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, “[I]t 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. That in mind, take a listen to Heritage’s first explosive moment:
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.