When Opeth’s Heritage first came out, I was all like, “Wait — there’s no death metal vocals? It’s just a rock record? That’s not the Opeth I know.” But really, it is.
In recent years, Opeth have been softening their sound. It started with Damnation, and continued with Ghost Reveries and to be honest, Heritage has grown on me. Its an album of meticulously well-crafted tunes, and I know my dad is going to love it.
In a new interview, Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt discussed the wider appeal of the record, and how he never thought Opeth would be a band anyone would pigeonhole.
“I was a bit discouraged with the contemporary metal scene, and I wanted to break away from it even more,” says Åkerfeldt. “I feel we’ve been on the outskirts of that scene for a a couple of years. I just couldn’t see myself writing another album in the same vein as the last couple of records. Thankfully, I listen to so many different kinds of music, and writing music has never been a problem. I’ve always seen Opeth as a band without boundaries. So if it’s good and everybody in the band likes it, it’s an Opeth record. In the end, I sat down and wrote the music that I wanted to hear right now.”
And like my dad — who is not a traditional metal fan, but will love this new album — Heritage is appealing to a wider audience.
“I’ve never seen the metal label as a stigma. Those are our roots,” says Mikael. “I don’t have a problem with that. I’d like to think metal fans today have more of an open mind, but I’m not sure. Our fans for sure have an open mind, because we’ve been hinting about an album like this for a long time. It’s not a complete surprise. It wasn’t an overnight switch. It is different-sounding, though.”
Mike also offered a fans a preview of Storm Corrosion, his new project with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree.
“It doesn’t sound like either of our bands. I’m not sure if it’s completely now and original. There’s a lot of soundtrack type music. Both myself and Steven are into ’70s music like Tangerine Dream and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say it’s electronic music, but it has an earthy vibe to it. We have choirs and strings. It’s a pretty beautiful record, not very rock-sounding.”
Wilson handles most of the singing, he says.