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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.82 | 1183 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 7/10

"Heritage" is one of the most radical retro-Progressive Rock albums ever.

With a little bit controversy accompanied by a bit of confusion by the fans, here comes, after three years, "Heritage", Opeth's tenth studio album already. An almost dramatic turn of direction is why people are confused really: instead of the Progressive Death Metal album, we have a soft, retro prog rock release. Comparisons are thrown to "Damnation" which was considered the softest Opeth album, and still is. But "Heritage" is one of those rare retro-prog albums that gives just as much impact as a good Prog Rock album of the seventies, feeling like one of them, instead of "Damnation", which didn't at all feel that way, even though the two albums end up being approximately at the same level.

"Heritage" has a very impressive atmosphere that truly captures those magical moments that obscure Prog bands of the golden age were able to create so wonderfully, instead of perhaps influences such as Yes or Genesis, even though admittedly there are more than a few hints to King Crimson. The fuzzy guitars are far from the distorted ones of the previous Opeth albums, the keyboards much more abundant, as well as flutes, acoustic guitars, organs, spacey mellotrons, and all the typical elements of the genre. Because, looking at it musically, it's a pretty standard Prog Rock album, but it unfolds so much more with repeated listens.

What seemed to be the most impressive about this album is how the band can perfectly create a vintage and magical sounding atmosphere, especially in their mellower, creepier moments. The more lively moments can be a tiny bit disappointing in a few spots, but mostly, even these are almost always top-notch. Not only the melodies for the most part tend to be beautiful, but the arrangements and the instrumentation are always extremely ambitious and complex. Behind the quasi-biblical theme that echoes in every song, there is a strong, earthly feel to the music, especially in my beloved mellow moments, where you feel like it is music that comes from the inner parts of the earth, it's so visceral.

Many of the songs here require multiple listens before they can be swallowed properly, that said even for the single "The Devil's Orchard", a multi faced six minute piece that almost always maintains great quality. The claustrophobic and sinister "I Feel The Dark" is just as great, with impressive performances by all the musicians. The more Jazzy songs like "Haxprocess" and "Nepenthe" don't quite deliver as much as the previous tracks in their softness, but the other more lively songs do: "The Lines In My Hand" and "Slither" sound like old, mystic Hard Rock songs, extremely catchy and once again boasting great musicianship by each member. The two longer songs of the album are very different from each other, "Famine" and "Folklore": while the first one is darker, more tense, and has a unique Oriental- esque section in the beginning (with the percussions and everything), "Folklore" is much more lively, epic sounding in many spots, especially the mighty presence of the mellotron at the end of the piece.

With "Heritage" Opeth have massively changed their sound in a way that I didn't at all expect. This is one of the most radical retro progressive rock albums I've heard, remaining extremely faithful to the sounds of the seventies. If they should go on with this kind of music, I personally wouldn't complain, even though I miss the metal passages.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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