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“Deliverance” was the album that got me into Opeth. I didn’t know them before. At first I didn’t like it very much but it wasn’t too long until I started to appreciate their unique sound. Being one of their heaviest albums, “Deliverance” still keeps up all the typical Opeth elements: progressive death metal, complex songwriting, long songs, amazing growls, nice clean vocals, wonderful acoustic parts and, above it all, a mystical, dreamy atmosphere.
The only thing I don’t like about this album is the sound. Don’t get me wrong, the production is very good (courtesy of Mr. Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree), but it was mixed by Andy Sneap and we all know what it means: very heavy and loud sound, especially in the drums, something that ruins a bit of the album’s atmosphere. Andy Sneap may be a great choice for a thrash metal band, but not for Opeth.
Anyway, the songwriting is masterful, as usual. Five 10+ minutes lenght compositions plus a short instrumental piece. Several songs contain insane double bass assaults by drummer Martin Lopez like Opeth had never used before, and of course he also delivers loads of his jazzy playing style. It’s also noticeable the improvement in Mikael Akerfeldt’s clean vocals. His growls are insanely good, which is nothing new at all, but this is the first album in which his clean vocals have completely convinced me. There are few melodic singing sections, but they’re masterfully performed.
The first track, “Wreath”, is one of the most agressive Opeth songs ever, as it doesn’t contain any acoustic part nor clean vocals at all (except for some almost-hidden choirs at the end). “Deliverance” is not only the title track but also the album’s highlight. Longer than 13 minutes, it’s also a very heavy song with great combination of extreme and clean vocals, two outstanding guitar solos and a hypnotic ending. “A Fair Judgement” starts with a mournful piano. It’s a softer track with clean vocals only and some doomy, slow guitar riffs. Very classy. Then there’s a short instrumental interlude (“For Absent Friends”). The next song “Master’s Apprentices” brings back the heaviness being one of their most death metal oriented compositions ever, although it fades into a beautiful acoustic piece in the mid-section. The last track, entitled “By the Pain I See in Others” contains some experiments such as extreme vocals over acoustic guitars and some waltz-like parts.
Though not their best, “Deliverance” is another fine release by this unique and unmistakable band known as Opeth.