album review : Heritage (2011) – Opeth

album : Heritage

artist : Opeth

genre : Extreme Progressive Metal

year : 2011

Although I can never understand how an album leaks, I am not complaining. This new record by Opeth has slipped from the band’s hands and the progressive hungry bunch would provide the verdict on their new sound roughly three weeks before the album hits the stores. Sitting here in India, I am trying to figure out from where this new direction has been inherited by Opeth.

Heritage, as they name their tenth album, is an indication that the band wants to hide the extreme parts on their music and instead want to replace the same with a lot of effects that paints a mild picture of the band. I wouldn’t deny that I had to yawn my way through Heritage, but considering the band is trying to balance a lot of things here they clearly entered the studio with their past buried. With almost negligible traces of anything they have played before, the scent of old-Opeth is dearly missed.

Following their journey uptil Ghost Reveries and then of course Watershed, even Opeth geeks might not have predicted this but this isn’t amusing. A promising intro allows one to cook up big things in the mind, but only until the first track The Devil’s Orchard begins. Those comfortable and experienced fingers seem confident but as the song unfolds I realize there isn’t much to hold onto here. While I wait for things to settle down, I can’t help but notice songwriting not being a part of the band’s agenda.

With just a mood to accompany the name I Feel The Dark for the first half of it’s six and a half minutes duration, the song is seen going nowhere towards the end. The album speaks up on Slither, and defends the allegations made till now by displaying a lot of twisted energy. Progressive ray of light, finally. Nepenthe did not make any sense, nor did Haxprocess. Next track Famine was devoid of music for a longtime but picks up somewhere along the way. Not enjoyable, and this is not a mindset, this is exactly how the album is.

In a general view of the situation right now The Lines in My Hand sure would sound relieving but Folklore comes across as a song by some amateur band that definitely does not have nine albums to it’s credit. Opeth brings down the shutter with Marrow of the Earth and I could not wait for the album to get over. You know what I mean.

In the recent times we have seen bands of the likes of Amorphis and Anathema change the definition of their music and I still haven’t stopped hearing their new stuff, but Opeth has missed the target by a huge margin. This wasn’t a progressive album, there are no traces of death metal and we would not have minded some bits of both. Heritage is all set to release on the 19th of September, and now that I have already been put to sleep by this new offering by Opeth I’d suggest the band wakes me up only when September ends.

Rating : 2.5/5

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About Itihas Shetty

Is a verbomaniac. And a human being. And that's where the problem begins. View all posts by Itihas Shetty

20 responses to “album review : Heritage (2011) – Opeth

  • Tj

    wasnt really having any high expectations anyways.
    Bleh

  • arun

    didnt heard the song yet but was expecting .. something good ..

  • psvt

    I find the reviews to be mixed. For example, I (and I’ve noticed others) think that both “I Feel the Dark” and “Folklore” are two of the best tracks on the album.

    So, I think I disagree overall – there’s quite a lot of life in this album, but it’s… not the old Opeth. They’re a different band. The difference is that it’s not high energy metal – if that’s what you need in your music to see signs of life, then it’s not going to work for you. I don’t think the album works for me completely since I personally am not in Mikael’s headspace of being “done” with extreme metal – I still like it, and think there’s plenty of room for innovation there. And this not being extreme metal anymore is (in that sense) disappointing.

    From a prog rock perspective, however, Heritage has a lot of great songs. Just isn’t what I want from Opeth.

    • Itihas Shetty

      Even from the progressive rock perspective there is not much to take back here. Forget metal, even if you talk about just simple music this stuff is too minimal to qualify. We need not find reasons to like an album just because it is an Opeth album. I found it difficult to like this album because it is all too ordinary.

  • Kevin

    Keep in mind that this is just one person’s opinions. There have been a few very high reviews so far. Regardless of what the reviews say, people should be making their own opinion than damning an album based on what I consider to be a pretty short-sighted review (just my opinion). For anyone that appreciates Opeth for more than just the deah metal growls there’s a lot to like here.

