Damnation Review

artist: opeth date: 09/30/2010 category: compact discs
opeth: Damnation
Released: Apr 22, 2003
Genre: Rock
Styles: Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Death Metal/Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Number Of Tracks: 8
Released in 2003, Damnation is easily the most radical departure of Opeth's career. It's the first to explore the group's non-heavy metal-based songwriting both at length and exclusively.
 Sound: 9.6
 Lyrics: 9.9
 Overall Impression: 9.9
 Overall rating:
 9.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.8 
 Users rating:
 9.5 
 Votes:
 92 
reviews (7) 27 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: <<< Frantic >>>, on february 09, 2005
17 of 18 people found this review helpful

Sound: Opeth's 7th studio observation, Damnation, breaks away from the rest of their albums and is a completely mellow album. Akerfeldt describes this album as "a way to get in touch with the music of the '70s that influences my writing, even my heavier music, but this gets me closer to it than ever before." The softer side shown on this album is different from previous mellow parts that have been recording, Akerfeldt has let go of the need to be insanely technical as with past acoustic passages, and by no means is this a bad thing. This album is, quite frankly, beautiful. The guitar work is intricate, the bass provides steady rhythm to the delicate nature of the guitar and Martin Lopez' percussion is absolutely astounding. His drumming switches from playing with passion and feeling, to playing with power and an out pouring of emotion. The guitars sound awesome, and it should be noted this is not an entirely acoustic album, alot of the riffs are played with electric and most songs are more or less a 50/50 use of clean electric guitar and acoustic, both 6 and 12 string, with the 12 string creating some very exotic sounding lead acoustic work. Having said that the album is soft, mellow, beautiful and fragile, does not make this album less evil. Death Whispered A Lullaby and To Rid The Disease are evil tracks lyrically and sound comparatively darker than the rest of the album. // 10

Lyrics: Mikael Akerfeldt's voice as I said above, is delicate, beautiful and almost fragile sounding. Sounds strange to say about a death metal bands singer right? Opeth fans will know Mikael's softer vocals, and on this album his clean voice is at it's best. The lyrics on this album I believe are some of my favourite lyrics of Opeth's and of any band in general. Akerfeldt has connected with his pain and every powerful emotions he keeps inside himself and they pour out in the lyrics, and in his voice. I have the Lamentations DVD, where the entire Damnation album is played live, and it's obvious that these lyrics are very personal, and very close to his heart. This shines through on the album, especially tracks such as Hope Leaves, Akerfeldt's favourite track of the album. Closure is another example of the beauty in the album, the last lyric of the song "In the rays of the sun, I am longing for the darkness" sends shivers up and down my spine. // 10

Overall Impression: The only gripe I could pick out about this album, is the length. Standard Opeth albums range from 5 to 8 tracks and are all about 60-70 minutes each. Yet on this album, it doesn't even reach 45 minutes. Having said that, I can't imagine this album being different. I don't think you could successfully add to or change this album and not have it kinda spoil the effect given already. Closure is perhaps my favourite song on this album. The lyrics are very powerful, and the Arab-esque Outro has to be heard to be believed, other favourites include Windowpane (beautiful, with great solo's) and In My Time Of Need, but it's all stunning. If it was stolen, I'd cry. Then find out who it was, beat the shit out of them, get my CD back. If he'd sold it already, I'd beat the $30 (AUD) he owed me out of him. I recommend this to anyone, this album has universal appeal and I have gotten alot of people who have no interest in metal (death, black, heavy or otherwise) into Opeth through this album, including one Mormon. This album can appeal to anyone, and I recommend it to metal fans, and anyone interested in skilled musicianship, beautiful lyrics and vocals and powerful, emotive music in general. // 10

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overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: Emenius Sleepus, on february 06, 2006
5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: Haunting atmospheric leads and clean and acoustic guitars are the backbone of this album by the revered and respected band. Stepping away somewhat from their trademark sound, encapsulating death metal, progressive rock, folk and classical inluences, this album highlights the gentler side of Opeth that was first seen on songs like To Bid You Farewell of their album Morningrise, and in segments of their other material throughtout their work. This sister-cd to Deliverance (initially it was intended to be a double album) can be somewhat a surprise to a lot of Opeth fans, but it showcases how brilliant Opeth really is. While there are no growls, and very limited use of distortion, the melodies are simply beautiful, and are trademark Opeth. It was well-received by their audience, and for good reasons - technically proficient, yet a genuine music masterpiece without a trace of self-indulgence; the sound is panoramic, and image-provoking. Harmonies and melodies dominate this album, with solos and passages that grab your heart like a fall from a skyscraper. // 10

