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95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Impossible Has Happened
In my review of Watershed three years ago, I predicted that the follow-up to this album would present a better picture as to where Mikael Akerfeldt wanted to be musically, and Heritage has proven this prediction to have been correct.

No aspect of this album can be called metal, and I doubt any band member would present it as such. Heritage is radically...
Published on September 20, 2011 by Murat Batmaz

111 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed on this one
Going in a new direction is fine. Wanting to be constantly evolving as an artist is fine. I'm also not wedded to death metal vocals either, having loved Damnation. But count me in the camp that felt that Opeth was one of the best metal bands in the world because they could blend genres in a unique, melodic way, but do it while still maintaining the harshness of death...
Published on September 20, 2011 by Aaron Arnsparger

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111 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed on this one, September 20, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Going in a new direction is fine. Wanting to be constantly evolving as an artist is fine. I'm also not wedded to death metal vocals either, having loved Damnation. But count me in the camp that felt that Opeth was one of the best metal bands in the world because they could blend genres in a unique, melodic way, but do it while still maintaining the harshness of death metal. I get it that Mikael is bored with playing death metal, really I do. Make no mistake I am completely fine with prog, but I have to love the songs, and to me the songwriting seems just very sporadic on this release. There are a few songs on here that simply fall flat in my opinion and it's because of odd transitions/sequences that do not lead to any real cohesiveness to the songs, especially when rolling them up and looking at the album as a whole work. I realize that being "cohesive" is not exactly a trademark of prog, but I think MA just needs more polish here if he is going to take the band full bore in this direction. This record really feels like it is a culmination of alot of solid ideas/riffs, but not alot of memorable songs that I can't live without. This speaks positively to the future for this band, but given this is really their first bold move in a new direction it is hard for me to give this one a masterpiece label at this point.
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95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Impossible Has Happened, September 20, 2011
Murat Batmaz (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
In my review of Watershed three years ago, I predicted that the follow-up to this album would present a better picture as to where Mikael Akerfeldt wanted to be musically, and Heritage has proven this prediction to have been correct.

No aspect of this album can be called metal, and I doubt any band member would present it as such. Heritage is radically different from its predecessors in shape, sound, and direction. The death vocals and heavy riffing have completely vanished, which will definitely please or disappoint a lot of fans depending on their preferences. In their place, the band builds complex songs that are rhythmically evolved with exquisite drumming. Martin Axenrot takes on a jazzy feel throughout the whole album, accenting the most critical beats during the songs. What many thought was gone for good after the departure of former drummer Martin Lopez is re-established with Axenrot's special attention to groove and detail.

Like all of Opeth's albums, Heritage proves to be an extremely rewarding listen as its internal complexities unfold. The amount of detail to be found in the songs is amazing. Due to Steven Wilson's ingenious mix, the compositions are rife with nuance. I discovered Per Wiberg's creepy keyboards repeating Akerfeldt's vocal melody on "I Feel the Dark" and the very distant vocal hooks during the instrumental part of "Nepenthe" after giving the album many spins. This being Wiberg's swan song with Opeth, I particularly enjoyed his use of a wider palette of sounds, adding textures and atmospheres to the songs like never before. He is the reason why Heritage has become one of Opeth's darkest and most atmospheric statements.

There are no individual riffs or themes that need to be highlighted; everything works to the perfection of the songs. There is a different level of cohesion between the instruments here. Apart from Axenrot's already mentioned drumming, the bass is central in the sound of this album. In the past, when Mendez put down his lines, they didn't always survive in the mix, partly due to the extreme density of the arrangements. On Heritage, his sound is larger and more focused. He covers a broad spectrum of sound colours, enhancing the guitar solos as well as laying down his own leads. "The Lines in My Hand" wraps a twisted bass solo into the tension-filled composition, thanks to the Mellotron swells in the mix. On the extremely haunting "Nepenthe," complete with deep background voices and excellent percussion, Mendez underscores the charging guitar solo, which suggests suppressed emotions breaking free due to the tense silence that precedes it.

