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Continuing the steady downward trend - 77%

EzraBlumenfeld, November 7th, 2018

As Blackwater Park did before, Opeth's sixth album once again failed to live up to the band's previous release when it was unleashed just a year later in 2002. Although not necessarily bad, it fails to captivate the listener or provide an overall exciting listening experience. Originally intended as a double album the mostly calm Damnation, the six-track Deliverance just feels like something is missing.

Five of the six songs here occupy more than ten minutes each, which is pretty standard Opeth fare. "Wreath" starts the whole thing off in an unusually heavy manner, yet just doesn't feel like it needs to be so long. "By the Pain I See in Others" is pretty strange, with an extended moment of silence midway through that takes up a significant portion of the song, and sees the band exploring some more typically conventional progressive metal riffs. The title track is easily the best here, taking the traditional Opeth multi-sectional song structure and fusing each piece seamlessly.

Mikael Ã…kerfeldt and crew continued the pattern from the previous two albums of having a calmer third track, manifested here as "A Fair Judgement." Although a fine song by itself, it seems out of place on otherwise death metal-oriented album. It stands up decently, but doesn't hold a candle to either "Benighted" or "Harvest."

Another notable difference between this and Blackwater Park is the sudden absence of keyboards and orchestral effects. I think the atmosphere this would have provided could have made Deliverance more worthwhile, and enhanced the otherwise plain guitar tone albeit huge production that otherwise dominates the record.

I don't find Deliverance to be an incredible album the way some people do but to each their own. I find it a tad to dry and lifeless compared to their other releases, and it doesn't feel inspired when compared to their other work from the same era. I can find a song or two enjoyable to listen to, but listening to the whole thing at once is a tall order that I find too boring to fill.

Best songs: "Deliverance" and "By the Pain I See in Others"