Website Stereogum had vorige week de premiere om het eerste nummer van het nieuwe album van de Zweedse groep Opeth te mogen laten horen. “The Devil’s Orchard” is de eerste single van “Heritage”, het tiende album van de band dat op 20 september uit zal komen (en een dag eerder internationaal) via Roadrunner Records. Luister het nieuwe nummer op de site van Stereogum. En ja, het klinkt wat anders dan de progressieve death metal die we van de band zijn gewend, al waren er al wel wat kleine aanwijzingen op het laatste album Watershed te vinden. De laatste tijd verschenen er ook steeds meer details over het nieuwe album. Geen grunts van zanger Mikael Åkerfeldt op het nieuwe album, maar geheel “cleane” zang. En een sound die vooral doet denken aan de seventies. De echte die-hard death metal fans van het eerste uur zullen misschien afhaken, maar gelukkig hou ik wel van dit soort prog-rock met diverse invloeden. En het is toch onmiskenbaar Opeth. Interessant. Het doet smaken naar meer. Maar oordeel vooral zelf.
Website Stereogum voegt er aan toe: “Heritage 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.”
Eerder zei Mikael Åkerfeldt al over het nieuwe album (bron): “It’s quite intense at times in some ‘old’ murky way, and quite beautiful and stark at times, if I may say so myself. It’s obvious I’m going to say nice things about it since I wrote basically the whole piece, but I guess it will raise a few eyebrows and it certainly is an acquired taste. I think you’ll need a slightly deeper understanding of our music as a whole to be able to appreciate this record. I’ve realized my influences for this album are so diverse that I can’t really say what it sounds like. If I can compare it to any other band, it would have to be Opeth, but it’s different from the stuff we’ve done before. I’ve listened a lot to Alice Cooper for the last year, yet I can’t say it sounds like ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’. I hope you’ll like it once you hear it.”
In een interview met Radio Metal zei Åkerfeldt verder nog over “Heritage”, “I never heard music like that, so I can’t compare it to other bands. If you want to compare it to another band, it has to be us. But still, it’s different. For me, it kind of makes sense, because I’ve been doing this for such a long time. So it’s not a massive departure for me and for the guys in the band. But for fans, if they are, for example, into ‘My Arms, Your Hearse’ [Opeth’s third album, released in 1998], it might be a bit different. But I’m hoping that a lot of people are ready for this type of album from us. The music is all over the place. It’s hard to define the album and say it sound like this or like that. There are no songs that represent more the album than any other songs. It’s an album as whole. You can’t listen to only one song and you’ll know what the album is going to be like. Because, like I said, it’s all over the place.”
Website Blabbermouth had een interview met bassist Martin Mendez: Interviewer: “I listened to [the new OPETH album] “Heritage” today and there’s a lot of ’60s and ’70s sounds on it — a bit of THE DOORS, a bit of URIAH HEEP, a bit of JETHRO TULL as well. It’s been hinted at through previous records but why did the band decide to embrace that sound fully on this album?” Martin: “Well, we’ve always been into these sounds. We always listened to lots of rock music from the ’70s. We always had these albums in our record collections. We wanted to experiment with these sounds like we have done over the years more on this album, I think.”
In het forum van Opeth werd er een vertaling gemaakt van een artikel in het Finse tijdschrift Inferno Magazine over een luistersessie van het hele abum:
Even poor albums have a tendency to sound good when you get to hear them during a pre-listening session.With that being said, I have to say that the new Opeth album sounds damn good.
- The record was played in 5.1 surround sound. “I heard the album for the first time this way today and I didn’t know that the record would be played this way for the label directors. I had a premonition that it would but in the end I got goosebumps from hearing it this way” said Mikael Åkerfeldt.
- The 5.1 mix works well even though I’m usually against listening to rock in any other way than in stereo. Mikael seems to think so as well.
- The album is about 56 minutes long and during that time there is a lot going on. It feels complete.
- Things that spring to mind during my listen: Sabbath, Beatles, jazz, King Crimson, Cream, Rainbow, Floyd, funk, Purple, Piirpauke, classical music, My Dying Bride, folk, Love, Jethro Tull, Maiden…
- The albums does not remind me of death metal or growling.
- The sound reminds me of the 70’s where modern guitars haven’t become the focal point.
- Synth, piano and mellotron are big parts of the overall sound. In the intro, for example, you can hear contra-bass and clarinet.
- “We don’t care what other people think” says Åkerfeldt. “and if the death metal fans don’t like it, it’s their problem”. The frontman also says he grew tired of the “growl metal” as early as the 90’s, but can’t really explain why earlier Opeth album have had growls in the songs. The death metal days are over. At least for now.
- “I’ve been wanting to do an album like this since I was in my twenties”, explains a satisfied Åkerfeldt. When the label management listened to it they didn’t have anything bad to say at all. People can make up their own minds this fall if this is saying something about the critics or the album itself”.
- In any case, if you like older stuff from the 70’s you will like this album, I can say that much having only heard the record once. The first seven songs are awesome and the last three are average.
Nog wat meer info over het nieuwe album in een eerder artikel.