    Honestly, I like this album more than both Ghost Reveries and Watershed. I’m a firm believer that the band needs to do what they feel they need to do, and it’s clear Mikael’s heart hasn’t been in death metal as of late. This is an absolutely outstanding album with a lot of texture. There’s also plenty of heavier passages too (though not as you’d expect), and the album has an outstanding flow. Some of the songs on here are right up there with the best they’ve written and the album goes from simpler passages to some pretty fantastic complexity. I Feel the Dark, Folklore, Haxprocess are all incredible songs and the rest of the album isn’t far behind.

    I urge those that like Opeth for more than just the death metal to look at some other reviews or even look up the songs on youtube and form your own opinion.

    • Itihas Shetty

      My friend, your comment tells me that you have been cut-off from music that provides texture with a lot of heart and soul in it, has sensibly heavy passages, and the flow is just too logical. The world of music is vast, and if someone likes something that sounds like what Opeth is trying to produce on Heritage then there are bands that spend their lives making such music. And the music is definitely more indulging and more emotional than what you have heard on Folklore and Haxprocess. Forget what you read here and forget telling others what they need to read, go hear some intensely progressive post-rock, ambient bands and then hear Heritage again. You’ll suddenly feel enlightened and more knowledgeable.

  • amrinder

    itihas its lame that you are defending your review.

  • Sammit

    I appreciate them for trying something new, especially after the tremendous success on earlier experiments, but I really cant figure out what they were thinking bout or trying to achieve this time. The result is jus mediocre if not plain bad and that’s not opeth-like at all!! Even the artwork has taken a turn for the worse. It does come as a disappointment after having to wait so long for it, but i wouldn’t say it changes much(atleast not to me). Opeth is still one of the best and the tightest bands out there and i jus hope they get back to what they’re really good at. Cheers

  • amrinder

    what you don’t see doesn’t mean its not there. i can see you whining. sure you know a lot about progressive but you know shit about opeth šŸ™‚
    happy reviewing. dosa sambhar šŸ™‚

  • verklarte.nacht

    The prog isn’t heavy prog per se, but interesting prog nevertheless. The problem with the album isn’t that it’s lifeless, but that it’s too jarring in places, it doesn’t flow like Opeth albums generally do. But one can pass this album as the beginning of an experiment towards a fresher sound.I mean, I would’ve preferred if Dimmu or LoG had the balls to experiment after having achieved the same level of commercial success instead of churning out the same boring shit.

    • Itihas Shetty

      Your opinion is accepted. This could be the beginning of an experiment towards a fresher sound, and hopefully the ‘freshness’ would be found in their forthcoming albums.

      Also, if you look closely LoG and Dimmu have experimented a lot. That is the reason why I always tell people to listen to the entire discography. Come to think of it they were right in not experimenting the way Opeth did, and I still love all the albums by LoG and Dimmu.

  • arun

    actually dude knowing so much is also an headache …they already gave what ever they had ..now opeth is experimenting and composing some different shit ..they can never play like how they use to and its also very difficult to like there music in future coz we will compare it wid there best .

  • Sauradip Ghosh

    Basically I guess, with due respect you need to give Heritage a few more spins before coming up with a review. Opeth’s music has always been deep and it takes time to grow within you. (For example it took me six months to dig into Ghost Of Perdition) as it was my first Opeth song and before that I was into Linkin Park and shit.
    True, being an ardent lover of the Opethian brand of ball shaking death metal I was disappointed that there were no growls or crushing riffs but Heritage has a soul of its own. The song arrangement is rather curious but when you gradually learn them, it grows into you like a drug. For example the gentle strum pause strum pause in Haxprocess calms you more than anything else.
    I would atleast give it two weeksbefore commenting. And Opeth has not disappointed me.

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