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  • I’ve heard ‘Damnation’ being called folk metal, progressive rock, psychaedelic rock a la the 70’s, and a few other labels that don’t do Opeth’s latest release a bit of justice. The first word that comes to mind when listening to Damnation is ‘beautiful’. If sound is nothing more than the arrangement of sound waves into patterns that create harmonies which are pleasing to the ear, then Opeth has succeeded in mastering the art of creating beautiful sounds. A complete break from Opeth’s previous releases, Damnation features little distorted guitar and no growling death metal vocals. The vocals always carry a harmony that is well thought out and fits perfectly with the guitar work. No instrument dominates the recording and the atmosphere created by the haunting subtlety of each song’s melody combined with the gloomy art work and title of ‘damnantion’ makes this cd a near-perfect listening experience. Damnantion was recorded at the same session as Deliverance, but I feel that Damnantion is the true jewel that arose from the recording session. The theme of the cd seems to be loss, as in the loss of a loved one, but the theme of death never seems to leave the picture with Opeth as is seen in many of their previous releases. The only part of the cd that I will dare to criticize is the drum sound. The actual performance on the drums is excellent and demonstrates Opeth’s drummer’s ability to switch between blazingly fast metal drumming to calm percussion that sits in the background of the music. However, the drum sound leaves something to be desired. The toms do not have the sort of sound I enjoy and nor does the snare. drums are not only a beat keeping insturment, but also an insturment that produces a tone through resonance of the drum skins, and the drum tone on Damnantion sounds more like pieces of plastic than anyhting else. I was able to move past this ‘problem’ and it bothers me no longer. If anyhting, I was simply searching for some flaw in this cd which seems about a perfect as one can imagine. If you are expecting fast, thrashy metal with hints of folk-like melody that can be heard in Opeth’s previous releases, do not be disappointed when you hear no such genre of music. Damnation might be calssified as acoustic rock/metal/progressive/whatever you want to call it, but I think that the only worthy way to classify ‘Damnantion’ is by using the word ‘beautiful’.

    Posted on November 21, 2009