Mikael Akerfeldt- guitars, vocals
Peter Lindgren- guitars
Martin Mendez- bass
Martin Lopez- drums and percussion
Steven Wilson*- vocals, mellotrons, and keyboards
*not a regular band member
Produced by Steven Wilson and Opeth
"Deliverance" was the first of a two-album set released by Opeth. The other is the famous album "Damnation," which was the first album to almost entirely explore the light side of Opeth their fans have come to adore. It was a project idea that Akerfeldt had been mulling over since the completion of "Morningrise," and it finally came to fruition here. "Deliverance," released in 2002, was the "heavy" album of the two, even though Akerfeldt found himself putting plenty of light sections in it anyway.
Having had the pleasure of viewing the documentary detailing the making of these albums on the DVD "Lamentations," I have a newfound appreciation for what the band went through to make them. It also explains a lot of the things I believe to be subpar with the album.
However, don't get me wrong: this is still quite a good offering. Opeth are hardly capable of making an album that outright stinks, but they have in this case made an album which is of slightly lower quality than the rest of their output, in my opinion. But first, the album track by track:
The album kicks off with a fast roll courtesy of Martin Lopez and blasts straight into the metal sections. The riffs are nice, but this song probably more than any other suffers from a seeming lack of embellishment, with few harmony parts and next to none of the dense mixes I enjoyed so much on "Blackwater Park." The exception to this is the ascending riff of the bridge section, which is itself followed by a melodic transition to the verse, but this part goes on for three minutes on the strength of these two parts continuously repeated...not a good idea, Opeth. That's a bit too repetitive. There's a pretty strange-sounding guitar solo after this, and the E-bow lead that follows is a powerful moment reminiscient of "Bleak" from Blackwater Park. In a neat, calmer interlude, Lopez's highly-tuned tom-toms create an interesting tribal feel that I've not seen on other Opeth releases. The song ends with repeats from earlier in the song. Oh yeah, and that second guitar solo is metal madness.
I really sort of hate this intro. The riffs are so dissonant they sound kind of silly to me. The song really starts for me when Akerfeldt's heavenly singing comes through the acoustics that drop in, with the reverb bouncing everything across the mix. Just awesome. The heavier riffs that follow, in addition to the first guitar solo, are kind of forgettable but still good, and then this transitions to an awesome chugging riff in E-minor with staccato chants from Akerfeldt over the top, and then one of my favorite Opeth solos. The acoustic sections are very eerie, and in particular the lyrics are wonderful when taken aside the creepy album art. There's something very haunting about the way Akerfeldt sings "Deliverence/called back at me/deliverance/(They're) laughing at me." Then comes my favorite metal section of all time from Opeth. Lopez and Akerfeldt lock in so seamlessly for this that I can hardly believe it. SO heavy. SO good. And then the creepy piano fading in and out. Just amazing.
3.) "A Fair Judgement"
This starts off with some moderately interesting piano, but once again the two-chords-for-two-minutes disease strikes Opeth and gets the song off to a slow start. But then comes an almost Pink-Floyd-esque section with shimmering tremolo guitars, and probably one of the more melodic heavy sections that came out of Opeth, with a perfect lead part. These two sections repeat until we come to Akerfeldt's coolest and prettiest fingerstyle acoustic section on either album, and then a beautiful progression and solo in Dm. The second guitar solo is a breathtaking piece of work, and should not be missed. It's amazing. The super-heavy section that finishes the song is good by itself, but doesn't fit with the rest of the song too well. Oh well. Good song.
4.) "For Absent Friends"
This is what "Patterns in the Ivy" dreamed of being. An even more beautiful acoustic guitar part complemented by some gorgeous lead guitar. And this one's two minutes long.
5.) "Master's Apprentices"
The song starts off with a good heavy riff, which is also surprisingly basic for Opeth: standard death metal blastbeat on the double bass and Phrygian guitar through and through. This is good stuff. But to be honest, the metal sections don't do nearly as much for me as the incredibly multi-faceted acoustic section, with a guitar solo just singing in the realm of feedback. That's some truly masterful use of the guitar's vocal potential. Hats off to Lindgren for that one. The harmonies are also really good, with two parts each from Akerfeldt and Mr. Steven Wilson. The heavy sections end it.
6.) "By the Pain I See in Others"
The intro is great, the riffs are great, and the "whisper growl" that Akerfeldt gives us at the beginning is too cool. Other than that, this song is pretty standard Opeth.
