OPETH — Pale Communion (review)

OPETH — Pale Communion album cover Album · 2014 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
The use of death vocals seems to be a thing of the past for Opeth. I always appreciated the clean vocals from Mikael Akerfeldt. It gives a better view of how he can be a good singer. The previous album Heritage wasn't convincing. Again the band is showing the soft side of their music The song "Eternal Rains will come" display some haunting harmonies progressions with some dark keyboards sound similar to VDGG. "Cups of Eternity" show a vocalization hook repeated almost like an incantation. There are some nice grooves here and a display of heavier guitars. With "Moon, Above, Sun Below" we recognize the same compositions structures of the band with intense and melancholic passages, the melody at the beginning is suddenly switching to a complete new mood so we get the feel that the song is like different parts melt down to build a 10 minutes song, but it works. The song "Goblin" is inspired by the band of the same name with a little touch of jazz. "River" is another different track with some classical rock influence. "Voice of Treason" is another track in which the listener is challenge with the impossibility to reach an accessible melody, like the band was playing with restraint. It illustrates the new direction the band is, by keeping the music outside the extreme metal. The last track "Faith of Others" is full of strings, classical arrangements and some acoustic progressive rock not too far from the band Landberk.

While this release could be perceive as homage to the old progressive rock bands, the retro sound of the organ and mellotron should appeal to old progressive rock fans, it keeps the band own style, less metal than the majority of their albums, but more in the line of Damnation and Heritage. For me, those two albums despite their progressive side were not the best of their discography, but I think the latest is more satisfying and if I had doubt about the direction the band was headed when they took a break from their metal prog, I am more confident for the future that it's the right direction to go now. And Mikael Akerfeldt looks like a musician that is in a mood to do more melodic music with clean vocals the rest of his career.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great review! The later albums are what finally got me into Opeth. I'm only now catching up. A few albums kept me from exploring further. This may be nothing like their old stuff but it is really good progressive rock album for sure


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