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4.0 out of 5 stars
Heritage
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2011
Trying something new is something that is often looked down on in the world of metal, don't get me wrong we metal heads can be open minded to new styles of music but the moment Opeth announced that their new album would feature no growled vocals more than a few people raised their eyebrows. Some people even went as far as writing off the album upon hearing this information, the first single released The Devils Orchard didn't help matters with its unique sound dividing old school Opeth fans. If you were still behind the band you couldn't help but feel almost worried, god knows I was. I couldn't help but worry that maybe the band had gone too far sacrificing their trademark style of contrasting their heavy sound with their clean progressive sound. Thankfully I was totally stupid for ever doubting the band, not only is Heritage a great album but it's also a perfectly natural progression from 2008's Watershed.
From the opening piano track Heritage you clearly hear that Opeth have lost none of their ability to create an album that oozes atmosphere. It is important to note though that Heritage sounds completely unique to the bands discography whilst being feeling strangely familiar. Tracks such as I Feel The Dark and Haxprocess continue to demonstrate that Opeth are still at the top of their game in terms of musicianship and quite frankly have never sound tighter as a band. From clearly the audible bass lines to the great key board/piano sections, Heritage feels like a more collaborative effort with the mixing of the album allowing all of the instruments fully breathe rather than being smothered by the distorted guitars. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking any of Opeths previous albums and I have the feeling Blackwater Park and Watershed will still remain my favorite Opeth albums, but as a fan of progressive music it's really great to hear instruments such as the keyboard really coming into their own on this release. The album also features a great amount of variety never staying in one place for too long or becoming predictable. Tracks like the almost upbeat Slither perfectly contrasts tracks such as Nepenthe.
From the great title track to its last instrumental Marrow of The Earth, Heritage displays Opeth at their most brave and challenging. Undeniably I was sceptical at first, after my first listen I was unsure what I thought of the album all I knew was that I had listened to something genuinely special. Now that I've had time to take it in I can't help but praise the band, not only have they defied modern metal trends they have allowed themselves to stay fresh whilst never betraying their fans. It may take a while to sink in but Heritage is a brilliant listen that will challenge as well as delight even the most hardened Opeth fan
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2011
This album is a musical side-step for Opeth and is likely to divide their fans big-time. Those who like the death metal side of their music will probably loathe this (no grunting!), but those who prefer their lyrical, romantic side will love the whole album. There is plenty of piano, acoustic guitar, flute, with only an occasional drift into the heavy side ('The Devil's Orchard' reminds me of of some of Djam Karet's music, a fairly jazzy experience in places but a good rock song at heart with a decent little guitar solo at the end). The acoustic beginning of 'I Feel The Dark' has a Gordon Giltrap feel about it, but it's a gorgeous track that develops nicely into a melancholic rock groove that gradually gets heavier as it progresses. Some of the musical motifs on the album seem a bit simplistic but this is a good, modern progressive rock album that will appeal to many fans. It's an odd first listen and it takes two or three complete hearings to appreciate just how good an album this is. It's a brave and wondrous record and I like it better each time I hear it. I confess that I prefer Opeth's lyrical progressive side and have little time for the death metal grunting that, to my mind, spoils some of their earlier work. Many new listeners will be drawn to Opeth through this album and that is no bad thing - this talented band deserves to be heard more. This is adventurous music and the band's collaborations with Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson seems to have broadened their horizon. The production is first class and cranking up the volume pays dividends! I found this a fascinating listen and recommend it. It's one of the most interesting albums released this year.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2011
I am a big Opeth fan but not a good reviewer, so I'm just writing this to spread the love for the band.

I own all their CD's and have been a big fan for a while and I was very excited about hearing their new album.
This album blew my mind in a way I didn't think possible for Opeth, because they have already amazed me so much on their previous outings. I am a big prog fan, listening to both new and old prog, like Yes, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and a lot more obscure bands. That's probably why I loved this album so much. If you're not that into prog rock and love their previous CD's, this CD might confuse and disappoint you. It's not easy listening, it will challenge you. If you can embrace their new style though, you'll discover a great prog record. The sound is great on this album and their musicianship has never been better. Mikael has reached a new level with his vocals as well. I hear some mixed opinions on this CD, but if you have some trouble getting into it, open your mind, take the journey, embrace it and maybe you'll be as amazed as I am. Give it a few spins, it might grow on you if you have trouble getting into their new style.

This is already my favorite Opeth CD and I hope the rest of their fans will embrace it. I have the special edition and the Surround Mix is fantastic as well. Definitely worth buying.

Go buy this CD :)

Sorry for my english.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2014
It's bizarre really. The customer reviews on Amazon for this album. I don't believe a band can get anywhere near greatness unless they have some kind of ambition to produce something of this complexity, sophistication and imagination, backed up by the superb musicianship Opeth obviously enjoy. What really gets me is comments like 'this album will split existing Opeth fans' or words like that. What nonsense. If you are so narrow minded that you think Opeth should pursue only death metal type stylings, it is you who are limited by your own narrow vision of what a band should and shouldn't be doing, not 'them letting you down'.

