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4.0 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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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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on 30 December 2016
This album is truly wonderful, awesome etc. It's a bit like listening to a dozen of your favourite early 70's albums all at once: a touch of Jethro Tull, some Floyd, a tadge of early Soft Machine, and even a soupcon of Procul Harem at times, in my very 'umble opinion.
Musically adventurous, every few minutes it throws you off guard: I'm a Prog' rock album, no i'm a Metal album, ha-ha fooled you, i am a folk album. Brilliantly executed!
Okay the vocals are normal, no grunting here, not this time anyway; do i miss it ... mmm, not really ... though it was never really a problem, my 54yr old ears have problems deciphering the words.
Now, i am off to buy some of their more recent albums: what will i discover?
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on 23 June 2017
Heritage is a progressive rock album so doesn’t feature heavy guitaring or death metal growls. There are moments that you can compare the style to their ‘Damnation’ album, but this album has a stronger old-school prog influence to it. Therefore, there’s a lot more progressive self indulgence and so the songs aren’t as catchy/memorable as the ones on ‘Damnation’. Mikael still delivers his lullaby/mellow vocal style and there’s plenty of amazing bits of music on here - it is Opeth after-all. However, there’s also moments that really drag like the start of “Famine” which takes 3 minutes to kick in. It doesn’t help that the previous song “Haxprocess” drags on for six and a half minutes without really achieving anything. I feel that if Opeth would have cut this boring mid-section, the album would have flowed better and would sound stronger as a result. However, if you ignore this part, there’s plenty of great music to justify a 4 star rating.
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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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on 18 July 2017
You just have to admire the level of musicianship and ambition from these most talented gentlemen.
The lyrics are a little weak.
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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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 December 2011
I'm relatively new to Opeth. Thanks to the miracle that is Spotify I had dipped my toe in on a couple of occassions previously and had seen them as part of Dream Theaters Prog Nation tour in 2009. The problem for me, as with many others, especially my wife, was the growling vocals. I really liked the music but whenever the growling started I had to turn it off. Then in September I read the review of this album in Classic Rock magazine, 9 out of 10 and the growls had gone, also The Guardian gave it a good review (The Guardian? I wasn't sure whether this was good thing or a bad thing!!). So back to Spotify to see what all the fuss was about, and ruddy heck, what is this I hear before me? Jazz piano? Beautiful and ethereal, I love Jazz piano but I wasn't expecting it here. What next? Some 70's prog, rocking but definately not heavy metal. Now what, is this Dio era Rainbow I hear, oh yes. Now a bit of Swedish folk and now a little bit more Jazz and yet it still rocks throughout. There was a time not so long ago that 'prog' was a dirty word in music arenas, but now it is excellent albums like this, as with most music categories, that prove that when it is done well it is always worth listening to. Now, I'm dipping my toe back into their previous albums. As for album of the year 2011, well it's either this or Mastodons The Hunter. In an era that too often celebrates the blandness of Coldplay and the X Factor it's great to see that there are bands out there who still look to push themselves creratively. Who said Rock music's dead. Not these guys.

One last thing if you've got surround sound it is worth the extra couple of quid for the CD+DVD edition. Steve Wilson has done an excellent job of mixing it for 5.1 (What a surprise!!!).
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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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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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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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