Though all songs are great, "Folklore" is one of the standouts. Some fans have complained about the lack of distinct melodies on the album. "Folklore" should please them from start to finish. It harbours indelible melodic contructs with the album's best instrumental break embedded within. Again the bass sound simply coheres better than on any prior release, and Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals at the end are achingly beautiful, not to mention the super-tight drumming. Actually, on this album, Akerfeldt's performance is uniformly stunning. The guitar solo at the end of "Haxprocess" is his most restrained yet emotionally charged solo ever (possibly a single take, too, given it'd sound forced and unnatural otherwise). The shift from Mellotron sounds to the pronounced acoustic passage on this song suggests it was culled from the same material on Damnation due to the way the vocals are applied (think the clean vocals on Blackwater Park) and the whole song is built to its climax.

This may not be a metal album per se, but some of the songs do groove relentlessly. By now, pretty much any fan must have heard "The Devil's Orchard," which uses Nietzche's "God is dead!" line in the lyrics as its chorus to underscore the King Crimson-like instrumental moments. But there is more: "Slither" is a song in memory of Ronnie James Dio and it features a tightly locked groove over which the band lays down coiling guitar melodies. To achieve compositional diversity, the band uses discreet flute sounds, ethnic percussion, and gorgeous pianos on "Famine," one of their most complex tunes seething with emotional breadth. The contribution of Peruvian Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist Alex Acuna is immense, and the transition from the atmospheric parts to hard-hitting passages eclipses just about any song they have written in this style. The only problem with this song is that it ends.

The two instrumental songs, "Heritage" and "Marrow of the Earth," open and close the album respectively. While "Heritage" is comprised by a wonderful Grand piano theme (played by guest musician Joakim Svalberg), "Marrow of the Earth" is more comprehensive as it brings forth acoustic guitars, light-as-air drums, and Mellotron sounds. The band applies small variations to the central themes, and the resulting melody sticks with you for days on end.

Steven Wilson's stereo mixing is top drawer and puts the album in the league of the best in terms of sonic clarity. Travis Smith's artwork is very fitting for the songs on this album, and the black-and-white pictures in the booklet are awesome. You definitely need the whole package.

Anyone expecting this to be a metal album is likely to be disappointed. The album might fall short for those who love Opeth for their relentlessly heavy side with gut-wrenching death growls, but those willing to explore the group's more experimental side and give it the chance it deserves will definitely be rewarded.

Heritage is a slow-burning masterpiece. Its vision and its power are timeless.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and challenging, September 20, 2011
brjoro "brir" (Bethesda, MD United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
The new Opeth cd 'Heritage' is sure to be a controversial one among their fanbase, as it is definitely a departure from what they've done in the past, but I think it's an amazing musical journey for those willing to take it. I think the reactions will be:
1. Metal fans, who like Opeth because they are SO great at being heavy, will in general not like this record because for the most part the heaviness is gone.
2. Prog rock fans who have enjoyed Opeth in the past but couldn't get past the death metal vocals will probably love this.
3. Hardcore Opeth fans will be split, you'll either love it or hate it.
Personally, I think they've done something very brave and challenging. It's not 'Damnation' which was basically an acoustic album. There are heavy parts here, but the general vibe is a sort of jazz meets prog-rock. The musicianship is stunning, and the songs, once you give them a chance to work their way into your head, are amazing. But there is not instant gratification to be found here, you need to give this a few listens before you really start to hear how brilliant it is.
I am, as a huge Opeth fan, thrilled that they've made this interesting record, and can't wait to see if this is a permanent new direction, a temporary left turn, or a sound that they will incorporate with what they've done in the past moving forward. Either way, count me in, i'm along for the ride!!! But no rush, I am more than happy to spend plenty of time with 'Heritage.'!!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I tried to love it, but it hurts to say that I don't, October 28, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
First off - to everyone who compares this album to Damnation, you couldn't be further off base. There are no growling vocals on either of the albums - and that's where the comparison starts and ends. Damnation was a dark, disturbing, metal masterpiece. The soft acoustic guitars, ethereal keyboards, gut wrenching solos, and melancholic vocals could never fool you into believing that it wasn't a metal band behind the music.

