New stuff: Opeth/Mastodon

The spate of quality albums coming out lately is nothing short of stupendous, and anticipation is high for two of metal’s biggest hitters, Opeth and Mastodon, both of whom have released songs from their new albums this week to tease fans for what’s to come.

‘The Devil’s Orchard’ is the first single to be released from Opeth’s tenth album, ‘Heritage’, and in my opinion, it’s quality stuff. While there’s no guttural vocals from Åkerfeldt it’s classic Opeth, punctuated now and again with the refrain ‘God is dead’. About halfway through, the progressive influences really kick in, and you can definitely feel the likes of King Crimson and Yes being called and conjured in there. It’s Opeth, but not as we know it, and I’m digging it!

I see there’s been a lot of nay-saying about Opeth’s planned direction with this album. Åkerfeldt has spoken openly about Opeth embracing their progressive influences and was pretty clear about ‘Heritage’ not including any death metal vocals. You can’t say you weren’t warned. If you don’t like it for what it is musically, then fair enough, that I can accept. But just because the Cookie Monster doesn’t make an appearance doesn’t suddenly make it bad. Kids, get off your high horse. Kudos to Opeth for not giving a damn and actually making a record they want to make, instead of satisfying what everybody else wants. Check it out below.
Opeth – The Devil’s Orchard

Additionally, Mastodon have released the first cut from their new album ‘The Hunter’, in the shape of ‘Black Tongue’. Mastodon have somehow managed to put out killer album after killer album – just when you think they can’t get any better, they seem to defy expectation.
The metal community seems to be going nuts for this track, and I couldn’t resist checking it out either, being a huge Mastodon fan. I’m not sure if my expectations got the better of me on this one though. ‘Black Tongue’ is a good song, without question. There’s a few interesting riffs in there, and it has that ‘Blood Mountain’ vibe about it, which isn’t a bad thing at all. That said, I’m not sure it’s all its cracked up to be. I’ve listened to it a few times and there’s nothing sticking in my head yet. That said, there’s still plenty time. ‘The Hunter’ isn’t out for another few weeks yet. That’s another few weeks for ‘Black Tongue’ to attempt to grow on me, and Mastodon have yet to disappoint. I just hope the decision to ditch another concept album in favour of ‘having more fun’ (as evidenced in the promo shot above) doesn’t mean a less-than-excellent album.
Mastodon – Black Tongue
Opeth’s ‘Heritage’ is released through Roadrunner on September 19th in the UK. Mastodon release ‘The Hunter’ through Reprise on September 26th.
Peter Clegg

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