I recently purchased a subscription to Decibel Magazine. Several things contributed to my choice of a subscription, including the nostalgia of anticipating that monthly magazine delivery, those kickass exclusive flexi-discs, and the need within myself to further support and immerse myself in metal culture. Decibel is easily the best metal rag you can pick up these days, where they focus on relevant acts that actually matter to the metal community. If you open up Decibel, you won’t likely see much of the mainstream psuedo-metal that Revolver and Kerrang! often shovel. Far be it from me to be an elitist, but I’d rather read a magazine that does cover stories of Death instead of Bullet For My Valentine. What self-respecting fan of underground music wouldn’t?!

At any rate, this month’s brilliant cover story is all about Opeth‘s new album Heritage. Not too long ago, I came across a Finnish article surrounding the highly anticipated album and ran it through Google Translate, and took the gist of what the slight mess of broken English that was produced. I had concluded that the album was without growls or any of the signature Opeth death metal stylings, and instead was an adventurous look into main man Mikael Akerfeldt’s primary influences and listening habits; classic prog rock was to be the main flavor of Heritage. Of course, I maintained that I could have been slighly off-base, but it turns out that it isn’t the case. It’s true, according to Decibel.

Now, I’m not going to just plagiarize Decibel and just give you a regurgitation of the entire article—you’re going to have to buy the issue if you want to read the feature. It’s an excellent read, and very insightful. I’m two issues into my subscription and it is already worth the cost, so I wholeheartedly recommend everyone who cares about this music to get at least a copy. However, I enjoy being right about things, and this is some important information. Here’s a cut from the article, penned by writer Chris Dick:

“There are vestiges of Damnation and Watershed, but they’re forced through new menacing filters. Even thought Akerfeldt doesn’t invoke his trademark roar once or send drummer Marten Axenrot off to blast, Heritage is the group’s darkest and most abstract record in the catalog… Whereas the production is warm and natural, the music’s absolutely uninviting. It comes out at all angles, a daring balance of superb songcraft and focused madness.” [pg. 64]

The album is painted quite positively, invoking an almost avant-garde expectation. Black Sabbath and Rush are referenced, and one song is said to have “Latin-esque rhythms”. It’s quite exciting! The article goes on to detail the album’s creation and the events that lead to the change in direction, with Mikael even once contemplating breaking up the band due to his apparent dissatisfaction with writing metal.

I hate to sound like a constant advertisement (I swear I’m not getting paid!), but you should definitely look into this month’s issue of Decibel for more information on Heritage. Heritage is due out this September on Roadrunner Records. Obviously, I’m excited. Are you!?

– JR

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