Pale Communion

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Pale Communion
Opeth Pale Communion album artwork.jpg
Cover art by Travis Smith
Studio album by Opeth
Released 25 August 2014 (2014-08-25)
Recorded Rockfield Studios
Genre Progressive rock[1]
Length 55:45
Label Roadrunner
Producer Mikael Åkerfeldt, Tom Dalgety
Opeth chronology
Heritage
(2011)Heritage2011
Pale Communion
(2014)
Sorceress
(2016)Sorceress2016
Singles from Pale Communion
  1. "Cusp of Eternity"
    Released: 3 June 2014

Pale Communion is the eleventh studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. The album was released on 25 August 2014 through Roadrunner Records.[2] The album was produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt and mixed by Steven Wilson.[3] Pale Communion is the first album with keyboardist Joakim Svalberg after the departure of Per Wiberg in 2011. The album sold 19,090 copies in its first week of release in the United States, debuting at number 19 on the Billboard 200.[4][5]

Musical style[edit]

Mikael Åkerfeldt said of the album, "I wanted to do something more melodic with this album, so there's stronger vocal melodies and more melodies overall for this album."[6] Greg Kennelty of Metal Injection said the album does not contain "growls or death metal vocals".[7] He also described the album as "the missing link between Damnation and Ghost Reveries or if Heritage was written directly after Ghost Reveries without Watershed having ever existed".[7]

AllMusic's Thom Jurek has compared the album to Deep Purple's In Rock and King Crimson's early music, as well as noting the influence from jazz fusion.[1]

Artwork[edit]

The cover art was designed by Travis Smith, who has designed several previous Opeth album covers. The artwork contains Latin text. The left panel quotes Axel Oxenstierna: "Don't you know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" (An nesci, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?). The middle panel quotes Terence: "In these days friends are won through flattery, the truth gives birth to hate." (Hoc tempore obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit, Andria, vv. 67-68). The right panel quotes Marcus Valerius Martialis: "He grieves truly who grieves without a witness." (Ille dolet vere qui sine teste dolet, Epigrammata, I, 33).[8]

Reception[edit]

Pale Communion was met with positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic (a review aggregator site which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 from music critics), based on 12 critics, the album has received a score of 75/100, which indicates "generally favorable" reviews.

Writing for The Guardian, Dom Lawson gave the album a perfect rating, giving particular praise to Mikael Åkerfeldt's singing, writing that "his ability to tug at heartstrings while singing the most wilfully hazy of lyrics is matched only by these songs' beautiful arrangements and pin-sharp ensemble playing." He singled out the closing track for particular praise, describing it as "at once the most profoundly moving song Åkerfeldt has ever written, and a tantalising glimpse into one possible future for this peerless band."

Pitchfork's Grayson Currin wrote considerably more critically about the album. "Pale Communion, Opeth's first album in three years, lacks the absolute willpower and prevailing ambition of the band’s best work—that is, the core that made the awkwardness sufferable." Grayson concluded his review by writing, "Even if you couldn’t abide the inflexibility of their methodical grandeur, it was hard to condemn the immense effort and imagination involved. But Pale Communion only toys with the building blocks, revealing influences that were already apparent but refusing to invigorate them alongside each other. It's not that Opeth isn't cool here. It's that these eight songs run cold on new energies and ideas, a rarity for a catalog custom-made to overwhelm."

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 75/100[9]
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4/5 stars[10]
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[11]
Blabbermouth.net 10/10 stars[12]
Exclaim! 7/10[13]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[14]
The List 5/5 stars[15]
Pitchfork 4.3/10[16]
PopMatters 8/10[17]
Sputnik Music 3.5/5[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Mikael Åkerfeldt.

No. Title Length
1. "Eternal Rains Will Come" 6:43
2. "Cusp of Eternity" 5:35
3. "Moon Above, Sun Below" 10:52
4. "Elysian Woes" 4:47
5. "Goblin" (instrumental) 4:32
6. "River" 7:30
7. "Voice of Treason" 8:00
8. "Faith in Others" 7:39
Total length: 54:18

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 17
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20] 11
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 142
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[22] 179
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[23] 9
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[24] 13
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[25] 23
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[26] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[27] 3
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[28] 5
Italian Albums (FIMI)[29] 37
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[30] 26
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[31] 5
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[32] 42
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 14
US Billboard 200[35] 19
US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)[36] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[37] 4
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[38] 3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jurek, Thom. "Pale Communion - Opeth". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "OPETH Album Officially Pushed Back To August". Metal Injection. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Opeth's "Pale Communion" Coming June 17". Roadrunner Records. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Metal By Numbers 9/28: Respecting Your Heritage Can Help You Sell RecordsMetal Insider". 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  5. ^ "Heritage | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  6. ^ Dick, Jonathan (21 March 2014). "Opeth Started from the Bottom, Now They're Here". Vice. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Kennelty, Greg (27 March 2014). "First Impressions of the New Untitled OPETH Album, A Track-By-Track Review". metalinjection.net. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "OPETH Pale Communion Album Art Revealed!". Metal Injection. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Reviews for Pale Communion by Opeth". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Opeth - Pale Communion Review". About.com. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Slessor, Dan (20 August 2014). "Opeth - Pale Communion". Alternative Press. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Van Horn, Ray (29 September 2014). "Opeth - Pale Communion". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Kitteringham, Sarah (22 August 2014). "Opeth - Pale Communion". Exclaim!. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Lawson, Dom (21 August 2014). "Opeth: Pale Communion review – strange, intricate prog-metal genius". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Cope, Chris (19 August 2014). "Opeth: Pale Communion". The List. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Currin, Grayson (28 August 2014). "Opeth: Pale Communion". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Ezell, Brice (28 August 2014). "Opeth: Pale Communion". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Gerhart, Thompson D. (August 29, 2014). "Review: Opeth - Pale Communion". Sputnik Music. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Opeth – Pale Communion". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Opeth – Pale Communion" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Opeth – Pale Communion" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Opeth – Pale Communion" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  23. ^ "Opeth – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Opeth. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Opeth – Pale Communion". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Opeth – Pale Communion" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  26. ^ "Opeth: Pale Communion" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  27. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  28. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 2014. 35. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  29. ^ "Artisti - Classifica settimanale WK 35 (dal 25-08-2014 al 31-08-2014)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Opeth – Pale Communion". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  31. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Opeth – Pale Communion". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  32. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Opeth – Pale Communion". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Opeth | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  35. ^ "Opeth – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Opeth. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Opeth – Chart history" Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums for Opeth. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  37. ^ "Opeth – Chart history" Billboard Top Rock Albums for Opeth. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  38. ^ "Opeth – Chart history" Billboard Top Tastemaker Albums for Opeth. Retrieved 4 September 2014.