Heritage, as the name suggests, pays homage to Mikael Akerfeldt's musical tradition, and everything and everyone that made him the musician he is today. There is some great musicianship on the album, and hints of moments that flirt with that unmistakable Opeth sound. However, I have two main gripes with this album:

- A lot of the tracks don't seem to flow organically. There's a "start-stop" feel to many of them. Good musical progressions and innovative chord sequences, but stitched together in a way that doesn't seem right.

- Mikael's vocals. I never knew the day would come when I'd have to say that his vocals didn't do much for me. And it has nothing to do with the fact that there are no growls (didn't I say that Damnation was a masterpiece?). It seems very tired and jaded. Take a song like "The Lines in My Hand" - this is actually some damn fine music, but his vocals just seem off, especially the bit around the 3:00 minute mark. There are several such moments on the album where he sounds (to me) like he's struggling. Another example is the Dio tribute "Slither". I can close my eyes and picture the late, great Ronnie belting out the same lyrics like a banshee even at 60. Sadly, Akerfeldt's vocals on that don't convey that Dio-esque power and soul.

Aside from those issues, the fact that the whole album doesn't fit in with the Opeth sound does play on my mind. It's all fine and dandy to try something new. But there's a reason you love a certain band - and it has a lot to do with the signature sound they've developed. Porcupine Tree being a prime example - they've changed directions a fair bit over their last few albums, with unfailing integrity towards that Porcupine Tree sound. But with this Opeth release, I feel like a lot of the Opeth sound has been lost, and the trade-off with this "new" direction doesn't make it feel worth it. I'm also afraid that we may have heard the last Opeth growl with Watershed.

Musically, there are some brilliant moments - my favorites include the stark, haunting opening piano title track, the music sans vocals on "The Lines in My Hand", "Folklore", "Marrow of the Earth" and the bonus track "Pyre".

As I said before, I'm conflicted about this album. But all things considered, I have to say I'm not a huge fan, somewhat disappointed, and I just about like it enough to give it 3 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heritage may not deliver the usual goods, but it is an interesting addition to the Opeth name., October 31, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Opeth and their absolutely impenetrably rock solid discography have earned themselves a good amount of faithful apostles. Similar to Mastodon, their fans generally consider the band untouchable, as they're on their 10th record and have never managed to create an album which does not progress or in some way help to further their sound towards (idealistically) the goal of creating the perfect album. With all the talk surrounding this album coming from frontman (and overall lead director, I guess?) Mikhail Akerfeldt, one would get the sense that creatively, Opeth have made their magnum opus, the album which would define and justify everything they have ever done and ever will do.

However this, very unfortunately, is not the case. What we have instead is rather a problem child of an Opeth album, one that will likely cause a divide between fans. As this time around Akerfeldt et al have ditched the death metal, and made a straight up, honest to Fripp, old school Progressive Rock album. Strange guitar effects, filthy organs, jazzy drums and odd time signatures galore. It's the album that you could just tell Akerfeldt was aching to make the second that funky keyboard interlude appeared in The Lotus Eater off of 2008s Watershed. And to be fair, we can't really deny him it. With a discography as strong as Opeth's it would be well within Akerfeldt's rights as an artist to start covering Lady Gaga and join her in producing club ready bubble gum pop. So why the divide? It's clear that this is a record Akerfeldt has been wanting to make since the first time he listened to In the Court of the Crimson King, why don't we just let him have this one?