Lyrics: Mikael Akerfeldt strikes again. Not only a brilliant singer, he is also a talented lyricist, with lyrics and music complementing each other brilliantly to conceive images in one's head. It's enchanting, and draws you in. Mikael has a very distinctive voice that's surely one of the best in metal, and this album is yet another testament to that, complementing the melodies and progressions created by the music. // 10

Overall Impression: For Opeth, this is probably a natural album, seeing as they always play with a lot of melody, and there are a lot of acoustic and clean passages in their music (A Fair Judgement, Deliverance and Patterns In The Ivy, Blackwater Park, for instance). Outside of that, however, it doesn't really compare to anything else, as Opeth carved a niche that was entirely their own. While drawing on sounds of prog rock and fingerpicked acoustic music for influence, it's a record that stands on it's own. The most impressive songs for me are To Rid The Disease and In My Time Of Need, as they encapsulate everything great about the gentle and delicate side of Opeth. It's a fantastic album, and if by some means it was lost or stolen, I would certainly get it again. Excellent material // 10

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overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 28, 2006
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Out of the Opeth CD's I own this is by far my favorite. It branches out the most from their "normal sound" yet, you can still tell that it's an Opeth album. All of the vocals are clean (not screaming, unlike their other CDs) aswell as the guitars. They're either Clean or Accoustic, though for some guitar solo's they used distortion. This is guitar's give off almost a haunting feeling, that you can almost feel. This is the sort of album that you could listen to for hours on end and it wont get old or redundant. // 10

Lyrics: The vocals are amazing on this album, Mikael kerfeldt proves his singing can go beyond just simply screaming. Something I liked about this album was that the vocals didn't block the sound of the beatiful guitar playing. They mixed the perfect blend of singing with haunting guitar melodies, and kerfeldt proves his singing talent more then he has on any other Opeth album. // 10

Overall Impression: This is one of Opeth's best album, if not if not their best. It pushes the Death Metal scene beyond just screaming, and they show that they can still write songs even without distortion. My favorites are; Windowpane, a simply amazing song that you could listen to over and over. Closer, a beatifuly put-together song, And Hope Leaves, simply amazing song. This is a great album that deserves a spot on any music lovers shelf. If it were stolen, I'd definately buy it again, that is, after hunting down whoever stole it. // 10

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overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: James TH, on november 09, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Wow I know that I'm going to get crucified for this but who cares, this album is the best album that I know, and the only thing that really comes close are a select few maiden albums that no one can deny rock like no other album, but damn this album is good, far, but not changing in mood, this album was opeths victorious attempt at what we now know as the melodic damnation. If you are a guitar player, the haunting riffs are abundant enough to listen to from start to finish. But this is not like many other opeth albums, this can caress the hardest of souls. What caught my ear the first time I listened to it was the guitar solo less than 20 seconds into the first song and I thought, "only opeth could pull something like that off." // 10

Lyrics: All the lyrics, unlike all other albums, were not writen by opeth this time, Death Whispered A Lullaby was written by a friend and although it is the weekest song on the album (argueably) it doesnt't lack any opeth qualities at all. I don't know what else to really say about these lyrics, they are deadly and if you listen they all seem to make sence in a way that no one really knows. // 10

Overall Impression: You can't compare this album with others, like I said above though, I like this album a lot and although I do like opeth and don't own any of their other CDs other than this one, I know enough of their songs (and I have covered a couple) to know that this is completely original besides the few times they have had some acoustic songs on their big hit CDs ("like what" you're thinking). But if this CD got stolen it wouldn't matter I would just go out and by two more and if those two got stolen I would go by three and if those three got stolen. All the songs are amazing, a classic CD that you can sit back with a guitar in hand and just listen to all the way through over and over again, but what else do you expect from opeth! // 10

