Opeth - Heritage review



Reviewer:
7.8

1160 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 page 3 / 5

Comments: 134   Visited by: 1159 users
21.09.2011 - 17:23
R'Vannith
ghedengi
Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 10:20

well, you can only compare it to YOUR idea/concept of 70s prog rock... it's a reference point. Then, you listen to the album and find out what the reviewer exactly means. "Heritage" draws inspiration from so many prog bands that it's impossible to pin point any, really. And who cares what's the next guy is thinking? Music is a personal experience and you can only base your opinion on your musical experience as a whole.


I suppose you're right, in the end it doesn't really matter whether what the reviewer thinks of when they say 70's prog rock is necessarily the same as what the reader would think, as long as it brings something to mind which is also present in the album. Which does relate back to what I said before that it is a vague description, but if such a description succeeds in giving the reader a general impression of what they're in for when they listen to 'Heritage' and they subsequently identify bits and pieces which they figure sounds like 70's prog rock then that certainly works.
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21.09.2011 - 17:41
Merchant of Doom
Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 17:20

Did I want them to play the heavy stuff? Of course, but its there prerogative to play what THEY want to play... Its THEIR band and I have total faith in what they want to write and what they want to play...


well, I thought a band's prerogative would also be to please the fans to a certain extent... how many fans left disappointed last night? Probably lots. It would have cost them nothing to throw in a couple of heavier songs. I really hate it when bands do that. It just shows a total lack of respect for the fans... in name of what? Musical integrity? I hate this "sorry, we have become this famous proggy band now and no way we are going to play the heavy stuff with harsh vocals anymore"-bollocks...
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21.09.2011 - 17:47
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 17:41

Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 17:20

Did I want them to play the heavy stuff? Of course, but its there prerogative to play what THEY want to play... Its THEIR band and I have total faith in what they want to write and what they want to play...


well, I thought a band's prerogative would also be to please the fans to a certain extent... how many fans left disappointed last night? Probably lots. It would have cost them nothing to throw in a couple of heavier songs. I really hate it when bands do that. It just shows a total lack of respect for the fans... in name of what? Musical integrity? I hate this "sorry, we have become this famous proggy band now and no way we are going to play the heavy stuff with harsh vocals anymore"-bollocks...


it's not as if it's a free concert. People pay good money to see them.
If they intend to play a totally acoustic gig, for instance, they should make that clear well in advance so fans that want to hear the heavier stuff can decide not to buy a ticket.
Now they are just ripped off imo. If it would happen to me I would try and get a partial refund under the guise of the band luring me in there under more or less false pretences.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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21.09.2011 - 18:01
Merchant of Doom
They probably don't care about that... why play live, then? Are they playing for themselves? Possibly... or for the money, more likely...
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21.09.2011 - 18:56
DragonWisdom
Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 17:41

Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 17:20

Did I want them to play the heavy stuff? Of course, but its there prerogative to play what THEY want to play... Its THEIR band and I have total faith in what they want to write and what they want to play...


well, I thought a band's prerogative would also be to please the fans to a certain extent... how many fans left disappointed last night? Probably lots. It would have cost them nothing to throw in a couple of heavier songs. I really hate it when bands do that. It just shows a total lack of respect for the fans... in name of what? Musical integrity? I hate this "sorry, we have become this famous proggy band now and no way we are going to play the heavy stuff with harsh vocals anymore"-bollocks...

They DID play heavy stuff... But nothing with the death growls... This tour and the set theme is very close to how damnation was... There were def people who left disappointed but the flow and set list IMHO was bold and worked very very well... I understand the side of the argument that there should of been the brutality side of Opeth (that we all love) but i don't want to get into an online pissing contest because what I believe the band did was great...
----
Keep it Brutal!!!
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21.09.2011 - 18:56
DragonWisdom
Also here was the set... The Devil's Orchard , I Feel the Dark, Face of Melinda, Porcelain Heart, Nepenthe *Acoustic: The Throat of Winter, Closure, Patterns in the Ivy II* Slither, A Fair Judgement, Hex Omega, Encore: Folklore
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Keep it Brutal!!!
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21.09.2011 - 19:03
Merchant of Doom
Yes, it is a bit OT, I agree... I'm sure the set was great, but even in the present review, after all these years, the lack of growls is mentioned... I think we all love/loved the harsher side of Opeth and we are always a bit disappointed when we don't get to hear it/see it... but this probably could be the subject of another topic entirely (yes, this is how boring I am)...
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21.09.2011 - 19:08
DragonWisdom
Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 19:03

Yes, it is a bit OT, I agree... I'm sure the set was great, but even in the present review, after all these years, the lack of growls is mentioned... I think we all love/loved the harsher side of Opeth and we are always a bit disappointed when we don't get to hear it/see it... but this probably could be the subject of another topic entirely (yes, this is how boring I am)...

