Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Pale Communion
Roadrunner Records

Opeth’s new musical endeavor “Pale Communion” is a continued evolution from where their last album “ Heritage” left off.  This is not a great surprise to me ( or many others most likely). The reaction from the fans will be interesting for sure. Opeth’s sound has always been a mix of death metal, older progressive rock, and acoustic folk passages. “Heritage” left the death metal stylings behind and concentrated more on the progressive side of things. They gained some new fans, pissed off some older ones, while some embraced both sounds. “Pale Communion” will probably have the same reaction. It’s a little heavier in places, more melodic and yet, I still hear the older Opeth shine through in much of it ( other than there are no growling vocals). Front-man/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt is behind most of the writing and musical direction and his love of older, obscure, progressive rock from the 60’s and 70’s is readily apparent. The keyboard and organ sounds have a purposely dated/vintage feel, but work well with the new direction the band has taken. At times I think they tend to overshadow the guitars slightly which was my only minor gripe with the album. This is only in certain places, not overall. However the guitars do indeed shine throughout “Pale Communion”. While not quite the monstrous riffs from previous undertakings, Akerfeldt and co-guitarist Fredrik Akesson let loose with a progressive hard-rock barrage of twist and turns and tasty solos ( especially Akesson who is just a monster player).  Some songs such as “Eternal Rains Will Come” , “Cusp Of Eternity”  and “Moon Above, Sun Below” could easily fit along-side songs from past albums such as, “Damnation, Ghost Reveries and Watershed.”  The instrumental “Goblin” sounds like Opeth fused with Chick Corea's Return to Forever era. I would have never thought that this was Opeth if someone was played it for me I would have thought it was a 70’s fusion band. Regardless, it shows the musical diversity this band is capable of. “River” starts off in a major key with the acoustic guitar and vocals and stays that way until the guitar solo, then shifting to more a minor key and the song picks up in intensity and the electrics dominate the song. Again, another very un-Opeth type sound in the beginning until later on, but they pull it off. “Voice Of Treason” has a slight middle-eastern feel and (I felt ) it was dominated by the keyboards a tad to much. It could have been a much better song with more guitar in the front. The last track “Faith In Others” is slower mid-tempo piece that incorporates a lot of textures from previous Opeth albums. It probably would have felt at home on "Ghost Reveries" as well. So, the big question is; do I miss the heavier sound of their previous efforts? Yeah a little. It’s hard not to sometimes. However, these guys are so good at what they do, that they just own this style as well. Its rare to see band that can do this. I stated previously some fans are going to be disappointed, and some will love it. For those that can’t deal with this new sound, they will be playing all the older material live anyway. I think we will see a return to the death metal sound down the line, but for now, just enjoy the road their on and travel it with them.  

by Craig Harvey
for Movement Magazine

Monday, July 14, 2014


World Peace is None of Your Business

Morrissey returns to the music scene with a versified manifesto 'World Peace is None of Your Business'. Poet, rights advocate, voice for the   downtrodden and those who cannot speak, the former The Smiths front man stays an expected course and with his  familiar trenchant grace uses the reach of his voice to pound the pious, out injustices, laud the rights of animals, and malign sex over love in the course of twelve tracks each more multifarious than the last, yet always mindful of who and why he is one of the most influential living music legends.

Full disclosure, it is increasingly difficult for this writer to find much wrong with anything Morrissey does. As a teenager his music so coincidentally spoke to those moments of my life, it not only changed it, but steered it in a direction which likely saved it more that a few times over. The power of one person singing their life can change the world. Morrissey has done this countless times over. So with every album played to death, countless live shows seen, I once in an extremely rare fanatical moment, followed his tour bus hundreds of miles from one show to his hotel on the next tour stop and stalked the lobby for a day in the hopes of meeting him. My sanity personally questioned, this wild act paid off and in the most nervous and awkward moments recorded in human history, I had my audience with the man himself.

To that, for better or worse, it becomes increasingly difficult to be over critical of any release he offers with a looming talk of retirement and a string of canceled tours. I find myself rather thankful for each and every new bit of music. This is not to say that every track on the new album is audio gold, but there are far more gems than coal to mine from it. The pounding 'Neal Cassady Drops Dead', the upbeat yet mournful 'Staircase at the University', and the stunning 'Istanbul' shine above the lot,  though every track reminds me without questions why I remain an unwavering  appreciator and am still thankful for all things Moz.

Max Michaels