Artist: Opeth Album: Damnation Year: 2003 Genre: Progressive Death Metal Track list: 1. Windowpane (7:44) 2. In My time of need (5:49) 3. Death whispered a lullaby (5:50) 4. Closure (5:15) 5. Hope leaves (4:30) 6. To rid the disease (6:21) 7. Ending credits (3:39) 8. Weakness (4:08) Line-up: Mikael Åkerfeldt - Guitars, Vocals Peter Lindgren - Guitars Martin Lopez - Drums Martin Mendez - Bass Opeth, conceived by Vocalist/Guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt in 1990, are one of the pioneers of Progressive Death Metal. Through the years, they have proven their ability to mix up complex rhythms and symphonic melodies. From their debut album, Orchid to their most famous release Blackwater Park, Opeth have given their fans a wide range of music, from the heavy, yet wonderful Demon Of The Fall to the serene and melancholic To Bid You Farewell. Currently in their 2nd decade in the Metal scene, Opeth released two albums in 2003. First, the hard hitting, Deliverance and the second, the album in question, Damnation… The mood of this album is quite unique. All the tracks are very mellow, yet stunningly beautiful. The whole guitar work on this album is either on clean tone or on an Acoustic. This just goes to show that, you don’t need heavy slamming power chords to make a song sound dark. All the solos included on this album have a very bluesy feel to them, a feature rarely involved in a Death Metal album. The drumming is very laid back, but not overshadowed. The bass licks are extremely good; this is perhaps one of the best features of the album. And the vocals, they are just amazing. Mikael Åkerfeldt is at his best on this album. Proving yet again that he can actually sing, growling aside. His voice adds raw emotion to the songs. Lyrically, this album is extremely good poetry. Amazing imagery involved. Åkerfeldt is a truly gifted lyricist. The album starts of with a classic called Windowpane. This is the only song Opeth ever made a video for. The tack starts of with a clean intro backed by calm drumming. The string arrangement on this track is simply surreal. It really gives you what the vocalist is trying to convey through his lyrics in a simple haunting harmony. The ending is superb. The next song, In My Time Of Need, is another epic. The chorus is addictive, it will have you singing along the very second time you hear it, mark my words. The bass is particularly good on this song. Just like the first track, this one also has an atmospheric ending. The third track on the album is called “Death Whispered A Lullaby”. It is probably the best song on this album, lyrically. Very metaphoric lyrics, which will force you to form your own interpretation. The next track is called Closure. Truthfully speaking, the first 3 minutes are a little dull, but after that, there is a good breakdown, which blends into an Arabic rhythm of sorts. Very interesting indeed. On the whole this is a good song. Closure is followed by the extremely mellow “Hope Leaves”. Mikael sings beautifully on this song, and rates this as one of his personal favorites. The guitar is also very good on this. Next comes “To Rid The Disease”. This is my personal favourite on this album. The piano and string arrangement is awesome on this song. The lyrics are perfect. The vocals are brilliant and so is the guitar work. When Mikael sings, “I have lost all trust I had in you..”, he really pulls you into the song. Halfway though, the song breaks down for a piano roll, which quickly shifts into the main guitar part. Over all, this is a great song. This is followed by the instrumental, “Ending Credits”, which consists of a little overdriven solo over an acoustic track. I don’t know why they named this Ending Credits but it would definitely work as background music for ending credits in my opinion. The last track on the album is called “Weakness”. This song sounds very dark and has very little instrumentation. Still, given the mood of the album, flows perfectly, ending this amazing album. On the whole, this is a truly unique album. Even if you are not a fan of Opeth, I suggest you get this, because I assure you, you will not regret it. The album showcases the brilliant musicmanship of this quartet. Going from heavy death metal, to soft acoustic rock is one thing, but doing both perfectly is another. Opeth do it like nobody can. This is an album worth spending money on. Go get it. Rating: Five stars. Best Tracks: To Rid The Disease, Windowpane and In My Time Of Need.