Tuesday 16 September 2014

Review of 'Pale Communion' by Opeth

Swedish ex-Death Metal band, Opeth, continue their evolution as a prog rock band. 

Their last album, Heritage, marked the transition from growls and double bass drums to softer stuff. Pale Communion sees their metal side being reduced to only a few brief moments, some atonality here and there and some chugging on 'Cusp of Eternity'. The rest is straight-up prog rock. Think Rush. Think King Crimson. Think Pink Floyd.

There are some great moments here. ‘Goblins’ is a killer instrumental track, more bluesy than anything the band have done before and ‘River’ even has some sweet Deep South vocal harmonies.

Unfortunately, the majority of it all feels a bit dated. There aren’t any fresh key sounds - the Hammond organs feel like they’re straight off a Gentle Giant record from the early 70s. I get dad rock vibes from the whole album, which isn’t cool. In the past, the band’s death metal side has always counteracted this. Of course, I’m not saying the band need to readopt the growls and blast beats. They just need to work on modernising their sound a fair bit.