Posts Tagged ‘album review’

Pale Communion was released August 25th, 2014 via Roadrunner Records.  Genre: Progressive Rock

Pale Communion was released August 25th, 2014 via Roadrunner Records.
Genre: Progressive Rock

It has been 3 years since Opeth’s departure from the death metal landscape broke the hearts of thousands of fans, but the preeminent prog professionals are back with their 11th ‘observation’, Pale Communion. The band’s 2011 effort Heritage signaled a “new” direction in the band’s musical focus and send shockwaves throughout their seemingly loyal fan base. Pale Communion is in no way their mea culpa; rather it is an expansion on the sound that has arguably been at the base of every Opeth album since the days of Orchid albeit masked by death metal chaos.

Almost by design, the band introduces newcomer Joakim Svalberg (keyboardist) accompanied by drummer Martin Axenrot in the groove-drenched intro of album opener ‘Eternal Rains Will Come’. This band knows how to create a rollercoaster of dynamics throughout the course of a song and, in large, an album. Eternal Rains, as does the album itself, possesses a short but effective build-drop-lull-build-sustain-evolved-drop formula that has been an integral part of tracks since Watershed. Most tracks on this album follow suite with the exception of the track number two, ‘Cusp of Eternity’. A foot stomping riff immediately establishes a groove and holds serve as Mikael Akerfeldt croons effortlessly above the rhythm guitars.

The album is a sonic treat for the ears. Mix engineer and Porcupine Tree main-man Steven Wilson has refined and improved on his aural vision from Heritage. The drums across the album bite and punch through the mix with pristine quality but retain a level of intimacy that helps bolster space creating effects such as reverb and delay. Wilson’s flashy use of those effects introduce an insane amount of dimension to the listening experience that came up flatter in this album’s predecessor. The heart of the album, led by the 10-minute mammoth ‘Moon Above, Sun Below’, bounces from quite and serene to spacious but melodically dense and culminates in an infectious band-jam instrumental, ‘Goblin’.

Before turn of the corner to the homestretch of the album, ‘River’ seemingly provides the furthest departure from the trademark Opeth song to date. Up until the halfway point, the song is by far the least complex of the bunch and seems to be tailor made for that “lighter in the air” moment at the venue. It is only at around the 4-minute mark that Opeth’s ear twisting returns and reminds listeners of just how talented this group is. The refrain of Voice of Treason boasts one of the best vocal performances only to be outdone by the tracks climax and close which leads directly to album closer Faith In Others.

From start to finish the album is a testament front man Mikael Akerfeldt’s growth and maturation as a songwriter as well as a straightforward hat tip to his influences. Beyond the singular contributions from Akerfeldt, Opeth as a whole steps their game up. Bassist Martin Mendez is active throughout the album while simultaneously remaining glued to the pocket created and maintained by the spot on drum patterns of Martin Axenrot. Every track clocks in at 8 minutes or less with the exception of one or two, making each of them a manageable listening experience lengthwise. One of the very few minuses of this album are some of the busy vocal lines and crowded rhythms in Akerfeldts vocal cadence from time to time, but that’s just nit picking at this point isn’t it?

Album Picks: Cusp of Eternity, Moon above Sun Below, Voice of Treason

Album Skips: None

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


The Marshall Mathers LP2 was released November 5th, 2013 by Shady/Aftermath/Interscope

Guess who’s back? …Back again. Shady’s back, and you should probably warn all of your politically correct friends. Shock-rap’s poster boy has made his long awaited return to the rap game with the release of the Marshall Mathers LP 2 much to the chagrin of all those innocent and pure of heart (laugh along with me).  The 2013 release is a thematic continuation to 2000’s Marshall Mathers LP. This time the rapper looks to put yet another  (and maybe final?) exclamation point on his storied and infamous career.

Album opener ‘Bad Guy’ serves as a proper set up for the journey to come, with added Easter eggs of playing off of past songs. The album spends most of its time bouncing from wall to wall providing few moments of prolonged lyrical consistency. Who are we kidding, though? This is the name of Eminem’s game, and he is one of the few rappers who can pull it off and still make somewhat of a point…some how. Album single ‘Berzerk’ serves to prove that point with gusto, as well as the already controversial single ‘Rap God’.

