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Heritage

3.8 out of 5 stars 249 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The band's roots in the doom-laden shade of occult-infused Scandinavian death metal and dark romanticism are undeniable and will never elicit apology. But the transcendent emotional and melodic heights achieved on the brilliantly titled tenth full-length Opeth album, Heritage, marks a new chapter in the storied quintet's career. Band leader, singer, guitarist, songwriter and long-running consistent member Mikael Åkerfeldt has reshaped the pathway forward for his artistic vehicle without sacrificing the hard won spiritualism of previous endeavors.

This masterwork from the Stockholm, Sweden based virtuoso musicians is a mind-boggling dense maze of tempo shifts, off-time signatures, percussive experimentation and warped rhythms. It is all expertly melded together by a myriad range of emotional outpouring and breezy melodic optimism which soars above the songs like a woodland spirit surveying its forest. There are multiple hints of darkness but Heritage moves the band forward into broader dimensions.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 20, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • ASIN: B004G25V9S
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,180 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aaron Arnsparger on September 20, 2011
Format: 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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is with some hesitation and reluctance that I review this album, now two years after its release. There are many reviewers who state that this is the culmination of the "natural" progression of Opeth's sound, and with this view, I must respectfully disagree. I will summarize my views of Opeth's progress below.

Orchid/Morningrise - Opeth without a fully developed sound. We see some of their trademarks, the mix of growling and clean vocals, and even a power ballad in the form of "To Bid You Farewell," although it retains its unmistakably death metal roots.

My Arms, Your Hearse/Still Life/Blackwater Park/Deliverance - Opeth developing and mastering the blend of beauty and horror.

Damnation - A side street. This album was recorded at the same time as Deliverance, and apparently the band had two options - releasing two albums, both a mix of long tracks we fans were familiar with and some shorter ballads, or releasing a "heavy" album and a "light" album. I almost would have preferred the former, if Damnation were not such a great album in its own right.

Ghost Reveries/Watershed - Here, we see what Deliverance and Damnation may have sounded like had the band opted for the former option. Long tracks with a few ballads thrown in here and there on Ghost Reveries, with longer pieces on Heritage but still, more clean vocals than we have been accustomed to in the past.

With that out of the way, I turn to Heritage, and here is the reason for my hesitation with this review. This album does not fit in at all. Damnation's tracks are unmistakably Opeth - in fact, during its live set playing Damnation through, Opeth also played "Harvest" from Blackwater Park, and the song fit in with the rest naturally. See, Lamentations.
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