredrik Åkesson - guitars
Martin "Axe" Axenrot - drums
Martin Mendez - bass

Session musicians
Steven John Wilson - backing vocals

Guest musicians
Martin Lopez - drums


Additional info
Produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt
Mixed by Steven Wilson

Staff review by
R'Vannith

Rating:
N/A
Opeth have softened their sound. This is old news, and this is also an old sound. Pale Communion is their sophomore in a retrograde and vintage style of progressive rock, yet it remains poised with their distinctive craftsmanship. The question arises as to whether this record builds upon the band's efforts in Heritage. It does.

Read more ››
published 20.08.2014 | Comments (37)

Found in 21 lists
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Lit. - 20.07.2014 at 15:41  
  ^Gotta love those fanboys.
Lethrokai - 20.07.2014 at 16:15  
Rating: 8
Written by Hex_Omega on 20.07.2014 at 11:25

What... sorry but I disagree with you. We have cool instrumentals on Heritage, catchy Slither, quite heavy The Devils Orchard, Doomish-Folkish Famine, atmospheric and epic Folklore... Pale Communion sound less varied to me.

Welp, I guess that disagreement is mutual then. For me, Slither was hardly catchy and Folklore just seemed to just have too little to it to be considered "epic". Will agree with Famine though, that was my favourite track from Heritage, since it actually gave me a bit of a different flavour. Heritage just seemed to be an album that, while I'd consider it to be good overall, just droned on a little too much for my liking. Many of the songs didn't really have an identity for me.

With Pale Communion however, I immediately seem to recognise and distinguish songs like Eternal Rains Will Come (with its folk-ish proggy tones), Voice Of Treason (with its immediately recognisable drumbeat), Faith In Others (with its strings and the production on Mikael's voice) and especially songs like River and Goblin, which are both something quite new from Opeth altogether.

That being said, its probably down to taste and preference anyway, but Pale Communion definitely has a lot more standout to me than Heritage did. Don't get me wrong, I loved some of Heritage's more standout tracks such as Folklore and Lines In My Hand, but PC just works better for me overall.
Lethrokai - 20.07.2014 at 16:17  
Rating: 8
Written by Ganondox on 20.07.2014 at 11:42

The only song I've heard from the album is Cusp of Eternity, and it doesn't remind of 70's prog at all, just of general progressive metal in terms of structure, riffing, ect. Sure, it's not the heaviest song ever, but I'm getting much more of Symphony X vibe than a Kansas one. Anyway, I'm fine with Opeth not using growls or even stop being metal, but while I like this song is far worse than anything on Damnation, and likewise isn't as interesting as most their material.

Eh, I personally considered Cusp Of Eternity to be the worst song on the album, and was actually low in hopes after I heard it. That being said, I'm quite liking the album overall so far, so take from that what you will.
Hex_Omega - 20.07.2014 at 16:27  
Rating: 8
Written by Lethrokai on 20.07.2014 at 16:17

Written by Ganondox on 20.07.2014 at 11:42

The only song I've heard from the album is Cusp of Eternity, and it doesn't remind of 70's prog at all, just of general progressive metal in terms of structure, riffing, ect. Sure, it's not the heaviest song ever, but I'm getting much more of Symphony X vibe than a Kansas one. Anyway, I'm fine with Opeth not using growls or even stop being metal, but while I like this song is far worse than anything on Damnation, and likewise isn't as interesting as most their material.

Eh, I personally considered Cusp Of Eternity to be the worst song on the album, and was actually low in hopes after I heard it. That being said, I'm quite liking the album overall so far, so take from that what you will.

At least here I agree with you. Cusp Of Eternity is the worst song on PC for me.
RaVeN - 20.07.2014 at 17:18  
  The album is good, much better than heritage , the melodies are nice, and some symphonic elements coming in as well, which is new for opeth. But something that bothers me a lot is mikael's singing. It seems to be getting worse by the minute. That or it just doesn't fit this style of 70's prog rock. If you listen to Elysian woes for instance, it's like they just picked someone off the street and asked him to sing this without any rehearsing.
I don't mind that the growls are gone, in fact Mike's singing on songs like Face of Melinda, Benighted and anything off Damnation is really good. But here it just doesn't do it for me. I feel like some songs on this could have been just instrumentals without any singing.
Ganondox - 21.07.2014 at 04:24  
 
Written by Lethrokai on 20.07.2014 at 16:17

Written by Ganondox on 20.07.2014 at 11:42

The only song I've heard from the album is Cusp of Eternity, and it doesn't remind of 70's prog at all, just of general progressive metal in terms of structure, riffing, ect. Sure, it's not the heaviest song ever, but I'm getting much more of Symphony X vibe than a Kansas one. Anyway, I'm fine with Opeth not using growls or even stop being metal, but while I like this song is far worse than anything on Damnation, and likewise isn't as interesting as most their material.

