Opeth – “Deliverance & Damnation”

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Opeth – “Deliverance & Damnation” 2CD / 2DVD / 3LP Re-issue (Music For Nations)

Well, if you’re going to do a re-issue, then do it in style! As befits the eclectic nature of one Sweden’s most ground breaking bands whose epic mix of Nordic death metal and progressive rock rivals that of the natural beauty found in their land, Opeth return to their roots to do justice to their albums “Deliverance” and “Damnation”. Written together and recorded back to back with the intention of being released as a double album by the band, they were released independently of one another by the label in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Having writers block at the outset, with a handful of heavy and melodic sounds yet unable to combine them, the concept soon arose to put them on separate releases as a fire ‘n’ ice combination with “Damnation” being the mellower with clean sounds and acoustics and “Deliverance” covering the heavier material – well, that’s Opeth for you! Under pressure at the time to complete both albums simultaneously, the recording sessions were long, although this was because the follow up material was also being written, with the band only rehearsing minimally prior to actually laying down the material. As such, the recording for “Deliverance” has long been regarded as one of Opeth’s most challenging moments and its quality, although somewhat rescued by Andy Sneap has always perturbed main man Mikael Åkerfeldt over the years. Equally so it must have been for producer Steve Wilson, who worked on both albums and actually completed an unreleased 5.1 surround sound mix of “Damnation” back in 2009. This new and sumptuous re-issue has been officially sanctioned by Åkerfeldt, Wilson and their label, firstly bringing to light Wilson’s aforementioned 2009 “Damnation” re-mix, but more importantly, “Deliverance” has been given to producer and 5.1 re-mix specialist Bruce Soord to given a new lease of life! Completed by additional notes from Åkerfeldt, even original artist Travis Smith has been brought back to touch up the covers – in making them bleaker! Personally, I think it works a treat especially on “Deliverance”, where Martin Lopez’s drum work can be now fully appreciated on dark, epic tracks like ‘A Fair Judgement’ along with their more ethereal counterparts off “Damnation” like ‘To Rid the Disease’. All in all, if you’re going to splash out on a 5.1 package then you need to have a band whose music can truly do justice to it, and to me that doesn’t any closer than the majesty of Opeth, especially on this monumental re-issue.

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