Though I am sure Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth cares a lot about his fans, when it comes to writing a new record, he cares more for creating something he cares for. And from an artistic point of view, I agree that is the best, if not only way to stay on the fore. So it will not be a surprise that the new Opeth album is again a departure from previous releases. No grunts being the most obvious difference. And while Akerfeldt is about the only one I can stand the grunting of, I can´t say I miss them.
Opening with the dreamy piano instrumental title track, things start off slow. The Devil´s Orchard is more familiar terrain, with Akerfeldt maintaining his reputation as an admirable singer. Lot´s of changes and a great feel, fed by numerous vintage sounds. I Feel The Dark starts with acoustic guitar before the song slowly builds, again with utilizing vintage sounds like Hammond and a haunting Mellotron. Looks to me as guitarist Fredrik Akesson has blended in perfectly. Quite a departure from his previous band Talisman, but he, like all other musicians gets chances enough to shine. Slither starts life as a kinda Rainbow influenced rocker, before morphing into an acoustic work out. I could go on about the other tracks, but by now I am sure you will have understood this is a great album.
Starting from a Death background, it is fascinating how Opeth have evolved into a full-blooded progressive rock / metal band. To me their best release yet, so we have exciting things to look forward to. Gorgeous!