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HERITAGE

Opeth

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Opeth Heritage album cover
3.86 | 902 ratings | 53 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Heritage (2:05)
2. The Devil's Orchard (6:40)
3. I Feel The Dark (6:37)
4. Slither (4:00)
5. Nepenthe (5:37)
6. Häxprocess (6:58)
7. Famine (8:32)
8. The Lines In My Hand (3:49)
9. Folklore (8:17)
10. Marrow Of The Earth (4:19)

Total Time: 56:46


Lyrics

Search OPETH Heritage lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search OPETH Heritage tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Mikael Åkerfeldt / vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, Mellotron, Grand Piano, FX
- Fredrik Åkesson / electric rythm & lead guitars
- Per Wiberg / Hammond B3, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Grand Piano
- Martin Mendez / electric & upright bass guitars
- Martin Axenrot / drums & percussion

GUESTS:
- Alex Arcaña / percussion on "Famine"
- Björn J:son Lindh / flute on "Famine"
- Joakim Svalberg / Grand Piano on "Heritage"

- Steven Wilson / mixing
- Jens Bogren / engineering
- Travis Smith / album art

Releases information

Released: 14 September 2011
Label: Roadrunner

Thanks to Lerxst88 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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OPETH Heritage ratings distribution


3.86
(902 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
35%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

OPETH Heritage reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Jake Kobrin
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 70/100 - Rounded to 3 stars.

Opeth can be regarded as a sort of niche band. Despite their (perhaps misplaced) label of 'death metal' they do not generally appeal to denizens of the corpse slashing and blood vomiting world in which death metal resides. Alternatively, despite their influences from progressive rock, they have not acquired much allegiance from the average cape-wearing, middle-aged progger, either. Instead they have carved out their own groove in the music scene, one in which people who are fans of the bombastic, technical flaunting of progressive rock, but also the hard driving pulse of extreme metal can gather and be both moved to tears and sent to verge of murder by the same band.

That was until now. With their latest offering, Heritage, Opeth have forsaken their signature 'heavy - soft - soft - heavy' template with an experimental album that is difficult to classify. Gone are the lion roars and double bass pounding of old, and what now sits in their place is... well... hard to put a finger on. As a journalist I'd like to be the first to introduce new and ridiculous labels to this album such as 'post-ghost-wave' or 'blackened-folk-prog.' To forsake your confusion, and to name adjectives that may actually resonate with readers, however, one could perhaps call this album 'progressive rock,' 'experimental,' 'folk,' etc. From the album cover alone, it shouldn't be very difficult to determine that Opeth were aiming for the kind of album that you'd find for about $2 at your local record store, but could later sell on eBay for a hefty profit. This album reeks of feigned obscurity, as if Mikael Akerfeldt wanted to craft an artwork that pays tribute to all of the weird albums that he's assembled in his record collection and enjoys teasing his friends about because they've never heard of them.

This is actually Opeth's second time recording an album devoid of metal elements and growling vocals, the first being their 2003 album Damnation. As opposed to Damnation, which was very soft, somber, and beautiful, however, Heritage is a much harder hitting artwork. Opeth have perhaps strayed into hard rock territory in the past (such as Watershed's Porcelain Heart) but it has never been such a central element of their sound until now. Some parts of the album are positively heavy, but never in a way that is overtly metallic. Of course there are some of Opeth's trademark finger-style acoustic passages, but much less, surprisingly, than what we've heard on their past records. One of the problems with this album, though, and what makes it so difficult to describe, is that there really isn't a staple sound. It's not a hard rock album, it's not a prog album, it's not a folk album, and it's not a metal album. Instead, it's a dizzying array of scattered eclecticity, which leaves the listener feeling tired and confused by the time it's over.

The production on this album was obviously aimed towards being 'vintage.' For whatever reason, they wanted to make this album sound like it was produced without any of the modern luxuries that are available in sound engineering but yet actually produced it with those tools. The result is ineffective, in my opinion. Some modern bands have been able to successfully emulate a vintage sound on their albums (Astra's The Weirding is a prime example) but Heritage comes off as sounding muddy, congealed, and, ultimately, cheap. It's dreadfully apparent that the band was trying to make it sound like they used vintage recording techniques, as opposed to actually using those techniques. That said, I have a soft spot for vintage keyboards and this album is chock full of Mellotron, Rhodes, and totally bad ass Hammond organ sounds (which are actually all real - no virtual instruments!) The drum kit that Martin 'Axe' Axenrot dragged out for this album sounds delightfully fat and vintage, as well.

There are virtues to listening to this album, certainly. The musicianship is as impeccable as anything else this band has released. Martin Mendez's bass playing is especially impressive, and Axe's drumming is much improved over his last attempt. Like Opeth's last two records, the keyboards are again a very dominant aspect of the music, and I can't help but think about how much I will miss Per Wiberg's playing while I listen to this album. Furthermore, there are some legitimately beautiful moments on this album, moments that made me yearn to hear more like them, and for them to exist for longer than the brief moments that they existed for.

The musicianship is where the virtues end, however. The songwriting on this album is for the most part, crudely underdeveloped. Every one of the songs on the album has shining moments but when regarded as a full song, or as an entire album, it's a mess. Any moments of gold that the band may have landed upon are immediately vanquished by the next random and unrelated passage that has been tacked next to it for whatever illogical reason. This may have been the case with all Opeth's albums, but for some reason it worked. Perhaps it was the melding of extremes that this album is lacking that leaves the weakness of the songwriting so sorely exposed? As the last track comes to a close, what the listener is left with are a bunch of scattered moments amidst a sea of wankery and weirdness...

' And Opeth loves to flaunt their irregularities. The melodic structure of this album is, vaguely stated, unkosher. Mikael lives to write songs that utilize weird dis-harmonic guitar riffs and are basically devoid of any key or modality. Such music has been successful in the past, but by composers that were already thoroughly versed in 'standard' music theory before they decided to venture into uncharted territory and break the rules. Mikael Akerfeldt is completely unaware that these rules even exist, and most of his attempts at the avant-garde sound simply 'weird' and 'unpleasant'... and not in a good way. (Bartok, anyone?)

The vocals are the worst that Mikael Akerfeldt has ever recorded, and the lyrics are just as bad. Whereas in the past Akerfeldt was quite at home with a gentle, warm, and sort of Greg Lake style medieval crooning, he is entirely out of his comfort zone throughout Heritage. He attempted a kind of hard rock and belting singing style, occasionally aiming for his falsetto, but never actually on pitch. The vocals gyrate in a manner that is most bizarre. Why he could not simply choose a note and sing it, and had to instead warble over every tone that surrounds it, is completely beyond me. Some of the lyrics caused me to literally cringe. I shutter to recall the almost ICP-esque stanza 'Feel the pain | In your brain | insane.' Maybe his 4 year old daughter wrote that one?

In general, though, I think this album is pretty decent. It's listenable, interesting, and, however disorganized, actually has some brilliant material on it. I hope that Opeth continue with this new style, and perfect it. For the sake of the band's future, I also hope that Mikael Akerfeldt finds the writing partner that he so desperately needs, or that at least some of the band members will muster the courage to tell him 'Dude that part was sh!t, let's cut that.' I feel surprisingly apathetic to dish out such a scathing review of a band I once loved more than any other in music... Perhaps I already said my farewell years ago, like an elderly relative who's brain has already withered away in the wake of Alzheimer's but has yet to actually meet the grave? Apathy or something more predetermined, I'll miss Opeth and the music I once loved so dearly.

Highlights: I Feel the Dark, Haxprocess, Marrow of the Earth

Lowdarks: Famine, Nepenthe

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Send comments to Jake Kobrin (BETA) | Report this review (#513734) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 03, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Heritage' - Opeth (5/10)

Opeth is a band that is famous for turning metalheads into prog rock fans. It was the other way for me; these Swedish titans introduced me to the world of extreme metal, a sound that I found myself averse to at first, but have since come to embrace as a realm where some of rock music's most visionary talents dwell. Although 'Morningrise' and 'Ghost Reveries' in particular have since engrained an indelible etch on my heart though, the past year saw my appreciation for this band has waned, virtually leading me to renounce my Opeth fandom; while brilliant at first, their style wore thin for me, perhaps from one too many listens to the now painfully familar soft-heavy dynamic. With that being said, let it be known that this reviewer may have had a slight bias against this band's work now. Hopefully however, my fatigue of Opeth hasn't stopped me from judging their latest album 'Heritage' on its merits.

