Opeth
Heritage


2.0
poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 4th, 2012 | 274 replies | 15,527 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Having a dream doesn’t necessarily mean you can execute it.

All of the praise surrounding Opeth’s stark transformation has left me confounded. Here we have one of the greatest metal behemoths in the world taking a look at their vast empire and deciding that they no longer want any part of it. First came the announcement from Akerfeldt that the album would be the band’s second to completely forego the growling vocals, then came the release of ‘The Devil’s Orchard’, a rather aimless ditty weighed down by its own pretentious posturing. The entire album follows in the same vein, exuding a wealth of unnecessary interludes, chord changes, and aimless keyboard-heavy instrumentation. Never does it feel purposeful in the way that Blackwater Park’s ‘Bleak’ or Watershed’s ‘The Lotus Eater’ did; in fact, enduring Heritage is analogous to listening to the misguided ramblings of a madman. The record’s ADD can be felt with every unbridged leap between ideas to its shocking lack of transitions, and the whole time there is this pervading sense that Heritage doesn’t really have anything to say at all.

That suspicion is proven more and more to be true as the album progresses, mercilessly dragging the listener through one overwrought song after another. The bored laments of “God is dead” on the aforementioned ‘The Devil’s Orchard’ could have been (and have been) expressed with more earnestness by several other artists, and the instrumental backdrop is nothing to get excited about by Opeth’s standards. ‘I Feel The Dark’ harkens back to Damnation’s ‘Windowpane’, but it is lacking that one impressive moment by which most songs are conceived (and thus giving them a purpose to exist). The individual song here is much like the whole: unmemorable, inconsistent meandering that strings together unrelated concepts seemingly at random. ‘Slither’ feels like Heritage’s most manufactured offering, following a moderately complex but mind-numbingly repetitive electric chord that does nothing to augment the album’s artistic worth. ‘Nepenthe’ and ‘Haxprocess’ are equally harmless, and it is by this point that all hope is lost of Heritage living up to its lofty, 70’s prog-oriented goals. As the seventh track of out ten, ‘Famine’ is perhaps the first and only truly worthwhile offering. Despite containing the most pointless interlude on the album, it eventually builds to an impressive drumming display and an ominous, crushing riff that could have been Heritage’s cornerstone if only it had something else to work with.

One might speculate that the reason ‘Famine’ stands out is because of its lively drumming, and given the lack of variation that plagues Heritage’s percussion, that is a perfectly reasonable assumption. It may be that Opeth gave their keyboardist too many liberties in lieu of percussive innovation, but a careful listen will reveal similar drumming patterns on nearly every single song. ‘I Feel The Dark’ and ‘Slither’ are the worst offenders, but the shortcoming consistently surfaces on other tracks as well. Despite the record’s overwhelming sense of novelty, it is Opeth’s inability to back up their creativity with such basic song sense that plagues Heritage. Its intentions are admirable, but it lacks the concrete ideas needed to properly structure a song…and then on top of that, the album fails to tie together these loose cannon ideas with even an ounce of cohesion, resulting in a chaotic mess that can only be considered innovative by those who scrutinize to see it in that exact light. It all leads to a feeble sounding attempt from what most people consider to be one of the greatest heavy metal bands in the world.



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user ratings (1900)
Chart.
3.4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

slow start to 2012 = reflecting on 2011's disappointments

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

fuckthatnoise
January 4th 2012



1479 Comments


nah.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't make me say it.

Tyrannic
January 4th 2012



3261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"It may be that Opeth gave new keyboardist Joakim Svalberg too many liberties in lieu of percussive innovation, but a careful listen will reveal similar drumming patterns on nearly every single song."

i believe per still performed on this...

Ire
January 4th 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

review sucks friendship OVER

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 4th 2012



10593 Comments


we aren't friends anymore

Ire
January 4th 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

xeno just took sowings place on my top 8

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But is anyone really surprised that out of three staff reviews, none of them are above a 3?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah but let's be honest it's not like i am a pessimistic rater

AsoTamaki
January 4th 2012



2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoa. Like I can't see how this could be below average, but I agree with a lot of the points made. Especially the criticism of the transitions. I mean, yeah, it's prog so there should be a certain amount of unexpected progressions taking place, but Akerfeldt went a bit overboard. Still, after repeated listens, most of them start to make more sense. And there are a lot of individual sections made up of great music.

I originally thought of this as a 3 bordering on 2.5, but it grew. It's certainly at least a good progressive rock album; even better with the inclusion of the bonus tracks which rival the Damnation material, imo.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not a prog rocker either, I guess.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 4th 2012



10593 Comments


"xeno just took sowings place on my top 8"

Aw c'mon man where was I before??

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I love prog, although I am limited to stuff like King Crimson and prog. metal like old DT and some Tool

I like more metal than people are aware of, but this just isn't any good IMO

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, this isn't really metal.

tiesthatbind
January 4th 2012



7373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was surprised to see you rate this so low. But then again I did seem to enjoy this more than most.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

what surprises me is how much i love damnation and how much i hate this

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



16137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, this isn't anything like Damnation, so it shouldn't be that surprising.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2012



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's definitely a bit like damnation

I understand the differences, but at the same time you can't say there aren't obvious similarities

Ire
January 4th 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is nothing like damnation

AsoTamaki
January 4th 2012



2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The only similarity is the vocals. Even though the songs are also "soft," the instrumentation style and song structures are much different.



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