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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.81 | 1215 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars There's been a lot of talk about the band's so called sudden shift of direction, which in my opinion didn't seem sudden in any way. But instead of getting in on the (un)flattering rumors I gave Heritage a few open-minded spins. The album I heard was neither a big surprise to me nor any disappointment, but the big question was whether this was an excellent release or merely a good but ultimately a non-essential one? It really felt like the former at first, even though I was clearly not set on giving it an essential rating of any sorts. Unfortunately, my initial enthusiasm began to fade over time and finally came down to a level that I now feel comfortable of sharing in a review form.

As I said, I don't consider Heritage to be a major departure of any sorts when it comes to the evolution of Opeth and their unique sound. Mikael Åkerfeldt has clearly stated his intention of moving the band's sound away from death metal and morphing it to the vintage sound of the '70s for new inspirations. This was expressed in numerous interviews that were conducted with him ever since the release of Watershed and can be found by a simple search through any major search engine.

The best qualities of this release can be considered somewhat of a double-edged sword; The band covers a lot of ground with these ten songs but lose the feeling of consistency in the process. I'm also not sure what to think of the lack of any growl vocals from Mikael. He has been a master at constantly shifting between the two styles in the past. I guess this departure makes Heritage sound a lot more vintage but wouldn't it have been every more exciting to have death growls on a record that otherwise sounds like an offspring of the '70s?

Either way, it's the compositions that ultimately make up the bulk of my final decisions, or rather, the lack thereof. It would be unfair to say that there isn't a single great piece of music here. Quite the opposite! Unfortunately very few of them manage to keep things interesting for the entire duration of their running time. In fact only the album's single Devil's Orchid is worthy of being the biggest highlight, which is strange considering the previous hardships that the band had undergone with their commercial material.

Even though Heritage has not managed to convince me of this new direction that Opeth have been heading for I'm still really looking forward to their concert in December and hope that they will be able to lift there compositions even more in a live setting. The direction of this release is an interesting one and I'm sure that there is more left to explore here for the band so let's hope that they won't make this a one off type of experiment!

***** star songs: The Devil's Orchard (6:40)

**** star songs: Heritage (2:05) I Feel The Dark (6:37) Slither (4:00) Häxprocess (6:58) The Lines In My Hand (3:49) Folklore (8:17) Marrow Of The Earth (4:19)

*** star songs: Nepenthe (5:37) Famine (8:32)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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