I'm being perhaps a bit patronizing. Do not get me wrong, this is a solid album. The production hits the nail right on the head in terms of it's vintage sound. Per Wiberg's organ and snyths are the perfect flourish and do a lot to capture the classic prog feel, as does Martin Axenrot's jazzy as hell drumming. Though I'm sure a good contribution to the authenticity of this sound comes from Steven Wilson and his encyclopedic knowledge of Progressive Rock. Though the change is on the surface quite a major one, there are also still quite a few of the common Opeth atmospheric traits found here. The quite folky interludes remain, as do the haunting grand piano segments, and the riffing is as intricate and groovy as ever. This still essentially sounds like an Opeth album.

However most of the tracks on here lack the absolutely masterful structure that typical Opeth compositions feature, structures which Akerfeldt has perfected to a point over time. Often sacrificed for more spontaneous and colorful arrangements. While I see the reasons for this departure of this particular trait, I must say that I am rather mournful of it, and perhaps preferred their past methods of songwriting.

Overall I suppose this album simply isn't as grand as the usual Opeth output. However it definitely keeps from stagnation, and while it might not be their best record, I give kudos to them for knowing what they're perhaps too good at, and having the balls to stray away from it. So as to prevent becoming another Metallica, or Judas Priest, consistently churning out the same records, digging their own proverbial grave. This album is a consolation, and a promise, that no matter what Opeth will be doing, people will be listening.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opeth's most ambitious and most mature work to date, October 1, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Never a band known for being resistant to change, or risk-adverse, Opeth deliver their most controversial platter yet with their 10th observation Heritage. The reports I have been seeing on their Facebook profile are entertaining. Because the responses from the fan community run the absolute gamut from 'masterpiece, album of the year' to 'what the hell is this, i'm burning all my Opeth merchandise'. Heritage was a huge creative risk for the band. Did it pay off? In my opinion, yes, it most certainly did. Heritage marks possibly the biggest change in tone I've heard in a band's sound since Porcupine Tree's In Absentia. Rather than blastbeats or guttural demonic vocals, here we have prog jazz freakouts, nods to Camel, King Crimson, and Rainbow, and flutes.

Some have been saying that the songs on this album lack melody and structure. There are melodies in the songs, maybe not as in your face and immediately apparent as on some of their other albums, but then, when has Opeth ever been known for a simplistic verse/chorus/verse formula? The album is one of those that may not hit you straight away on first listen. It's a slow burner. But it really does grow on you, and you realise how fantastic these songs truly are. They really understand the dynamics and subtleties of music. They know that silence can be just as effective as bombast and noise. Listen to Heritage on a decent 5.1 surround system and you'll be blown away. Mendez on bass really gets his chance to shine on this disc, after being unfortunately rendered inaudible on many of their prior releases. Martin Axenrot also excels here, and proves his chops on the drums with aplomb.

Favourite tracks so far are Famine, with it's slightly frightening Jethro Tull-esque flute section (I implore anyone who laments that Heritage is not heavy enough to listen to this track. It may not be metal, but man, that flute sounds EVIL); I Feel The Dark, and the almighty Folklore. In Opeth's 20 plus years on the game, this is one of my favourite ever compositions by them. The closing instrumental Marrow of the Earth is eerily reminiscent of Camel's The Snow Goose. Just listen to the chord changes. It sounds uncannily like Andy Latimer's style, to the extent that I often forgot I was listening to Opeth and not vintage Camel.

Those with an open mind will appreciate the hard work, passion, and musical skill that went into Heritage. Metalheads may feel left out in the cold, but really Opeth were always so much more than a metal band. They incorporated elements of prog, jazz, classical, folk, and everything in between into their disparate sound, from the very beginning. Their recent move towards unabashed prog should not have been a huge surprise for any close observer of the band. If anything, I hope to hear them continue down this direction, and that Heritage is merely a transition to something even better in the future. They've proved themselves to be artists of integrity to their vision, and that they are willing to challenge themselves and their listeners (rare feats in today's musical landscape). The truly great artists from the Beatles, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, amongst others, never rested on their laurels or tread the same musical ground twice. Imagine if the Beatles kept making Please Please Me over and over again? We'd never have heard Sgt Peppers or Abbey Road. The more change resistant members of the Opeth fanbase clamouring for more death metal like Blackwater Park really do not get Opeth at all. They've stretched themselves, and left their comfort zone. And for that I have true respect for them. An astonishing piece of work, and my album of the year without a doubt.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This will polarize Opeth fans like no other album before it, October 3, 2011
It's weird, but the thing that kind of tipped me off to this album possibly being a more conservative effort than usual was when the album art was revealed. Usually there is some kind of dark, brooding, somewhat haunting image that carries with the overall tone of Opeth's work, so I can't say I was shocked upon seeing this cover that it foretold of something different; possibly something that won't be as heavy as I or most people would be used to.

