Swedish progressive metal stalwarts Opeth’s 10th album Heritage — which follows 2008′s Watershed and 2005′s Ghost Reveries — is their strangest, most genre-melding to date. For starters it includes guest spots from Swedish flautist/composer Björn J:son Lindh and Weather Report percussionist Alex Acuña. As you may have guessed, it also includes 100% clean singing. Main man Mikael Åkerfeldt refers to Opeth records as “observations.” Of this one he notes, “It feels like I’ve been building up to write for and participate on an album like this since I was 19.” Fittingly, he says he listened to a bunch of Alice Cooper over the past year.
There’s also something youthful about the exuberant blend of jazz upswings, “God is dead” lyrics, and stop-on-a-dime tempo shifts in lead single “The Devil’s Orchard.” On the album it follows the two-minute scene-setting opening piano piece “Heritage,” a song Åkerfelt says was inspired by Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson and Swedish folk music. Head over to Stereogum.com to listen to Heritage‘s first explosive moment and check out Mikael Akerfeldt’s Guitar Messenger Masterclass from the Watershed tour in 2008.
02 “The Devil’s Orchard”
03 “I Feel the Dark”
08 “The Lines in My Hand”
10 “Marrow of the Earth”
Heritage is out 9/20 via Roadrunner. Åkerfeldt produced the record and mixed it with Porcupine Tree frontman/guitarist Steven Wilson. Travis Smith worked with Åkerfeldt to create album artwork.