Rating:
9.0
Opeth - Damnation
22 April 2003


01. Windowpane
02. In My Time Of Need
03. Death Whispered A Lullaby
04. Closure
05. Hope Leaves
06. To Rid The Disease
07. Ending Credits
08. Weakness


Opeth is not something one can easily absorb in one listen. The band's music is complex, even when sounding as seemingly simple as it does on their latest release, Damnation, due to hit the streets on April 22. But those hearty enough to give it a chance are sure to be amply rewarded.

Damnation is the Swedish four-piece's follow up to last fall's Deliverance. The two albums were recorded simultaneously, in a span of time the band would usually allot for one release. However, any fears of a rush job at the expense of quality are hushed when one sits down to listen.

Where Deliverance attacks with Opeth's usual blend of progressive rock and black metal, Damnation allows the mellower side of their music to exclusively take center stage. Where vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt moves from melodious hymn to curdled growl on previous releases, on Damnation, he takes his clean vocals to the next level.

This album isn't something that will immediately grab you. Even I needed a few listens for it to truly open itself up. But, after those few listens, and a few more and a few more still, I can honestly say that this is some of the most beautiful music heard so far in 2003.

Damnation is not metal in the general sense. Head banging is put aside in favor of head-bobbing or head-swaying, contemplation favored to aggression.

Akerfeldt and guitarist Peter Lindgren, for the most part town down their distorted guitars, giving a much more vital role to the acoustic. Martin Lopez's drums have been stripped down, Martin Mendez's bass is even more apparent in the mix and the vocals never venture into black metal territory. There is so much to take in and so much to get out of each successive listen.

Another noticeable change is in song length. On the six-track Deliverance, most songs ended up somewhere in the realm of ten minutes. Morningrise, an earlier album for example, had a song that was over 20 minutes. Here, with the exception of the rich and subtle opener 'Windowpane', which is nearly eight minutes, and 'To Rid the Disease', featuring beautiful piano work from producer Steven Wilson, the other six-tracks do not go beyond six minutes.

Wilson has been a vital part of the band's continued musical progression, not only at the production helm for the last three albums, but with backing vocals and keyboard duties here. But most credit must be given to mastermind Akerfeldt, who does not seem to have a limit to where his creative capabilities can go.

Opeth has been able to so effectively and beautifully combine its love of '70s prog-rock with its love of metal, that there really is no accurate genre label to dump them in; it is simply Opeth and Damnation is simply a marvel.


Band profile: Opeth
Album: Damnation


 


written by JohnDunphy | 18.09.2003


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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canmewaterbee - 05.10.2006 at 06:08  
Amazing control of song writing and instrumentation here. So many times listening to it I could have sworn that the song was on the very edge of pummeling into a torrent of metal, but they refrained and used that feeling to such an extreme advantage over the listener. An amazingly emotional album that climbs and soars just as often as it descends and mourns. This album represents, to me, something that you want so badly, but you just cannot have. It's melancholy, dark, and brilliant.
JohnDoe - 23.10.2006 at 10:47  
A very pleasant surprise from Opeth, a soft album, with no growls, clean vocals, just a prog-rock album. One of my all time favourite albums. Influences of 70s prog can be noticed here - Pink Floyd and Camel - but the creativity of these guys is amazing. Brilliant album!
Damnated - 23.10.2006 at 16:32  
the Camel influence can be heard throughout the carrier of Opeth
Drizzling Blur - 04.11.2006 at 07:26  
This is definitely one of my fav Opeth albums, i heard Damnation and Deliverance were supposedly a Double CD release when the band decided not to or something like that, anyways, this album is such a killer, totally unexpected and adds up a totally new dimension to the bands personality.

