Deliverance / Damnation – Opeth

Pictures of Prog bands give me orgasms.

Time to fucking talk about Opeth.  If you read my review of Storm Corrosion, you will be aware of the fact that I am a fan — well, fan-boy.  I will admit it.  I love everything Opeth has done.  I like then when they are heavy, I like them when they are soft, I like them when they are wanking (figuratively and literally).  Any fan of modern prog rock/metal knows of these mega titans.  However, people seem to be pretty split on Opeth.  Love ’em or hate ’em type deal.  Anyway, I am going to discuss the Deliverance and Damnation albums.  You know, like a double feature?  Because they were recorded together…  And released within a couple months of each other… And they are by Opeth.  The band.  Still with me?

These albums were released when the band still consisted of its greatest lineup of Mikael Akerfeldt, Martin Mendez, Martin Lopez, and Peter Lindgren.  Both albums were produced and engineered by none other then Steven Wilson of Porcupine tree.  He also lends some vocals and instrumentation here and there.  Akerfeldt has said he wanted to make a super heavy Opeth record but also didn’t want waste a bunch of nice soft guitar parts he had.  So Mr. Jonas Renske of Katatonia suggested recording two albums.  Thus Deliverance and Damnation were born: Delieverance being your typical Opeth album filled with head-crushing progressive metal while Damnation focused on soft, shorter prog rock and acoustic songs.  Opeth is no stranger to mellow songwriting, but it would be the first album that consisted entirely of that style.

Deliverance

Opeth

2002

Koch / Music for Nations

Deliverance was the first of the two released.  I would like to talk about my two favorite songs on the album.  Why?  Because they are deliciously proggy and heavy as fuck.  The first is the title track.  And what an epic title track it is.  Clocking in at a solid thirteen minutes, they start off fast and heavy like many previous Opeth songs.  About a minute and thirty seconds in they jump into a soft, jazzy drumming and a groovy bass line.  Switching from death metal growls into the clean singing, and then: BAM BAM BAM!  We get heavy again, for a couple of seconds.  A tease, a wonderful, sexual tease.  Then at three minutes we jump back into the lightening fast double bass and crushing guitar.  So, what we have with this song is a prime example of Opeth’s ability to transition from segment to segment seamlessly.  This they do so well, in fact, that if you are listening to this in the background you may not even notice the song rolling (like a fat kid down a hill, or some other hilarious analogy) back and forth from heavy to soft.   As good as the song is, the best parts are the final minutes.  Around nine and a half minutes, the guitar goes into a soft little melody that is played behind a syncopated drum/guitar/bass pattern.  It’s sex in music form.

In case that song isn’t heavy enough for you the track “Master’s Apprentice ” (named after an Australian prog rock group) is ready to pound your asshole into dust.  Ripping open with a crunching guitar and bass riff, the drums follow the pattern on the ride while a steady double bass beat keeps the rhythm underneath it all.  This song has my favorite case of Opeth jumping into soft and clean music from pure heaviness.  When the transition hits, it hits you like a fucking fat kid rolling down a hill (or some other hilarious analogy).  The song has a soft, catchy melody filled with ahhhhh’s, which will subliminally rape your ears until you find yourself singing the oh-so-pretty parts in your head, long after you listen.  Deliverance is top-notch progressive metal.  Heavy, crushing, jazzy, pretty, and catchy.  Get it in your face!

Damnation

Opeth

2003

Koch

And now for something completely different (Monty Python): Damnation, released just five months after Deliverance is Opeth’s first album with zero metal.  The album starts things off with “Windowpane,” and the mellow jams and prog rock grooves are felt immediately.  The album follows in line with the first track nicely, as all the songs stay in the same vain.  Mikael’s voice fits very well over the soft passages, not that we haven’t heard him sing like this before, but now he really gets to show his vocal talent directly.  He has no problems carrying an album entirely of clean singing.

The second song, “Death Whispered A Lullaby,” is my personal favorite on the record, starting off with just a few notes on the guitar and Akerfeldt’s almost sad sounding voice.  Once the song kicks into full gear with the whole band playing along, the listener can get chills down there back if they are one who is affected by music in that delightful way.  The entire album has a haunting, almost unearthly mood about it.  This atmospheric mood is entirely different than any previous Opeth album.  There is never a dull moment as the album steadily moves from track to track.  Overall Opeth succeeded in this experiment to do a full record of mellow tracks.  These two albums don’t just prove that they’re capable of  progressive death metal and acoustic rock at the same time, but also that Opeth’s songwriting abilities are something to fucking aspire to.

Cream in my jeans.

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4 Responses to “Deliverance / Damnation – Opeth”

  1. Opeth, Nick? More like “Opathetic.” AMIRITE GUISE?

  2. Nicholas Says:

    :(

  3. Kristen Says:

    Wishing so hard I could top “Opathetic” right now.

  4. […] less smart than most of the human population.  Sure, every now and then he’ll stumble onto something great, but I’m surprised he isn’t wallowing in his own self-filth, listening to St. […]

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