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DELIVERANCE - Hear What I Say (Retroarchives Edition/Vinyl)

Once upon a time, this was the “final” Deliverance album. Thankfully, that was not the truth. Not only has this album survived relegation to oblivion (so often the case with “swan song” performances) but it has actually survived to breath more life in the “new vinyl” era. I think most will agree that Hear What I Say was probably not the strongest collection of songs for the big “D.” And while I was honestly in that camp in 2013, this remastered vinyl edition has changed my perspective on this work of metal art … so, hear what I have to say. And yes, the vinyl makes a huge impact (see below).

I felt the original release was a nice mixture of all the styles which have characterized the band’s nearly two decades of existence up to that point in time. The band line-up for this release is nothing less than killer – the faithful Michael Phillips and Manny Morales slug it out along side Jimmy P. Brown, II. And who could argue with Jayson Sherlock of Mortification and Horde fame pounding out the drum rhythms? Certainly, there is a great diversity of metal here represented, which some could consider a negative, while others a positive. I’m in the latter camp. Jimmy’s approach – over the course of his career – has been to vary the sound, endeavoring always to stay fresh and experimental without sacrificing the heaviness of the big D’s sound. “The Annals of Subterfuge” and “Angst” certainly satisfy fans of their early thrash era, but the other songs here could have easily been recorded for Stay of Execution, River Disturbance, or Learn.

Yes, this is a short record, with the two cover songs and the German version of “Detox” seemingly robbing the album of original material (only 7 new tracks), but man, those cover songs are fantastic. First, Sombrance’s “Hope Lies Beyond” really resonates with River Disturbance era Deliverance. And Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare” is a wonderfully powerful rendition of this classic metal song. The way Jason Sherlock beefs up the bass drum parts really gives this song a much more aggressive stance, and Jimmy’s vocals carry the melody in glorious fashion. This song alone may be worth the price of admission!

But what about the vinyl sound? Well, this record is extremely bass-end heavy. Fans of treble-mania steer clear – the bass guitar and drums just completely change the entire landscape of this recording in my opinion. But the balance is still good, the guitars have plenty of clarity and crunch. Not only that, the sound is so rich and full to the point that this now sounds like a “live” recording of the band. The clarity in the individual drum components is noteworthy, the stick articulations on the ride cymbal in “Hope Lies Beyond” just so noticeably clear. And instead of blending all together in one crash mesh, the individual qualities of Jason’s crash cymbals throughout the recording seem so much more defined. The net effect is that songs like “Nude” and “Passing” – which I hardly remember from 5 years ago – have a much more powerful and emotive push in the analog format. Likewise, the open nature of the acoustic guitar driven “A Perfect Sky” is more greatly appreciated on the vinyl version. And where the digital version starts to distort at high volume – this vinyl crushes it at high volume! While there are always subtle nuances that make vinyl more enjoyable than digital, Hear What I Say is extremely impressive in vinyl format. Do yourself a favor, listen to what I say … check this out.

The vinyl version (limited to 500 copies/black) has a slightly different song order (below), the German version of “Detox” following the English version instead of appearing at the end of the song list. There is a nice smaller two-sided insert with lyrics/credits that easily slips in/out of the jacket. My pressing (pictured above) is clean and free of surface noise, although the black vinyl does have some blemishes from manufacturing that do not affect playback. Retroactive Records have also released this on CD as part of the Retroarchives Edition series and the CD includes the Rammstein cover track, "Spieluhr" which is not on the vinyl version.

Track Listing (Vinyl):

Side A

1. Liber 111 (1:02)

2. The Annals of Subterfuge (4:42)

3. Angst (4:08)

4. Hope Lies Beyond (4:44)

5. Detox (3:38)

6. Entgiftlung (3:38)

Side B

1. Nude (4:29)

2. Passing (4:05)

3. A Perfect Sky (5:05)

4. Where Eagles Dare (6:02)

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