I got this album on the day of its release here in the USA (which was April 22nd I think) and not a day has passed that I haven’t listened to it. I wrote a review for it after my first listening, But I don’t think it was posted because I used a *gasp!* bad word, and if it was posted well then here’s another review from me. Anyway, it’s impossible for me to say “favorite album,” when it comes to Opeth, but Damnation is really something special, even for this band. Opeth truly is the best rock band, that is actively making music, on the planet today. In the past Opeth has weaved acoustic interludes throughout their raging extreme metal infernos, and in my opinion those mellow passages are the best part of Opeth’s 15+ minute epics. That’s not to say that I don’t like the heavy parts too, I love them. The sonic brutality that only Opeth can deliver is staggering. But now I have a whole album devoted to mellow songs, and the masterpieces on Damnation are so eerily melodic and haunting, that just hearing them in my head sends shivers down my spine. Opeth is so much more mature than many of the bands they tour with, with the exception of Lacuna Coil and Porcupine Tree. I’ve seen them live twice and both times they sounded like the voice of God! Unfortunatly they didn’t play any songs off of Damnation, but I’m sure they will be amazing live. This band is so far ahead of everyone else that it’s staggering. They don’t indulge in all the corpse painted, satanic BS so many bands conform to these days.They’re all about the music, not their image/hype, and Damnation is no exception. This album reminds me of the folk-rock bands of the late 60’s and 70’s. Bands like Forest and Spirit, both being excellent bands. Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree produced this album (and also performed in some pieces) along with Opeth, and they have done a phenomenal job together. Steven Wilson has become a big part of Opeth’s albums in the last few years (I think he’s been their producer since Blackwater Park) and their alliance works very well. Mikael’s voice is so beautiful and moving, and when you hear it over Wilson’s fantastic mellotron work it’s spectacular. The guitars have excellent timbre, and the melodies are brilliant. Mendez’s bass work really stands out on this one. He’s done an amazing job on all the other albums, but this time you can really hear his genious. Lopez’s drumming is truley awe-inspiring. It’s very fast and energetic, but still fits in perfectly with the mellow vibe set by the rest of the band. Everyone shows mastery over their instrument, and all turned in a truley wonderful performance. I’m not going to talk about the songs on Damnation. They’re all great. All strange, eerie, beautiful, surprising Opeth phrasing. Bottom line is, this is a must have. If you’re new to Opeth, or a die hard fan (like me) I’d highly recommend this album. You won’t regret getting it. Get all the Opeth albums because they’re all breathtaking.