Infamous Albums is a series of articles where Alternative Nation writers look at albums that are normally panned by a band’s fanbase, to see if they are as bad as their reputation. To celebrate it’s 14th anniversary, we will be looking at Opeth’s seventh album, Damnation. Hailing from Sweden, Opeth is one of the leading prog metal/rock bands of modern times. For their first six albums they combined death metal with prog rock as well as jazz and black metal. With albums like My Arms Your Hearse and Black Water Park, the band showed the world they were a force to be reckoned with. While the band did experiment a lot, their style still fit within the progressive death metal umbrella. This was until 2003 rolled around.
Damnation is the band’s first prog rock album, a style they would stick with on the majority albums after that. This departure pissed off several fans of their more death metal style. The album was also dedicated to vocalist/guitarist/leader songwriter, Micheal Akerfield’s grandmother who died during recording of this album.
While not as good as as their death metal stuff, Damnation is still an amazing album and their best rock album. Depressing/ melancholic tones fill this album thanks to Akerfield’s soft vocals and creepy jazz influence. The instrumentation is really good and the song’s actually come off as pretty catchy and not pretentious like on later albums. It flows well with few really weak moments. One of the few flaws is that “Closure” ends so abruptly and “Ending Credits”, while a great track, feels like it would fit better at the end.
All in all this is one amazing album. It marked a change in Opeth’s style that, until Heritage, really worked and shined new light on the band’s style. This is a great album to show to people who only know them as a death metal band death metal or to show a different side of the band to a fan of their classics.
Final Rating:Highly recommended.