Opeth - Heritage review



Reviewer:
7.8

1165 users:
7.27
Band: Opeth
Album: Heritage
Release date: September 2011


01. Heritage
02. The Devil's Orchard
03. I Feel The Dark
04. Slither
05. Nepenthe
06. Häxprocess
07. Famine
08. The Lines In My Hand
09. Folklore
10. Marrow Of The Earth
11. Pyre [DVD bonus]
12. Face In The Snow [DVD bonus]


The general consensus when a great band dares to move away from their original Death Metal sound is usually not positive. However Opeth have done it before masterfully with Damnation in 2003. They are back at it with one of the year's most anticipated albums, Heritage.

Cutting to the chase: Compared to their previous releases, Heritage lacks character. Despite the song structures being very progressive rock and the vocals being crazy good, the absence of catchy guitar riffs or memorable growls is a downer. One can positively recognize Opeth as the artist, especially since a lot of the songs borrow tidbits straight from the Ghost Reveries period. Certainly they manage to perpetuate a dark atmosphere throughout the album, but the mellowness of the whole thing is borderline irritating to someone expecting their trademark sound. I know we have been forewarned by Mikael Åkerfeldt himself about this being a throwback kind of release. Still, I believe this would be either catchier or more aggressive. Nevertheless the album does feature good moments, mostly from the jazz-infused portions of the songs.

Most of the vocal work by Mikael is spot on and even more breathtaking than ever before. And yes, we are talking about clean vocals only, which is unfortunate. Technically there is nothing to complain about, musicianship is at an all-time high. But when your band has members or former members of Bloodbath and Arch Enemy, listeners are bound to expect a little ferociousness whether in the form of harsh vocals or hell-spawn guitar riffs.

This is undeniably the one album that will have fans divided. On its own it is a great 70s-inspired throwback progressive rock album. Assessed as part of Opeth discography it fails to win me over completely. It is grand if you are into progressive rock and the band need to be applauded for the effort and guts to do something like this at this stage of their career. But ultimately the dearth of grabbing melodies endures as the downfall of Heritage.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 9


 



Written on 20.09.2011 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

Guest review by
SauradipGhosh
Rating:
8.6
Heritage poses more questions than answers. Have Opeth reached a creative cul-de-sac? Have they chucked their "Extreme Progressive Death Metal" for good? Have they finally shed their "Underground Garage Band" (I am quoting Akerfeldt from an earlier interview) and have ventured out into the Pantheon of the "mainstream" Gods from their hallowed underground temple so frequented by hordes of reverent worshipers?

Read more ››
published 29.05.2012 | Comments (32)


Comments

Comments: 134   Visited by: 1159 users
20.09.2011 - 04:12
Lit.
Account deleted
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20.09.2011 - 04:15
JCJen7
Just got mine in the mail today! what a coincidence
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20.09.2011 - 04:18
Marcus
Doit Like Bernie
Won't have a chance to hear it for a while but I have to disagree on principle with one point; Akerfeldt's clean vocals, to me, were always the best part. I can't wait to hear another album that does away with the death metal vocals entirely especially since there were so stale on the Watershed. But again, I've always been one to prefer their more mellow side over their heavier side any day of the week.
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20.09.2011 - 04:40
Fredd
Account deleted
Good review, exactly what I think of this album.
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20.09.2011 - 04:45
pisymbol
I am disappointed by this review. Not so much because of the rating (we can agree to disagree on that), but the reasons: despite the nod to the fact that this is Opeth's greatest work with respect to musicianship, its no good because of the lack of death growls? Really?

If you are an Opeth fan, I think you will absolutely adore this album. Period.
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20.09.2011 - 04:53
Rulatore
Written by Guest on 20.09.2011 at 04:12




Just what I thought.