Not boring... just addicted ... I do have a theory that the next album will be out a lot faster than Heritage and be so ferocious that this bump in the road will soon be forgotten.
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Keep it Brutal!!!
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21.09.2011 - 20:49
Merchant of Doom
Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 19:08

Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 19:03

Yes, it is a bit OT, I agree... I'm sure the set was great, but even in the present review, after all these years, the lack of growls is mentioned... I think we all love/loved the harsher side of Opeth and we are always a bit disappointed when we don't get to hear it/see it... but this probably could be the subject of another topic entirely (yes, this is how boring I am)...

Not boring... just addicted ... I do have a theory that the next album will be out a lot faster than Heritage and be so ferocious that this bump in the road will soon be forgotten.


I think a mix of fast (harsh) and atmospheric would be appreciated... But I doubt they'll do that... they'll turn into Anathema soon...
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21.09.2011 - 21:30
Ghostdancer
Straight prog rock and no metal. This is the first album they've ever released that disappointed me. Damnation lacked the death vocals but the song structures were less of a burden on my nerves. This simply GRATED on my nerves from the moment the intro ended until the end of the album. If that setlist mentioned above is the setlist they're going to use during their show here next month, I guess I won't be going to see them. (And I've seen every Opeth show in the Phoenix area since 2003.) I hope the next record is better.
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"Bullshit! You didn't convince me!"
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21.09.2011 - 22:01
AXA
That is great you talk every think in our minds \../ thank you .
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21.09.2011 - 23:08
John B
Opeth is my favorite band by far. Have seen every show if Chicago since Deliverance, and have traveled to multiple states in order to get in as many Opeth shows as possible. My wife would go as far as to say I am obsessed with Opeth and Akerfeldt. And she is probably right.

I haven't been this disappointed with an album since I heard Metalica's Black album. It is as much as the work in the album as knowing the band will never go back to its roots.

Steven Wilson talked about why Opeth was such a great band when he produced Blackwater Park. He talked about how the band can be beautiful in one moment, and then completely brutal the next. It is a theme I loved about the band. A lot of the songs have undertones of good versus evil, fall versus spring, etc. Akerfeldt puntuates that so well by his incredible clean vocals, and then his crazy death growls. Songs go from death metal, to a folk sound, to whatever. The songs (and the albums) were a journey. Those days are clearly gone. I hope I am wrong. But, maybe there is a reason as to why Opeth continues to burn through band members.

I have to also respectfully disagree with those that say that the band changed direction before with Damnation. That album came out with Deliverance which was a typically heavy Opeth album.

I'll stop writing because I am beyond upset. On a positive note, the new Mastodon album is killer.
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21.09.2011 - 23:20
Opethian
Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 17:20

After listening to this album a good 3 times I am in love with it... I love all the different sides that Opeth can show... To me that is what puts them above so many other bands... They can be haunting and beautiful, scary and dark, melodic and soulful and with Heritage spacy and jazzy... What solidifies this album for me also is the tracks played live. I saw last night in Hartford and the entire show was "death growl"less and it was amazing... The set flowed so nicely together, the acoustic mini set was PHENOMENAL... Did I want them to play the heavy stuff? Of course, but its there prerogative to play what THEY want to play... Its THEIR band and I have total faith in what they want to write and what they want to play...


Pure fucking Poetry! + 1
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22.09.2011 - 01:28
advent
Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 20:49

Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 19:08

Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 19:03

Yes, it is a bit OT, I agree... I'm sure the set was great, but even in the present review, after all these years, the lack of growls is mentioned... I think we all love/loved the harsher side of Opeth and we are always a bit disappointed when we don't get to hear it/see it... but this probably could be the subject of another topic entirely (yes, this is how boring I am)...

Not boring... just addicted ... I do have a theory that the next album will be out a lot faster than Heritage and be so ferocious that this bump in the road will soon be forgotten.


I think a mix of fast (harsh) and atmospheric would be appreciated... But I doubt they'll do that... they'll turn into Anathema soon...