While Opeth is best known for epic progressive death metal with strong acoustic elements and melancholic atmosphere, they are also known to deviate from that course, albeit only once in a while. The first shift away from metal was heard on 2003's 'Damnation', a mellow and depressing interlude between the heaviness of 'Deliverance', and the refined mastery of 'Ghost Reveries'. Although this was certainly a step away from what the band was used to doing, there was still the distinct Opeth-y vibe to it; the riffs were definitely the creation of Opeth main man Mikael Akerfeldt, and the feeling of the music remained relatively unchanged from the band's earlier incarnations. After 2008's 'Watershed', it was clear to many fans that Opeth was on the brink of another change- after all, only three of that album's seven tracks featured any death growls at all. Let me cut to the point; it came as little surprise that Opeth was now going to do something different with their sound. I loved what they did with 'Damnation', but as far as hearing that Opeth was planning on doing a '70s retro rock album, I was disappointed, even months before the album came out. All too many bands already in prog were looking back to the 1970's for their sound, and I was not enthralled by the news that Opeth was following suit.

After hearing 'Heritage' finally, I have a lot of things to say about it, and simultaneously I am both impressed, yet immensely disappointed. I am impressed for the fact that Opeth has been able to make a new style here while maintaining many of their trademark sounds, and the music here does not sound nearly as '70s derived as I feared it would be. On the less positive note, I have been immensely disappointed by the fact that- above and beyond, this is the most unbalanced thing that Opeth has ever done, and hopefully ever will do. I cannot see myself ever having the same appreciation for this record as I do for anything else that Opeth has done. Even still, amidst all of the confusion and disappointment that this record has created for me, there are still things that pleasantly surprised me along the way.

As far as their style goes, we still hear the interplay between acoustic parts and heavier moments, but the big change here is that all traces of death metal have been extracted out of the formula. Unlike 'Damnation', Opeth can still be heavy here, but it is heaviness in the same way that a band like Uriah Heep was heavy; gritty and over the top, with all the bombast but lacking the extremity. It is clear that- true to the reports- Opeth aims for a vintage proggy hard rock style, with pros and cons included. Even by looking at the cover of this album, it looks to me that Mikael Akerfeldt is giving a tongue-in-cheek tribute to his prog rock idols with this one, and it is reflected in the music as well; bluesy rock riffs, jazzy drumming, and plenty of keyboard textures. All the same, Opeth is clever enough here to lean towards a certain sound, without necessarily copying it note for note.

While I was pleasantly intrigued by the fresh take on the '70s prog style that Opeth crafted here, the songwriting that presents this style was another matter entirely. Even devoting several intent listens to the music on 'Heritage', I cannot describe the compositions here as anything but lackluster, underwhelming, aimless, synonyms, synonyms. The songs felt like a continental breakfast buffet at some second-rate chain hotel; there's plenty of variety to choose from, but they don't provide half of the equipment to cook the damned stuff. Much of these ideas felt like gimmicks rather than heartfelt musical observations, with a few moments making me wonder if Akerfeldt's only goal here was to sound strange or obscure to his fans. With a band of this talent, there's definitely aspects to the sound that score, but 'Heritage' is filled with a lot more misses than otherwise. Highlights of this album included the eerie title-track introduction, 'Nepenthe', parts of 'Famine', and the rather enjoyable climax 'Folklore'. While I might even say that each track on 'Heritage' has at least one interesting aspect about it, none of these songs stand much against the true greats that Opeth has churned out in earlier years.

Like most of this album, the performances and production here is given a largely mixed result. The first thing I really noticed about 'Heritage' that impressed me was actually the drumming, provided here by Martin Axenrot. While drums are usually something that takes me several listens before I start really listening in on it, I was immediately struck by both Axenrot's incredible jazz-tinged performance, and the richly organic way the drums sounded. I would even say that this is the best drumwork I have yet heard on an Opeth record. Coming in as my other favourite aspect of 'Heritage' is the keyboard wizardry of Per Wiberg, who doesn't necessarily wow audiences with technical skills here, but instead makes his mark by using a wide variety of vintage key sounds (think Mellotron, or Hammond organ) and using them tastefully. This gives a nice layer over the otherwise disappointing, grimy, and dull-sounding guitar riffs, which- once again- are among the worst that I have yet heard on an Opeth album. With Per's keyboard performance here being so vivid, it's a real shame that this is the last we'll hear of him with the band.

As I've said, the guitar riffs here are boring for the most part, and whatever pleasant aspects of 'Heritage' there are, are usually left to keyboards, drums, or other less expected instruments, like the flute. Lastly is Mikael Akerfeldt's voice on 'Heritage', as well as the lyrics. I'm beginning to sense a pattern in my disappointment here; Akerfeldt's performance here is mixed, with some moments benefiting from his warm tenor, and others feeling more like he's forcing himself to sound like some obscure hard rock singer than making a necessary artistic choice. And the lyrics; while I considered Mikael Akerfeldt to be something of a death metal poet with opuses 'Still Life' and all else, I cringed once or twice with the contrived rhymes that Mikael was trying to pass here; take a look at some of the lyrics on 'The Lines In My Hand' and you might see what I mean.

So there you have it; with another year comes another Opeth album, and for the first time in my life, I've been really let down by them, the band I once thought could do no wrong. There are plenty of interesting ideas on 'Heritage', but while listening to this, I get the recurring image of sifting through Trail Mix when I was a kid; having to rummage through the nuts and berries to get the chocolate crisps. Opeth can certainly be hailed for trying something new with their sound, but as far as experiments go, I would consider this as lukewarm, rather than the dazzling masterpiece some may have hoped it to be.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#518838) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 09, 2011

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Perhaps Opeth's most controversial album yet.

There was a lot of talk about it before we even got a listen, how it was going to suck, how could Opeth just rip off 70's prog rock, how it was going to be either a totally mellow album or jazz fusion (something I'd like to see)! Sure enough upon its release there was plenty of criticism thrown at it, either due to the lack of growls and death metal, that you might as well just listen to 70's prog, that it's aimless and incoherent and even that you shouldn't bother because Opeth has been a "hipster band" ever since after Still Life.

I only say all this because it pains me to see that one of my all time favorite bands has gotten to a point where so many seem to have stopped really listening/look to find reasons to hate it... but onto the review.

"Heritage" is the superior clean Opeth album,(and I really like "Damnation"). If you need growls and death metal heaviness, well you won't find it here. However, this is NOT a Damnation 2, it's quite different from it actually. There is still heaviness, in a 70's way, and sometimes even outright (though never death metal levels). There is even double bass drumming and lots of rocking out.

Musically, Opeth has done it again, with great guitar work from all over the map. The keyboard/mellotron is quite prominent as is the bass, (usually not high in the Opeth mix). Mendez can really be heard on pretty much every song. Also the drumming is quite good. Axenrot had a tough seat to fill replacing the awesome Martin Lopez, but his work on Watershed was just too straightforward. He is much improved here, with flavorful jazzy tinged drumming and there are quite a few drum breaks, like Akerfeldt made a point to defend and showcase him.

I personally don't find the music aimless and incoherent. With all songs under 9 minutes, and 8 of them under 7 minutes, I'd think they'd be a bit more direct actually. Opeth fans are used to the clean/heavy/clean/heavy format, which has been abandoned on "Heritage" and instead the songs are more genuinely progressive.

I'm glad, because while unique and successful, by the time "Watershed" came around the band could use a change of pace. Some songs do indeed sound drifty, but I like that. I guess if you crave structure and obviously crafted songs you may feel a bit lost, but the driftyness is relaxing and often beautiful. Also, be certain that all these songs are definitely composed and move somewhere.

I'll admit, on first listen "Heritage" can be sound a bit underwhelming, especially with it's pretty prominent use of silence at times, but there is a lot going on. Not only are the songs more progressive, they are pretty textured. The song structures are good, with great melodies, rhythms and sections, and shorter lengths actually allow it to get to the point a bit quicker and not ramble.

So, "Heritage" is still Opeth but just a bit cleaner and lighter, but with songwriting just as strong. There is no weak song, but some standouts are the awesome and progressive "I feel the Dark" and the rocking "The Lines in My Hand". There is good variation as "Slither" is more up tempo while "Nepenthe" is quite mellow. The album starts with the piano ballad title track, and ends with the light, acoustic guitar ballad of "Marrow of the Earth" (which unless in name only, does not appear to be a tribute to Agalloch).

