Opeth
Heritage


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
July 17th, 2014 | 160 replies | 6,178 views


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 (1870)
Chart.
3.4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2014



9825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

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

MO
July 17th 2014



18438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

whoa nice

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

emester
July 17th 2014



2567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

#1 trending album by tommorrow morning calling it

Digging: Solstafir - Otta

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2014



9825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's the idea! :]

emester
July 17th 2014



2567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh...

Got it! [:

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2014



9825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

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

ti0n
July 17th 2014



1383 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

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

Green Baron
July 17th 2014



19110 Comments


Oh Brendan, you're back...

This is surprisingly new for you to cover.

Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2014



9825 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



6163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

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: Arcade Fire - Reflektor

OceanMechanic
July 17th 2014



380 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

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

TalonsOfFire
July 17th 2014



6163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is better

ExplosiveOranges
July 17th 2014



2134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

*sigh* Torrenting.

Digging: Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool

BMDrummer
July 17th 2014



5467 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

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

Digging: Svffer - Lies We Live

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 17th 2014



12824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review what are your thoughts on babies

Digging: Dinosaur Jr. - J Mascis Live at CBGB's

CaptainDooRight
July 17th 2014



28693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great job Brendan.

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

Onirium
July 17th 2014



1767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

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

Digging: Engineers - Always Returning

ChoccyPhilly
July 17th 2014



4931 Comments


The sound quality is actually really good from the leak

Digging: Heretoir - Heretoir

climactic
July 17th 2014



18606 Comments


Brendan "Old News" Schroer strikes again

PunchforPunch
July 17th 2014



6171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"what are your thoughts on babies"

lol damn



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