Opeth // Heritage
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — A genuine disappointment.
Label: Roadrunner
Websites: opeth.com | myspace.com/opeth | facebook.com/opeth
Release Dates: US: 09.20.2011 | EU: 21.09.2011

Disclaimer: Knowing how to review this record has been very difficult for me because I’m a big fan of the band and I have no desire to try make my opinion seem bigger than the band’s work. I understand my subjective position as a reviewer very well. But this record suffers from pretty major issues that it make it very difficult for me to enjoy and that show off the weakness of the band in its current incarnation. I am aware that there will be a good amount of whining and gnashing of teeth over this review, and you’re welcome to it. Just remember that I 1) am not invested in Opeth playing death metal; 2) like plenty of bands that have changed their sounds; and 3) enjoy progressive and abstract music of all stripes very much.

Opeth - HeritageIt’s hard to believe that we’re actually looking at Opeth‘s 10th full length studio record now in 2011. It’s amazing how the little progressive death metal band that could is a global powerhouse of extreme and progressive music that is signed to one of the biggest labels in the metal world. Heritage was billed as a bit of a ‘look backwards,’ in a sense, with main man Åkerfeldt saying that he thought extreme metal was boring and that he has thought that for a while and so this was going to be something else. As a long time fan (who has regularly been called a fanboy), I think it’s obvious to me that Opeth was outgrowing their roots. While I think that Ghost Reveries is a genius album, Watershed was definitely not. It felt uninspired and rushed. So the big question for me coming into all of this was: would having more time and freedom make Heritage feel fresh? Would it be a record that would change Opeth for good, and also for the better?

Heritage is very much as Åkerfeldt said in a recent interview, it is a progressive rock album that sounds very much like its biggest influence actually is mainly Opeth. Over time, Åkerfeldt has crafted a sound that is unique to the band and that has moved them into the limelight. There is a cadence and melodic structure to Opeth riffs that just feels very Opeth. The linear fashion of writing songs is also something that, nowadays is commonplace, but that has long been associated with Mikael’s writing style. Songs that are often more like movements than traditionally structured tracks works well in death metal, which is so heavily riff-based. This made for epic soundscapes that were at once exciting and interesting, but also had the ability to be fragile and beautiful. It was a sound that worked for the band and launched them into the stratosphere popularitywise.

But while Heritage retains Opeth‘s voice (metaphysically and physically, of course), it does not retain its genius and I think this has to do with the fact that the songwriting on Heritage feels almost lazy, but certainly underdeveloped. A better way to say this might be that Heritage is full of great riffs and ideas, but not many very good songs. Instead, the listener is left feeling like the writing process was just to take a bunch of ideas and to hamfistedly shove them into these somewhat linear songs, often times with little regard as to key, time signature or context and feel. While this could seem “progressive,” for me it doesn’t feel so progressive as disjointed. A case in point is the single “The Devil’s Orchard” where, instead of writing a transition on guitar, keyboards are used to transfer out of a very cool verse/chorus iteration in a pretty jarring, unrelated fashion before trying to segue back to the main “chorus” theme at the end randomly.

Opeth 2011This kind of patchwork writing with bad or jarring transitions is basically the mark of Heritage. The same thing happens in “I Feel the Dark,” “Nepenthe,” “Famine,” and “The Lines in My Hand.” It even happens in my favorite songs on the record, which would definitely be “Slither” and “Folklore.” The only tracks that don’t suffer from this are “Heritage,” which is a piano track and the outro “Marrow of the Earth” which features Wishbone Ash or Iron Maiden-style guitar harmonies, which is similar to “Ending Credits” from Damnation or “Epilogue” from My Arms, Your Hearse.

In spite of all of this, there are some really great moments in these songs, too. I love the first 2 minutes and 50 seconds of “Slither,” and it’s very cool riff and “Beneath the Mire” kind of drive, before it devolves into a non-related acoustic guitar part that wasn’t developed. “Famine” works with its very Jethro Tull feel, before devolving into a jam at the end that I’m not a huge fan of. ” Without the first 2 minutes of “Häxprocess” the song would have been genius, but it just sort of meanders in and then despite that the rest is really good, it feels a bit dead on arrival. “Folklore” is probably the most consistent track on the album, in my opinion, and it’s got a great Kebnekajse or Jan Johansson kind of feel to it that really hits the spot. And the band itself is playing as well or better than it ever has. Martin Axenrot is finally achieving Lopez-style jazz feel, while Mendez performs excellently on the bass. Fredrik has a number of great solos and, of course, Per’s keyboard work is the glue that holds the record together.

But beyond the obvious talent of the band, what do they leave the listener with? The record has grown on me to a certain extent since I first got it. There is arguably a “unifying feel” of the album, even if the writing is disparate and disjointed. But the whole is, unfortunately, not greater than its parts. Instead, I’d say there’s about 40 minutes of pretty good to excellent music, but a lot of bad transitions and only a couple great songs. This leaves me, frankly, aghast, as the fantastic transitions and compositions are the thing that really elevated Opeth to the level of great in my mind. If you think about the transition in “A Fair Judgement” at about 4:15 in the track or the transfer from “Pull me down again…” into the new part at 4:01 in “The Drapery Falls”. How about the end of “When”? And I could increase this list 10-fold.

