When Opeth released Heritage five years ago, it was quite the polarizing album. Not only was there a total lack of Mikael Akerfeldt’s heavy vocals, but it was a largely acoustic album. The Swedish prog quartet were no strangers to melding heavy and not heavy, sometimes in the same song. They even released Damnation, an album with all clean vocals, that was a companion piece to the much heavier Deliverance album released six months earlier. 2014’s Pale Communion doubled down on the ‘7os prog-folk, confirming that the death metal elements of the band weren’t coming back soon. However, for the title track of their forthcoming Sorceress album, which debuted on Rolling Stone today, we get to hear the heaviest the band’s sounded in eight years.
“Sorceress” is still true to Opeth’s sound, but after a jazzy opening, some of the most chuggy guitar riffs the band has ever written pops up. The mid-tempo song dares you to not bang your head, and whereas a decade or so ago, Akerfeldt would have started growling, he sounds a little more Mike Patton-ish on this. It’s a welcome evolution of their sound, where the band still remain both progressive and metal without compromising their sound, and it’s different from anything they’ve written so far.
Sorceress will be released on September 20 on Nuclear Blast. You can pre-order limited edition vinyl here.
[photo: Stuart Wood]