Following up an album as acclaimed and adored as Blackwater Park was always going to be tricky, but these two albums (recorded concurrently but originally released separately) did the job superbly and remain much-cherished gems among the Åkerfeldtian faithful.
Deliverance remains Opeth’s darkest record, a churning maelstrom of malevolence that contains some of the band’s greatest ever riffs, most notably on the title track and Master’s Apprentices.
Newly remixed by Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord, it has never sounded sharper, heavier or more grandiose, with even the much ignored By The Pain I See In Others staking a claim to be a lost classic. Damnation is certainly the more celebrated album of the two and few fans will need to be reminded how beautiful and refined it sounds.
But thanks to a new 5.1 surround sound version courtesy of Steven Wilson, this exquisite glide through Opeth’s acoustic dreams has renewed capacity to blow minds and break hearts, as the likes of Hope Leaves, Windowpane and impossibly fragile closer Weakness are reborn in vivid, enveloping hues. Aside from the unassailable brilliance of the music itself, this is an object lesson in how to honour the past with care and craft.