Review Summary: Not their finest hour, but equal to their finest hours.
Opeth are one of my favourite bands ever. They're signature brand of progressive death metal was an exciting and interesting premise, from which I developed a love for, particularly Mikael's vocals and the impressive and intricate guitar work (something I am most fond of). However, since the release of Watershed, everything after changed for the band and their fans accordingly. Gone were the guttural vocals, replaced with, the still impressive, yet somewhat drastically different, clean vocals. I've always enjoyed the instrumentation aspect of Opeth's sound, so the change wasn't too much of a disappointment. But they also radically changed their music too, converting from the prog-death to a more King Crimson inspired progressive rock flavour. Yet I love King Crimson too, so again, not that big a deal.
Deliverance took years to grow on me. It is undoubtedly their heaviest album, with songs like Wreath, Master's Apprentices and By the Pain I See In Others ranking as some of their finest most vicious songs. Riffs here are of the highest order, but the real gem here is the title track. Masterfully crafted, it is my favourite Opeth song ever - the clean section is marvellous, showing Mikael's aptitude for creating a ghostly atmosphere with his cleans. Steven Wilson's production techniques are excellent, as always. Overall, I can't fault the band (or the majority of their discography). Even if a lot of fans believe they have fallen off the high horse they were on for so many years (from Orchid to Watershed they were pretty ***ing consistent), Opeth's new album, from what I've heard of the new track, will be a fine return to form. They've evolved from the prog-death metal band they were for so many years to a newer, fresher and perhaps more inspired group.
To conclude, Deliverance is a milestone achievement for the band. Not in the sense that is better than their other classics but in that it shows that the band were always incredible musicians. This review may be irrelevant to some but I wanted to convey just how much I adore the band and nearly every album they have done. To a certain degree, I believe they are one of the best bands around. So let's see if the new one makes a splash in the water like Deliverance, Blackwater Park, Still Life...the list goes on.