A different, but strong output by Opeth. Fans of the band, I urge you to listen with an open mind and keep any talk/rumors out while you form an opinion, and do give it some time. Most fans of Opeth should be pleased. Now if they would just make a jazz rock album my dreams would truly be granted.

Four Stars

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Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars A stunning masterpiece tribute to the 70s.

No death metal growls! I would like to personally thank every reviewer here who stated that fact. Okay, now we have got that out of the way we can commence (I loathe the over abundance of death growls in prog). Allow me to get personal for a moment. I love this album for the same reason I loved 'Damnation'. Akerfeldt has a great voice and he uses it well on this album, and the band are inventive virtuoso musicians and they are incredible on this release. I discovered Opeth on 'Damnation' and adored every part of it. I was completely dismayed after this that 'Deliverance', my next Opeth album, was infested with death metal growling. I had discarded that style years ago, it simply is not for me. I don't mind that others like it, I used to also, but I can't stand it now. So I decided that Opeth was not for me. Opeth get rave reviews such as the incredibly diverse Watershed and Ghost Reveries that I had to dip my toes in again and I was actually quite pleased with what I heard, thinking perhaps Opeth is for me, I just have to skip the tracks that don't appeal. Not ideal I know but they are excellent musos and deserve recognition. Anyway, I read the reviews for the new album and all of them said the same thing ' no death metal vocals. Okay, here we go. I had no idea I was going to encounter a throwback to the 70s! Here are the tracks.

1. Heritage and 2. The Devil's Orchard - After a quiet melancholy piano intro accompanied by bassist Martin Mendez. Track 2 seamlessly begins with the gorgeous Hammond sound of the 70s. Then we are treated to a King Crimson guitar polyrhythm ' The Black Sabbath dark lyrics and atmosphere is unmistakeable.

3 I Feel the Dark - An acoustic intro, a steady beat, inspired singing, spacey effects, time sig changes, lots of beautiful flute.

4 Slither - A heavier sound but still no metal distortion. More classic Sabbath guitar and keyboards, awesome riffs, a Hammond organ shimmering, an excellent lead break and some minimalist acoustic.

5 Nepenthe - Begins with soft acoustics, and weird jazz improvised drums, very slow pace and key pads. Akerfeldt is great with clean vocals sounding like like Camel. There are Psych prog embellishments, and reflective lyrics; 'in my darkest hour, yes, trust me with the light'. A King Crimson style guitar riff locks in, with soaring lead guitar, then more jazz drums. This is a real oddity, but quite entrancing, then a screaming killer lead solo breaks in, but suddenly drops out for an ambient passage of keys and guitar with those brush drums. Vocals return, singing, 'She would haunt my dreams,' and after a verse it's over. Opeth are a new animal here, and I love it. It's not prog metal, its eclectic mixed with jazz fusion.

6 Haxprocess - This incredible track features some very strange time sig that almost feels improvised, and thee is a very strong dark atmosphere. Akerfeldt is extremely quiet, and sounds like the early 70s. Ambient effects of acoustic and dark sustained key pads create a bleak feeling of despair. Finally a rhythmic guitar begins and some Gothic lyrics with surreal imagery focussing on 'one eternal winter' and 'one forgotten season, secrets in the mire, moon is riding high, save your children, drenched in poverty, tracks in the snow,' The guitar solo is completely devoid of any rhythm, and all other instruments drop out. There is beauty in the playing, and I am in awe of how much this sounds like Latimer or Hackett. The sound of children's playful voices is heard and later a haunting piano in the distance. The atmosphere is uninviting but very Opeth.

7 Famine - This is a long song at over 8 minutes beginning with a Jethro Tull flute, strange crying effects, a low drone and then African tom tom drums. Sad vocals and lyrics sing slowly over a lonely piano, 'I can't see your face and I can't breathe your air, so I wonder why I get caught inside when I hear your name.' Immediately a Fripp like guitar chimes in, and then blasts of drums and a massive Hammond crashing on the chords, sheer prog bliss. Akerfeldt's voice rises in pitch and it is a stand out moment on this album. The musicianship is unrepentant of the 70s sound, it seems it is designed to pay tribute to those classic 70s prog bands. The lyrics are even as weird as the 70s psych prog, 'Into the fire of my youth comes the devil again, when you feel your way, feel your way'. The song gets surreal and detours into new time sig territory, with very sporadic metrical patterns and crazy freakout Hammond and flute. There is a dissonant jazz feel and a bizarre riff that is impossible to pin down at first but it settles into an ethereal warbling flute over acoustic flourishes. The music draws me in as Akerfeldt sings with longing and pain, 'I would die, my heart was empty, come a ghost in perpetual void and neglect our reasons why'. Cue an echo and Ian Anderson must have channelled his presence as that is his flute. The droning organ caps off one of the best Opeth tracks, certainly the most experimental. The sepulchral laughing voice at the end is downright creepy and preternatural. How could you not be mesmirised by all this high strangeness? Opeth are going out on a limb and just taking too many risks but it actually works. Check this track out as it typifies the new Opeth approach.

8 The Lines in My Hand - This one returns to good old classic rock with cool riffs and spacey psych synthesizer. Akerfeldt sounds great on vocals and the verse is repeated over and over speaking about 'dying in the wake'. The acoustic breaks are well executed and there are so many various time changes and instrumental breaks to indulge in. The song changes mid way through with a kind of Camel style, as Akerfeldt sings 'the writing's on the wall'. I loved this track, and perhaps this would be the one to check out along with Famine to find out whether this album is really for you.

9 Folklore - Guitarist Fredrik Akesson presents a wonderful clean guitar for an intro, but it sounds great and the riff is missing a beat or two which is unsettling to the ears but very progressive for that reason. The vocals sound like the effect on Sabbath's Planet Caravan processed through an effects vocoder, very 70s, 'Hey you, will you, be true, when you can.' The shimmering Hammond waits around the corner and blasts now and then like an old friend. I like the melody that is consistently out of sync, if that makes sense. I like the part with the lyrics, 'lost control, call your name, left me home, pouring rain, in the sea, of guilt and shame, we just stay'. The music even feels uplifting for a change, and the guitar solo is excellent old classic rock style. It fades away like an old 70s vinyl album.

10 Marrow of the earth - The last one may be one of the highlights in terms of beautiful guitar playing for Opeth. It is a dominant acoustic feel throughout, and very mellow vibes are created so well, the finger work is excellent.

So now we have two Opeths - the heavy death metal Opeth such as on 'Deliverance', 'Still Life' and 'Blackwater Park', and we have the other Opeth that is full blown progressive such as on 'Damnation', 'Ghost Reveries' and now 'Heritage'. You will perhaps be a fan of one or the other, but not both so this will be a test for Opeth's fanbase and how they will incorporate these tracks with the likes of those on 'Ghost Reveries' is beyond me, but they will.

There were always quiet proggy moments on Opeth albums but this is their most progressive album I would suggest. It actually goes to great lengths to be as progressive as eclectic and symphonic bands of the 70s and even reminds me of Pain of Salvation and Riverside and of course Porcupine Tree, as Steven Wilson helmed the mixing again. This will no doubt alienate the huge fan base, but Opeth were never going to remain in one genre, they never have and that is why they are so endearing. I for one am pleased with this new approach and hope they stick to it as they do it so well. This is my favourite Opeth album hands down, and I am a dedicated Opeth convert if they continue on this path.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#531859) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Since their formation back in 1990, Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth have never been a stranger to experimentation. After establishing themselves as one of the most unique bands on the metal scene with Orchid and Morningrise, the band constantly pushed the boundaries of their sound with every new release. 2003's Damnation even saw Mikael Åkerfeldt's brainchild abandon all of their metal influences in favor of a mellow progressive rock sound. Heritage, the tenth studio album from these extreme progressive metal legends, is sure to be met with more controversy than any of their previous releases. Not only has the band entirely shifted away from their death metal roots, but they've seemingly abandoned their melancholic and bleak style of progressive rock as well. Unlike Damnation - an album that had Opeth's trademark sound all over it - Heritage is a radical departure from everything we've come to expect from the band. This is retro 70's progressive rock in its purest form, and whether or not it is enjoyable entirely depends on the listener. Don't expect any growls, death metal sections, or crushing dynamics of their earlier releases - if you come into this album expecting a progressive death metal masterpiece, you'll be in for the disappointment of a lifetime. I personally miss the bleak atmospheres, crushingly heavy death metal portions, and light/dark dynamics of their previous releases, but there's no denying that Heritage is an exceptional observation.

