Prediction: You Are Going to Hate the New Opeth Album
If you’re like most metalheads, you hated Opeth’s 2011 progsterpiece Heritage. My prediction: you are also going to hate whatever Mikael Åkerfeldt puts out next.
This is not to say that I hated Heritage or that I plan on hating Opeth’s new album. I quite liked Heritage, in fact. Yeah, I get why don’t people dig it: it’s not that heavy. But who cares? I find it boring when bands repeat themselves. I also find it boring when bands stay heavy or get heavier just for the sake of doing so; it rarely works because it isn’t genuine (Devin Townsend has a lot to say on the matter). So what if Åkerfeldt wanted to explore his prog rock influences and let them stretch out on Heritage? If that’s where his heart was then so be it, and let’s judge that piece of work on its own merits as opposed to against the band’s very different back catalogue. Åkerfeldt is too smart and too creative to continually re-hash the past, and we’re all collectively too smart to fall for an approximation of vintage Opeth. The only example in recent history of a band doing this successfully is Carcass, and I think we can all agree those were extenuating circumstances.
Why is this coming up now, you ask? Because of this bomb Åkerfeldt dropped in Decibel Magazine (by way of Blabbermouth):
Some of these things could easily be done with synthetic sounds or effects, but recording the Storm Corrosion LP with Steven Wilson made me realize what a massive difference it can mean to incorporate the real shit. I’m semi-pretentious in my songwriting and sometimes I go all in. I think it’s time for ‘all in’ with strings and the full monty. Hopefully it won’t be a mess.
“Steven Wilson!” “Strings!” “Full monty!” “Mess!”
Ack! If you loathed Heritage you’ve probably already made up your mind about the next effort after reading that.
Åkerfeldt elaborates about a song called “Goblin” that he describes as a “crazy rip-off” of a ’70s Italian prog outfit of the same name:
It’s a jam I came up with during the Mastodon/Ghost tour that we ended up soundchecking. After a few days, you’d hear people in the corridors humming it. It’s a fucking hit! But basically it’s a not-so-subtle headbanging-type nod in Goblin’s direction. And to avoid confusion, the song is even called “Goblin.” My rip-off deteriorates mid-song and becomes fusion-esque darkened prog rock like Mahavishnu or ELP (yikes!). But it swings! It really does.
“Jam!” “A fucking hit!” “Fusion-esque!” “Mahavishnu!” “EMERSON, LAKE AND FUCKING PALMER!!!!” Run for the hills!!!!!
Or not. Just be cool. Let Mikael do his thing. It’ll probably end up being beyond excellent.