But at least some people obviously appreciate what Opeth are all about, which, to me, is exploring the limits of both musical influence and their own remarkable musical invention, unfettered by 'convention' or repetition. I have listened to metal since the the early eighties. I didn't encounter Opeth until a few years ago, and, for me, they are the greatest metal band that have ever existed. Able to slay you with raw power or reduce you to tears and awe with their pulsating rage and beauty. It is a heady, electrifying cocktail that is alternatively thrilling and jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2013
Heritage is the tenth studio album by Swedish band Opeth, released on 14th September 2011 through Roadrunner Records. The album was recorded in early 2011 at Atlantis/Metronome Studios in Stockholm and produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt, engineered by Janne Hansson, and mixed by Steven Wilson. A critical and commercial success, the album sold 19,000 units in the United States in its debut week, charting at number 19 on the Billboard 200. The album signals a departure from the musical style of Opeth's past albums, being one of only two albums by the band not to feature death growls (the other being Damnation). The album's fourth track "Slither" is a tribute to former Rainbow and Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who died during the album's writing process.

I have to admit that it took me just that little bit longer to get into Heritage than it took me to get into Opeth's other albums, but it's good in its way (I would listen to it again sometime). Maybe what didn't help at the time was that I didn't listen to any of the tracks from this album on YouTube first before buying the album.

In August 2012, Mikael Åkerfeldt revealed that he has begun writing new material for what will be the eleventh Opeth album. When asked if it will be heavier or softer than Heritage, Åkerfeldt said, "Maybe a little bit heavier, not death metal heavy, but hard rock/heavy metal heavy. There's also lots of progressive elements and acoustic guitars, but also more sinister-sounding riffs". Åkerfeldt will also produce the new album.

Going back to Heritage, parts of this album remind me very much of the sort of music Deep Purple and Rainbow produced and released, particularly the material they did in the 1970s, as the style of some of the guitar work is very Ritchie Blackmore-ish. Heritage is still worth a look though, and I'm hoping that Opeth will take a slightly heavier direction for any more albums they will do in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
For some reason it took me a while to get around to listening to Opeth's latest (and somewhat controversial) album Heritage (2011). Opeth have been a band I've listened to on and off for about 6 years. I first listened to them during an experimental phase, when they had just release Ghost Reveries which I still consider to be their best work. I listened to them a lot for a few years, but then gradually drifted away from them, although I still go back and listen to any new albums they release.

So, I say that Heritage is somewhat controversial. Opeth, as you may know, are a very experimental and unusual Swedish death metal band. I say death metal, as many of their albums more or less fit that genre, however they are known for suffusing their albums with acoustic guitar, clean singing and jazz style keyboards, none of which are traditional for the death metal scene. They have also previously released an entirely "clean" album (Damnation) which features mostly rock and acoustic material, rather than the heavier end of the spectrum which many fans associate with Opeth. Heritage itself follows in a similar vein to Damnation in that the band completely sever their death metal ties and stick entirely to the clean, acoustic rock blueprint. Jazz tinged guitars and keys, acoustic sections, slow sections of bluesy guitar and entirely clean, sung vocals. Strangely, this has caused something of an uproar amongst fans. Yes, it would be surprising if a traditional death metal band achieved such a feat. However, for a band like Opeth who are, at heart, musicians rather than metallers, and who are well known for incorporating a more mellow side into their music, it should come as no real surprise that they have decided to go for something a bit different.

And different it is, if you compare it to the crushingly heavy Deliverance or albums like Morningrise, Still Life and Blackwater Park, all of which incorporated a good dose of death metal. However, Heritage has its antecedents in the mellower rock style of Damnation and the jazz/blues elements that were particularly heavily introduced in their previous album, Watershed. Opeth do metal well, but its never been their sole raison d'etre, and it's fairly natural for them to take a lighter route this time.

Well, on to the album itself. For me, Opeth tend a little towards pretentiousness at the best of times, and that comes in spades on this album. Slow, meandering passages with pensive solos and a lack of the more straightforward heaviness and power that so often makes their music enjoyable. In some ways that's good: metal can often be lazy - heavy riffs and death growls can cover a lack of creativity and musicianship (although I wouldn't include Opeth in that criticism). There is a warmth and depth to this album, as well as a comfortable blend of classic rock and more typical Opeth eccentricity. The guitars sound rich and clean, and when they are not playing around with pretentious solos and meandering guitar passages, there is plenty of simple yet effective riffing. At heart, Opeth are a band who really, really know how to play their instruments, and that comes across very well.

Face in the Snow is a particular highlight for me. A thoughtful and mildly melancholic classic rock gem, along with the slightly punchier (and more typically Opeth-esque) The Devil's Orchard, and the more energetic Slither.