So to say that Heritage is a disappointing record is almost an understatement. While I found some of things really growing on me since I started listening to it, which places it above Watershed in the pantheon, it is not a record that I think really belongs in the same breath as the band’s earlier stuff, or in the same breath as bands like Camel, Rush, Yes, King Crimson or Jethro Tull. Whether it is that the keyboards transitioning unlinked ideas has become a crutch, or that the tendency of death metal riffs to be based around an open E hid a lack of sophistication in Åkerfeldt’s writing style, Heritage exposes these problems in a way that even Watershed didn’t. And that leaves this Angry Opeth Fanboy feeling very disappointed.

  • Crikey. I completely agree with many of your points. But I’ve found I still like the album a lot more than you do. I guess it’s a head/heart thing where my heart has won over my head. Sometimes it’s hard to divorce how good something is from how much we like it, and I think your review is probably much more correct than the one I’ll be writing. But at the same time I’m still left with a record I’m really enjoying. This comment was brought to you by the disjointed Opeth school of song/comment writing. :)

    • Thing is, Ã…kerfeldt didn’t write as such before Peter left the band. One wonders how much editorial sway Lindgren had…

      • Good point. Though I seem to be one of the rare Opeth fans who likes Watershead as much as Blackwater Park. So I’ve probably no idea what I’m talking about. Only discovered (the shame of it) the band a couple of years ago.

        • djteno_xxx

          I think the review has many good points, but I do agree with Harry when it comes to Watershed. For me Watershed was the maximum of what opeth could achieve when it came to their “old sound”, and thats why they felt they needed to do something new. For me watershed is one of their very best albums and I have been an opeth fan for many years.

          • Watershed was my entry point with Opeth, so my perspective is a little skewed I guess…but I loved Watershed and I love Heritage, maybe even more. My only real beef with AMG’s review is that I think it misses the forest for the trees…fixating on one or two elements of the individual songs seems to distract from the album as a whole. I don’t really think of this album as a collection of songs…in fact, I’d almost like it more if there were no “tracks,” sort of like a “Thick as a Brick”—ostensibly one long song, but really a lot of different ideas along a theme. I don’t think “cohesive songwriting” is an absolute good. I think Heritage ought to be judged more on “cohesive album writing” and in my opinion it succeeds very well on that level. In the end, I believe it’s a matter of taste and no other rubruc can be applied.

          • But Thick as a Brick is a great example, because the songwriting is still very, very cohesive. That’s the point! You can write huge, epic pieces and still produce them with an ease to transitions and a depth of ideas. But it’s hard fucking work. Ã…kerfeldt doesn’t appear to be doing that work anymore.

          • I dunno, though…a lot of people didn’t dig Thick as a Brick when it came out, either…and some consider it unlistenable. I still prefer “A Passion Play,” which is arguably less cohesive but (IMHO) more interesting, but seeminlgy just as divisive as Heritage seems to be (love or hate). I just don’t see the choppiness of the last two albums as a problem. Your perspective is that it’s the product of laziness, but to me it feels like a “choice” that fits the album. I’ve been thinking this might be an age issue, too…the older I get, the less I need music to be high energy…I’ve considered the possibility that five to fifteen years ago, I may have hated Heritage, too. And I don’t mean this is an issue of “maturity” vs. “immaturity,” but just a mellowing and dissipation on my part. For example, I really really dig “Nepenthe” as an individual track…it’s so understated as to be exciting. Possibly Watershed and Heritage just hit me at the right time…it took me a while to find a current artist whose work seems to speak to me where I’m at now. My response is gut level and, in the face of “objective” criticism, hard to justify. I certainly have no hope of persuading naysayers. Which is, ultimately, cool.

          • It could be laziness. It could be a lack of sophistication. It could be a choice. If it is the latter, then it is a bad choice. If it is one of the former, these can be corrected.

            I know what I don’t like about this record and have criticized it justly.

  • Alexander Bryson

    I had this one preordered on Amazon, but after reading this I think I’m going to give it a listen on Spotify after it comes out before making up my mind over buying it.

  • As it seems I´m agreeing with you, tastewise, more often than not, I´ll probably think the same. Nevertheless, this album deserves to be bought just from the sheer … heritage … of the band (sorry). Several of my friends, who tend to be less than “legal” when it comes to acquiring new music, have said that it´s the best Opeth-album of all time so I suppose there are qualities to it. So, I will buy it but I am expecting something similar to your reaction.

  • Holy cow, you nailed it with this review. I’ve listened to the album about 7 times now and I always end up feeling unsatisfied. There are no moments where you go “OMG WTF just happened there?!” (in a good way of course). Actually, I think I’ve started to appreciate the old stuff more after listening to Heritage.

