|Review: Opeth - Deliverance|
Label: Music For Nations
Year released: 2002
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: January 5, 2003
Reviewed by: Scott Murray
Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (28 Votes)
The hype surrounding the four-piece Opeth is higher than ever with their latest release Deliverance and the anticipation for the follow-up release Damnation. Labeled as a mellower album, Damnation will be produced by Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson (who performs backing vocals, mellotrons/piano and co-production on Deliverance).
Deliverance is a more evil and aggressive addition to the band’s discography, with some nice surprises along the way. But at its core, this album is pure Opeth through and through.
All of the usual elements are here: Mikael Akerfeldt’s sinister death growls complemented by mellower, clean vocal moments, doomy and atmospheric guitar, and accoustics all melded together flawlessly by these masters of transitional music. Oh, and did I forget to mention that only one of the six tracks clocks in at under 10 minutes?
What is different on this record is the added attention to the drumming of Martin Lopez. Actually, the first time I played Deliverance the intro kicked in and for a split second I thought I had accidentally put a Bloodbath disc on by mistake as Mikael roared over thunderous double bass blasts. The percussion is a major presence on this album, unlike previous Opeth releases. Much to my surprise of course, this album has its share of cymbal crashing and blast beats, which adds to this haunting and heavy experience.
Wreath opens the album with a fair amount of intensity, rarely releasing its grip apart from a tribal drumming interlude and a totally kick ass thrashy solo. The title track flows immediately from the end of Wreath and is a bit more typical for an Opeth song, featuring breaks from the mid-paced gloomy death ambience with emotional and soothing clean vocals accompanied by tapping percussion and soft guitar.
A Fair Judgement (followed by the short and calming instrumental For Absent Friends) takes the album down a notch, perhaps offering a preview of what is to come on Damnation. An eerily peaceful piano intro leads into a surreal world where the vocals and guitar twangs echo as if they were ripples in the water, occasionally set free by an inspiring solo.
The final two songs, Master’s Apprentice and By the Pain I See in Others, pick up where the first two left off and then some. These songs are totally crushing and loud, playing host to Mikael’s most sinister and disturbing vocal performances to date, along with the usual shifts in pace and sound.
Deliverance is a winner in that it is a fresh take on the band’s sound while not phasing out the components that make fans old and new praise Opeth so highly.
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