After Opeth’s 2001 album Blackwater Park, the Swedish prog band definitely felt the influence of Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, who produced the album. When they went in to record their sixth album, Deliverance, they also recorded Damnation, and were going to release it as a double album, but the label decided to release the two albums separately.
The two Opeth albums couldn’t be more different. With the exception of a middle section consisting of “A Fair Judgment” and the brief instrumental “For Absent Friends,” Deliverance is one of the heavier albums the band had made. Released five months later in April of 2003, Damnation serves as a blueprint to where the band is today. It’s the band’s first album with entirely clean vocals. It’s very ’70s-oriented, and there aren’t even any heavy guitars on it. It’s a masterpiece, and while Opeth returned to their death metal roots for Ghost Reveries and Watershed, their last two albums have found them returning to the clean vocals/mostly acoustic style they first used on Damnation. The two albums represent the two sides of the band, and might be best listened to as a single album.