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Opeth - Heritage CD (album) cover

HERITAGE

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.82 | 1164 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Heritage" is the 10th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive metal act Opeth. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2011. There's been much speculation about how "Heritage" would sound after the band made it clear that they would drop the growls and focus on playing progressive rock. Of course we've heard Mikael 'kerfeldt talk about this before, being the prog rock head he is, but he has talked about other projects before that hasn't materialized yet. For instance I remember he talked about releasing a black metal oriented Opeth album once, and that project certainly hasn't surfaced yet. With "Heritage" it turned out to be more than words though as the band have completely left their progressive death metal roots behind and focus on playing a 70s influenced progressive type of rock.

...especially keyboard player Per Wiberg, is given a lot of space and opportunity to flash his vintage keyboards (ironically Per Wiberg left the band before the release of the album), but everything from the jazz rock influenced drumming, the warm bass sound to the dynamic and structurally challenging compositions, to the fuzzy distorted guitars, scream 70s progressive rock/hard rock.

The album starts out with a piano intro and then "The Devil's Orchard" kicks in. It's one of the more energetic tracks on the album even though it's quite dynamic too with some mellow sections thrown in. "I Feel the Dark" and "Slither" are pretty great too but "Nepenthe" is kinda dull to my ears. From that moment on it's like the album only captivate me in glimpses. The last track "Marrow of the Earth" is quite the beautiful instrumental piece though. My issue with many of the tracks is that they don't sound like fully developed compositions, but more like a lot of ideas put together to form tracks. The interesting thing is that the earlier material by the band is also structured like that, but that type of songwriting approach works much better within the context of a progressive death metal album than in does on a full blown progressive rock album.

...so while the playing is excellent (I'm especially impressed by drummer Martin Axenrot, who really shines on the album) and the production is warm and organic, the songwriting simply isn't strong enough. "Heritage" is loaded with great ideas and for the most part the album is very enjoyable but the full promise is too seldom fulfilled. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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