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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.82 | 1183 ratings

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3 stars Here comes another calm and introspective progressive rock record by Opeth. "Heritage" is maybe a little bit more metal orientated than the weak acoustic sleeping pill "Damnation" but cites a lot of influences from famous progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull. There are no growls on the album, no fast paced tracks with a bleak atmosphere, no melodic metal guitar solos, pumping bass lines or energizing drum parts. This album really is quite down to earth, spiritual and also has a few folk vibes which adds a new element to the varied sound of this unique Swedish band.

One of the best and most essential songs on this album is the strong "Nepenthe" which truly kicks this album off after some weaker tracks in the beginning like the boring Dio tribute "Slither" and the not very well chosen single "The Devil's Orchard". "Nepenthe" has a great relaxed, floating, almost psychedelic lounge feeling with some progressive changes in style that keep a minimum of tension high. Opeth succeed for the first time to create a mysterious atmosphere without losing their dynamics and sounding too pointless.

Another highlight on the record is the folk anthem "Famine" that has some great tribal drum passages, flute tones, piano interludes and harmonious mellotron sounds. The spacey vocal effects and dominating keyboards make this track sound like a tribute to the legends of progressive rock of the seventies and this song has the special kind of magic and creativity that the others on this record don't have.

This track kicks off the strongest part of the record that continues with "The Lines In My Hand", easily the heaviest song on the album but still rather soft compared to the band's humble beginnings. Once again, progressive sounds and psychedelic vocals meet acoustic guitars but also for the first time some dynamical bass guitar licks. This song is short and sweet, gets to the point but still invites you to dream along while you listen to it.

"Folklore" is the last outstanding track on the record even though it is not as great as the previous songs that I just mentioned. The song is maybe a few minutes too long like many on this record but I like the song's spiritual atmosphere and the beautiful, inspiring and calm guitar solos in the tune. That's what the entire album should have sounded like but the track also creates some wrong expectations with its title as there are no dominating or convincing folk sounds at all in the song and I really expected more and something like a continuation of the amazing "Famine".

The problem I have with this album is that there are too many overlong and calm tracks that have nothing special that distinguishes them from stuff the band had already done on "Damnation" or in the calmer moments of "Blackwater Park" for example. The track "I Feel The Dark" is a good example for this lack of focus as it is divided into two parts that just don't fit to each other and still feel worn-out and come both back to the same tranquilizing melodies in the end. The opening and closing "Heritage" and "Marrow Of The Earth" are too long to be only considered some atmospheric introductions or outroductions and feel stretched and pointless after all. The bonus tracks have also a lack of unique edges and fail to truly convince me.

The most convincing tracks are those that have some guest musicians that play folk instruments and similar stuff or when the band experiments something new. Many things on the album are already good and convincing but some parts could also have been more elaborated, intense and focussed. That's why I would classify this record as a really good one but it's almost as far from being perfect as it is from being a failure. In the entire Opeth discography, I would put this album somewhere in the middle. One thing where this album is easily on the top and surpasses many of the other Opeth releases is the great cover artwork and booklet, though.

Originally published on on September 18th of the year 2011.

kluseba | 3/5 |


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