The most important thing to mention when discussing Heritage is that it is not an easy album to get into. The compositions (for me, at least) initially felt rather disjointed and lifeless, and the true beauty of the pieces didn't begin to shine through until about seven or eight listens. Even then, Heritage still leaves you with plenty of room to explore the deep soundscapes that Opeth have created. My biggest initial complaint was that all of the songs seem to jump from one section to another without any warning - something that still holds true even with a greater understanding of the album, but things do eventually begin to make more sense. The seemingly random electric piano lick in "Nepenthe", for example, does eventually feel less jagged than it does during your first spin of the CD. All of Opeth's albums can be considered "growers" to some extent, but Heritage is possibly their most inaccessible and demanding work to date. The death metal purists may dismiss this album after a mere few listens, but people looking for a deep musical experience should make sure they give Heritage all of the attention it deserves before reaching any conclusions.

The album begins with the tranquil acoustic piano title track that segues right into the heavy progressive rock of "The Devil's Orchard". This song kicks things off in high gear, and is filled with complex riffs, soaring Hammond organs, and jazzy drumming. King Crimson is a very obvious point of reference on this track - very different from anything Opeth have done before. The highlights of Heritage are the very moody "I Feel the Dark", the fusion- influenced "Nepenthe", the stunning "Haxprocess" (one of my favorite Opeth tracks of all time), the epic "Folklore", and beautiful instrumental track "Marrow of the Earth". "Slither" is a more straightforward heavy metal piece, and sounds like something straight off of a Deep Purple or Ronnie James Dio album. The fast riffs, soaring Hammond organ, and blinding guitar solo characterize this song until the serene acoustic outro begins. "Famine" is the longest track on the album, and features a rather eclectic mix of sections - just listen to that Jethro Tull-influenced flute section in the middle! I find this to be the most incoherent song on the album, but it isn't without its strong points either. "The Lines in My Hand" is a shorter track that features some nice keyboard playing from Per Wilberg and excellent vocal work from Mikael Åkerfeldt.

From a purely objective point of view, Heritage is one of the most impressive Opeth albums to date. The sheer strength of the musicianship and the retro-sounding production show a band at the top of their game, and the strong music to go along with it makes this one hell of an album. The first two things that jump out to me when we're talking about the musicianship are the remarkable retro keyboard tones from Per Wilberg and the jazz- influenced drumming from Martin Axenrot. Both deliver the performances of their careers on Heritage - it's a bit of a shame that Per Wilberg parted ways with Opeth shortly prior to the album's release. Martin Mendez's fluid bass playing is also excellent, and Mikael Åkerfeldt and Frederik Åkesson's dual guitar work is spectacular. The acoustic guitar sections are especially impressive here.

So there you have it - one of the most controversial albums in 2011, but also one of my favorites. Opeth may have abandoned a large portion of their fanbase with Heritage, but this just shows that these guys are always willing to experiment with new sounds and never succumb to treading on previously covered territory. Fans of retro progressive rock will find plenty to love here, and I think the more open-minded metalheads should be entertained as well. Opeth have really taken a risk with Heritage, and I'd say that they've succeeded for the most part. These Swedish legends have done much better than this throughout their twenty-plus year career, but there's no doubt that it is an excellent addition to their catalog. 4 stars are very well-deserved in this case. I do hope that Opeth eventually returns to making bleak progressive death metal, but as a one-off experiment, Heritage is a refreshing change of pace.

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Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review by Tony R
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Respect your heritage.

Clean vocals, 70s Prog and Classic Rock, transition away from Death Metal, homage to influences: Camel, Floyd, Rainbow, Jazz Fusion. Sink or swim time for Akeldfeldt and Opeth. Death Metal fans estranged.

That just about sums up Opeth's attempt at a tradionally-styled and themed Progressive Rock album. On early listens I was entranced by Akeldfeldt's attempt to re-invent the band as a Prog behemoth and I still find the album an enjoyable listen. I was never a fan of traditional Death Metal vocals but their absence seems to have taken away the pure visceral excitement of their best albums from that genre. As an experiment it is interesting and worthy but ultimately I have downgraded my original assessment to 3.5/5 but am happy to award 4 stars.

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Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars For months before the release of Heritage the word from Mikael Akerfeldt was that the next Opeth would be totally different to anything the band had done before - their seventies prog album. It's also their second album to dispense totally with the death metal vocals, the first being Damnation, but Heritage is totally different. Where Damnation was a very mellow and largely acoustic album, Heritage, whilst sharing some of the qualities evident on that release at times is not by any stretch in the same ball park containing heavy elements, though not metal which is dispensed with entirely. How the death metal contingent of fans deals with this I can only imagine! However if you're a fan who was open minded enough to enjoy Damnation then you should have no problem accepting this.

Akerfeldt's love of seventies rock and prog is no secret and has always been an influence on Opeth. That Heritage is influenced by seventies prog is not in dispute - take a look at the cover, but they've been clever enough to not make those influences blatantly obvious and despite the dissimilarity to anything they've done before, strangely enough it still sounds like an Opeth album. In fact the only really obvious inspiration is from Deep Purple and Rainbow, the best example being the excellent up tempo Slither which is Kill The King in disguise. The bulk of the influence being in a feel rather than a particular sound, having a warm organic prescence.

Despite Watershed, their last album capturing them on home turf in prog metal mode, it did stray from the bands formula (upsetting many long term fans in the process) enough to lay the groundwork for some of what we get here. For example, parts of I Feel The Dark does bear a resemblance to the end of Hex Omega and the mood of the mellower parts shares a similar vibe at times. Yes, Heritage does have many mellow reflective moments, something they've always done of course and if I had a complaint it would be that there's perhaps a few too many, sometimes the music taking off only briefly before returning to peace and tranquillity. This however is only a minor complaint as Heritage is a brilliant piece of work, not an immediate album by any stretch of the imagination, requiring perseverance, but the rewards are more than worth it. Its major strength is the subtle haunting melodies that prevail throughout, interspersed between heavier moments, which are not in short supply despite my earlier comment. There's also funk, on Nepenthe for example, something of course that Deep Purple weren't averse to.

The band play brilliantly with drummer Martin Axenrot seizing the seventies challenge and putting away one of his kick drums in the process, rolling double bass patterns not to found anywhere. It's a shame that this is keyboardist Per Wilberg's last outing with the band, his vintage sound and parts being integral to the overall feel. As already mentioned death metal vocals are totally out and Akerfeldt's clean tones, which have always been there of course, are in fine fettle.

Heritage is not an album to dip into, being best digested as a whole. It's a very brave album destined to upset many fans but for the open-minded an excellent piece of work. It probably won't be regarded as their best by many though (but for me it's not far off) and whether the band go further down this road remains to be seen. I for one wouldn't mind and if death metal vocals are gone for good that's also fine by me. This album however is going to, even if only for this one release, gain a lot of new fans for the band. One of the albums of the year for sure. 4 ½ stars.

