Review Summary: Mikael Akerfeldt.10 of 18 thought this review was well written
Opeth are a band that everyone knows about, especially on sputnikmusic. They didn't get their reputation from nowhere, with such releases as 'My Arms, Your Hears', 'Morningrise', 'Blackwater Park' and 'Still Life' it was only a matter of time before Opeth were gonna 'slip up'. Deliverance is definitely seen as that 'step down' for the band by many of their fans. But honestly, this thing still packs some serious riffs and is not the bore that most claim it to be.
Straight from the offset we have 'Wreath', a track that absolutely reeks of Morbid Angel. The main riff is basically Satan and showcases Opeth's ability to write a brutal riff perfectly. Coupled with this badass riff are Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals and oh my word, are they a force to be reckoned with. I sincerely think that Akerfeldt was sat in his apartment somewhere jamming 'Legion' or some *** and thought to himself: "Sure, Benton does sound like Satan but he's still p ***, I'm gonna Lucifer properly". Seriously, these vocals are the definition of 'low end'. After this monolith of riffery we have the title track. Not much to say here apart from THAT RIFF IS KILLING MY FAMILY. Opeth had never been this forceful at this point in their careers so some pants must have seriously been soiled when this single was released prior to the record coming out.
The record mainly follows on in the same vein: awesome punchy riffs, dynamic noodly drumming and Lucifer fueled vocals. There is, however, one oddity on this record and that is 'A Fair Judgement'. This track showcases Opeth's progressive tendencies very well as the track begins with very melancholy piano chords coupled with Akerfeldt's ovary inducing cleans. The song feels like a cosy cocoon of warmth until BOOM, RIFFS! After all, this is primarily a DM record so what were you expecting? Another 'Blackwater Park' with acoustic segments abound? Get outta here. Also, I gotta mention that pure Morbid Angel worship riff toward the end of this track, man it rules.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, 'Masters Apprentices' arrives and kicks you right where it hurts but in a really good way. Sure, the song may drag on for too long but there's so much chunk and low end present here that you just can't resist giving a 5/5. The album closes with 'By the Pain...' which is a pretty passable track by Opeth standards, but hell that standard is 10/10 for most bands.
At the end of the day, what we have here is Akerfeldt's love letter to Morbid Angel. Riffs that cause headbanging to ensue, awesome drumming from Lopez and the vocal performance of Lucifer himself front and center. There are better Opeth albums for sure, but this is the perfect one to jam if you can't find your 1st press vinyl of 'Altars of Madness'.