Going past the piano solo title track, "Devil's Orchid" is a pretty "Opeth" song through and through. Heavy guitars, double bass drums (there ain't much of that either). It took me awhile to get past how towards the end, the guitar solo builds up a fervor only to just abruptly end. This kind of disjointed song structure is what made me very apprehensive with "Watershed". After a few listens, though, I've grown to really love this track.

Once past "Slither" (a short, different, but upbeat rock tune), the album almost turns into, I dare say, something close to jazz/prog-fusion at times. "Haxprocess" has a great flute/organ breakdown that's VERY Jethro Tull. Probably on purpose as per the concept of the album.

"Lines in my Hand" is another shorter song but features fantastic acoustic guitar, awesome bass, some amazing drum work towards the end.

None of the critique above is really a negative on Åkerfeldt's part. As many have said, you probably won't digest this the first few times through.

My actual negative comes in the way of the recording. While perhaps done on purpose, I personally feel the lo-fi sound quality only does this music an injustice. The drums really sound as if there was one mic placed OUTSIDE of the recording booth for tracking. Even with "Damnation" being a stripped down Opeth, there were still layers of sound to pick through due to the excellent recording and mixing quality. "Heritage" has a very murky sound quality that feels like it's being buried. It's honestly the first thing that hit me when I first listened. Getting adjusted to a different sound is one thing. Primitive recording quality is nigh impossible to shake...concept or not.

And to everyone saying this is "Åkerfeldt's solo album". Åkerfeldt is Opeth. He gives a nod to the wonderful musicians that make up the band, but they are still performing his vision and his music. And it's sad when people can't face the reality that a band is going to do something new.

"Heritage" is much like "Damnation" in the very non-metal direction of the music, but also it's very different in the overall feel. "Damnation" is a very brooding, morose, ethereal project in terms of the music and vocals, whereas "Heritage" is a much more upbeat, exploratory side to Åkerfeldt's writing.

Overall, I honestly like "Heritage" way better than "Watershed". Åkerfeldt had a more concise sound in mind with this album. And while I do miss the death metal side, I appreciate the need to branch out and do something different with your craft. It's certainly an album geared towards those who are patient and appreciate music as well as those loyal fans who REALLY appreciate Opeth's many facets no matter what sound they settle on for a given album. While I acknowledged that "Watershed" wasn't the album to give to any new listener of Opeth, "Heritage" most certainly is in that same category.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is what Damnation would be if it sucked., May 25, 2012
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Opeth would leave us in our darkest hour, yet trust us with its life.

I am just going to get that out of the way right now: this album is sub-par material for Opeth, and it has nothing to do with the style. I am not stuck inside Opeth's realm of progressive death metal. Damnation is my favorite Opeth album. This album is sub-par because the songwriting is sub-par.

The album starts with the beautiful, folk sounding title track. If the entire album continued the trend started in this song, it would be a good album - great, even. Unfortunately for us, it doesn't...
"Heritage" continues into the only real progressive metal song here: "The Devil's Orchard." By first listen, one can already tell this isn't up to par with previous Opeth songs. I will say it's a good song with some awesome riffs, but the overall delivery leaves a bit to be desired. It also shows signs of one of the album's biggest flaws: poor transitions. Opeth music, in the past, has usually had great transitions within each song. They flowed together seamlessly. The transitions in Heritage flow together horribly, ultimately leaving a bad impression. It's as if each part should've been a new song, but that would've left too many tracks (and ten tracks can already be considered too many for an Opeth album), so several were thrown into one song instead.

