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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover

HERITAGE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.84 | 954 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stewe
3 stars Many people compare this album to Damnation. I think nothing is further from that. Damnation is their most straightforward and easily listenable album (in a way of mellow Steven Wilson's projects), though dark, hypnotic and beautiful. Heritage on the other hand contains musically some of their most demanding material.

The shifts and twists are unpleasant and require full concentration. Moments of silence are contrasted by sharp dissonances. The are no steady rhythms, very little rules. Still, after months of absorbing music, I can't judge it easily, but it works in the result still well. There is a strong attention to detail of sound. Acoustic/electric guitar sounds are crafted with sensitivity, sometimes they scream, then caress. Dynamics and palette of keyboards are composed into surreal paintings. Drums are often wild, unrestrained, but precise and so are bass lines. Album isn't cohesive and probably it is not intended to be. I must admit I feel there are several "empty" moments I still can't appreciate. Mikael's vocal performance, despite I rather welcome his departure from growling, is also kind of weaker.

I don't see many comparisons to classic prog-bands, often mentioned in other review, with exception of the use of vintage instruments. Good example could be flute in the end of "Famine" - yes, it is the same instrument Ian Anderson used to play, but there all Jethro Tull comparisons end. The context of its use is so weird, there are hardly reminiscences to their music. Despite new direction, Opeth aren't reminding anybody more than themselves. Some moments remind grandeur of Watershed (mellotron crescendos and keyboard arrangements in "Folklore" or "I Feel the Dark"). Acoustically driven "Haxprocess" recalls "Hessian Peel" (its second part). So, big resemblance I see still in its predecessor. However, the band turned themselves again more experimental, rather chamber and less metal.

In total, I consider Heritage to be weaker than Watershed or Ghost Reveries, which represent their peak to me. Still, Opeth continue their musical journey in welcomed direction. Valuable addition for open-minded Opeth fans and good, non-traditional, dark and bizzare album suitable for proggers who enjoy retro sound with eccentric approach. Very solid 3 stars.

stewe | 3/5 |

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