It’s incredible to think it’s been about thirteen years since Opeth first released their Deliverance and Damnation albums, because even when you listen back to them now, they don’t feel dated or stagnant in the slightest – and that is truly testament to a great pair of albums. Originally recorded at the same time as one another, but released five months apart, Music For Nations are now about to reissue the pair as one special release and it really makes for a great listen when they’re paired up together.
Deliverance, the first of the two, is perhaps best described as the meatier of the two, mainly because of the longer song lengths and the aggressive and heavy nature to the tracks in comparison to the softer Damnation, and subsequently is a bit more of a difficult album to get into – it does take a little longer to connect with some of the tracks due to the length – the title track and Master’s Apprentices being good examples of this due to the repetition and lengthiness. This of course doesn’t mean that the album is any less worthwhile, because each track packs a real punch, but it does require a little more effort from the listener.
One of the best elements of the album is the closing track By The Pain I See In Others, which feels almost like a stepping stone between Deliverance and Damnation due to the more softer and melodic moments in the song at times, with . Indeed, it feels like it was made with the sole purpose of linking the two albums together and it really works, to say the least.
Damnation is the more ‘accessible’ album of the two, due to the largely melodic and stripped-back approach, and although it may not be the most complex album out there, the simplicity works in the band’s favour and the saying of ‘less is more’ really rings true with this one. The vocals are particularly emotive and passionate throughout, smoothly delivered in an almost ethereal fashion, gliding atop of the lush instrumentation.
To Rid The Disease is a particularly good track; there is a very melancholy vibe to the track in both the instrumentation and vocals, and it’s a song that will really stick in your head. As mentioned earlier, the vocals are absolutely filled with emotion and you can practically feel the emotion oozing out of your speakers as you listen to it – to say this is a stunning and rewarding listen is doing the track an injustice due to how breathtaking it is.
If you’re looking for what could perhaps be the definitive Opeth albums, then this double album is exactly what you’re after – it highlights their ability to write in two different styles to a very high standard, and is accessible to metal fans on both sides of the musical spectrum.
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