Song writing is brilliant as always, amazing use of acoustic guitar in songs, the DVD Lamentations is brilliant, im glad Opeth played whole of the album in the first set, seemed so easy but the riffs are complex enough to make you sit at home for a whole day and learn, on the whole one amazing album and must buy for any Metal Fan.
Talvi - 16.01.2007 at 22:19  
Great album. Opeth can do no wrong.
Mikkh - 19.01.2007 at 09:26  
This album is -diferent- and unespected from Opeth(All in a good way). a beautifull surprise we got for 2003.. also, Deliverance Is just amazingly great as well... Hail Opeth and Hail Mikael Akerfeldt (I know is misspelled, but my keyboard dosnt have "that" A)
bLeaK_poiSoN - 11.02.2007 at 16:24  
Greatest mellow album in the world for me
DeadEternity - 17.02.2007 at 16:38  
Perfect Prog Rock! Makes me appreciate Opeth's ability to experiment with delicate sound throughout. 10/10
Xtreme Jax - 18.02.2007 at 13:56  
This album is just beautiful, one of my favourite albums no dout about it. Mikael's vocals are so captivating and spell binding, its hard for me to not lose myself in this album and just forget about my surroundings and whats going on around me...

Damnation, just a beautiful art masterpiece.
Bitch Boy - 19.02.2007 at 22:38  
I really like this album, especially because of Mikael's clean vocals, really really emotive. Also the music and the lyrics are remarkable, this is one of the best Opeth albums without any doubt.
Wollan - 26.02.2007 at 02:39  
Opeth are great, I loved this album:D
Warman - 20.06.2007 at 16:32  
One of my favourite albums truly! So beautiful and mellow. Sometimes I listen to it while sleeping, very nice.
The best Progressive Rock album!
Doc Godin - 07.09.2007 at 23:36  
I dont think Ive ever wanted my money back more than when I bought this forgettable piece of crap. Can't say I disagree with the review, or the public, more than I do on this one 4/10
Ereinion' - 03.11.2007 at 22:28  
The heart of prog rock beats in Opeth!
flying is simple - 04.11.2007 at 06:38  
I must agree with all of you. When I first heard this album I thought: this is not metal! I remember the first song I listened was "In my time of need". But, when I listened it better every single song, I realised how deep, dark and simply emotional is this album of Opeth. They are really surprising with every next album. Even those who don't like prog rock they should give it a try, because it's truely an amazing piece of art. Lyrics, music, vocals...everything's in the right place. A very different yet beautiful album from Opeth.
AyΣm - 08.03.2008 at 23:44  
So much pleasure when I listen to this album, it's full of great feelings, it's so well organised...and calm .All songs are great, no one can be threw out!It was the first album I listened from Opeth, when I was told it was death metal I laughed, believing it was a joke.I've listened to the others now . This album is one the best album I have in all musical genre!Opeth are genius
BloodTears - 27.03.2008 at 18:03  
I overplayed it. But I can easily say its an adorable acoustic album. Not the best of all time, in my opinion, but very intimate and special.
Mr. Doctor - 27.03.2008 at 18:08  
The rating is a bit too high IMO
a 8,5 or a 8,7 would fit this album correctly...
It's good, it's sweet... It's dark and Beautiful... It's Opeth, my friends.
But songs like "Death Whispered A Lullaby" and "Closure" are not the best shit of this guys...

But the others are exellent anyway.
But it can be a bit boring if you listen to this album many times in a week or something.
IconMaiden - 02.04.2008 at 04:04  
i absolutely abhor death metal, but these album is top, top class. just beautiful.
IconMaiden - 02.04.2008 at 04:04  
credit to opeth for their diversity.
benvolent - 17.11.2008 at 00:32  
Just stepped into opeth and really waited for something harder, but as most of you already said, it's beautiful and deep and I got even more courious for the rest of their work.

Yes, diversity - and obviously with full agreement of their fans. That's rare!
DanielViking - 17.11.2008 at 22:35  
I think this album is a great piece of music. lots of great atmospheres and a feeling of katatonia and anathema there... but with the opeth quality. one of the best albuns of these guys! 9!
Elio - 24.02.2009 at 00:39  
Awesome album, even better than some of the 70s prog-rock classics and better than its twin Deliverance.
JohnDoe - 24.02.2009 at 00:54  
Written by Elio on 24.02.2009 at 00:39

Awesome album, even better than some of the 70s prog-rock classics and better than its twin Deliverance.


