Band: Opeth
Album: Pale Communion
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Label: Roadrunner

Reviewer: Ziad Gadou

Swedish progressive death-metal connoisseurs Opeth have once again sounded the alarm with the highly anticipated release of “Pale Communion”.  The album production was done by the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, Mikael Akerfeldt. The mixing by the mighty Steven Wilson. This album confirmed Akerfeldt’s announced departure from the death metal sound once and (hopefully not) for all. Despite the clear division amongst the band’s fan base between the two eras, the album landed as one of Opeth’s most commercially successful releases to date, topping charts in nearly 13 countries (Including a first #19 in USA’s billboard charts).

With an unfortunate push back to the album release from June 17th to August 26th, the band offered the release of two singles instead of one ahead of the album official release.
“Cusp of Eternity”, the album’s first single, was released on the 3rd of June. My first impressions were mixed about the song as it was not very progressive in essence. It started with a steady 4/4 time signature, an oriental introductory riff, and what I thought was generally a vocal-based track.  However, the second single put my doubts to rest. “Eternal Rains Will Come” was everything I had hoped for and more. With almost three minutes of atmosphere foundation, acoustic pauses, odd time signatures, and lyrics that skillfully complimented the track, this song was an “Opethian” fantasy come to life.

The album’s diverse content gave fans of all music paradigms a piece of the prize. Whether it was the ten-minute mind boggling “Moon Above, Sun Below”, the heart wrenching “Faith in Others”, or the blues-driven instrumental “Goblin”, there was a song for everyone. 
“Pale Communion” was the first album after keyboardist “Per Wiberg”‘s departure in 2011. Newly appointed Joakim Svalberg, showed no mercy in what I think was a glorious entrance to the Opeth realm.  The production of the album was done in the legendary “Rockfield Studios” where albums like Judas Priests’ “Sad Wings of Destiny” and Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” came to life.
With what I can simply claim to be 2014’s best release; “Pale Communion” has comfortably dug its banners amongst Opeth’s prolific discography. Complimenting 2011’s “Heritage”, Opeth has affirmatively perfected the sound of their new direction.


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