Eh, I personally considered Cusp Of Eternity to be the worst song on the album, and was actually low in hopes after I heard it. That being said, I'm quite liking the album overall so far, so take from that what you will.


Well, it's the only song from I've heard, so how does the rest compare musically? For example, does it have more of 70's prog sound?
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.07.2014 at 04:27  
Rating: 6
Written by Ganondox on 21.07.2014 at 04:24


Well, it's the only song from I've heard, so how does the rest compare musically? For example, does it have more of 70's prog sound?

Quite different from all the others. It's very straightforward whereas the others are far proggier and more complex. It's the best song on the album by far to me.
Ganondox - 21.07.2014 at 08:00  
 
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 21.07.2014 at 04:27

Written by Ganondox on 21.07.2014 at 04:24


Well, it's the only song from I've heard, so how does the rest compare musically? For example, does it have more of 70's prog sound?

Quite different from all the others. It's very straightforward whereas the others are far proggier and more complex. It's the best song on the album by far to me.


Okay, listened to Goblin and River, and not only do I know see where the 70's prog sound is, but also I have to agree with you. While neither of those songs were bad (and they sounded quite different) simple prog metal is much better than extended aimless proggery. I'm fine with Opeth doing prog rock, but this just isn't as impactful as Damnnation. Not bad by any means, but not as good as older stuff.
Jacob33 - 30.07.2014 at 14:00  
  Okay, after 5 or 6 spins of Pale Communion I can say it's an album worth listening to..needless to say, it's too soon to evaluate it reasonably, I hope it will grow on me in the course of time...but for now , I consider it the best LP since GR.
I've been with Opeth since 1997 and it has always been my top band, this is for sure. I really think they will never go back to the era of SL and BWP, speaking in terms of music quality. Those albums were outstanding efforts, hard to be overtaken. This is as always up to one's taste but for me those are hard facts (and sad).
Anyway, Pale Communion seems to be more interesting than previous Heritage, more vibrant and colourful, especially when it comes to melodies..indeed, there are decent tunes on the entire album, at last! I don't blame them for crafting such a record like Heritage, but for me it was incomplete and very mediocre, the new one is far better !!
Cheers!
Dentura - 31.07.2014 at 03:52  
Rating: 8 I know it's been leaked, but I don't want to hear anything until the album comes out soon (reserved my copy at FYE). Hopefully I really like it.
Troy Killjoy - 31.07.2014 at 03:54  
  I feel like it's been so long since I bothered giving an Opeth album a complete listen through. I know this isn't the best place to start in their career but the last thing I heard in full was probably Blackwater Park. Part of me wants to work my way backwards through their discography.
Ilham - 31.07.2014 at 04:04  
  Why?
Troy Killjoy - 31.07.2014 at 04:16  
  Eh, why not. My taste in music has changed a lot since I even bothered giving these guys a serious chance. I kind of liked Blackwater Park but for the all negative things I have to say about the band, I'm not sure I can back it all up. It's like when I used to talk shit about System of a Down based on what I thought of them when I first heard them, but then my tastes changed and I love their sound.

I'm not saying that will happen with Opeth. But if it does then that would be cool. It would be even cooler if I actually managed to like these retro prog albums. Might open up a new area of interest for me musically.
Ilham - 31.07.2014 at 04:19  
  No I know, I have been doing a lot of that lately, especially after such a long break. But from the little I heard these last two months, it seriously killed my motivation. I already have so much to catch up, and I would be extremely disappointed again if I gave it an nth chance for nothing.
deadone - 31.07.2014 at 04:54  
  Retro prog doesn't interest me. I'll stick to their more metal moments.
Matus Dust - 01.08.2014 at 11:57  
 
Written by RaVeN on 20.07.2014 at 17:18

The album is good, much better than heritage , the melodies are nice, and some symphonic elements coming in as well, which is new for opeth. But something that bothers me a lot is mikael's singing. It seems to be getting worse by the minute. That or it just doesn't fit this style of 70's prog rock. If you listen to Elysian woes for instance, it's like they just picked someone off the street and asked him to sing this without any rehearsing.
I don't mind that the growls are gone, in fact Mike's singing on songs like Face of Melinda, Benighted and anything off Damnation is really good. But here it just doesn't do it for me. I feel like some songs on this could have been just instrumentals without any singing.


