A Darker Shade of PaleFor about a decade, Opeth was the most important band in metal, to paraphrase an occasional contributor to this site. You are no doubt fully aware of their sound, and have probably heard most if not all of their music. And I don’t feel that anyone has a misunderstanding of the band, either; metalheads understand Opeth, whether they enjoy it or not. You are no doubt also fully aware of their well-publicized abandonment of metal. So I will avoid any kind of detailed discussion of the band’s history and legacy, which I am always tempted to do when I know a band's catalog as well as I know Opeth's. I’m going to simply step into the music.
Pale Communion is a continuation of the band’s progressive rock fetish. Not completely but in part, it sounds like it could have come from the late 60’s or early 70’s. You already could have guessed that. As with the last record, the vocals are wonderful and the production has a deliciously broad dynamic range. They still display a mastery of dynamism, and they sadly are still handicapping themselves by refusing to go into death metal mode for a minute or two. But there are some differences between this record and Heritage which preceded it.