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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover

HERITAGE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.81 | 1280 ratings

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LakeGlade12
1 stars 1.4 Stars. Tangled in their roots

Heritage is the 10th Opeth album and can be marked as a brand new chapter in the band's career. The Death metal part of their sound is completely gone and has been replaced with a very deliberate 70s retro sound. Everything from the sound production to the choice and arrangement of instruments has been done to make it sound as much like a 70s Prog album as they possibly can.

Now while I think Opeth should stick to what gave them success in the first place I'm happy for them to try new things out and experiment. They did this with Damnation and were quite successful. But the problem with Heritage is that the band are obviously out of their depth which has resulted in them producing a very sloppy and incoherent set of songs. The biggest problem with this album is the complete lack of flow within the majority of the songs. It feels like several incompatible ideas have been stitched together in each song which leaves me baffled and confused every time I listen to Heritage.

The album starts with the title track which is just a piano driven instrumental to set the scene. It could fit nicely on a classical album but bears little connection to most of the other songs. The Devil's Orchard is one of the few coherent songs on the album and is quite fast paced and hard rocking. It may leave older fans like me a little underwhelmed as they have been much more aggressive than this. The quieter instrumental sections are good though, even though its extremely 70s derived. Its a nice song.

I feel the dark is probably the best song on Heritage. The introduction is very atmospheric and utilises the flute and mellotron very well. There is a steady build-up in energy and tension which outpours towards the end of the song. This is the only song on the album that I fully enjoy from start to finish and the main reason I'm not rating it 1 star.

Slither is probably one of the worst songs they have ever written (along with Folklore). Its a one dimensional hard rock song that is so generic and boring that it amazes me that they wrote it. After this song my main problem with the album becomes very clear as the next two songs have lots of half baked ideas that have been clumped together to make a incoherent mess. Nepenthe is the worst of the two as it consists of mostly aimless drumming and little other ideas. Haxprocess starts and finishes strong by using a very depressing atmosphere (which reminds me of Storm Corrosion), but the middle rock section is quite forgettable and just does not go anywhere interesting. Its too safe and is neither aggressive nor catchy.

Famine starts with some interesting atmospheric effects and tribal themes which are quite tense. The tension remains untapped and instead they go for a short and bleak ballad. Then all of a sudden they decide to get aggressive which instead of sounding cool comes across annoying. There was no proper build-up for such a rush in energy, it comes across totally random and like the band have no idea what they are doing. The second half is better as they go for a angry Jethro Tull/King Crimson instrumental with a flute that sound's exactly like Ian's. But even that is too stop start and only half works.

The lines in my hand is better and is much catchier and fluent compared to most of the other songs. It leaves a lasting memory and is definitely a highlight, shame it was not longer. If famine was disappointing then folklore is a disaster. The opening few minutes are promising but they never make use of it and to be blunt the entire song is a mess. I would go into detail but its so forgettable that the moment I stop listening to it I forget it. Also the outro is just embarrassing, they try to sound dramatic but the tune is so simple and clichéd that I cringe every time. The album finishes with Marrow of the earth which is another forgettable and very slow instrumental in the same vein as the title track.

Overall this album does very little for me. Every time I start to get into a section of the album the mood changes randomly and the momentum is lost. Opeth are one of my favourite bands but Heritage does not sound like a Opeth album. They are both Prog albums that occasionally use the acoustic guitar and have Mikael singing, that's it. I don't treat this as a Opeth album because it does not sound like one nor deserves the Opeth name. Don't get this and if you do then get the one with bonus tracks as they are better than most of the songs on Heritage. With the bonus tracks it approaches the 3 star mark but without them its a clear cut 2 stars. What a shame!

Edit. After listening to the new Pale Communion album the poor songwriting present on Heritage has become even more obvious and dominating. PC also surpasses any of the strengths present on this album, so I have no reason to listen to it anymore. Therefore I can only recommend Heritage to die hard fans which means I have to give this 1 star.

LakeGlade12 | 1/5 |

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