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Posted Friday, September 30, 2011

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Been a long time since I wrote a review - so here goes. I actually felt so strongly about this album that I wanted to review it here to share my thoughts. I saw Opeth during the Ghost Reveries tour and then again on the Watershed tour. In my opinion Ghost Reveries was/is a classic album and Watershed was an acceptable follow-up. Opeth tour Scotland in November again and as I turn 50 in that month I was looking forward to seeing them. That was before buying Heritage - the special edition of course. The album opens with 'The Throat of Winter' and features melanchony meanderings on piano. Its not a demanding track to listen to and it sets the tone and would have made a nice final track on Watershed. The next track 'The Devil's Orchard' is retro-prog and sounds quite 'muggy' in places. It's one of the better tracks and has a quiter passage in the middle. 'I Feel the Dark' opens with nice acoustic guitar and builds slowly. The vocals are crisp and clear, and as everyone knows by now, there are no death growls on this album. I can live with that because I really like Mikael's vocals. This track actually sounds like Opeth, and if that sounds a strange thing to say then read on. The next track 'Slither' is where I think Akerfeldt is taking the piss. This song is a traditional rocker and sounds like Rainbow. I appreciate that it might be some kind of tribute to Ronnie James Dio but the guitar lead halfway through is pure Rithchie Blackmore. This track should have been a bonus track added on at the end. I don't want to hear Rainbow/Dio tributes on an Opeth album to be honest. 'Nepenthe' only comes alive two thirds in and then fades away again. It's not a classic. Haxprocess is pretty dire and belongs (as Opeth might say) 'in the mire'. The next track 'Famine' opens with free form jazz flute - not a good sign. Demonic rumblings follow and then piano. This track has elements of Tull/Gentle Giant/VDGG in it. I don't like it. The next track is more my cup of tea - 'The Lines In My Hand' is a busy-sounding song with the drummer to the fore. 'Folklore' has a Wishbone Ash intro which is quite pleasant. The vocals are absolutely Jethro Tull-ish. I think this is the problem with this album for me. It's not enough like Opeth. Certainly not the Opeth that I have seen on the previous two tours. I've decided to go see Dream Theater in February in Scotland. At least their new album was not the disappointment that Heritage was for me.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#538076) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Opeth's second non-metal album is a marvel, an intriguing and slowly growing album that may fail to make much sense at first, but one that kept seducing me into it's attractive 70's gloom. At about 20 listens I finally feel confident enough to review it.

Without the metal sound, the compositions on 'Heritage' initially seem to miss the unifying glue that ties everything together on regular Opeth albums. So at first some songs sound quite haphazard and fragmented. Well, that's how much real Prog albums sound in my ears and this one is not an exception. It just takes time, an expensive luxury in these days of fast moving mp3-goods. I admit I had to throw away my initial draft of this review entirely and I'm sure this album's appreciation will suffer from rushed judgements. Also your expectations might stand in the way of the music. So for whomever who wouldn't know yet, this is not metal, not extreme, and also no 'Damnation II'.

And there's so much to enjoy. The more bluesy and rocking approach works wonderfully well for Opeth and the breathy and dynamic arrangements reveal the brilliant musicianship that usually got obscured by the thick guitar wall. Especially Mendez can be enjoyed as he curls his fluid bass lines around Axe's superb drumming. I may have criticized Axe's rather rigid approach on 'Watershed' but here he makes me forget Lopez altogether, as he can be busy as well as subtle, rocking as well as swinging. And of course there's Per Wiberg who can be heard like never before. There's also none of the disinterested growls or formulaic metal that made 'Watershed' such a disappointment for me.

We're a good 15 years after their debut 'Orchid' but the music from 'Heritage' is simply light-years away from that chillingly black atmosphere of yore. It's a change that not all fans will welcome but I'm happy that Opeth always managed to reinvent themselves whenever they seemed to be stuck in a rut. This is a refreshing listen, and much preferred over having yet another album where Akerfeldt's heart wasn't into anymore. It's not a match for BWP or Ghost Reveries, but different, and genius as well.

PS. Please get the version with the DVD surround mix and 2 more yummy tracks.

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Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars See what happens when Mikael Akerfeldt pays attention to my reviews? We get a fine Opeth album that I can be proud to listen to in my car, with the windows open.

Seriously, this is an excellent album. Not quite a masterpiece, but it is my favorite Opeth album so far, even better than "Damnation".

With the title "Heritage", and the pre-release announcement that this album would not have any "growling" vocals, I expected this to be something of a tribute album to Opeth's idols. And it may be. But other than the very beginning of The Devil's Orchard, which sounds like it was inspired by Yes' Heart Of The Sunrise, for just enough bars to get the idea, and Ian Anderson-like flute in Famine, this album sound totally original to me.

The compositions are mature and layered, with nuances that come out after repeated listenings. The only things taking points away to my ears are too heavy a reliance on Middle Eastern motifs, and a muddy, washed out bass sound (as an ex-bass player, that's a sin).

So far, my favorite album of the year.

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Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I've been holding off on my review for "Heritage" simply because i've been trying to find the right words to express how I feel about this latest OPETH album. Maybe I should take a step back so you know where i'm coming from. I'm not big on growly vocals but on albums like "Blackwater Park" and Still Life" I think they serve to make the more laid back sections sound even more amazing. So while i'm thankful they toned things down it's not without it's consequences."Damnation" will always be my favourite OPETH album and it is unique in their catologue not just because there are no growls but because the music is atmospheric and non-metal. It's a seamless album with mellotron, melancholy and atmosphere throughout and it moves me incredibly. "Heritage" is a big change in style for this band and again it's not just because there are no growls. There's also none of that low end distortion and the mixing of metalic sounds. The instruments here all can be heard clearly and the drummer certainly gets a chance to show what he's got, and he has plenty by the way. There are several sections that remind me of "Damnation" which I enjoy but overall i'm far from being blown away by this.Travis Smith did one of his best ever album covers here. It's fantastic !

"Heritage" is Per offering up some laid back piano melodies throughout. "The Devil's Orchard" opens with outbursts of sound including some powerful organ. I like when the vocals come in around a minute. When it settles 3 minutes in i'm reminded of "Damnation". Great section. It kicks back in and we get some soaring guitar late. "I Feel The Dark" is mellow with reserved vocals and acoustic guitar. A beat and mellotron-like sounds roll in. It kicks into gear around 3 minutes and guitar comes to the fore before 4 1/2 minutes. It settles back a minute later. "Slither" is dedicated to Ronnie James Dio. This is an uptempo rocker although it calms down before 3 minutes to the end. "Nepenthe" has a quiet intro then vocals come in just before 1 1/2 minutes. It starts to build then settles back as contrasts continue.

"Haxprocess" is dark and melancholic. Reserved vocals before a minute then it kicks in fuller at 2 1/2 minutes. The mellotron-like sounds bring "Damnation" to mind. It's laid back with guitar before 5 1/2 minutes. "Famine" opens with atmosphere as percussion joins in from none other than Alex Acuna (WEATHER REPORT etc). Piano at 1 1/2 minutes then reserved vocals. Guitar before 3 minutes as it builds then kicks in. It settles then kicks in heavily as contrasts continue. "The Lines In My Hand" is a little more uptempo than most of the ttracks on here but it's not heavy. The vocals and drumming standout. "Folklore" picks up after a minute then distorted vocals come in. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes with normal vocals as themes are repeated. "Marrow of Then Earth" has this "Damnation"- like guitar throughout. Very nice. It's a little fuller after 3 minutes.

A low 4 stars and far from their best in my opinion, and this is from a guy who's not big on growly vocals.

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Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review by Any Colour You Like
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Everyone knows there's more to Opeth than just death metal. Everyone knows there's more than meets the eye. Everyone should know where Opeth stands, why they stand where they do, and where they will likely be moving to. Heritage is Opeth's tenth full length release, and by now, you would think they know their game.

And they do. It's painfully obvious throughout Heritage that Opeth have embraced their virtuosity and eclecticism and finally transmuted themselves as a modern remake of Camel-Tull-Purple-Crimson. Not that this should ever have surprised more than the casual observer, for Opeth have worn this musical direction on their sleeves since, well, forever. Heritage consists of fusion inspired tunes, lush instrumentation and more than a sinister dose of Crimson-like ambient experimentation. The organic melodies that make Opeth so damned catchy are still there, as are the darkened lyrics and sweeping guitar movements. But's it's all done without the high-end metal. This will obviously please many who found Opeth's heavier side hard to palate. Likewise, those who saw the 'metal' as Opeth's most intrinsically valuable aspect, might be slightly underwhelmed. This should not assume that Heritage lacks volume or 'heaviness', for it has an abundance of classic crunch, and dense instrumentation. The fluidity and jazz fusion cadence that always simmered away beneath Opeth's former compositions is fully exposed in parts. Axenrot's drumming in particular surprises here, with a more natural feel and room to express himself, not only does he carry the album, but adds a simple, yet classy style to the whole affair. While I love the concept of Heritage, and the execution is immaculate as always, I still cannot help but feel slightly underwhelmed by aspects of the album. As I have no doubt expressed before in other similar reviews, if I wanted to listen to Heritage, I could always play some Camel, or Jethro Tull, or King Crimson. It's not that hero-worship doesn't have merits (one would have to have no appreciation of history to deny Opeth's skill), but Heritage feels like a façade. A clean and pretty façade, but nonetheless one that only covers over the face of an older building, one with a natural and original charm.

