Having already veered hard towards the shoals of early ’70s-style progressive rock on 2011’s 'Heritage,' Mikael Åkerfeldt practically runs the good ship Opeth aground with a prog-intensive album that often sounds closer to soggy Jethro Tull outtakes than anything in his band’s mighty back catalog. The playing is impeccable as always, and Åkerfeldt has certainly earned the right to follow his own muse wherever it may lead. But the loyalty of longtime Opeth fans—especially those already put off by 'Heritage'—may be seriously tested. DAN EPSTEIN
Check out “Cusp Of Eternity” from 'Pale Communion.'