Opeth’s last album, 2011’s Heritage, saw the band taking an unusually stark turn away from their death metal roots — not that Opeth were ever a traditional death metal band, but Heritage was pretty much a pure psychedelic prog record. Anyone hoping for Opeth to return even to the sounds of 2001 breakthrough Blackwater Park on their new Pale Communion will be disappointed — Mikael Åkerfeldt has completely left behind not just the vocal stylings of death metal, but just about every sonic element associated with that genre. I can understand fans being disappointed with that decision, but like Heritage, Pale Communion is at the very least an interesting album, and frankly, it’s more often than not a pretty excellent album. Pale Communion was originally slated to drop in June but got pushed back to August — if rumors are to be believed, the delay is a result of Åkerfeldt’s monomaniacal creative vision, which is so music-focused that it leaves out such extra-musical things as “approving album art.” But today the album’s first single, “Cusp Of Eternity,” has been released, and it provides a pretty clear idea what you can expect from the LP. I like it a lot, although I’m not sure I can fairly categorize it as “metal” in any capacity. Stream it below and let me know what you think in the comments.
Pale Communion is out 8/26 via Roadrunner.