I can see where you're coming from regarding the vocals. There are parts on this album that remind me more of Damnation and I was delighted to hear that, however some parts are more like The Devils Orchard, where his vocals could be described (for the lack of better word) annoying. The way he goes "God Is Dead" or slightly higher singing on that song. Meh. I still like the album though.
Sword_Chant - 05.08.2014 at 17:38  
  Well after a first spin I found most of the album pretty boring, hopefully it'll grow on me more like Watershed did...

Edit: It has grown on me after some more listening. Sometimes you get those albums that you listen to depending on what mood you're in at the time, i'd say this album is kinda like that. For some reason it reminds me of Damnation - mellow but also really prog rock as well. Overall it's a nice album, though probably not quite as heavy as I usually tend to enjoy from most metal bands.
Progfiggit - 06.08.2014 at 13:39  
  Stuff like Cusp ERWC grow immediately, they're catchy and groovy, but I was blinded to other gems. Cusp faded from my playlist easily, maybe because of Mikael's 'experimental' moaning vocals ( -_- ), though Eternal Rains is great. Could've been longer, but I love it; the bassline, Axenrot's drumming, the superb keys, the vocals, the "reaching to the surface I seeeeeee yoouuuuu" at the end. My feelings identify, too, with "Elysian Woes" and "Faith in Others", they're top-notch Damnation-esque tracks. "Faith in Others" is very effective and honest, and quite new territory for Opeth. "Moon Above, Sun Below", "River" and "Goblin" are there exactly for prog fanatics, they're three very, very well-done prog-rock tracks. Loved them. Goblin is especially remarkable, I couldn't stop replaying it. "River" is almighty, but it sounds a bit like "Trains" by Porcupine Tree, though I could be wrong.

The one I liked the least is "Voice of Treason". It's catchy yeah, but maybe it has to do with my crushed expectations at the string section. There's no complexity nor something attractive / original whatever with the string section's melody there (E-E-E-E-F-E-E), but it's still bearable and I liked the section from 4:50 onwards.

All in all, Pale Communion is one of Opeth's better works since 2005; to me I find it better than Watershed and Heritage and (sorry, you'll hate me for this, but you're entitled to your opinion) Damnation. Never cared about this "growls" debate, if anyone's talking about it. It's much better to me to see them grow in this direction than continue with works that "are not that inspired" like Watershed - which was begging to be prog-rock, anyway. For complaints on brutality, there's a ton of growl-and-sing bands everywhere, but I think Opeth deserves to continue exploring other sounds.
John Shock - 06.08.2014 at 21:05  
 
Quote:
For complaints on brutality, there's a ton of growl-and-sing bands everywhere, but I think Opeth deserves to continue exploring other sounds.

Quite agree with you, i like the based growls on Opeth but i think they should keep exploring other things, such as Prog Rock, which is perfecly normal, reading those arguments Akerfeldt has towards what metal is now...which i agree with him too...metal genre (mainly productions) are getting boring and lame and too polished, in my opinion...still like them, but not that often...Watershed has a little bit of that, but a little bit of Prog-Rock 70's production, i think...low volume, pure sounds (real instruments sounding like instrument sounds)...i think you got the idea...

But that's just my opinion!!! I will be smashed with comments by those retardeds who think Opeth have always to have growlings, or everything (including Opeth) has to be always metal!!!
For me that doesn't work!!!
Changing is good!!!
Specially when it's well, well done...they keep nailing it, imo honestly!!!

Sorry for my bad english!
Erik M. - 09.08.2014 at 16:43  
Rating: 7
Written by Troy Killjoy on 31.07.2014 at 03:54

I feel like it's been so long since I bothered giving an Opeth album a complete listen through. I know this isn't the best place to start in their career but the last thing I heard in full was probably Blackwater Park. Part of me wants to work my way backwards through their discography.


I highly recommend checking out everything except for Heritage. Aside from that album and Pale Communion, their discography is brilliant. Check my list, just don't pay much attention to the ridiculously high scores I've handed out. Listened to most of Opeth's stuff when I was just getting into metal and the top 5 especially is special to me.
Erik M. - 09.08.2014 at 17:40  
Rating: 7
Written by John Shock on 06.08.2014 at 21:05

metal genre (mainly productions) are getting boring and lame and too polished, in my opinion...still like them, but not that often...


So what are you still doing here?

And, and for the record, I totally disagree with Mikael's opinion on metal. Opeth's progressive metal is far more unique-sounding and original than their progressive rock, I'd say.

