Music Review : Opeth – Pale Communion (2014)
With their new opus the once Black Death metallers of Opeth have, since Heritage, turned completely into a progressive Rock outfit that can recall the best years of Camel, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson just to name a few.
Not that it is a complete surprise, their approach, or I should write the mastermind of Opeth Mikael Akerfeldt’s approach, was always to mix Death metal growls with clear vocals. Obviously, his friendship with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Blackfield has led him to slowly diverge to his passion from 1970’s progressive Rock.
With Pale Communion, the continuity of Heritage is established as it started with Damnation the other half of Deliverance; one of the greatest two records to ever see the light in the last fifteen years. The D/D albums were completing each other and I called them the black and white duo albums. As stated in interview, Pale Communion is more melodic and contains more vocal melodies. Indeed, it is a far more easier listen than Heritage and more enjoyable record too. It is more Rock than progressive and I’m sure it will be more popular with fans. Not really having any expectations with the album I was surprisingly happy with the entire tracks and I think that if Opeth is to become a progressive Rock band like this record I will continue to follow them. Even if I personnally prefer albums like Blackwater Park for its mix of Death Metal and progressive metal, I might consider dig into more of my 1970’s vinyl collection and mix it with Pale Communion.
Overall, a very good album projecting a nice continuity for Opeth and Akerfeldt’s interest in obscure 1970’s music.