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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover

HERITAGE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.84 | 935 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
5 stars This is the second review I am posting which was written while listening to the CD carefully during my train commute. The review is "live" without much editing.

I have been sampling Opeth's CDs on Amazon and their albums have been moving in and out of my shopping cart. I love the progressive metal and their softer songs but the death growl vocals have never appealed to me. When I sampled this album, I felt this would be a good place to start and yet ironically, this album is likely the least Opeth-like in their catalogue. On with the review.

Heritage

Piano and bass instrumental. Slightly jazzy atmosphere. When's the lazy tenor sax solo?

The Devil's Orchard

Rapid, tripping heavy guitar, Hammond organ sound. Rollicking riff and drums with a tripping time signature. Wavering organ chords. Song rocks on then goes laid back and cool, heavy again and laid back again. Mood keeps changing. Ends with really cool solo of effects and mood. Finale: piano and vocals.

I Feel the Dark

Acoustic guitar, rock vocals, flute. Electric guitar, drums, Mellotron? About 3 minutes in, the song gets heavy with rapidly sprinting drums. Next, the song alternates between soft but rapid music with organ and drums and more guitar-driven heavy parts. Still strings or is it Mellotron?

Slither

Like heavy Deep Purple circa The Battle Ranges On. Guitar sound similar, heavy organ, too. Guitar solo quite Blackmore-esque. Ends with Heaven and Hell-like acoustic closure.

Nepenthe

Again a mellow jazzy tune. Shuffling drum rhythm, soft jazz electric guitar. Partway in song turns electric with more experimental style guitar. Stops for mellow moment, then goes into a heavy funky rhythm with a lame leg, like a giant robot dancing with a broken knee. Soft again, then wild soloing like Steve Vai. Mellow again with organ keeping a steady repeated note. Soft jangling electric guitar. Nice mood. Finishes with mellow shuffling drums and electric piano sound.

Haxprocess

Hard to describe this one. Kind of jazzy start but as I keep saying jazzy I should add that it's a haunting style. Something seems to be up. By now I am also really digging the drumming on this album. Perhaps it's the drumming that gives the jazzy flair. The song slows down to a percussion-less segment for the vocals which precludes an interlude of soft empty piano with voices in the background. The song moves into full gear with drums and bass and passes through moods with Mellotron and flute. Once again, Opeth have a song that can be divided into several parts. Bass and electric guitar are the only instruments to carry us through the guitar solo, a lament of bluesy guitar. Piano slowly and quietly finishes off the song.

Famine

A flurry of flute notes introduces the song which suddenly turns dark with an Eastern flavour. The drumming is all hands and no sticks, it sounds like. As is becoming typical of this album, barely a minute later the mood changes and we have piano and slow clean vocals. Then a crazy rolling electric guitar creeps in and the song busts open with more wild drumming. Then the sound gets edgy, a bit King Crimsony for a moment before dropping back to a mellow pace. Gears keep changing. Suddenly we're hearing doomy Jethro Tull with flute and heavy guitar and organ. How does one write a song with this many parts? Back to a creepy clean electric guitar solo and dusty dry flute bursts like brief dust devils on dry sand. Heavy again. The song wraps up with some distant piano with a demented feel to it.

The Lines in My Hand

Boom of bass and more crazy drums. Mellotron, organ, acoustic guitar, quick pace. Electric guitar. Cool bass going with the drums. Sudden change to organ and flute then all out metal. Heavy rocker now but still clean vocals. The song ends abruptly.

Folklore

Electric guitar intro. Meandering blues. Goes slightly renaissance before drums and bass join in. Nice groove here as organ comes in just before the vocals. Then heavy rock with organ and Mellotron joining the distorted guitar, but soon the song returns to its groovy pace. After the second heavy part acoustic guitar follows. Very beautiful. Then piano. Then quick bass and drums. Bass over piano. Power metal sound with synth choir and more melodic guitar solo. Song finishes in this vein.

Marrow of the Earth

Acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar. Slow, bluesy. Reminds me of something but can't place it.

Overall: great variety in sound and style, songs with many changes in mood, tempo, instrumentation, wicked drums, beautiful delicate parts and heavy rocking parts. A very eclectic album. Love the flute, organ and Mellotron joining the various guitar sounds and Hammond organ.

For a prog album, I think this sure has a wide range of sound and most songs go through at least a few changes. In a way, it's as if Mikael Akerfeldt was trying to put as many different parts to many of the songs as he could. Either creative genius or exploitative madness. Considering, however, the variety of guitar sounds and playing styles, the remarkable drumming, and the use of various keyboards along with flute, and the difficult and abrupt shifts in the music, I think this album is an excellent example of someone's attempt at doing something different and possibly unique. I'm going to suggest a full 5-star rating but Opeth fans might have strong mixed feelings about this album. It's not totally my cup of tea, at least not yet, but it must be the most creative modern prog album I have heard among all my recent purchases.

FragileKings | 5/5 |

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