This album is good though, definitely an improvement upon Heritage. Still their two weakest albums.
Sorrow - 19.08.2014 at 22:31  
  Album being streamed here http://www.guitarworld.com/opeth-stream-new-album-pale-communion
Dentura - 20.08.2014 at 01:49  
Rating: 8 Finally listened to the whole thing after putting it off since the initial leak. This one's a bit of a grower for me. It's still quite solid though I think even Heritage hooked me a bit more than this one does initially. I need to listen to it a couple more times to hone down my thoughts on it.
MaiSweettShaadow - 20.08.2014 at 02:00  
Rating: 2 Village people + King Crimson Rippoff = This.
Super_Greg - 20.08.2014 at 05:49  
 
Written by Erik M. on 09.08.2014 at 16:43

Written by Troy Killjoy on 31.07.2014 at 03:54

I feel like it's been so long since I bothered giving an Opeth album a complete listen through. I know this isn't the best place to start in their career but the last thing I heard in full was probably Blackwater Park. Part of me wants to work my way backwards through their discography.


I highly recommend checking out everything except for Heritage. Aside from that album and Pale Communion, their discography is brilliant. Check my list, just don't pay much attention to the ridiculously high scores I've handed out. Listened to most of Opeth's stuff when I was just getting into metal and the top 5 especially is special to me.


I feel the same way. I listened to Opeth heavily when I was just getting into metal, and I feel as if I am biased because all of their earlier work is too dear to me. xD
whatsacow - 20.08.2014 at 07:04  
  I feel like this is the current bandwagon for bands like this. It's just sad that out of Riverside's and Steve Wilson's version of the same album, Opeth's is the most bland and uninspired.
Dima - 20.08.2014 at 08:27  
Rating: 7 Certainly more accessible than Heritage.
TheBasilisk - 20.08.2014 at 09:46  
Rating: 7 Better than Heritage so it's second worst opeth album.
PocketMetal - 20.08.2014 at 10:08  
Rating: 5 I don't care if they wanna do prog rock, the problem is they can't do it right. This is just underwhelming and I know many bands, new and old, who can do A LOT better. Pain of Salvation changed their sound, but they delivered ... Opeth just failed miserably. I don't think this is better than Heritage, Heritage still had some identity of its own, this is just being bad at copying others.
Hex_Omega - 20.08.2014 at 11:22  
Rating: 8 A missing link between Watershed and Heritage. Probably their worst album for me... but it's still quite good.
Orion79 - 20.08.2014 at 14:39  
Rating: 4 Great band of elevator prog
Death - 20.08.2014 at 15:31  
  Another weird-ass album from Akerfeldt, which he shouldn't have released under Opeth's title.
The Philosopher - 20.08.2014 at 15:57  
Rating: 9 It's better than Heritage (easily), Damnation and Watershed.
ManiacBlasphemer - 20.08.2014 at 15:57  
Rating: 5 I am not a general fan of prog rock (or anything prog with few exceptions), but I also find this album to be totally uninspired. This album does not good songs, but moments of awesomeness that are unfortunately covered by uninspied and lack of creativity in the song-writing department. While it is slightly better than Heritage, that does not say much about the quality of this work. TPC is just a useless and pointless attempt at redefining a sound that had pretty much no vulnerabilities and this is proven by the string o over 6 great albums this band managed to release.

Akerfeldt needs a damn long... loooooong break I fear.
quisableed - Today at 17:57  
Rating: 5
Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 20.08.2014 at 15:57

I am not a general fan of prog rock (or anything prog with few exceptions), but I also find this album to be totally uninspired. This album does not good songs, but moments of awesomeness that are unfortunately covered by uninspied and lack of creativity in the song-writing department. While it is slightly better than Heritage, that does not say much about the quality of this work. TPC is just a useless and pointless attempt at redefining a sound that had pretty much no vulnerabilities and this is proven by the string o over 6 great albums this band managed to release.

Akerfeldt needs a damn long... loooooong break I fear.

I am a huge progressive fan and I can say that Opeth has a completely different place in my view of music. (This view includes metal, jazz, blues) but I'm sorry. This is just a disappointment.
Angry Chair - Today at 18:39  
Rating: 8 I urge people to listen to this several times atleast before they make judment. The first time i heard it i was majorly disspaointed and thought it was by far opeths worst album but since then it has grown on me soo much i would rate it 8.5 (very good) now. I feel some people hate it before they have even heard it
RavenEffect - Today at 18:48  
Rating: 8
Written by Angry Chair on Today at 18:39

I urge people to listen to this several times atleast before they make judment. The first time i heard it i was majorly disspaointed and thought it was by far opeths worst album but since then it has grown on me soo much i would rate it 8.5 (very good) now. I feel some people hate it before they have even heard it


You have to be reasonable: If I listen to something I dont really like, I'm probably not going to give it another spin unless I feel It needs a second one.

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