Review Summary: Opeth is as Opeth does.
The last time we saw Opeth, they were admittedly in a bit of a creative slump. Coming off of the high that was 2005's Ghost Reveries
, their follow up, 2008's Watershed
was more than lacking, it was a wee bit stagnant. That's not to say that it wasn't another quality addition to Opeth's canon, but after nine albums it was clear that Opeth is as Opeth does. So here we are three years later with album number ten, Heritage
. If the name itself isn't glaringly telling, here Mikael Akerfeldt and company have created an album focused solely around the seventies' progressive rock influences that have made them one of the most instantly recognizable bands in the extreme metal landscape. There's only one problem though – after years of increasingly incorporating sounds of the likes of Camel and Caravan to round out their death metal stylings into something unique, now that they've pushed those former nuances into the forefront more and more since 2001's Blackwater Park
, their attempt at going balls out prog doesn't differentiate itself from anything they've done in the past. In fact, even though vocalist and guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt no longer uses his deep bellowing roar throughout the entirety of Heritage
, there is absolutely nothing that keeps it from being just another Opeth album. It's a shame too, because everyone in the band is at their best, providing more than impressive musical chops, but every song relies on the same characteristic twists and turns that we've heard from Opeth a hundred times over since their debut, 1995's Orchid
. When listening to it just on a song by song basis Heritage
can be a rather enjoyable experience as songs like “Slither” and “The Devil's Orchard” are absolutely delightful on their own, but as the album progresses it's hard to stop yourself from asking, “Haven't I heard this before?”
Basically it all boils down to one simple question: is there such thing as too much of a good thing? Heritage
seems to prove yes. There is really nothing bad about what Opeth have presented us here, but after ten full lengths they're starting to develop a moderate case of Dream Theater syndrome, although obviously less self-indulgent.