Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 21st, 2016

Opeth: Deliverance & Damnation

Deliverance & Damnation
(The End Records)

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Opeth has made a career out of mingling and mangling the sounds of ’60s folk, ’70s prog and ’90s death metal together into long, constructive opuses. At their heaviest, they bring Rush, Sabbath and Morbid Angel into the same room and jam. When they’re calm and mellow they could rival any folk hero or acoustic band from past eras. Combining Deliverance & Damnation into one, big package gives new meaning to long-play, but proves they share the ongoing ability and talent to creative, vibrant, musical landscapes, acoustic meadows and dazed, trippy walks through medieval castles after a bludgeoning mallet hit of loud guitars and death metal roars. Some might call Opeth the Swedish metal Shakespeare and one of the few bands with death vocals and an acoustic guitar side stage. There’s a hazed, hippie campfire feel to later tunes when the brooding electric strings are turned off, making the most melancholy, moody piece sound lucid and hypnotic.

Deliverance & Damnation was recorded at once, originally meant to be a double album and released five months apart from 2002-2003. The album is now conjoined as was meant. “Wreath”’s fast prog pace echoes Sabbath’s richness, with death metal influence, building a long, powerful opening landscape. The opening of “Deliverance”’s bludgeon leads to a calm, bluesy mid-part with acoustic Folk nods, continuing with a pleasant game of heavy metal blues prog ping pong. “A Fair Judgement” is the most subtle tune with classical and acoustic, rich guitar, just heavy enough at times to produce a nice, bluesy cool. “For Absent Friends” flows with acoustic flavors fresh and lush. Death metal returns on “Master’s Apprentices” with hell’s bombast. “By the Pain I see in Others” ends part one and the heavy vibrations. Damnation’s radical departure from anything resembling Opeth’s heavy side is both critically acclaimed and lauded by some fans, lynched by others. Pulling epic valleys, serene streams, meadows and cathedral walks through their instruments, they continue like fluid water, hearkening back to the days of mountain-men-folk-prog-rock with the trippy feel of ’60s haze. Classical ingredients (and herbs) add to the trip back in time before “metal” really existed. “Windowpane” is an opening gaze through the looking glass, subtle and tranquil. “In My Time of Need” rests somber like burning embers after the last stoke. “Death Whispered a Lullaby” has a ’70s rock vibe, mellowing the mood like warm spirits from throat to brain. “Closure” pays homage to Zeppelin. “Hope Leaves” is tranquility in an incense-laden fog trailing with Mary Jane’s embrace. “To Rid the Disease” has an ethereal, almost reflective vibe punctuated by classical keys. There’s a Santana tribute hidden in the shadows of “Ending Credits” as “Weakness” ends with a subtle, final bow from the cathedral organ.

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Opeth: Deliverance & Damnation