Damnation

Swedish death-metal outfit Opeth walloped fans with a blistering attack with last year's set, Deliverance, but the quartet took a 180-degree turn with Damnation, the sister project that was recorded

Swedish death-metal outfit Opeth walloped fans with a blistering attack with last year's set, Deliverance, but the quartet took a 180-degree turn with Damnation, the sister project that was recorded along with it. Gone are the growls of singer Mikael Akerfeldt and the in-your-face assault of musicians Martin Lopez, Peter Lindgren, and Martin Mendez. This time out, listeners are treated to a tapestry of eerie, minimalistic soundscapes, such as the stark "Hope Leaves." The Pink Floyd-ish "Closure" picks up the tempo a bit, as does "To Rid the Disease," but opening track "Windowpane" and "In My Time of Need" are the drowsy companion pieces to gloomy Sunday afternoons. Of course, the lyrics are equally dark, touching on haunting loneliness, death-whispered lullabies, and wounds that forever bleed. The set clocks in with eight songs that barely span more than 40 minutes, but their chill—especially that of closing song "Weakness"—reverberates long after.—CLT