Sound — 10
This is arguably Opeth's heaviest album yet. It is Opeth's sixth studio album and my personal favourite. Still Life has some very heavy moments, yet on Deliverance the music, even the heavy riffs, flow alot better in comparison to Still Life, where the riffs are very disjointed and singluar, Deliverance's riffs go from one to the other with a very smooth transition. When first playing Wreath, the opening track, a listener is left with very little doubt that Opeth mean business with this album. There is still, mellow sequences, and a very beautiful instrumental that is a little over two minutes long, For Absent Friends. But, as this is a dual release with their completely mellow album Damnation, Opeth have indulged the heavier nature of their music on Deliverance. As with most Opeth albums, Deliverance only holds 6 tracks, one of them being the two minute instrumental, so the other five tracks are all 10 minutes plus to bring this album to a little over an hour in length. There is enough diversity in each song to keep the listener interested and excited. Deliverance is also, a very experimental album for Opeth. With a mix of '70s-esque use of Wah pedals, going from fully blown heavy riffage and then all of a sudden the song changes to a beautiful acoustic passage complete with vocal harmonies, effects on Akerfeldt's vocals, and even a weird medieval sounding piano type instrument, in the middle of perhaps the darkest song on the album. Wreath is the opening track, and is the most consistently heavy song for Opeth, with only short interludes of bongo/conga drum mixed in with a few guitar notes to add atmosphere. The title track, Deliverance, is very heavy, yet has parts with very soft and gentle acoustic passages, with Akerfeldt's beautiful clean vocals and etheral lead guitar. The outro riff to Deliverance really MUST be heard, it is jawdroppingly awesome. A Fair Judgement, the 3rd song, is primarly a mellow track, with beautiful piano work, with a very heavy and cool sounding outro, and in the middle there is a sequence where Akerfeldt and Co. sound more like Simon and Garfunkel than a Swedish death metal band. For Absent Friends is a very short, technical and mellow instrumental. Master's Apprentice, the 5th song on Deliverance, is the powerhouse of the album. This is a song that will get the whole crowd headbanging in unison with the music. Yet, in true Opeth unpredictability, switches to a very gentle 3 minute passage of acoustic guitar with vocal harmonies, and thunders back into the 2nd lead solo. By The Pain I See In Others is the closing track for Deliverance, and it is a very heavy track. Akerfeldt's vocals have a weird effect on them in parts, almost like he's an evil spirit talking from very far away. Complete with a medieval organ interlude, it is certainly a track packed with variety. It should be noted that this album contains some of Opeth's best solo's, that are truly dramatic and theatrical and just downright awe-inspiring. This album really shows off Opeth's incredible talent, as we are assaulted by every member of the bands area of expertise. Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren work around and bounce off each other with their guitars, Martin Mendez' bass keeps up with the guitars every step of the way, even on some of the very complicated transition sequences. Martin Lopez' drumming is, of course, superb. Lopez has really tapped into his Spanish/Portugese heritage on both Deliverance and Damnation. His excellent percussion brings a Latin flavour to almost every song, Deliverance, unlike Opeth's previous albums, has Lopez using lots of different styles of percussion, including some bongo and conga work in interludes. The groups musicianship is stronger than ever, and it shows in Deliverance.
Lyrics — 10
Deliverance, unlike Damnation, is very much like Opeth's previous efforts lyrically. I do not mean that in a bad way, or even in a way that means all the lyrics are very similar to each other, quite the contrary. It is Akerfeldt's poetic and abstract writing that returns, however I feel Mikael's skill as a writer has grown considerably since earlier works. In the title track, Deliverance, the meaning of the lyrics are not entirely known until the last few lines, where we discover the devil possessing the character of the song. Master's Apprentice is evidence of the evolution that Akerfeldt has made as a writer, it holds the same poetic and abstract form, yet it is alot more direct and listeners can relate alot better to the lyrics. Opeth's lyrics now are alot better connected to each other, whereas before Akerfeldt's style meant alot of deep thinking was involved to gain any kind of meaning, as they didn't flow together as well. This is not a bad thing in my mind, it is just an observation of his growth as a lyricist. The lyrics on this album are very much about pain, feeling lost, alone, unsure, afraid and just down right evil. Excellent writing.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is excellent, and a must have for metal fans, although in reality the same could be said about all of Opeth's albums. This album may not be the most accessible of Opeth discography, Still Life and Blackwater Park seem to be the most accessible. Yet it is in this album that we see Opeth's progressive and unpredictable song writing take off and run wild. Being the dual release with Damnation that it is, Opeth did not automatically restrict themselves to making an entirely heavy album out of Deliverance and that is to be applauded. The mellow passages are essential to Opeth's formula and they have not forgotten that side of themselves. Use of effects (both vocal and guitar), am almost entirley piano song, aside from lead guitars of course and a heavy outro, weird medieval sounding organs and theatrical and dynamic guitar solo's all add to a very experimental album for Opeth, and it has paid off, it is fantastic. Any Opeth fan who doesn't have Deliverance, must get it. Any metal fan who is curious as to what Opeth are all about should look into this album, as it is very heavy yet gives good insight into the unpredictable nature that is the phenomenon of Opeth.