Better than some of 70s prog rock classics?Well, NO, almost on the same level, YES.
Solstafir! - 31.07.2009 at 20:25  
Though not metal, I find this album SUPERB in every aspect...nobody can create such thoughtful songs as Opeth in this day and age...
benvolent - 18.12.2009 at 23:20  
This album is definitely not for everyday's listen. But I was outside the whole day, had cold and now I am sitting at home, drinking hot tea with honey and I couldn't imagine anything better...
Perfect album for tired (and supposedly sad) warriors!
Mr. Doctor - 06.11.2010 at 17:34  
Written by Elio on 24.02.2009 at 00:39

Awesome album, even better than some of the 70s prog-rock classics and better than its twin Deliverance.


At some point I would have said "HELL NO" but after almost a year of not listening to those albums at all, I listened to them again and I agree. This one is indeed the better twin... It's great when you stop listening to an album because you overplayed it and after a while you listen to it again and see why you loved it the first time!
Luneth - 18.12.2010 at 20:27  
Will probably have to give it another listen...I didn't think it was anything special at all...
MechanisT - 09.01.2011 at 23:08  
There is an irresistable charm to this album that I can't decipher. I know I don't like certain songs in this one but something forces me to play it over and over again in it's entirety...

Mesmerizing is how I would like to call it. Beautiful album.
@gent_-_orange - 06.02.2011 at 21:20  
One of the Two opeth albums that i dont like, I just find it boring, Hats off to opeth for trying something different though.
Array - 06.02.2011 at 21:28  
Written by @gent_-_orange on 06.02.2011 at 21:20

One of the Two opeth albums that i dont like, I just find it boring, Hats off to opeth for trying something different though.

What's the other one?
@gent_-_orange - 06.02.2011 at 21:38  
Written by Array on 06.02.2011 at 21:28

Written by @gent_-_orange on 06.02.2011 at 21:20

One of the Two opeth albums that i dont like, I just find it boring, Hats off to opeth for trying something different though.

What's the other one?

Deliverance, i find that one boring as well (With the exception of the masters apprentice) , But i dont think many will agree with me on that. Other than that i think everything else they have done is top class.
BlankFile - 21.02.2011 at 20:00  
Its an interesting release by Opeth with fine acoustic compositions.
FrozenJoy - 19.03.2011 at 01:17  
Another masterpiece brought by these guys... The lowest I could give it is a 9... xD
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think this is mellow... Scarlet Rose (Edguy) IS a mellow track... But this is different... This is melancholic, tranquil, maybe even depressive, but most of all, beautiful...
Personally, I enjoy Windowpane, In My Time of Need, Hope Leaves, and Ending Credits most...
@gent_-_orange - 28.08.2011 at 14:59  
Written by @gent_-_orange on 06.02.2011 at 21:38

Written by Array on 06.02.2011 at 21:28

Written by @gent_-_orange on 06.02.2011 at 21:20

One of the Two opeth albums that i dont like, I just find it boring, Hats off to opeth for trying something different though.

What's the other one?

Deliverance, i find that one boring as well (With the exception of the masters apprentice) , But i dont think many will agree with me on that. Other than that i think everything else they have done is top class.

Well I have to say..... I Take back what I say about this record. I was wrong about this album, After many tries something just "clicked" very good stuff.
babak-sdn - 22.11.2011 at 16:01  
Damnation is not just an album... its songs are pure emotions floating in the river of delightful sounds...
i cant explain how i feel when i listen to this masterpiece. this album is the greatest and most perfect album ever created by mankind !
if another albums of Opeth were like Damnation , i would have been their biggest fan in the world !

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