(9/10) Opeth has already a longer history in metal. It's a story of constant development, renewal, creativity and passion which Opeth and their music stands for.
What started already almost 25 years ago as a death metal based band developed into one of today's most influencial prog rock/psychadelic rock bands. The first steps towards this direction was probabaly when Opeth mainman Michael Åkerfeldt met Stve Wilson in 2002. The result was a two albums package which included the heavy "Deliverance" and the soft "Damnation". The last mentioned one was also their first record without growls.
From this moment one the music of Opeth still merged the prog elements with the death metal roots, by constantly decreasing the death metal part. Opeth become more pro rock oriented while the death metal roots are now only reflected in Bloodbath, another band Åkerfeldt is involoved in.
"Pale communion" is the newest diamond in Opeth's discography. It's their eleventh record and it follows the predesessor "Heritage". "Pale communion" is a logical continuation of their journey into prog music, inspired by classic rock bands from 70's.
The new album continous the trip without growls. It's the clean vocals from Akerfeld and the way how he plays the guitar which gives the sound its indentity; all embedded in an advanced rhythm structure and keyboard foundation.
What goes for the entire album is the fact, that it feels like being written in one flow. The songs on "Pale communion" are caracterized by awesome soundscapes and intesive melodies, which make the complex tunes easy digestable. It feels like that the creative ideas just gushed out of Åkerfeldt. It feels authentic and real.
The album allows you to dive in into great tunes like the epical 10 minutes long "Moon above, sun below", which reminded me in the verse a bit to Tool. Another brilliant track is the touching bouncer "Faith in others". With this one it is Åkerfeldt's almost fragile vocals which dominates the song. The piano joins along the way and makes the track special; as well the orchestarted ending of the song. Another tune I want to mention is "Cusp of eternity". It shows the influences of the 70's classic rock pretty well. It is Deep Purple which I have in mind when I heard the track. This is mainly based on the rhythm line of the track. Another interesting fact with the song is the oriental melody line which goes thorugh the entire track. This gives the track an almost hypnotic expression which I think fits well. All this adorned by an great guitar solo part in the middle.
I highlighted now a few tracks which are standing out for me. But the other songs can easily keep this high level too.
It might be also the studio which had an impact on the sound of the new album. "Pale communion" was recorded in the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, the location were also rock history milestones like "Sad wings of destiny" from Judas Priest and Queen's "Sheer heart attack" have been produced. I think you can hear this spirit back in the songs. Maybe it wasn't a conscious thing, but I guess it had an impact.
With a strong album like this Opeth strengthend their role in the Champions League of prog rock. "Pale communion" is pleasure to listen to. Hopefully the journey of constant development and reinventing the band will never stop.
- Eternal rain will come
- Cusp of eternity
- Moon above, sun below
- Elysian woes
- Voice of treason
- Faith in others
Label: Roadrunner Records
Genre: Prog Rock / Classic Rock