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overall: 8.3
Damnation Reviewed by: forresterc, on may 08, 2009
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: Opeth's soft Album. It holds up to the high progressive standards that Opeth has repeatedly set. The songs are often a lot shorter than most Opeth songs, rating in about 5 to 6 minutes each. The music has a good deal of atmosphere to it, but underneath that is often subtle complexities that make this an enjoyable album. Very mournful, and not really catchy, but that is Opeth. In short, this is an excellent album, but is somewhat of an acquired taste. // 7

Lyrics: M. Akerfeldt wrote all the lyrics except for "death whispered a lullaby" which was written by Steven Wilson, whom did a lot of work and contribution to the album's non-musical side. Overall the lyrics are quite mournful, which is expected of Opeth. Very solemn, the lyrics rarely seem to give any resolution. Imagery is done well, giving you just enough to intrigue your mind. If you wanted to, you could easily dive very deep into the lyrics. Akerfeldt does a decent job singing, but your probably not going to by this album for his voice. His lyrics are much more powerful. // 9

Overall Impression: I feel that this is an excellent album by many standards. If you are an Opeth fan, I would recommend this as a must. If your not a fan of Opeth, I'd try buying Ghost Reveries or Watershed first. If your looking for an excellent, unique, not happy album, that is soft and quiet, this is the place. I would be careful though, don't expect anything catchy or poppy to show your friends. // 9

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overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: aenimafist, on january 12, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The opening song I expected to be heavy as hell so I was slightly shocked to hear a jazzy piece as the opening track. It had a groove to it though so I really dug Windowpane. Then I listened for distortion for the rest of the album but there was none. I didn't miss it. The 100% cleanness of the album made me listen harder because it was so quiet and in the end I soaked up a lot of the CD. The tone of the guitars on the solos was good. Those were distorted but I would count it as such. I really think distortion would have ruined this masterpiece. // 10

Lyrics: These were sort of cryptic but I think I got the gist of what Mikael wa trying to convey to me. It seemed as though the lyrics were all about dying and regret. My favorite lyrics were those of Hop Leaves. I foun out that the song is dedicated to Mikael's grandmother who died just before the release of the album. Windowpane was the same way. I liked the vocal melody during the choruses of In My Time of Need. I only sort of missed the death growl. For that I would put a 9 but I don't feel like ruining this albums perfect streak. // 10

Overall Impression: Top-notch blue-chip CD for the soft rock lover who is into underground music. Even the people who like the hardcore will get into the groove of the first track, Windowpane right away. Ending Credits also moves right along with the fantastic bass work. I only kinda missed the distortion and the death growl but other than those I have no complaints. I think this album should have won a grammy of some sort for something. // 10

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overall: 10
Damnation Reviewed by: mqsand2112, on september 30, 2010
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is phenomenal in almost every way. I just love Opeth's acoustic numbers, they really flow well, and the sound that this album produces is so inspirational, dark, and depressing all in one. Wow the guitarist, Mikael A., really knows what he is doing. Technically speaking this album is prestine with simplicity and complexity juxtaposing against eachother to creative a soft, smooth, creepy, and compelling tone. This album is just fun to listen to, the transtions really pull you into the music. Nothing is overdone, and every instrument is playing exactly what should be played, nothing ever seems out of place. This album really makes you pay attention to whats going on because there are a lot of strange less commonly used melodies and progressions. All in all I'd say the best song sound wise is Closure. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics on this album are very depressing overall, but the way that it's sung and played is just beautiful. The singer has the PERFECT voice to accomadate the music, it's that awesome. Tales of haunting memories, depression, lost love, death and disease. All beatifully written, the word choice is perfect and it gives off the creepiest tone. It can be confusing to figure out just exactly what each song addresses, multiple references to a friend or lover make it hard to tell just what each song is about, but again it is more poetic than story oriented so that isn't an issue. All in all i'd say the best song in terms of lyrics is Hope Leaves. // 10

Overall Impression: This album will always be a favorite of mine never to forget. If you don't have it, get it now. But be warned that it is not similiar to Opeths traditional death metal roots, you will find no screaming vocals hear and heavy distorted riffs are out as well. This album is primarily acoustic and amazing. Not much variety throughout the album, it carries the same tone throughout the album. But within this style and tone Opeth gets super creative with each song. A classic without a doubt and a must for any of you progressive fans out there. Best on the album in my opinion is Death Whispered a Lullaby. // 10

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