Press releases, they come with every album from every band. And they usually tell you what you should think. Some press statements use language to intimidate a potential reviewer by saying things like “only the culturally blind could fail to recognize…such mind-bending brilliance.” Therefore, if you, the reviewer, do not feel the music you are hearing is “mind-bendingly brilliant” then you are some sort of “culturally blind” freak with no taste at all in music and whose opinion couldn’t matter less. I’m not claiming the press release for Opeth says this necessarily; I’m just saying it has been known to occur from time to time. If all of Opeth’s albums sound like their record prior to this one, “Deliverance,” then this one, “Damnation,” sounds nothing at all like Opeth’s previous work.
Opeth’s new album is a largely acoustic work that brings to mind anything from the mellower side of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to The Moody Blues and other 70’s balladeers. This is quite a departure from the near perfect but relatively soulless death metal I heard on “Deliverance.” I guess you could call this the lighter side of Opeth, but certainly not the light side. The songs are sorrowful and embody more passion than their death metal outings. Hopefully their died in the rough, tried and true metal fans won’t be too heart-broken by this one-eighty, but what the hell, they have six other albums they can cry through, remembering the lovely relationship they once had. Betrayal can be tough, but you’ll all make it through whether or not you find this new Opeth mind-bendingly brilliant as you did the old.