Again, this is a very competent album, and makes an excellent addition to most collections, but one's appraisal always feels tempered by the impression that this is part Opeth, and part unabashed hero worship. It's fun though.

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Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review of the CD/DVD Deluxe Edition

Mikael Akerfeldt (guitar, lead vocals), Martin Mendez (bass), Fredrik Akesson (guitar), Martin Axenrot (drums) and Joakim Svalberg (keyboards) are Opeth.

It has been a long time since I sat down and reviewed an Opeth album (Lamenations: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire-2004). They have always been one of those bands that made Death Metal livable. That dynamic along with the fact that they are incredibly talented musicians that can make ferocious progressive rock and beautiful passages all within minutes of each other in one song has made them a favorite of mine. In fact, they literally define the term progressive in every sense of the word.

It has been a long wait for the next Opeth opus. Watershed was released in 2008 so the band's fans were more than ready for this new release, but did they know what was in store? Several years ago I mentioned in a review that I thought all the from-the-belly growling was unnecessary because Mikael Akerfeldt has a great voice and one fitting for rockers and the ability to carry the beauty of softer soundscapes to another place. I still don't get the growling thing and probably never will but have accepted the fact that it is part of the style and genre. That being said Heritage (engineered by Steven Wilson) was a welcome addition to my collection because the band decided to leave the growling behind for the first time and let Akerfeldt lend his golden pipes to their complex and intriguing compositions. I would think the Death Metal fans out there will be disappointed with what they will hear on this release however if they are hardcore Opeth fans and appreciate excellent music; they will forgive them and enjoy this presentation and everything it has to offer.

So if it is no longer Progressive Death Metal what do we call it now? I think simply Progressive Rock fits the bill with influences of psychedelic and even some jazz rudiments thrown in for texture and flavor. Metal is no longer a prevailing influence but it finds its place when necessary throughout this release to remind you from whence they came. Although many of the lyrics would have worked on previous albums this is very different with a lot of acoustic guitars and other elements that makes you forget you are actually listening to Opeth sometimes and that is the cool thing about this. 'The Devil's Orchard,' depicted in a cool 3D cover on this special edition, spews out lyrics such as 'God is dead' and features music that carry those lyrics a long way. 'Famine' is an excellent track that starts off with a haunting atmospheric soundtrack then the guitars and the rest of the band kick in while the lead vocals sound like they are more in the background echoing and pleading for release. It's an effect that works. Primarily this is music that is very cerebral, it is in constant flux and things like flutes come in accompanied by an ominous guitar line like in 'Famine,' reminding one of Jethro Tull in their prime although Tull was never this heavy musically or lyrically. This kind of music will not leave you alone, it forces you to pay attention as you wait for the next change or lyric that is going to come snapping at you to make you think even more.

This particular Special Edition was quite an experience. It offers the listener a stereo and 5.1 surround sound version which is simply enthralling to put it mildly. I have always appreciated Opeth for various reasons but have never been enamored with them. I think that is about to change as I hear this music more, the more I find an appreciation of what a tremendous accomplishment this recording is and the complexity and beauty of the music is astounding. The packaging emulates the LP gatefold style with a booklet in the middle and a second tray holding the bonus DVD which has the surround version of the album with several bonus tracks, most notably 'Pyre' and 'Face In The Snow,' which are also offered as free downloads from the band's site. The video portion of the DVD starts off with Akerfeldt explaining how the album took shape, which was ok but when they actually step in the studio to take you through the recording process they decide to start speaking in their native tongue because it was the best way to present this'wrong answer. If you were selling this album exclusively in Sweden that would work, so I am not too sure what they were thinking. After about 10 minutes of subtitles I felt like I was watching a foreign film and that was all she wrote for me. This was a disappointment as I really wanted to continue taking in the studio experience but I just could not deal with the subtitles anymore!

In the end the part of the DVD I did not enjoy took a backseat because the music was so incredible. Opeth have created a true masterpiece and what makes it even more prolific is the fact that they changed their style entirely and took a huge chance. Nice work gents you looked at the possibility of failure square in the eye and gave it the proverbial finger and kicked some major arse on Heritage. This is evidence of their total confidence in their abilities and proof once again what outstanding musicians they are regardless of what type of music they produce.

Key Tracks: The Devil's Orchard, Famine, Folklore

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Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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)

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Posted Sunday, December 04, 2011

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars DON'T PANIC

Ten tracks. The instrumental intro. The one with a little bit of everything. The one with not very much of anything. The one with Jon Lord. The one with the filthy bass. The one which gently weeps. The one with the major key. The one with Nick Drake. The Latino epic. And the instrumental outro.

To say this album has split the metal community in two would be a lie. It split it in three. There were those who heralded Heritage as Opeth's best work to date, there were those who saw it as neither here nor there, and then there were those that ran around shrieking in tongues, setting fire to babies and jumping out of fifth storey windows. To them, Heritage was nothing short of sacrilege.

Whilst I understand how this different approach might alienate certain factions of their loyal fan-base, the transition itself was far from unexpected, in fact, it was almost inevitable. Deliverance and Damnation aside, the progressive elements of Opeth's musical output have been growing more prominent with each release since Still Life. Heritage brings this evolution to a peak as their instrumental style is turned on its head.

What started off as crushing death metal, broken up with tastefully placed interludes, is now dominated by intricate breakdowns, '70s references and the odd heavier movement. That said, the overall sound is still instantly recognisable as Opeth, and whilst others have criticised it for being too derivative of 'classic prog', I personally don't think this detracts from the listening experience.

The vocals are clean throughout, a characteristic only shared with Damnation, but the thing that really sets Heritage apart from the rest of the Opeth back-catalogue is its departure from dichromatic artwork. This too has kindled mixed opinion, but I happen to think it looks jolly good and if the tree were beheaded it would be one of my favourite album covers of the year.

The question remains, is Heritage comparable to previous Opeth outings in terms of quality alone? Not quite. I have no complaints about the style of the album, merely that some of the songs ain't all that. The Devil's Orchard was released as a single some time ago, I saw it as a good starting point and hoped the album would build on it. It actually turned out to be probably the most consistent track on the album and several others, whilst having great moments, are not particularly great songs. My personal favourite is Famine which sounds like a cross between John Zorn and Jethro Tull. I'm also partial to the screaming guitar of Nepenthe, and the breakdown of Folklore, but like I said, these are musical events rather than entire compositions.

There is a certain level of subtlety on Heritage, but this also leads to an underlying feeling of emptiness, both in the music and the production. It lacks power and means that potentially grandiose passages fall a bit flat. I appreciate that this approach to audio mixing may be an attempt to emulate the production values of yesteryear. But it also makes me wonder how albums such as Larks Tongue in Aspic were able to achieve both clarity and impact.

The Verdict: It may not be Opeth's finest hour, but it's certainly worth listening to.

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Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After Opeth's front man's announcement of them removing death metal elements to their sound, it left not only hardcore and casual fans intrigued of their future music, but also music listeners who cannot stand the iconic deep growls yet enjoy the musicality of the band.

Given the band's decision and their non-metal sections introducing acid rock, 70s prog rock, and jazz-fusion (as opposed to their older acoustic folk passages), the album is not that surprising to me. Despite lack of death metal elements, the atmosphere and songwriting continues being unmistakeably Opeth. Not to say that the music is predictable or lacks surprises, but this is not as much of a shift in personality as some would have expected. You have here an album full of terrific sections. The experimentation is both a strength and a weakness. The strength is the inspired, virtuosic musicianship and the abundance of terrific passages of music. The main weakness is that the structure of songs are loose, resulting in some awkward transitions and odd dynamics. While this keeps elements of surprise and mystery, sometimes you wish more proper climax and conclusions to songs. Another weakness is Mikael's singing which sounds strangely detached at times, as if there's more technicality and less raw emotion.

It begins with a piano instrumental accompanied with a bass guitar. The single "Devil's Orchard" has all the strengths and none of the weaknesses, making it my favorite song in the album. The vocal sections are memorable, the riffs complex, and the twists and turns exciting. It includes a hypnotic instrumental section and a fitting climax led by a guitar solo.

