I honestly didnt knew what to think until 5 or 6 spins. It's a hard album to grasp, even for someone who considers himself a Prog fanboy. I really enjoyed some songs a LOT and found others just ok. There was a fair ammount of unnecessary uses of Prog jams and way too much "arabic"-influenced melodies that were all over "Damnation" so there was no need of repeating some of those elements. Its not a Metal album by any means, but this was already confirmed. Its softer than anything Opeth has ever done before, I found it way less atmospheric and heavy than Damnation and Heritage and its probably the less dark Opeth album with some amazing melodies (Eternal Rains, Elysian and obviously, River) but, sadly, a really bad song in "Goblin" which is pretty much a 4 minute typical Prog instrumental with some obvious "Alan Parsons Electro-influenced rythms blending into Keyboard-driven Camel jams". It adds absolutelly nothing to the album since those elements are all over the other songs of Pale Communion so I felt it was 4 minutes wasted since the song isnt even that good and, certainly, sounds absolutely nothing like Opeth.
"River" was a big "DAFUQ?" moment. I found myself with jaw opened the first time I've listened to it and I googled everything to check if it was some sord of a Boston or Creedence cover. The first half sounds like Thick as Brick into Allman Bros and it progresses from this cheerful happy song with some dark lyrics into a classic Opethian sound.
My main issue with this one is that it sounds a lot more like a Steven Wilson's "The Raven that Refused to Sing Part.2" than an actual Opeth album. It has some Opeth moments but everything is way too much Keyboard-driven with not much emphasis on the guitars and drums. Sucks that Opeth is into this Prog Rock revivalism since theres way too many bands doing it and they're losing what made them special in the first place.