It's not just transition problems that bring this album down, though. The album is completely cluttered with outright boring interludes that bridge together parts of each song ("Häxprocess" and "Famine" are full of these interludes). Where there isn't mind-numbing interludes (sleep music, maybe?) bridging different parts in the same song, there is often times bad songwriting ("The Lines in My Hand"). The riffs and melodies commonly sound like leftovers from Damnation that Mikael didn't get a chance to use, but he didn't want to let them go to waste.

"I Feel the Dark" is one of the album's biggest offenders here. The track meanders off too much with multiple uninteresting ideas, showcased in the use of several unmemorable sections bridged together with unmemorable interludes. "Famine" is perhaps the worst song on the album, because it's eight minutes of boring ideas all thrown into one cluster of failure. When it's not being boring, it's being outright odd with wild flutes passages and what sounds to me like bongo beats (yes, ****ing bongos).

Of course, not everything here is bad. "Nepenthe" is a very beautiful track - it's as mellow as the album gets, but the songwriting isn't completely terrible, unmemorable, or whatever you want to call it. Aside from a bit of guitar wankery for a small part of the song about half way through, it's completely relaxing, and very emotional. "Slither" as well uses fun riffs throughout the first 3/4 of the song, before it breaks off (poorly) into another slow section that continues until the track's end. The title track and the closing track "Marrow of the Earth" are fascinating, beautiful instrumentals. They're the kind of tracks I'd want to relax to on a cold, wintery day with a hot cup of tea.

Likewise, throughout the "bad" tracks there are "good" parts. "The Lines in My Hand" is poor, boring material that picks up for the last ~50 seconds with some catchy vocal lines (and Opeth isn't exactly known for being "catchy"). The vocal lines of "Häxprocess" are great, but the instrumentation for the majority of the song is still uninteresting, largely because it carries on for way too long. If about half of the song was cut, it may be a highlight of the album.

"Folklore" is an absolute mixed bag. While the first four minutes or so of the song has the same problems as the rest of the album, the last four minutes picks up with an instrumental bridge that's actually interesting, and sets a beautiful atmosphere for the rest of the song. I can't really put words to it, but the song finishes up brilliantly. The guitar finally kicks in and delivers an absolutely amazing hook that opens up Mikael singing a well crafted vocal passage, and finally ending with the best guitar riff in the entire album. Honestly, the last two and a half minutes of "Folklore" make listening to the rest of the album actually worth it. Like "Häxprocess," if half of this song was cut, it'd be an absolutely excellent and memorable song that would make the most stubborn haters sigh in content. I've replayed the last two and a half minutes of this song more times than I can count.

While the album suffers from several flaws, none of them prove to be more of a blockade to the listener's enjoyment than the sheer uninteresting songwriting. Most of it is so uninteresting, I had to actually listen to the entire album from beginning to end as I was writing this review, because I couldn't even remember most of it (despite having heard it a dozen times or more already). The album suffers mostly from disjointed transitions and simply boring instrumental sections. Almost every song on the album overstays its welcome, or delivers too many boring sections. Out of the ten tracks on the album, there are three good tracks, three good tracks with bad parts, and four bad tracks with good parts. This does not make for a particularly enjoyable listen, and it definitely falls far short of what I expect from Opeth. Mikael's vocals are definitely great when he has good lines to sing, but sadly Heritage does not offer nearly as much of those good lines as it should. The lyrics here are mostly hit ("Nepenthe") and miss (most of "Folklore"). This is perhaps an even greater shame, as Opeth has had some truly remarkable lyrics in the past.

