OPETH — Pale Communion (review)

OPETH — Pale Communion album cover Album · 2014 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
The Angry Scotsman
A continuation of their last album.

By now we must assume this is a permanent direction for the band, (I was not smart enough to pick up on the hint dropped in their last album art)and given their age the change in direction is not surprising, not to mention the relief on Mikael's throat!

"Pale Communion" is indeed a continuation of their last album, "Heritage" which saw the abandonment of growled vocals and heavy music. The guitar work was more "crunchy" than heavy, the music was light, subdued and drenched in 70s prog style.

This continues on "Pale Communion" though this album packs a little more punch to it. "Heritage" was quite subdued and mellow, which I think was a turn off, (besides shock) to fans who maybe could accept lighter music as long as it had some impressive musicianship on it. There is plenty of that here, the guitar work is more prominent and impressive, as is the drumming of Axenrot, which did take a step forward on "Heritage", and the music just has a little "more" to it. While I enjoyed Heritage a lot, the more engaging music was quite appreciated here.

There's also a bit of a darker tone to "Pale Communion" though still quite warm and gentle, and has some more hard rocking, intense moments but is certainly no thrasher. Some standout songs are "Eternal Rains Will Come" "Cusp of Eternity" and "Voice of Treason"

So, this is the next chapter of 70s style prog rock Opeth, and a stronger effort than their last album. There is some more speed and musicianship mixed in with its subtle and textured songwriting, and packed with plenty of warm, gentle keyboard work, fun guitar and of course Mikael's beautiful vocals. There is good variety on the album and I think it's lighter nature may actually showcase the band's creativity even better, free of the brutally heavy/folky soft alternating style.

Very good album, recommended for any fan of prog rock, and most, though perhaps not all, fans of Opeth and prog metal should find it at least solid as well.

Four Stars
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Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, I did enjoy this album but not as much as Heritage. The three standout songs you mentioned are also some of my favorites.

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