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Opeth - Deliverance CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.76 | 880 ratings

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5 stars There are very, very few albums to which I would give a five-star rating. This is one of them. Opeth's 'Deliverance' is among my top five albums of all time, not just in prog, but in all music. And here's the astounding thing - I'm not a fan of death metal.

I can't *stand* most death metal, or black metal - basically anything with those cookie-monster-like growls. Sometimes it sounds so ridiculous to me that I can't stop laughing. And so much of that genre consists of boring displays of pure speed, with little or no thought given to composition. That is not to my taste - that's not what I listen to music for.

Therefore, the first time a friend recommended Opeth to me, I listened to a few bars until the vocals kicked in, said "no thanks!" and turned it off.

What a fool I was.

I had the incredible good fortune to end up at one of their concerts at a small club in NY. Forced to stand there and listen beyond the beginning, I found myself more and more shocked as the evening went on - what musicianship, what precision, what attention to detail, and above all (most importantly to me) what composition! I immediately purchased their most recent album, which at that time was 'Deliverance,' and actually gave the music a chance this time. It's lucky that I did, or I would have missed out on nothing less than a masterpiece. Each song is a study in dark vs. light, and individually I would give all six tracks five stars. However, the five star to end all five stars was track 2: "Deliverance."

My god. That song took me on a dark journey I could never have imagined or prepared to experience: a journey through the thoughts in the mind of a murderer and his realization that by doing these things, which he clearly enjoys, he has both denied deliverance to himself and granted it to the person he killed... which isn't what he wanted. "Deliverance, laughing at me..." I've never looked up whether that's what Opeth intended, and I never will. If it's not, it will ruin the power of it for me. The music is incredibly driven, intense, and forcefully emotionally strained. Impeccable timing and unpredictability add to the composition's power.

I could say all of the general comments above about every track individually, but that would get repetitive. Not only is this album brilliant technically, it's put together so well to tug on the emotions of the listener - and that includes the growls. After my initial reaction was so powerful, and I started listening to more of their music, I realized the growls were an essential part of Opeth's effectiveness, providing contrast between dark and light, strong and weak, even external and internal - they use the growls as a mood-changing mechanism, not to "be death metal." They are as artistically relevant as every other instrument in the band.

And, as a nice bonus - the growls don't sound like the cookie monster. They're much deeper and nastier than that. Mikael Akerfeldt has managed to produce this truly evil-sounding depths-of-hell voice that conveys all the seven deadly sins and more with terrifying effectiveness. And when you're writing songs about evil, that really, really works.

Star_Song_Age_Less | 5/5 |


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