As stunning in its genre as Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/Love Below was in hip-hop, Opeth‘s recent releases Deliverance and Damnation (sold separately) depict radically different facets of the Swedish metal outfit’s personality. Deliverance delves out savage riffs and robust rhythmic backdrops, tempering the fury with eerily calm eye-of-the-storm instrumental passages. Damnation, an impressive acoustic departure, bares Mikael Akerfeldt’s tunefully damaged voice and profoundly depressed lyrics. As the group’s upcoming live DVD Lamentations (which includes a performance of Damnation in its entirety) proves, Akerfeldt glides easily between shattered singer-songwriter and snarling rabid-lion modes during Opeth sets.

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