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Swedish rockers Opeth embrace heavy metal "Heritage" on latest album

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011

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With its quieter tone and ethereal ambience, the message behind Opeth’s 10th studio album, “Heritage,” is that the Swedish rock outfit is not just another heavy metal band.

“I tried to write a metal-sounding record, and I didn’t feel it,” says frontman Mikael Akerfeldt, who founded Opeth during 1990 in Stockholm. “I scrapped those ideas and started from scratch and came up with these songs. It was pretty easy and natural for me.

“See, I’ve never listened to contemporary metal music. I’ve always listened to old (stuff) — Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple. So this album sounds more like that. I’m not turning my back or regretting anything from the past. I love those (older Opeth) records. But this is just the record that I wanted to make now.”

“Heritage” does have its noisy moments, of course — none more so than “Slither,” Akerfeldt’s heartfelt tribute to the late metal singer Ronnie James Dio, who died in May of 2010.

“I loved Dio; he’s one of those guys I’ve been a fan of ever since I was a kid,” says Akerfeldt, 37. “I always thought he was the best heavy metal singer of all time, and I got to meet him and hang out with him and he was such a great guy.

“When he passed away, it really affected me, so I wrote this song. Since the rest of the record was quite strange, it felt refreshing to have this simple rock song in the middle of it. It’s a tribute not only to Ronnie Dio but to that sound, which meant a lot to me, too.”

Opeth and Katatonia perform Saturday, Oct. 29, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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