Straight out of the halls of Valhalla, Swedish metal band Opeth has spent the past 20 years perfecting its sound and transcending the guttural growls of death metal. The quintet has left Stockholm in the rearview mirror to tour in support of its latest effort, Heritage. The 10-track album plays like an opus of dark versus light, balancing distorted tremolo picking and rapid-fire beats with melody and subdued shifts in tempo. Jazz and psychedelic injections add to its epic feel. Frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt has been at the helm of Opeth since the band's first album and is solely responsible for the lyrics and music on Heritage (he shares writing duties on "Pyre," a bonus track exclusive to the special edition version of the album). As with every entry in the band's catalog, the focus here isn't on a single; instead, the band homes in on the old-school idea of a long-player. In a journey that has spanned two decades, Åkerfeldt has made one thing clear: the goal is perfection.
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