Opeth - Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand

Key Facts

Country: 🇸🇪
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date: 12th July 2019
Record Label(s): Moderbolaget Records, Nuclear Blast
Album Release Date: 27th September 2019

Band Members

Mikael Åkerfeldt – Guitars, Lead Vocals
Martín Méndez – Bass
Martin "Axe" Axenrot – Drums, Percussion
Fredrik Åkesson – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Joakim Svalberg – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Piano, Mellotron, Backing Vocals

Opeth - Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand

Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘

Where do I even start with this eight and half epic in both Swedish and English? In both languages is sounds awesome but I have to say that the Swedish just edges out the English version because it sounds more melodic and unlike anything Opeth have done before. As we all know, Opeth are masters of progressive metal so its awesome to finally hear some new material from upcoming album, In Cauda Venenum! I loved 2016's Sorcress but this seems to be carrying on in the same vein of 2014's Pale Communion in my opinion. Either way  Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand is another masterpiece of 70s/80s infused progressive metal with constantly moving rhythmic phases and intricate melodies.

I know a lot of people haven't embraced the newer Opeth sound, steeped in 70s and 80s influence and the obvious one is less death metal growls. For me, I've enjoyed Opeth's more traditional prog sound as for me they still stand out as one of the best and unique prog bands out their. I like it when a band progresses away from their former sound and experiments more than anything, no matter whether I like it or not, it's great to see artistic freedom and expression. Anyway, I digress, this song has a very solid selection of grooves and melodies instrumentally and vocally. I especially think it's more noticeable vocally in the Swedish version of the song, as Swedish is a naturally melodic language. The music is prog in typical Opeth style but it feels like it's been built on what the band started in Pale Communion and possibly as far back as 2011's Heritage. What I love about Opeth's sound is there is this ominous darkness to it and I have no idea how they achieve it on a consistent basis, Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand definitely has this dark and foreboding vibe about it. The song is pretty heavy and riff centric throughout until it fades into this trippy 70s sounding prog acoustic section for the last two minutes. As a single I don't think it works so well but I imagine in an album context the acoustic section will lead on to something else. Its great that Opeth throw in these little odd sections in as it adds to the complexity of their sound in my opinion, having seen them translate acoustic sections live twice, I have high hopes for this song when I see them in November. Overall, its an incredibly well written and considered song that is packed full of 70s/80s prog nostalgia with a dark occultist vibe to it.

Production wise, it does make me think of 70s Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin records. The drums are incredibly tight and fat sounding and the guitars have this really vintage feel. With 29 years in the business they've drawn on all that experience to really develop the guitar and bass tones and morph them into something that's very pleasant on the ears. I find this most with the solos, they're blistering but sound very delicate and warm which is odd but a lot of 70s Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin records have that sort of thing, those who listen to them a fair bit will understand what I'm trying to get at. They keyboard and organ tones are probably my favourite parts of the song, as they sound pretty trippy yet very raw at the same time. Kind of like those distorted Hammond organ's you get in Southern rock and blues. The song overall sounds very chunky and vintage, just expansive enough to give it a sense of space, yet still retaining this old school feel.

This song is sure to divide Opeth fans, but for me I love it and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album as I imagine many songs bleed into one another and the full picture will be revealed. Opeth are a massively talented band of experienced musicians and songwriters, November's show in Bristol will be awesome as per as they are accompanied by a fast becoming favourite band of mine The Vintage Caravan from Iceland. Check out the dates below and hopefully I'll see some of you guys in Bristol!


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