In the end, I'd recommend this album to a die-hard '70s progressive rock fan, because he'd probably love it. I'd also recommend any Opeth fan to check this out at least once, even if only to see how different it is. Anyone else should most likely stay away from this album. If you're looking for an Opeth album to start with, then look at Damnation.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great musicianship, but below Opeth's previous standard for music writing, October 16, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
I waited to write this review hoping my opinion would change after listening to the album enough and seeing them play it live. Well, my opinion hasn't changed (although the songs from the album do sound better live). Opeth has always had a special place in my heart because they were the band that opened the door for me into new territories of metal. Before Opeth, I couldn't stand music with growls in it. But Damnation opened my mind to Opeth then Still Life and My Arms Your Hearse opened up the darker and beautiful side of heavy music.

But this album fails in alot of ways. With Damnation, Opeth (or rather Mikael I should say) wrote their first complete album with no growls and not really any of the crunchy metal tones. BUT it alienated very few of its original core metal base because the songs were so dark and so well written. They managed to keep the Opeth sound but present it in a new way. Heritage fails in this respect. The style is somewhat new, and you can still hear the some of the "Opeth" sound, but now it has random and unrelated other "sound" thrown in with it. One of the things that throws it off is their choice for an overdrive sound on their guitars thats pretty lame. When a song on this album gets to a point where it naturally seems it should get heavy and you are ready for the tension to release... instead you get something only half way there with the lack of distortion.

I'm not sure what feeling/message Mikael was going for but its coming out garbled. On a song like Folklore, the first half of the song is amazing, but then you get to the second half and its like... huh you decided to go there with it and it ruins the song. Thats the on going story of the album. Opeth does the melancholy sound very well but they are trying to mix in something else that just doesn't quite fit in. On what i guess is the big song of the album, Devil's Orchard, you basically get everything thats wrong with this album all in one song. Opeth's sound here is something like jazz-fusion/70s prog rock with the lame overdrive sound throughout and very keyboard-heavy backing. In my opinion, jazz is awesome but jazz-fusion is about as bad as music gets. Hopefully if a more jazz inspired sound is what they are going for in the future, they approach it from a whole different way.

I have alot respect Opeth for trying something new (and they are willing to fail -- as I witnessed seeing them live as some of their fans left the venue early). That takes some balls, Mikael even joked about it on stage. The positive note of this album is that the playing is great as always (although they really need to replace the current drummer, never seen someone fail so terribly at a drum solo live). If you are new to Opeth, go back in their catalogue and listen to one of their classics (My arms your hearse through Ghost Reveries) and be in awe of how perfect those were and how much Heritage falls short.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Even after multiple listens I just can't make myself love this CD., September 29, 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
But I don't hate it. It's new material from Opeth. I know this. They're only one of the greatest bands to ever come into existence. And when I really think about it, I do not think I am a close-minded metal head fanatic. With open arms and ears I accept bands who've been typecast into one genre, only to one day branch out and expand their sound with new ideas and directions. But for goodness sakes, there really isn't any other group of musicians that could equal these guys in what they've done over the years. Label me the fan boy, but it's like they haven't written a bad song in their entire career! And even when they somewhat threw people for a whirl with "Damnation" being all calm and serene, fans could still find reasons to like that album and know Opeth will bounce back into their signature aggressive sound eventually. But, haven't we been told the bands intention is to go in this direction from now on? Look, this album from start to finish is written VERY well. It isn't garbage. Actually I'm listening to it as I write this and it does has some really beautiful moments. But, all this really needed to feel like the Opeth most of us love is a little darkening up, and YES adding some of those growls in there. Because the harsh vocals are all gone, and there are no heavy crazy moments, to me it just feels like Heritage never really reaches its full peak. As an OPETH album. If you can somehow wipe out of your mind what this bands previous achievements of glory are, then I think it's easy to find a love this this album. Final words, not garbage, written well, only wish it was darkened up a bit to give that familiar sound I've grown accustomed too. I'll keep listening to this as the year goes on. It's still worth buying and giving a chance.
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Heritage by Opeth (Audio CD - 2011)
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