I liked the drum and bass work. The problem with this one is that sometimes gets too boring
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20.09.2011 - 05:00
ryche76
I picked up a copy yesterday with the bonus DVD and I must say the packaging is pretty impressive. There is no doubt that Mikael and Opeth are brilliant musicians. I say good no them for taking a risk, and for my liking it has paid off acceptionally well. There are moments in some songs where I think " what are they doing ? " but after hearing it in its entirety it works so well. Then watching the DVD and seeing Mikael talk about the recording of the album I admire "Heritage" even more. Well I will say this, it is better then the effort Queensryche dished out back in July. Out of 10 I would rate it a solid 8. Bring on the 18th of December I say !!!!!!
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20.09.2011 - 05:24
stationarytravel
Account deleted
Yes, we've heard that before. No catchy + no growlz = no character. Nice "review".
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20.09.2011 - 05:48
Demonic Tutor
The Enemy Within
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20.09.2011 - 05:58
JCJen7
Haha, i quite liked the review. You gave a non-perfect score to Opeth what do you expect?

You shall be criticized until you are one of the chosen ones that can appreciate their pure, unadultered passion
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20.09.2011 - 06:03
Demonic Tutor
The Enemy Within
Written by JCJen7 on 20.09.2011 at 05:58

Haha, i quite liked the review. You gave a non-perfect score to Opeth what do you expect?


I know. I didn't think I would see the day of this happening. Seeing that I've been a longtime fan and all.
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20.09.2011 - 06:38
Unhealer
Eclecticist
Average review, doesn't say too much of what the album sounds like really besides all that has been said before we could finally listen to it. But it's accurate after all.

I liked this album a lot, my problem was the feel of "lack of structure" on some songs... Mikael said that he usually writes piecing different riffs together. I think his writing process didn't go well with this album concept, since it worked perfectly before.
For example, I though "Famine" would be the best track for the song idea, instead is a little messy in my opinion... I just wait for the doomy riff with flute which is one of the sweetest moments of the record placed on an average song. And it's repetition at the end ruins the magic of it a little bit.

That said, I just love it. Well deserved 9.5 or so for me. "I feel the dark" is an increidible track.
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20.09.2011 - 06:41
BitterCOld
Gringo
DT split the wickets between the haters who will completely freak out and froth at the keyboard because a progressive metal band just chucked aside every single metallic element and the hordes of fanbois who think everything Opeth ever recorded is the best thing put to tape and that Mikael >>> Beethoven.

and there will be some rational people in the middle, but for the most part, brace for whining from the two extremes.

<- 7 from me. good prog, but nothing really stuck with me.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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20.09.2011 - 07:21
Captain Obvious
In situations like this I'd like to paraphrase Phil Anselmo by saying ''I hope you dig it. If you don't, then don't fucking listen to it''.
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Did you ever notice that the people who tell you to get a life are normally people who should be dead in the first place?
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20.09.2011 - 07:46
Evil Chip
Nice review though a little bit more could be said. It lacks of orientation.Everything seems a little bit random and those more compact songs are quite forgettable. There some incredible parts and tracks, and overall is a good album. A 7 for me.
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20.09.2011 - 09:33
Doc Godin
Full Grown Hoser
If anything, I found this review to be pretty generous. I don't get why people complain about points being knocked off for the lack of metal/death growls. To me, that dynamic is what made Opeth interesting in the first place; the interplay between the mellow, ambient parts and the steamrolling death metal parts. This sounds basically like forgettable prog-rock to me. Each isolated aspect irritates me a bit, however, when they're combined it sounds great.

I wouldn't even consider this a "risk". Yes, it's a risk in the sense that it might alienate fans (like myself up until Watershed), but to me it sounds like less of a risk and more of a band that's run out of ideas.
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"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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20.09.2011 - 09:53
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl
It sounds like Damnation, but it lacks the charisma and spirit (or whatever you want to call it) that Damnation had.
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"Another day, another Doug."
"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
"I'll put whatever I want in your mouth!"
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20.09.2011 - 10:10
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
7.8. A good score for a good album.
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20.09.2011 - 10:37
malaikat
A damn good review, and the fair rating. This is the key:

"On its own it is a great 70s-inspired throwback progressive rock album. Assessed as part of Opeth discography it fails to win me over completely. "

In other words: great prog rock album, not so great Opeth album.

