Not that this is a bad thing. I’ve grown to love prog rock, and I always appreciate it when bands try to venture out of their comfort zones – even if the music they produce doing so doesn’t gel with me. I still have to give Heritage another listen or two to make up my mind, but I did find it enjoyable. Listen to it with an open mind and you just might like it. If you’re one of the rare people who only likes loud music, then don’t bother.
Say what you want about Heritage, but that album cover (pictured above) is definitely metal. It might be the coolest cover I’ve seen all year. Either that or Crowbar’s Sever the Wicked Hand, a no-holds-barred metal album. But you can’t just an album by its cover, so on to the debate: Is Opeth metal?
Check out the song below, “The Devil’s Orchard.” It’s not nearly as heavy or extreme as some of Opeth’s earlier work, but its foundation is definitely metal. Its chorus is also pretty metal: “God is dead!” It sounds like a heavy King Crimson song. There may even be a King Crimson song heavier than that of which I’m unaware. While I don’t consider King Crimson to be metal, I also don’t think they’re 100% not metal. Anyway, just listen.
Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth’s vocalist/guitarist/pianist/etc., has said he was influenced by Alice Cooper when writing this album, though he admits it doesn’t sound like his mainstream work. I’d say it’s comparable to Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare, an art rock album that still holds up pretty well 36 years after its release. I’ve argued before that Alice Cooper is metal, but apparently lots of people disagree with me on that. Fair enough.
Clearly, it’s easier to classify Opeth’s earlier work, such as the song below off the 1999 Still Life album, as outright heavy metal. The band’s matured a lot since the 1990s. They were in their 20s then; now they’re nearing 40. If all of their albums kept sounding the same, their career would’ve ended years ago. Stagnation is never a good thing. Opeth is no longer a black metal or death metal band. They almost defy categorization.
So, is Opeth still metal?
Our verdict: Yes.
But more importantly, what do you think? Do you think Opeth is heavy metal? Vote and comment below!