Opeth- Pale Communion Review
By: Benjie Stewart
Some things just finally make sense. On Opeth's new album, Pale Communion, the puzzle has meaning. This puzzle really started taking its form and shape on the Ghost Reveries album. Every album after Ghost Reveries has had some weight to it, stepping away from the blackened melodic progressive death metal from their inception to the mid 2000's and enhancing their sound on organs and keyboards, layers of guitars and the most epic and beautiful vocals by Mikael Åkerfeldt. Mikael's clean voice is like an angels. While of course not taking away from the early days of Opeth.
On Opeth's 11th album Pale Communion, it is clock full of sounds and vibes. This is Opeth's most progressive album to date. It is also the best sounding Opeth album to date. Opening with a nice kick in the ass with "Eternal Rains Will Come" right into the groove-induced, "Cusp of Eternity". The senses and puzzling things start to make sense with the almost 11 minute epic, "Moon Above, Sun Below". This track showcases some of the most melancholic acoustics since the Morningrise days. The keyboard work from Joakim Svalberg really shines through on Pale Communion. The musicianship is brought to a whole other level so thick with volume as if Opeth have found the hidden formula, or they have just chosen to let us all in on their magical carpet craft at hand. With this magic overflowing on the track "River", a seven minute fusion song, Opeth have never sounded so not metal, but it all seems to fit the purpose behind the album. This fusion trip continues on into the song, "Voice of Treason", the album's only dud, but the very last song makes up for it. I will say that I wasn't too pleased with the cover art of the album. It’s my least favorite Opeth album cover, but what the album art lacks Opeth makes up in the music. This album also can't be digested in just a few listens, you are really going to have to get some headphones and go off in your own world to really embrace Pale Communion and understand its full effect. The last track, "Faith in Others" is such a powerful song. It changes so many times, it feels like three songs in one. This could be Opeth’s greatest moment. It leaves you breathless wanting more, a lot like how the angels must have felt when god turned his back on them and cast them into the fires of hell. Maybe hell is next for Opeth, and maybe a return to form, I really think they have gone about as left field as they can go with the progressive 70's style. There is a deep rattle on Pale Communion with lyrics. Mikael Åkerfeldt gets his point across, and even if he has stepped away from the harsh/growl vocals, I don't feel we have seen the last of that style from Mikael.
Overall this is a great record that sounds good, with great tunes that no doubt will be an Opeth classic for years to come.