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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2017
Fantastic Album, I love this album from Opeth ... it took a short while to really get into it and now I cannot stop playing it. There are so many excellent tracks on this album and musicianship is absolutely flawless.
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on 17 June 2017
Give it a few times of listening.... Then it will show how great a record it is. Better than Opeth's first "prog" record "Heritage". Fantastic musicianship, Being a drummer myself I can only describe Axenroth's drumming as superb. And of course Åkerfeldt's music writing skills.
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on 31 March 2017
Even though I am a death metal fan, I do love this period of Opeth more. Great record!
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on 9 August 2017
As expected, quick delivery
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on 6 August 2017
Lovely bit of vinyl, can't complain at all
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on 8 October 2014
-1 star for no growl. For me the growling vocals was the beauty of Opeth but that doesn't make the album less fantastic it just loses that little bit of excitement that Opeth stands for. Opeth is dead, long live Opeth.
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on 26 August 2014
From what I'd read in articles leading up to the release of the album, I knew I'd be expecting something special when listening to this latest release from Opeth. Mikael Akerfeldt had said in numerous interviews that he'd been wanting to concentrate on melody a lot more for this album and he really was telling the truth. This album is one of the most melodic Opeth releases, if not the most melodic release in their entire catalogue. Not only is the singing melodic but also the guitar parts and the strings, making for an extremely listenable album.

The songs are memorable, catchy and with all the right twists and turns / light and dark bits that we all love Opeth for. The Prog elements really work on this album. Even though they're a lot more subtle when compared to Heritage it makes it sound very organic and fluid. It's obviously progressive but not in a jarring way, which is also down to the emphasis on melody. People moping about the 'excess' of prog that Heritage was (apparently) seem to forget that Opeth have always been progressive. They've certainly gotten more progressive over the years but they've not released anything that's been completely out of the blue. This is them taking the prog of Heritage and cleaning it up a bit. Heritage had to happen for this album to be made, although oddly enough it sounds as if this would've been a more logical follow up to Watershed than Heritage was (I would like to point out that personally, I love Heritage and have absolutely no problem with it).

I've listened to the entire album a good 4 or 5 times now and it's rather addictive. No one is like Opeth. I've heard people say that the Opeth of today release music that is '70's prog worship', and I've never heard so much bollocks in my life. This, to me, is a very modern sounding album in both the music and the production. Opeth just do prog differently to say, Dream Theater. You really feel that everything is about the song, and there's never too much showing off, although my only complaint is the fact that Fredrik Akesson doesn't show off enough, because he can seriously play. The solo on Cusp of Eternity is fantastic and in terms of modern guitarists he must be one of the most underrated players out there. I'd like to praise everyone's playing on the album actually. The whole thing is very well played and performed. Mikael's singing is brilliant as always and I love the choir of Mikaels that pop up throughout the album.

Probably my favourite Opeth release, although to me there isn't a single album of theirs that I dislike. If you're in the mood for some very well crafted, incredibly melodic progressive music with lovely string arrangements (a very nice addition to Opeth's sound!) then buy this album. There will always be the crowd of people who feel as though they're entitled to another Blackwater Park but to us fans who can appreciate that Opeth's sound has progressed and was obviously headed towards this direction then I think it's only fair to call this Opeth's crowning achievement so far.
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on 23 September 2014
yet another top recording from OPETH
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on 14 September 2017
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on 22 September 2014
Opeth, like all progressive rock bands before them, have evolved. It took them a while, too - whilst they have pushed the boundaries of metal in many ways compared to their metal peers, looking back over their back catalogue it becomes clear that they almost became victims of their own success. Carving out a nice unique formula for themselves, it was still that - a formula. A heavy bit with growls here, a heavy bit with clean vocals there, an acoustic bit after that, do each section 4 times and repeat for 10 minutes or so. Don't get me wrong here - that's not necessarily a criticism, as pretty much all of their albums are amazing, and to be fair they didn't always stick to that formula, but with Watershed you could feel the whole thing getting a little tired. But the problem was, by having followed the same formula for so long, the fans had come to expect a certain type of thing from an Opeth album. So how does Akerfeldt allow himself to musically evolve naturally as his heart desires without pissing everyone off? The answer it turned out was simple - just do whatever the hell he wants and if he has to piss everyone off in the meantime, well, so be it. Evolve he did, and piss the fans off he also did. And so Heritage was born. It was interesting, but still missing something. It was great to finally see the birth of a new direction (in my humble opinion, anyway) whilst retaining the typically bleak atmosphere of Opeth, but it just felt like it was continually building up to something and never quite getting there. Like Akerfeldt was glad to be doing something different, but still holding himself back a little.

Well, well, well. Along comes Pale Communion. Whatever Akerfeldt was trying to achieve with Heritage, well, here it is, and it was worth the wait. He has finally set himself free of the shackles of his own making, and it is absolutely glorious to hear. I won't go into a track by track breakdown here, as the standalone single release of Cusp of Eternity prior to the album's release taught me one thing - Opeth are not a singles band. I found myself disappointed when I first heard that song. But why? Because it didn't do absolutely everything I wanted Opeth to do in one song? Not every song can be a Ghost of Perdition... but then it doesn't have to be. It seems that what Opeth have realised is that you don't have to do everything in one song - after all, you have a whole album to fill! That's why Ghost Reveries, despite being my now second favourite Opeth album (it was my first until this one came along), kind of fizzles out towards the end - you have absolutely everything you could ever wish for in Ghost of Perdition and Baying of the Hounds, leaving the rest of the album feeling a little empty and anti-climatic (even though it is all still brilliant). With Pale Communion, the genius is spread evenly throughout, and Cusp of Eternity is just one of the many flavours Opeth have graced us with on this album. Taken alone, it is still a fantastic song, but it can be appreciated so much more when taken as part of a greater whole. And Pale Communion is indeed one of those albums that you have to listen to from start to finish to fully appreciate the depth and enormity of it.

There is something unique and brilliant about every song here, and it would take a whole essay to describe them all. I could point out a few of favourites - Eternal Rains Will Come is a stunning opener, going from an evil-jazzy intro into a sweeping melodic mini-epic; River pays homage to CSN and the Allman Brothers Band in what is probably the first ever happy(ish) Opeth song and showcases the unbelievable musicianship of this band; Voice of Treason is a slow, brooding and absolutely mesmerising journey with a Kashmir-style middle-eastern flavour, and if this is indeed Opeth's Kashmir, then Faith in Others is their Stairway to Heaven. No words can do that song justice - just listen to it and bathe yourself in the glory that is Opeth at their absolute best.

By letting himself off the chain, Akerfeldt has created his most adventurous, creative, emotional and bold record yet. As a long-time Opeth fan you may lament the loss of the growls and heaviness. But to accept Opeth as a progressive band means to accept that, like all other true progressive bands, they are naturally going to evolve from album to album. Look at King Crimson - with the exception of the first two or three albums, they could have been a completely different band on every other album. But why would you want the same thing over and over again? You can always put on Blackwater Park or Still Life if you want to listen to old Opeth. And isn't that the great thing about music - it is here forever. And I am extremely grateful that Pale Communion will be here forever too, for it is one of the greatest albums of this generation. Sir Akerfeldt, I salute you.
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