As to @MC Vice said, I feel completely different, I've got the feeling that Heritage is much more diverse than Damnation - although I still prefer Damnation
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20.09.2011 - 11:39
Hammer Pie
Written by BitterCOld on 20.09.2011 at 06:41

DT split the wickets between the haters who will completely freak out and froth at the keyboard because a progressive metal band just chucked aside every single metallic element and the hordes of fanbois who think everything Opeth ever recorded is the best thing put to tape and that Mikael >>> Beethoven.

and there will be some rational people in the middle, but for the most part, brace for whining from the two extremes.

I've never understood this "rational middle" cliche. How is it different from saying anyone whose opinion is too far from your own is an idiot?
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20.09.2011 - 12:31
Roro
I am not sure if they chose the right decision to stick with prog rock. off course anything from Opeth is un-negotiable but i expected something greater.
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20.09.2011 - 12:47
Milena
Learning To "X"
Wow, I expected more flaming
No opinions from me, I always fall asleep during Opeth albums (not that it's a bad thing, they just hit the right frequency) so I haven't formed one yet.
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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20.09.2011 - 13:06
malaikat
Written by Milena on 20.09.2011 at 12:47

Wow, I expected more flaming
No opinions from me, I always fall asleep during Opeth albums (not that it's a bad thing, they just hit the right frequency) so I haven't formed one yet.


In 90 days, I expect at least one Ponderer-like guest review
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20.09.2011 - 14:02
redbackrecordz
Heritage is amazing! Just like every single one of Opeths albums, from the heavy to the mellow, thats what makes Opeth so original, amazing vocal and musicianship, to be able to record this album the way they did is pure talent! I have already listened to this more times than I can remember, along with the rest of there albums, cant wait for the next one!!!!!!!!
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20.09.2011 - 14:04
JD
Account deleted
I agree with the rating.
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20.09.2011 - 15:03
Slayer666
A way too generous review/rating for this boring album.
A shame Opeth always ruins the good, atmospheric parts with prog wankery. You're awesome musicians, we get it already. This goes for all of their albums, not just this one.
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20.09.2011 - 15:17
malaikat
Written by Slayer666 on 20.09.2011 at 15:03

A way too generous review/rating for this boring album.
A shame Opeth always ruins the good, atmospheric parts with prog wankery. You're awesome musicians, we get it already. This goes for all of their albums, not just this one.


Well, they are prog band, not gothic/sludge atmospheric band.

I mean, bashing prog band for having "prog wankery" is like bashing thrash metal because it's riff based. Or bashing black metal for being LoFi. Or bashing folk metal for using folk melodies. Or...

Nah, you get the picture.
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20.09.2011 - 15:50
Milena
Learning To "X"
Written by malaikat on 20.09.2011 at 15:17

I mean, bashing prog band for having "prog wankery" is like bashing thrash metal because it's riff based. Or bashing black metal for being LoFi. Or bashing folk metal for using folk melodies. Or...

Well, there IS a review on MA bashing Ensiferum for folk interludes
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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20.09.2011 - 15:53
@gent_-_orange
I think the score should be a bit higher (probably around 8.3 if iwas going to be ultra precise) Regardless you summed this album up very well.

Axenrots drumming is great aswell.
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20.09.2011 - 15:58
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Written by pisymbol on 20.09.2011 at 04:45

If you are an Opeth fan, I think you will absolutely adore this album. Period.


I'm sorry but I couldn't help wondering wha the hell did you mean by saying this?
Just because I agree with the review (I would give it a 7,0 or so tbh) I'm suddenly not an Opeth fan? Yeah...
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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