Opeth – Pale Communion


Review by Raymond Westland


Release date: 26 August 2014

On Heritage, the previous Opeth album, Mikael Åkerfeldt and his companions decided to break completely with the past death metal leanings of their older material and morph into a full blown progressive rock act altogether. Not everyone appreciated this bold move but it certainly breathed new life into their patented style. Three years after the release of their most controversial album to date, Opeth is back with a brand new album, entitled Pale Communion.

In many interviews, Åkerfeldt mentioned his dislike for metal and his preference for seventies prog music in general, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Pale Communion is very much a continuation of what the band has done on the previous album. This will be quite a disappointment for long-time Opeth fans who were anticipating a return to the good ol’ Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries days. The new album does feature some heavier tracks in the form of ‘Eternal Rains Will Come’ and ‘Cusp Of Eternity’, but both tracks would be considered ballad-type stuff in comparison to ‘The Leper Affinity’, ‘Bleak’ and ‘The Baying Of The Hounds’.

But then again, Pale Communion has a habit of working its way in the mind of the unsuspecting listener if given half a chance. Opeth’s trademark darkness is still very much around and Mikael Åkerfeldt’s warm singing voice is as inviting as ever. Songs like ‘Elysian Woes’, ‘Goblin’ and ‘Voice Of Treason’ may be pretty straightforward at first, but when you pay more attention to the details, you’ll notice there’s a lot going on in terms of arrangements and other proggy twists and turns. Compared to Heritage the new album has a more contemporary feel, due to the much improved production values.

The song material on Pale Communion is much stronger compared to its controversial predecessor. Also, sound-wise the new album is quite an improvement. It may not bring some of disenchanted fans back to the fold, however Pale Communion is living proof that Opeth is as vibrant as ever and they’re one of few bands left in rock and metal that actually dare to evolve and grow into their own.

Opeth – Pale Communion8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Eternal Rains Will Fall
  2. Cusp Of Eternity
  3. Moon Above, Sun Below
  4. Elysian Woes
  5. Goblin
  6. River
  7. Voice Of Treason
  8. Faith In Others