Okay, so my final rating is probably gonna be a 3.5/5. averaged to a 7 on the 10 point scale. This is because the album is deficient in numerous areas. First, the production is terrible compared to earlier efforts. It's even dryer than Blackwater Park was, but the guitar tones are way too hollow-sounding compared the guitar-thickened earlier albums. All the instrumental embellishments "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park" had in such abundance are almost universally missing here. We can forgive them for that, though, mostly because of the famous difficulties the band had in making the album. The producer that didn't know his own equipment, the antique equipment that kept breaking, the music that kept getting lost. All the members of Opeth have stated on more than one occaision that it got to be so bad and unpleasent that they considered going home and quitting music for good right there. I disputed this until I saw their faces on the DVD documentary, and I can assure you, they are completely serious. Steven Wilson saved the project, but I think that by that time all the fun of it was lost for Opeth and they didn't want to do all the layers they had done in the past. It was two weeks of hell for them. So...oh well. Also, Akerfeldt's screams sound a bit hoarse or strained to me: they make more of a "gaaagh" noise than a "groooowr" noise to me. Hope he gets better. But the guitar solos on this are incredible, and Martin Lopez's drumming takes everything to a new level. And watching him play the Deliverance endsection on the DVD documentary...God, he makes it look so easy!
So, this isn't the best Opeth has to offer, and I would still recommend BWP or Still Life over this as a first purchase for people seeking to get into the band, but it's still pretty damn good. Hope this review helped some people out there.
I disagree with this review entirely. I feel that Deliverance is Opeth's best work to date. It is musically interesting with dissonant riffs, huge dynamic shifts and some of the best songwrite Opeth ever delivered. This is what Ghost Reveries should have been. The clean sections here are amazing and complimented perfectly by some of the heaviest riffs Opeth ever wrote. The only downside of this album is that it doesn't flow quite as well as Blackwater Park. No matter, the songs here are the best Opeth ever wrote.
This album grows on me more and more with each listen.
Each Opeth album has had a different first listen effect for me, and I did use to find this medicore. But I agree with some of Opeth's best material on here, even if they dont shape the best songs out of it (not that the songs are bad, far from it)
Eh, well, what can one do? I'm simply not as much a fan of this one. It seems perfectly clear to me that the album's production is lacking, and especially that its general quality seems below that of the two previous albums, which I personally feel to be their best to date in terms of flow and musical variation.
I never said it was a big pile of crap, though, as Dancin' Man seems to think I meant. :-/
This album is much better then you make it out to be, Ripper. Master's Apprentices is incredible in every facet, and Deliverance is my favorite Opeth track. Ever. And that's high praise, considering I have Blackwater Park. This album's only problem is "For Absent Friends" which I hate because jazz is to arty for me.
I have to say, I think your review is a bit biased. You seem to dislike most of the heavy riffs, either stating that they "don't fit" or that they aren't as good as the soft sections. Opeth is a band who balances extremes, and I think the review should be taken in context with the band's previous output. Your review of Damnation is better, but for the wrong reasons perhaps.
Any review stating an opinion that doesn't sit on the proverbial fence is inherently biased. That said, I don't think mine is biased in an overtly negative way. I'm not even all that negative about the album, if you read closely, and I forgive Opeth for the poorer-quality compositional things for the torture they went through to record it. You compare this album to either the previous album, BWP, and the subsequent album, Ghost Reveries, and the quality of the music is instantly apparent in stark contrast to the general feel of Deliverance, which strikes me as underproduced and most of all rushed in the compositional aspect.
Too many riffs here meander, are repeated too many times, and generally develop slowly to the point where I just get bored. Advanced orchestration or increasing layering over time can help this, which is one of the reasons I enjoy Sigur Ros so much, but this one just doesn't do it. I'm sorry you all seem to feel as though I hate the album, but seriously, I'm a huge fan of Opeth and I totally understand that they are "a band of extremes," and stuff. I also am willing to concede, which others curiously aren't, that Opeth are not perfect, not for everybody, and sometimes, let's face it, BORING. That said, this is not a bad album. 3 1/2 stars is not a bad rating, and I DID gave it that rating in the context of their previous output, which in my opinion is superior.
Morningrise is another album like this. It is easily one of the most melodically creative albums Opeth has produced and it deserves its place in the hearts of many fans including myself. But it IS severely flawed. Dan Swano's black metal production--and Mikael's higher-pitched, black-metal styled growl vocals--are unsuited to the melo-death harmonic content and the mid-tempo pacing of the music. Mikael's clean vocals are in a sorry state, intonation-wise--he's much better on later albums. The drumming is surprisingly pedestrian, compared to Lopez' later work with the group. And above all, the transitions from riff to riff are amateur and mostly unrelated. The songs don't flow as songs, they flow as collections of stellar riffing that don't really bear much connection to one another. I don't know, it seems like you guys are reading a few negative comments on this album (which are nowhere NEAR the level of overt dislike or hatred) and you just can't take it because Opeth holds such high places in your pantheon of musical greatness that you won't hear a negative word against them or a flaw attributed to anything they do.