"I Feel The Dark" starts with an acoustic motif and is folkier in nature. A dark, mysterious instrumental section with outstanding percussion follows. A church organ interrupts and the theme is revisited with a heavy metal riff and soaring vocals. An undeniably fantastic moment. However, this climax is in the middle of the song and the rest seems to have less direction.

"Slither" is an unusual song for Opeth as it sounds more like the band Rainbow or Deep Purple with its driving 70s hard rock guitar riffs and stabbing hammond organs. While the acoustic outro has the haunting mood that is typical of Opeth, this song would have worked better as a bonus track. The upbeat and short "The Lines in My Hand" has some of Mikael's most detached vocals I've ever heard from him. My wife believed I was listening to Nickelback during this song. Instrumentally it's still Opeth, but this could have been another bonus track.

"Nepenthe" is as strange as its name applies. It is a jazz-fusion track driven by meditative percussion in a very slow tempo. The vocals are brief yet leave a very good impression. The highlight is a funky synthesizer riff reminiscent of King Crimson and Gentle Giant. The wailing guitar solos are also impressive. The vocal melody returns and the song just stops. It feels like it could have been more if they made it longer.

"Hax Process" is extremely minimalistic in the first two minutes with its simplistic mournful melodies. Suddenly an upbeat acoustic riff bring the song into a dynamic progressive rock song. The last segment is a weeping guitar solo played over a meandering bass line. This is a very proper ending and it is incredibly beautiful.

"Famine" has a very fragmented structure and sounds more like musical ideas crammed together. It is a shame because these ideas are very very good. The tribal percussion in the intro gets inexplicably cut off by a piano (?). A loud electric guitar riff fades in over that piano (?). Luckily the second half makes more sense with some surprisingly good falsetto singing and a doom metal riff with aggressive flute.

The psychedelic first half of "Folklore" has processed vocals, mellow guitar riffs and natural dynamics. The song transitions well into a mix of themes that gradually progress into an restrained yet fitting climax to an album that is restrained in itself. What is interesting about this climax is that it actually sounds positive, one of the main surprises of the album for me. "Marrow of the Earth" is a very pleasant instrumental conclusion.

Be sure to pay close attention to the intricate detail of the musicianship. The bass and drums are particularly breathtaking and the keyboardist steals the show with his wide variety of very organic (never digital) sounds.

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Posted Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review by m2thek
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Opeth's Heritage was being looked at by curious eyes back in the time of its release. Its announcement of a change in sound from the band's traditional metal to a more classic prog rock approach left some excited and some skeptical. Regardless of style, what we have here is a very boring album that should be approached with caution by everybody.

While I have heard a couple past Opeth albums, Heritage is really my first experience with the band. I can't speak much about the change in sound, but I can comment on what is present. The album is guitar led, achieving a folky sound usually and occasionally drifting into hard rock territory. There are no growls to be found, and the music never comes close to anything that could be called metal. Piano, organ, and occasional Mellotron and flute are used to fill out the sound, as well as the odd guitar solo, but most of the music is driven by guitar riffs and vocals.

Here is really the problem with Heritage. Each song plays around with two or three riffs and uses them to death to the point where I'm tired of them before the songs are even over. The vocals are fine but are never strong enough to carry the slow, boring tunes that play underneath. The more interesting parts of the music, like the short solos, are better, but can't save the songs they're within.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the album gets its two best tracks out of the way right at the beginning: an absolutely beautiful classical piano piece, and a very exciting and dynamic hard prog song. After these two though, there's little to invigorate you until the end of the album, and by then, you've had to sit through so much tired music it's hardly worth it.

Opeth took a risk when they made this album, and it seems they've failed. I haven't seen any long-time fans loving this, and from an outside perspective, it's not a success either. Regardless if you're a newcomer or a fan, take caution when approaching Heritage because it seems like an album that is made for neither.

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Posted Friday, December 30, 2011

Review by EatThatPhonebook
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.

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Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Heritage" is the 10th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive metal act Opeth. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2011. There's been much speculation about how "Heritage" would sound after the band made it clear that they would drop the growls and focus on playing progressive rock. Of course we've heard Mikael 'kerfeldt talk about this before, being the prog rock head he is, but he has talked about other projects before that hasn't materialized yet. For instance I remember he talked about releasing a black metal oriented Opeth album once, and that project certainly hasn't surfaced yet. With "Heritage" it turned out to be more than words though as the band have completely left their progressive death metal roots behind and focus on playing a 70s influenced progressive type of rock.

...especially keyboard player Per Wiberg, is given a lot of space and opportunity to flash his vintage keyboards (ironically Per Wiberg left the band before the release of the album), but everything from the jazz rock influenced drumming, the warm bass sound to the dynamic and structurally challenging compositions, to the fuzzy distorted guitars, scream 70s progressive rock/hard rock.

The album starts out with a piano intro and then "The Devil's Orchard" kicks in. It's one of the more energetic tracks on the album even though it's quite dynamic too with some mellow sections thrown in. "I Feel the Dark" and "Slither" are pretty great too but "Nepenthe" is kinda dull to my ears. From that moment on it's like the album only captivate me in glimpses. The last track "Marrow of the Earth" is quite the beautiful instrumental piece though. My issue with many of the tracks is that they don't sound like fully developed compositions, but more like a lot of ideas put together to form tracks. The interesting thing is that the earlier material by the band is also structured like that, but that type of songwriting approach works much better within the context of a progressive death metal album than in does on a full blown progressive rock album.

...so while the playing is excellent (I'm especially impressed by drummer Martin Axenrot, who really shines on the album) and the production is warm and organic, the songwriting simply isn't strong enough. "Heritage" is loaded with great ideas and for the most part the album is very enjoyable but the full promise is too seldom fulfilled. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

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Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Admin / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars The Dark Trilogy, Part I - Opeth's Heritage

Here it is, Opeth's most controversial release yet, excluding the anomalous Damnation which was hardly an Opeth record at all. Heritage is in one way an incredibly apt name and in another an awful choice. In the first way, this record is essentially a tribute to Mikael Akerfeldt's musical heritage - the music of acts like Camel, King Crimson, and Black Sabbath who formed his early musical tastes and, at least before he discovered a tasty little thing called death metal, dominated his listening experiences. However, in the 90s when death metal made its debut, he spent his time writing illicitly evil music of the far more extreme style. Seventeen years after the release of his new band Opeth's debut record Orchid, though, he changed his mind on the whole thing. While we could see a shift in his musical outlook on 2008's Watershed, the death-ness was still present, so at least most of the hardcore fans were pleased. But what made him drop the growls entirely?

This is no psychoanalysis of Akerfeldt's musical tastes, so I have no definitive answer to that. All I know is that in 2006 Ghost Reveries was released and hailed as one of the most critically acclaimed progressive death metal albums of the last decade, and five years later Opeth released a hard rock album. What happened? How are we supposed to react? Is this even Opeth? In short, Akerfeldt got tired of doing the same thing over nearly 20 years. Fans of the band should recognize that this is simple a progression of the band's style and we should go with it. And is it Opeth? Did you even listen to the damn album? It's got Akerfeldt written all over it! So yes, despite the fact that Opeth has dropped distortion and death growls for overdrive and Hammond, this album is textbook Opeth and should be evaluated as such.

So let's see here, ten tracks ranging from two to eight minutes. Not too bad, although right off the bat we're missing those killer ten-minute killers. We'll live, don't worry. Track one - self-titled - stars off with some nice acoustic piano work. Okay, now I'm getting worried. But wait, Watershed started with the acoustic ballad "Coil" and was kicked off an awesome album. Phew, we'll be fine. After two minutes, in comes the single "The Devils Orchard," and here it begins. Aggressive and classic overdriven riffs as opposed to ferocious distorted chugging, gritty Hammond lines to go along with it, and Mikael already excellent clean vocals with a bit of a, uh, "natural" tone from the lack of studio-fix ups or enhancements. Not a bad thing, although his vocal lines can seem like warbling from time to time. A nice mellow and dark interlude, some Opeth-y Mellotron flutes, eerie guitar lines, and a coda back to some nice overdriven riffs again. Hey, look! A pretty standard playing card for an Opeth song. We're off to a good start.

Fine, I won't go through every song on the album displaying how the music is still Opeth, not a rip off of Camel (whoever says that is just plain wrong), you get the picture. You have your obligatory acoustic lines, diminished-scale riffs, precision drums, quintessential keyboard parts, and Akerfeldt's gruff clean lines, which are quite different from Andrew Latimer's whispered vocal parts. Not a Camel right, right? Right??