I'm afraid they are going in this direction, being simple and losing a lot of their diversity , complex songwriting and atmosphere for simplicity sake.
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22.09.2011 - 01:40
@gent_-_orange
Written by advent on 22.09.2011 at 01:28

Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 20:49

Written by DragonWisdom on 21.09.2011 at 19:08

Written by Merchant of Doom on 21.09.2011 at 19:03

Yes, it is a bit OT, I agree... I'm sure the set was great, but even in the present review, after all these years, the lack of growls is mentioned... I think we all love/loved the harsher side of Opeth and we are always a bit disappointed when we don't get to hear it/see it... but this probably could be the subject of another topic entirely (yes, this is how boring I am)...

Not boring... just addicted ... I do have a theory that the next album will be out a lot faster than Heritage and be so ferocious that this bump in the road will soon be forgotten.


I think a mix of fast (harsh) and atmospheric would be appreciated... But I doubt they'll do that... they'll turn into Anathema soon...

I'm afraid they are going in this direction, being simple and losing a lot of their diversity , complex songwriting and atmosphere for simplicity sake.

IMO this is a well executed and at times beautiful album, But you are right I think, This kind of album is good for Opeth every once in a while, But I seriously hope Opeth dont continue down this path permanently.
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22.09.2011 - 01:49
Misfit74
I'm of the thinking that 1. the album is brilliant and 2. the album is brilliant in part because of who made this album. That's why it's 'original' - not original to prog rock or whatever, but original because a more or less progressive metal/death-metal band did such a brilliant album of prog rock, jazz influence and that's such a diversion (see: original) from the bulk of the band's other works. They didn't just try and go the direction or try and add more prog influences: they produced an entire album at a masterful level of workmanship. Those are reasons the album should score highly - even if it shouldn't score highly in direct relation to previous Opeth or other death-metal (or other similar Opeth-related genres or sub-genres).

All that said I hope the next Opeth album delivers some power and brutality! For now, I'll get that from other bands I enjoy and hope when I see Opeth in a few weeks that they play a good portion of previous work.
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22.09.2011 - 03:15
BitterCOld
Gringo
Written by John B on 21.09.2011 at 23:08


Steven Wilson talked about why Opeth was such a great band when he produced Blackwater Park. He talked about how the band can be beautiful in one moment, and then completely brutal the next. It is a theme I loved about the band. A lot of the songs have undertones of good versus evil, fall versus spring, etc. Akerfeldt puntuates that so well by his incredible clean vocals, and then his crazy death growls. Songs go from death metal, to a folk sound, to whatever. The songs (and the albums) were a journey. Those days are clearly gone. I hope I am wrong. But, maybe there is a reason as to why Opeth continues to burn through band members.



in a nuthshell that's about it. the dichotomy of approach - though i wouldn't call them brutal. they dropped a lot of what made them Opeth in this release.

i kinda dig the album... but it's missing what i enjoyed most about Still Life or Morningrise. i can understand why fans would get upset. i like the band but don't care enough to get militantly fired up one way or another.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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22.09.2011 - 08:44
Daggon
Underpaid M.D.
I feel quite lazy to read the shitstorm of comments above so, the only thing I have to say is that I like this album, sounds really cool, but I can't stop feeling disappointed, I expected, well, you know, more METAL.
Thanks
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"Les vers savent qu'ils n'ont pas d'ailes, c'est pour cela qu'ils se cachent sous terre"
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22.09.2011 - 10:30
AlexanderTG
Heritage is a great and in fact a classic Opeth album, only real fans who understand the progressive nature of Opeth's style and as Mikael Akerfeldt's opinion of him not wanting every album to sound the same, it may not be the best, but for real fans of Opeth who appreciate there music, should know this is totally in the lines of Opeth's work, and it sounds the way it did because they went back to basics something very interesting, as metal should also have no boundaries, hense the meaning of progressive.
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22.09.2011 - 13:34
Powerslavex
Alexskywalker
I genuinely dislike this album no offense (6/10)
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22.09.2011 - 23:24
Surion
I honestly prefer Watershed over this, but still think it's an excellent album, maybe needs some more spins since I'm not a fan of 70's prog.
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Ereßµ§ ø ßløøð
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23.09.2011 - 06:42
Captain Obvious
What's this with their setlist on this tour? Are they pulling an Iron Maiden?
----
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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23.09.2011 - 08:35
ToMegaTherion
I am really enjoying Heritage, it is an excellent album IMO. maybe not up there with their earlier works, but I like the sound even though it is perhaps a little more mellow then other Opeth albums with the exception of Damnation. I think 7.8 is perhaps a little low for me, but I can understand that this album may not be what some Opeth fans were hoping for. 8.5 would be more my vote, its good, not great, but worth a listen and is a decent effort. I like the almost power metal undertone to it, which is perhaps the source of some disappointment for some.
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The Darker Side of Metal - Metal Reviews and Discussions
http://thedarkersideofmetal.blogspot.com.au/
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23.09.2011 - 08:50
elekctric
I finally!!! got my copy today and I got to say I loved it first run through.... I think the haters need to realize that there is more than just metal out there to listen to... broaden your horizons a bit and you may find something that you love other than just death metal or black metal etc....
I would rate it at least an 8 for sure ... then again I love me some prog rock/metal so maybe a bit biased... But as always Opeth did it awesome and their way... Its not a real reach anyhow with their prog influences... They are inherent in a lot of their music anyhow..
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23.09.2011 - 20:08
Garth Vader
I think the debate here centers around two different points of argument. First is the argument that the current Opeth we are now faced with is somehow not the same band that released "Blackwater Park". The second argument is that Opeth is still releasing quality material.

