Review Summary: Deliverance drifts away from Opeths usual style, while still being a great heavy album doesn't give one the full Opeth punch.
Opeth - Deliverance
I remember in the seventh grade, my math teacher was one of the most creative and unique teachers i have ever had. He would play games in class with us in the end all adding to the learning element not ever being off task. After the seventh grade i was sad to not have him for a math teacher anymore but little did i know he would soon be my teacher for 9th and 10th grade. Although time had passed and class had become more serious my teacher was still a great one, but since time had gone by now things were a little different in class. The same can be said for Opeth, although some time and change had gone by since the amazing Blackwater Park, they still managed to keep their charm and originality to their music. One thing that was a significant difference in Deliverance was that it was definitely Opeths heaviest releases. Deliverance was the first album of the Deliverance/Damnation double release. Interestingly enough Opeth decided to release their heaviest release and their softest consecutively. Whatever the reason is for this Deliverance has been one of the most debated Opeth albums to date.
From the quick drumbeat and the rapid guitar riff that come raging out of your speakers as soon as the CD begins to spin, it’s obvious that this album is going to be more intense than previous Opeth outings. The opening track, “Wreath”, is then joined by Mikaels vocals, stopping Opeth’s trend of having extended intro’s, most notable in albums like Still Life or Blackwater Park. In fact, there are very few songs on this album that have the same intro lengths as their older work. Another notable thing about Deliverance is that all of the tracks, disregarding a 2 minute transition track “For Absent Friends”, are longer than 10 minutes in length. Whilst Opeth can make 10 minute songs work, a talent which only a few other bands share, the song lengths may be daunting to some listeners who are not prepared to listen to long songs.
Due to the long track lengths, there is a lot of potential for Deliverance to drag on for way too long, without the songs properly progressing. And while tracks like “Wreath” and the title track “Deliverance” rarely have dragging moments, there are other songs like “By the Pain I See in Others” or “A Fair Judgment”, which have some sections that last too long, making them tedious to listen to. While this is a problem, the overall qualities of the songs account for the dull moments, meaning there are really no bad tracks on Deliverance.
Being an Opeth album at heart, the overall musicianship featured in Deliverance is excellent and is up to the usual Opeth standards. The album is a showpiece of the excellent drumming of Martin Lopez, who is at an all time high, showing off his drumming skills and his double kick speed. “By The Pain I See in Others” is a definite highlight for Lopez, and has him playing some great double bass and blast beats. However, the bass does not live up to Lopez’s great percussion, and at times it was hard to discern the bass. Although when Mendez’s bass was heard it was quite imposing, often acting as a backbone for the songs. Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Lindgren’s twin electric’s also impressed, providing some great riffs and solos. Indeed, one of the best parts of the album is the opening riff from “The Master’s Apprentice”, which is chunky and catchy and something different from the usual Opeth riff.
Regrettably, Deliverance does not stand out and appear as unique as many previous Opeth albums like Blackwater Park or My Arms, Your Hearse. Atmosphere does not seem to play as much of a role in Deliverance, and many of the songs do not seem to have that eerie and haunting feeling demonstrated in other Opeth releases. On the other hand this album seems to be leaning more toward the heavier aspect of Opeth’s sound, mainly to make up for the lack of electric guitar work in Damnation. Another contributor to the heaviness aspect is Mikael Akerfeldt’s growls. Mikael’s growls seem to be more deep and guttural in Deliverance than any other Opeth album, adding an even darker shade of brutality to Deliverance. Although the growling gets more time to shine, there was far too few instances of Mikael’s beautiful clean vocals. Unfortunately however, this heavier side of Opeth may not appeal to some listeners, and may not appease long time fans of Opeth’s moodier tunes.
So in conclusion, Deliverance seems to drift away from other previous Opeth releases without a significant drop in musical quality. However, Deliverance does not seem to bring the shear uniqueness and originality of other Opeth albums in that it does not have nearly as much atmosphere as Opeth’s finer hours. In the long run though, Deliverance is a great album, being superior to most metal in general, but not quite showing Opeth’s full potential. If looking to get into Opeth, this album is not the ideal start, but if you are looking for a great heavy metal album with great riffs, drumming and solos Deliverance is right up your alley.
What is good about Deliverance
+Great guitar riffs and solos
+Mikael’s unique vocals as usual
+Drumming is faster and more technical than ever
+Great clean sections intertwining with the heavy songs
What is not good about Deliverance
-Not as unique as previous Opeth albums
-Not enough of the clean sections
-Songs can drag at times
-Bass could be a bit hard to decipher in some songs
Final Rating 4/5