Alright, I've drilled into your skull that Heritage is indeed an Opeth album, so I'll actually review it now. And here I'll contradict myself: while of course this is an Opeth album, this music is incredibly stylistically different from their previous material (obviously), so in no way can I evaluate this as if it were part of the tech/extreme genre. This album is an excellent example of modern heavy prog. All the aforementioned qualities of this album come together in an absolutely wonderful way, and with the Opeth stamp and sound in it, it's even better. Akerfeldt had incorporated blues elements in his older material, but it really shines on this album. Riffs are trilled, blues scales are favored over diminished most of the time, and lots of the arrangements are in a far more blues/jazz-fusion oriented way.

However, while the music is interesting and engaging throughout the first half of the album, I can't help but feel a sense of ennui as the tracks of the latter half of the album come. By the time the slow-starting but in-the-end-exciting "Famine" ends, the songs start to get 'samey.' Compositional distinguishability starts to blur, ambience sound the same, and those same tricks from older Opeth songs are used over and over again with a new guitar tone. While of course any Opeth is good Opeth, I can't help but feel that even with the new direction, Akerfeldt is still stuck in the same rut of songwriting. He has a new pallet of sound to paint with, but he only knows one style in which to paint. For a huge Opeth fan, I can enjoy the songs, but at the same time I crave some truly new.

In the end, I'll say it loud and clear: this is a different kind of Opeth album. You won't find any growls or evil riffing, but you'll still find Opeth, dressed in a new outfit. If you're looking for a crazy Swedish 70s prog-fest, look somewhere else, because while this is certainly influenced by that era, this album is not retro prog. Retro although it may sound stylistically, the music is still very modern. However, expect much of the same compositionally, as Akerfeldt has covered no new ground here, and expands on many of the same ideas quite a bit, leading to a bit of a stale sound by the end of the album. In the end, however, this is a solidly good Opeth album. 3+ stars.

Now I've covered the music, what's this whole "dark trilogy" business, you might ask? As most know, this album was mixed by Akerfeldt's best buddy and prog extraordinaire Steven Wilson. The two have been attached at the hip since Opeth's Blackwater Park, and in my opinion Wilson has helped Opeth create some of their absolute best material. In 2011, though they worked together more closely than they ever had before. Within a month of each other both Opeth and Steven Wilson had released albums, and immediately after that, they began collaborating directly on their own mysterious project, Storm Corrosion.

The three albums, the third of which was released half a year after the other two, are intrinsically connected in an interesting way. The three albums are all incredibly dark musically - dark riffs, dark lyrics, dark art, and a darker perspective on each musician's usual material (or at least in Akerfeldt's case a different kind of dark). Interestingly enough, this darkness is sopped up by the prog public, and I would not be surprised if Storm Corrosion tops most prog lists just like Heritage and Grace for Drowning did. An interesting trend, and one that I'm sure the dynamic prog duo will pursue further.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#820826) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 14, 2012

Latest members reviews

2 stars 2.3 Stars. Tangled in their roots Heritage is the 10th Opeth album and can be marked as a brand new chapter in the band's career. The Death metal part of their sound is completely gone and has been replaced with a very deliberate 70s retro sound. Everything from the sound production to the choic ... (read more)

Report this review (#1048522) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Heritage" is a 10 track album by the Swedish death metal band Opeth, that starts a new era for the band. Even though the album seemed a lot of times as a really bad one (at least for the criticizers) , it is still one of the best selling prog albums. The album starts with a beautiful melancholi ... (read more)

Report this review (#917569) | Posted by FenderX | Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#808880) | Posted by kluseba | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#798228) | Posted by FragileKings | Thursday, August 02, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 This is a remarkable change of sound - and for someone who hates growls and stuff, this is a change for the better. I do not have much experience with Opeth, having heard so far only Blackwater Park (which I gave 3 stars) and Damnation (4 stars). I began to get curious about a recent H ... (read more)

Report this review (#777182) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, June 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 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 is on the other hand obviously their most demandin ... (read more)

Report this review (#602013) | Posted by stewe | Monday, January 02, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The most highly anticipated release of 2011 for me! I have been a die hard Opeth fan since Blackwater Park. When they announced that this would be an album without grunting I was excited. Not because I dislike grunting, but because they were trying something new (and because I liked Damnation) ... (read more)

Report this review (#582351) | Posted by jverweij | Monday, December 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Time Travel In the year 2008 Opeth, my favourite ever rock band, have released WATERSHED, album of such a variable artistic quality, that I often had problems with listening to it in its entirety. It is, therefore, small wonder I was worried about their future. When I read that Opeth leaves extre ... (read more)

Report this review (#578428) | Posted by bartosso | Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The concept has turned into a more "classic" progressive rock sound. Beyond of any possible critic, Opeth has made one of their most elegant and sophisticated works to date. Once again Mikael & company have broken all the rules of Metal standard, they dared to take its music one step further. ... (read more)

Report this review (#567052) | Posted by Epsilon | Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Heritage of the 70's It seems Opeth tries hard to convince people like me, who love 70's prog, to get at least one of their albums. Even at the risk of annoying old Opeth fans. It seems they reached their goal. 'Heritage' is the second album out of ten, which does not sound metal-ish and do ... (read more)

Report this review (#554256) | Posted by Formentera Lady | Friday, October 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Every band must have a bad album...thus; here is Heritage. First let me say that I am a HUGE Opeth fan. I love their range, and style. From Damnation to Morningrise, every album has a uniqueness that makes Opeth, well..Opeth. Ok- so this album supposedly is a tribute to 70's rock- and a tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#544571) | Posted by Drew | Thursday, October 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the last year I have slowly been eating through Opeth's discography and getting some exquisite dishes. This album is no exception. I always hear that Opeth is always changing, to me, until this album they really hadn't swayed too far from their sound. Damnation is similar, but only because ... (read more)

Report this review (#541226) | Posted by cyclysm748 | Tuesday, October 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Opeth are a band I once wanted to like, and indeed I have tried to in the past, but one thing kept putting me off - barbed-wire gargling, growling, cookie monster vocals, call it what you will. In my mind although this expression of aggression can and indeed does have its place, especially within ... (read more)

Report this review (#539140) | Posted by Starless | Saturday, October 01, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This band has been high on the 'favourites' list for prog rockers for many years, and not without good reason. They are incredibly talented, are great musicians, and crucially to some they are not one dimensional. This is what I love about this band - the ability to 'mix' it up and draw on a ... (read more)

Report this review (#537375) | Posted by jdgenerator | Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I love the record! Imagine if Opeth made a "Watershed pt2" album, how much would that suck? Music stays alive through evolvement, not regurgitation. "Heritage" makes Opeth relevant as a band and gains them more respect overall. Look at Motörhead, the've made the same record for the last twenty ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#531966) | Posted by satriani | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is just one of those albums that will either loved or hated by Opeth fans for years to come. And that's quite understandable. It's a departure from their usual mix of genre-bending death metal, and the first time they left the "metal" part of the equation out since Damnation. Having sa ... (read more)

Report this review (#531580) | Posted by MusicMan3172 | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you know me, you know that I have a deep and heavy obsession with Black Metal and the like, so when I actually found out there would be no harsh vocals on this record I was a bit disenchanted but as always the good fan boy I give it a chance. The first thing that came to my mind was that A ... (read more)

Report this review (#531497) | Posted by Ricclez | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This was huge dissapointment this is nother crap cd of the year award cd,Here they go psychedelic on us here no metal.I think with clean vocals it be good this is worst cd of there catalogue,Nice idea to make prog cd but not drone music.Lyrics have no direction music is meh sounds,like cd to end a ... (read more)

Report this review (#531329) | Posted by scepter | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album starts off okay, then makes itself irrelevant for large swaths, beginning with the highly disjointed acoustic outro to the HORRIBLE "Slither". The band seems to think that substituting destinationless guitar noodling and spooky atmospheric sounds is a valid substitute for musical st ... (read more)

Report this review (#531257) | Posted by clwilla | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When a new Opeth album is released, I feel a tentative mixture of invigorating excitement, nostalgia, hesitancy, and preparation for disappointment. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're an Opeth fan, so perhaps you can relate to the following sentiment. Please excuse an auto ... (read more)

Report this review (#528501) | Posted by Logarious | Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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