In my opinion, Opeth will always find a way to release a quality album, well constructed, deliberately assembled, and critically important. I say that while I readily admit to not being much of a fan of "Heritage". It meets the criteria of being a well produced and important album but for me fails on that first argument, that it is still the same band that released some classic metal music that we all know and have come to regard so highly. If I was into jazz-fusion rock or 70's-esque prog rock this album would be something to behold I'm sure. But it is not metal. It is sort of like watching Matt Groening paint still life after having enjoyed his animating the Simpsons and Futurama for so long. It just wouldn't hold my interest for much longer than a curious look. This is a big difference from the "Deliverance" and "Damnation" albums which I thought fit so well in the Opethian catalog because they were paired. I buy Opeth for that combination of subtle and overt, the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the brutal and the way they interplay. I don't find "Heritage" holding my attention in the same way, and that is a shame.
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Now I so clearly see how I have murdered me
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25.09.2011 - 04:14
MightyFuckinThor
Most of this review, I agree with, in terms of what can be expected of Opeth, but what I applaud highly is Mikael's audacity to do exactly what he wants with Opeth's music. It may not all be his roaring death growls, which I fucking love, but this album definitely shows real potential as one that you may have to listen to a few times, before you really can enjoy its quality.
Mostly, I am tickled by the fact that in one of the press releases leading up to the album release mentioned that Mikael promised that there would be surprises, and indeed there are. I just about shit my pants when I heard Martin Axenrot breaking down into a disco beat and making it work for Opeth. That. Fucking. Amazed. Me.
When telling my friends about Opeth, I always compare the diversity of their music to that of Led Zeppelin, but in a different perspective... much darker and surreal. I enjoy the fact that not every album sounds the same, and it gives me something to look forward to, with every forthcoming release. Opeth truly is a diamond of a band... They produce a whole array of musical styles, that are like the different facets of a diamond.
I won't give Heritage a perfect review, right away, but I definitely think I have a new one in my list of favorite albums... I can respect the lack of death growls on a full album, but I wish the guitar distortion was a little more varied.
All in all, I think a solid rating for it would be about 8.5.
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26.09.2011 - 07:24
Víctor
I waited too long for this record and im highly dissapointed 6/10
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27.09.2011 - 04:39
bluemobiusx
Account deleted
If Demonic Tutor's review seems harsh check this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvFPmfdppYg&feature=feedlik

I really can't stand Opeth. Just really boring to me.
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28.09.2011 - 04:49
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Funny...I finally start "getting into" Opeth (as in not actively hating 90% of their material) and then I get around to this and it just makes all my effort seem wasted. For me, Opeth needs to sound dark, heavy, somber, and incorporate clean vocals into the sound; not sound like what so many people are saying about their '70s prog rock without any harsh vocals to balance the light mood.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter to me...I don't consider myself enough of a fan to be offended nor do I really care what direction they take in the future. All I know is some of their early works were pretty good, but everything they've done post-Blackwater Park has just made me apathetic towards them.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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28.09.2011 - 08:04
Hammer Pie
Written by Troy Killjoy on 28.09.2011 at 04:49
All I know is some of their early works were pretty good, but everything they've done post-Blackwater Park has just made me apathetic towards them.

Sad but true. Some of what they've done post-Blackwater Park has been at the "pretty good" level, but none of it has the creative spark that they had for the first five albums.
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