Opeth
Heritage


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (179 Reviews)
July 17th, 2014 | 160 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist


On September 14th, 2011, Opeth brought forth the unexpected. Once a group supposedly impervious to criticism and showered with praise from critics and fans alike, their tenth effort Heritage displayed to us all that even the most sacred of musical cows could be brought down to size. It's not like a more subdued style wasn't tried before by the band, judging by the even-softer Damnation back in 2003 - what caused the backlash here? In fact, Heritage has much stronger roots in classic progressive rock, each song sounding as if it's a tribute to Mikael's past influences - hence the album title. Each song exudes either classic 70s progressive rock, folk, jazz fusion, metal, or a combination of any (or all) of these influences to create a more satisfying and diverse package than a number of the band's previous efforts, each song an interesting experiment in the band's fresh new direction. The lone piano of the intro tune is an immediate sign of Opeth's change in pace, but "The Devil's Orchard" comes out of the gate with its toned-down guitar distortion and precise rhythms of drummer Martin Axenrot - and that's where you start to notice the serious changes in style.

The band aren't letting their musical fury loose with any massive death metal segments on this record (or perhaps anymore, given the sound of the new release Pale Communion), instead preferring more balanced and natural dynamic variations within each piece. One of the common complaints given to Heritage is that things tend to "blend together" after a while, but this is ironically one of its greatest assets. Gone are the abrupt changes in tempo and volume to slide each musical "block" into its compositional slot, each song instead balancing its changes more fluidly. "I Feel the Dark" eventually reaches a climactic flourish of heavy guitars and keyboard chords, but it has an entire quiet acoustic guitar portion to build up to this moment. Either this, or the songs are simply consistent with their moods and styles. Closer "Marrow of the Earth" is just fantastic in the way it concludes things in such a melancholic fashion, the sparsely adorned instrumental folk ballad serving as a reflection of all that was heard on the record prior to it. Or there's "Slither" which garners the title of being the heaviest and most straightforward effort here, much of the guitar riffing and drum work resembling classic speed metal. While the more long-winded tracks tend to lose their way or end up being slightly boring (I'm looking at you, "Famine"), they don't detract a whole lot from what's on Heritage. When you're walking along a sunny road and suddenly it snows out of nowhere, what do you do: adapt with the weather change or give in to your struggle with the elements? Opeth, musically speaking, were presented with a similar scenario with Heritage. Do they take the progressive elements of Watershed and reconstruct those influences into something really different, or do they continue making the same progressive death metal that has served them well over the years and give in to what the metal-oriented fans want? Thankfully, Opeth adapted to the stylistic changes featured in Watershed and took them to a new level of adventurousness with Heritage. If you didn't like it the first time around, I implore you to try it again... it takes a while to unravel, but ends up being one of modern progressive rock's more rewarding gems.



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user ratings (1937)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
July 17th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thought I'd do this in preparation for Pale Communion coming out

MO
July 17th 2014


18859 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

whoa nice

emester
July 17th 2014


3914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

#1 trending album by tommorrow morning calling it

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore

FiveLeavesLeft
July 17th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's the idea! :]

emester
July 17th 2014


3914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh...

Got it! [:

FiveLeavesLeft
July 17th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, joking. But it would be cool to see that happen, haha

ti0n
July 17th 2014


1451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

as shit as the new one booow
(for opeth standards)

Digging: Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

Green Baron
July 17th 2014


20000 Comments


Oh Brendan, you're back...

This is surprisingly new for you to cover.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

FiveLeavesLeft
July 17th 2014


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You do know that I covered Ed Sheeran's new album just a few reviews ago, right? :P

TalonsOfFire
July 17th 2014


8145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, was thinking of doing this but you pretty much covered what I was going for. I'm assuming you're gonna write one for PC too?

Digging: Stella Luna - Stargazer

OceanMechanic
July 17th 2014


501 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album is pretty good but the new one's going to be way better

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore

TalonsOfFire
July 17th 2014


8145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is better

ExplosiveOranges
July 17th 2014


3144 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

*sigh* Torrenting.

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Divination Of Antiquity

BMDrummer
July 17th 2014


8666 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Currently downloading the new one, gotta make sure to buy it if it's good :]

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 17th 2014


13339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review what are your thoughts on babies

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

CaptainDooRight
July 17th 2014


29891 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great job Brendan.

Digging: Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence

Onirium
July 17th 2014


2147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, will wait for PC to be released though, don't want a shitty download sound

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ChoccyPhilly
July 17th 2014


7179 Comments


The sound quality is actually really good from the leak

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

climactic
July 17th 2014


19368 Comments


Brendan "Old News" Schroer strikes again

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PunchforPunch
July 17th 2014


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"what are your thoughts on babies"

lol damn



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