Perhaps it tends a little towards dullness and pretentiousness at times, but at others it's a clever, well put together and well produced album, which allows Opeth to play with another side to their music. It's rockier than Damnation but overall follows Watershed quite well stylistically (albeit minus the crushing moments of death metal in songs like Heir Apparent). It may or may not be something I find myself listening to again, but I can certainly see its appeal as something to play whilst reading, working or relaxing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2011
Opeth has always been more than a death metal band: one that pushed the boundaries of what could be and couldn't be death metal. From the time that 'Blackwater Park' was released, this was a direction that I could see Opeth going on. Their new musical direction is perhaps just a culmination of all that the band was building up to. Always filled with crushingly heavy riffs (they are Scandinavian after all!) Opeth always included heavily contrasting sections in their longer songs that were both beautiful and more calm in their execution, presenting heaviness in a less monolithic way than the blast of sound.

Heritage utilizes the sound and song construction techniques hinted in damnation and deliverance as well as Watershed itself. I dare say that this album is heavy in tone, lyrics and overall vibe, as opposed to just the riff. I'm not saying that this album lacks riffs: 'Slither' is built on a massive one, but just the way it is - the songs are less of a sledgehammer to the head and more of...a psychedelic drift into a dark place. As with all Opeth albums, listening to the album as a whole is the only way to fully understand or enjoy it - the subtle nuances of the album would be lost on people who skip around songs.

Artistically individual artists collaborating on the long term will always tend to rub off on each other. Listening to this release it is as though Steven Wilson's presence goes beyond the production and mixing on the album - on many of the softer tracks I swear that Wilson's touch shines through.

Interestingly, this seems to be the year where quite several mainstay bands of metal have released albums that have a marked progression (or difference, anyways) from their usual style. Mastodon's 'The Hunter' also manages to subvert expectations and build on their stylistic change of their previous album 'Crack the Skye'. If this is the start of a new era where metal goes off to different, much stranger places, I truly welcome it - the constraints for this genre that were made much more obvious with the rise of popularity in Metal-core needed to be broken down...and this may be just step one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2011
This is obviously a controversial release and a huge departure from previous albums. Stylistically, the songs feel less 'orchestrated' and refined. This, along with the rawer, analogue production, give a much clearer translation of the interplay between musicians - you really feel like you're in the room during the performance. The song-writing itself is very late-60s/early-70s-psychedelic prog rock, with track length varying from 2 minutes to 8 1/2. However, none of this is just 'filler' - all the songs feel complete.

This record is not - and does not pretend to be - metal. Axe's drumming is a totally different from Watershed, taking a fusion approach more similar to Mitch Mitchell than Martin Lopez. He's shown great improvement since their last album, with more creativity and contribution, although he can sometimes feel a little rigid, in comparison to Lopez's looser playing. Mikael's clean vocals (there are no growls) are better than ever, and he's much more adventurous with his range. Per's keyboard parts take a more central role than they ever have in Opeth, while Martin Mendez (fully audible at last) delivers huge, rumbling basslines, which drive and energise the tracks. Fredrik's playing is excellent. Peter was stylistically fairly similar to Mikael, but Fredrik makes a great contrast, with creative shred passages and ambient accompaniments.

I love all of Opeth's albums (with Deliverance and Ghost Reveries being my personal favourites), and I feel that this stands up to any one of them. No, it isn't metal, but it still feels like Opeth through and through. Go and make this worthy purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2011
I am not a die Hard fan of Opeth but saying that I truly believe that they are amongst the best bands in metal/hard rock arena today and like Mastodon/SOAD are quite progressive as well.

This album may be a bit of a let down for the fans who like the death metal vocals and hard /fast tunes..but for fans like me who listen to Opeth more for the musicmanship and the prog side of the band this is a great album. It definately pays tribute to a lot of the Jazz, classic rock influences on the band members but still keeps it's individuality of being an Opeth album.

Give it a few listens....keep it aside for a week or two and try again...this time see the songs jump at you like monsters.

'Slither' which at first sound like an out of place song for Opeth, more a Blackmore sevenites song.... on multiple listens the same song sounds like it did on your first listens but without the 'this is not Opeth' and this is when you start to appretiate the song rather then straight jacketing the band.

Another standout track is 'Folklore' wow just wonderfull. This band will leave a leagacy of music for fans to rever in different moods....Steven Wilson says it's a great album..I tend to agree...

Yes this album is more jazzy, less extreme but still a monster if you get what I mean..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2012
Don't listen to the naysayers and rogues. Anything less than five stars is a travesty. Heritage is an hour of brilliant music. The songs are beautifully crafted and the album has the sort of completeness and balance that has always been rare and has become increasingly so as people download and piece together personal playlists. You just don't need to do that with this album. Just take it whole every time. It isn't really heavy, fine, but it is good prog metal with (to my ear) references right back to Red (King Crimson) 1974. I wish that they had played material from this when I saw them live. No death metal vocals - a bonus on this occasion. Some acoustic riffs and quiet passages - sure. But it still has fibre and muscle too. If you really want unrefined power and growling vocals, avoid this, and forever miss a great album. Magnificent, doesn't do it justice. Majestic, is too clichéd. Masterpiece -that'll do.
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