(Music For Nations)
I reckon it’s rather unprofessional to start a review by stating that the output one analyses is – quite simply – ingenious. Well, I can’t help it… with “Deliverance” OPETH have created a unique and bewitchingly fascinating album. So let me undertake the risky procedure now to tendentiously explain to you why I judge this output in the aforementioned way. All right then – let’s begin with the conventional evaluation of the single components of the album. That is, guitars, vocals, bass… Then I am going to switch over to the songs’ arrangements, lyrics, acoustic characteristics and so forth. What I have always appreciated in OPETH’s compositions is the fact that they sound so authentic and natural. That is the case with this album as well. The guitars – OPETH are endorsed by Laney – are not alienated by too much distortion so that you can follow the lines the guitarists (Mikael Akerfeld, Peter Lindgren) draw with their compositional magic. The style the guitars utilise I would define as a juxtaposition of different elements of various genres, such as 70’s rock music, progressive rock, jazzy elements and bluesy moments. The two guitarists conjure up grandiose sound spheres comprising vital sequences with crazy chords and great grooves. On the other hand, there are these marvellous acoustic parts, which became a much loved characteristic of the formation. Quite a sensational mixture. I was really delighted when I realised that the bass lines in the recording are distinguishable, which very often is not the case with other productions. Martin Mendez, the bassist, solidly supports this magnificent oeuvre with his sonorous bass walls. Martin partly integrates the bass as a rather minimalist component to merely support. Nevertheless – at times – he plays astonishingly beautiful and complex figures – in ‘A Fair Judgement’ this can be observed. What I have always liked about the OPETH bassists is the way they correspond to and communicate with the drummer. This simultaneous usage of a warm bass pulse and the bass drum sounds so good!!! As to the drums, the mesmerised listener is driven and captured by the swinging rhythms Martin Lopez creates on this album. His groove is unrivalled, I think. On the one hand, he has an extremely heavy groove with fast double bass attacks, furious fill-ins and all that. On the other hand, Martin presents filigreed drum patterns that are just great fun because you can pursue this popular habit music lovers have all over the world – checking out the complexity of a musician’s work. I love the groove the whole band creates… it simply grips you and won’t release you… I like that! Well, let’s have a look at the vocals… what shall I say? They are superb, too! Mikael is such a gifted singer. He is one of the greatest Death Metal singers I can think of – he’s got a deep and brutal voice, that’s for sure. I suppose he could easily produce this hyper-deep BRODEQUIN vocal-nonsense, but that wouldn’t really fit here. Mikael also sings – sylph-like, melancholic and beauteous – these clean vocal lines, which are just so enchanting and provide an enjoyable variety in OPETH’s music. The arrangements are a great pleasure, too, for they make so much sense. There always is a supportive flow in the compositions, no superfluous technique – every element seems to me a necessity! Partly, the songs come up with profuse heaviness and speed – the sporadic doom riffs are wonderful! – partly there are these melodious sequences dividing the aggression and the dynamics of “Deliverance” so that the dramatic development progresses even further. The lyrics convey this melancholic and vibrant charm of the music… well, I’m not in the position of elaborating an interpretation here. To me the lyrics seem to be personal observations, which were sublimated by Akerfeld. They are sophisticated and do not – fortunately – pursue this hypocritical word rape that can be criticised with regard to other bands. This album offers high quality in every respect… be it the production (which corresponds to highest standards, too), compositional arrangements, technique and – I almost forgot that – design. The booklet is enriched by an atmospheric photograph concept depicting gloomy scenes in an antique house. OK – I suppose I have sufficiently indulged in praising this record now – check it if you want to experience cultural perfection…
F. Cthulhu E.
• OPETH - Damnation (F.Cthulhu E.)