Such randomness could be a double-edged sword, however. In tracks such as ‘Asshole” and the album’s deluxe edition bonus track ‘Wicked Ways’, Em can tend to let verses over-extend their stay. Fret not, such rare events fail to overshadow the albums strong suits, such as the superb lyricism. Case and point ‘Love Game’ featuring label mate Kendrick Lamar, who by the way easily matches Shady’s multi-syllabic rapid fire offering. Did I mention lyrical targets? There never seems to be a time Em misses a chance to diss Britney Spears, takes a shot at the Kardashians, and what liberal doesn’t love a dig at Sarah Palin? (None…. yes exactly.)

MMLP2 doesn’t slack off in the musical content and production department. The album boasts sonic selections from Dr. Dre, Eminem himself, Rick Rubin and more. Versatility was also a strong point on this album from a musical standpoint. Tracks feature samples and musical adaptations ranging from Lou Donaldson and The Zombies to the Beastie Boys and Naughty by Nature.

Essentially the album is a testament to Eminem’s growth as a rapper, and as a person. There is a sense that Mathers is more at ease with where is at in his life, and you need look no further than ‘Headlights” for evidence of this.  Standout radio ready cuts like ‘Monster’ (featuring Rihanna) will definitely lure in an unsuspecting few new fans and corrupt them. For those already privy to the ways of Em, you’ll hear more of the same over the top word bending mind melting that has been shocking parents the world over for more than a decade now.

Album Picks: Groundhog Day, Love Game, Evil Twin, Survival
Album Skips: So Much Better, Stronger Than I Was

Rating: 3.75/5


After 3 years of touring in support of We Are The Void, Swedish metallers Dark Tranquillity present us with Construct. 12 tracks (limited edition only) mostly consisting of the classic DT onslaught of dark melodies, catchy hooks, and enough twin guitar riffage to satiate almost any metalhead’s appetite. ‘For Broken Words’ and rifftastic ‘The Science Of Noise’ offer a nice one two punch to kick things off and offer a familiar aural face to the ears of long time DT fans. ‘Uniformity’ provides an early twist with its almost ballad-esuqe hook draped in the clean vocals of front-man Mikael Stanne. The energy picks right back up with ‘The Silence In Between’. Then the kings of the Gothenburg surprises the listener with ‘Apathetic’ that does well to sustain and build the pace with its thrashy riffs. What Only You Know’ is the second track to showcase off Stanne’s baritone singing as well as the band’s ability to tone it down mid-song yet “keep it metal” althroughout.

In an instant the pace picks back up with the relentless ‘Endtime Hearts’. The slow to start ‘State of Trust’ keeps the listener’s ear humble with a curious drop in tempo 3 quarters of the way in. It revs up in time to serve as a decent lead in to ‘Weight Of The End’, however, and we’re cooking with melodeath propane once more. Thing’s slow again with ‘None Becoming’ as it takes its time to kick in. One of the high points of the album comes in the form of ‘Immemorial’ as it waltzes in, flawlessly transitioning into an odd time signature and through a brief but spacious instrumental stint before finally returning back to melodeath mania. The album closes with an instrumental treat showing off DT’s industrial side and in-house programming talent via ‘Photon Dreams’. All in all Construct stays true to Dark Tranquillity’s strengths. The album survives attempts to explore DT’s softer side and overall provides for an entertaining ride for fans of the band. Newcomers may be taken aback by the constant roller coaster ride of energy but should be drawn back in by DT’s patented mix of friendly song structures, attractive melodies, and masterful guitar work.



  1. For Broken words
  2. The Science of Noise
  3. Uniformity
  4. The Silence Between
  5. Apathetic
  6. What Only You Know
  7. Endtime Hearts
  8. State of Trust
  9. Weight of The End
  10. None Becoming
  11. Immemorial (limited edition bonus track)
  12. Photon Dreams (limited edition bonus track)

Dethfrequency Says:The none deluxe (sad face) album is available on Spotify along with earlier records.