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This was the first of a two-part release recorded at the same time. "Deliverance" and "Damnation" were meant to go hand-in-hand, "Deliverance" being the heavy cd and "Damnation" being the mellow cd. They switched the titles around because they felt it would have been too predictable to have the names make sense. (I'm not making that up).
Although this only has four songs, it runs a little over an hour long. It was partially produced by Steve Wilson, who has a noticeable effect on the band’s sound. Everything sounds a bit washed out and dry, and parts of it sound very similar to Porcupine Tree’s “In Absentia”. The band seems to really work together well here, and the songs take a step backwards from their convoluted song structures of past. Opeth has adopted a much more straightforward style which makes “getting” the riffs a lot easier. The vocals are often layered with four or five tracks, another really great effect. All of the songs still have the same “Opeth-y” feel to them, Mikael Akerfeldt has a real way with creating memorable and exciting riffs. The drummer Martin Lopez is also very talented, often blasting away for minutes on end, but I feel his best drumming is the slowed down approach found on “Damnation” and the quiet bits in this album.
The songs all kind of blend together and due to their great length it’s easier to pick memorable segments instead of songs. All of “Deliverance” is catchy and heavy, but I think the song’s quiet bits in the middle are the best, although the song ends with a very cool, but long, head banging riff, played over and over. The band had intended to fade this out but liked the trance-like state induced after listening to the same riff for about four minutes. “By The Pain I See In Others” starts off with a reversed minute and a half and then goes into a disturbing multi-layered vocal performance over haunting acoustic guitars and violin like volume swells. This is the album’s highlight, and it has a very well played guitar solo about 3 and a half minutes in. Another interesting track is the instrumental song “For Absent Friends”. Unlike their earlier almost renaissance sounding acoustic pieces, this song has a very modern and sad sounding duet between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. This is probably my favorite track on the album; it’s a very pretty piece despite it’s strange track placement. Followed by this song is the worst on “Deliverance”: “Master’s Apprentice”. It has a very boring and predictable main riff, and it repeats on much too long. It sounds like the band tried very hard to be heavy, but they really missed on this track.
Overall this cd has some great moments, and some bad ones. Although they are a great band they tend to drive their songs into the ground. Once again, they should have cut these songs short!