  • Might it be your friends are, in fact, hipsters? =)

  • Stefan Bartels

    I have to say I fully agree with you on this review! I am a big Opeth fan, but this album just feels like it’s going nowhere. There is no real song writing, just good riffs slapped together to make a song. If I were Mikael, I would not be holding my head up high. Firstly he limits himself purely to the clean vocals (biggest mistake ever) and then proceeds to start writing prog music with Opeth influences. It’s a damn shame! I love prog music, but this has no flow, something every good prog band has! :/

  • OzanCan

    I am shocked by this review! Is it really that disappointing? I was slightly disappointed by the “Watershed” album but still retained my die-hard favoritism for the band. Now, I think you should be a little cautious!

    I’ll give a try…

    • If you were bored by Watershed then you are going to loathe Heritage. imo whatever that was lacking in WS that made it disappointing as an Opeth album is drastically amplified in this album. The acoustic bits were genius in their older albums but are bland and uninteresting in this one and there is a lot of it, plus a lot of wankery, out of place samples, funky stuff etc. Really, someone needs to edit the album to make a nice 15min song.

  • dan.herz

    I think this is spot-on. It’s good to read something about Heritage than candidly explains the faults of the album, rather than the rave reviews of more popular reviewers and publications which have been giving it 9/10.
    First it was Morbid Angel, now Opeth. Who else is going to disappoint us? Mastodon?

  • As I was reading this article I was (and still am) listening to the new album. You have a quite a few valid points (I disagree with you on Watershed, but that’s not what I’m here for)… Overall I like what I’m hearing. I don’t hate it in anyway, but there is overall something missing. I feel like it’s almost touching upon something great only to back off and leaving you unfulfilled. 

    I’m not saying we should bang down Opeth’s doors and demand the head of Mikael. I will still buy it, but I also feel as if this isn’t one of their greater achievements. It’s almost like they tried to go and do another Damnation.

    • Except I just listened to Damnation and I think it’s a much better record. It’s more cohesive, even if it’s simplistic.

      • Quite agreed. I came upon a conclusion after giving this a listen a few more times. We were given fair warning with the Throat of Winter. 

        That song was the preview of what was to come…

        This… I don’t hate it. At times I find it quite charming. I find as unfinished as it feels It’s easy to read by it, then that is it’s main flaw. Nothing about it really drags away your attention. 

        Honestly I people’s love or hate for an album never really gels until after a week of listening to it.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree completely.  I don’t think the intention was to have a pop-prog sound like Rush, Yes, King Crimson or Jethro Tull.  This album has a sound right out of the Canterbury scene; bands like Henry Cow, National Health, Soft Machine, Gilgamesh, Gong, etc.  In fact, many of the keyboard transitions are almost identical to the Gentle Giant stuff.  In the song Nepenthe, the Keyboard tone and licks are almost a rip-off of the Gentle Giant sound, particularly from “Proclamation”.  

    I don’t think the problem is with the album, but with your exposure to the full array of prog /jazz-fusion music out there from the late ’60s and early ’70s.  You make that very clear when you say that  “it is not a record that I think really belongs in the same breath as … bands like Camel, Rush, Yes, King Crimson or Jethro Tull.”  Except for Camel (which some of this album does sound like, and which has similar keyboard transitions in their songs), your right, the new Opeth album doesn’t belong in the same breath as Rush, Yes, etc.  It also doesn’t belong in the same breathe as Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Cream, or Pink Floyd…because that clearly wasn’t what they were trying to sound like.  

    Lastly, I wonder what you are really comparing this album to.  Akerfedt isn’t Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, or Alan Holdsworth.  His guitar playing isn’t mind-blowing and technically perfect, but compared to many of these albums you have deemed “excellent” and have propped up as “albums of the month” I would have to say it fairs much better, and at least doesn’t rely on de-tuning to drop C and B.  

    You are entitled to your opinion, as I am, but having read your explanation I would urge you again to expand your listening in the early prog rock / jazz-fusion genre.  You may have a different opinion with a bit more experience. 

    • Two things: 1) see point 3 in the disclaimer. The point is not that this record should sound like the bands that were named, it was an issue of the “pantheon” of bands associated with an influential genre. 2) I never expected Ã…kerfeldt to be “technical”. Nowhere have I said that. I expect him to write cohesive songs, something he has done previously with apparent ease.

      •  I agree with you AMG this album is a little dissapointing to me a massive Opeth fanboy… but a friend who is into jazz absolutely loves this album….
        So go figure?????

  • See point 3 above. We’re talking about two different things here.

  • Two things: 1) see point 3 in the disclaimer. The point is not that this record should sound like the bands that were named, it was an issue of the “pantheon” of bands associated with an influential genre. 2) I never expected Ã…kerfeldt to be “technical”. Nowhere have I said that. I expect him to write cohesive songs, something he has done previously with apparent ease.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, I want my prog jumping from peaks to valleys with finesse and grace. This feels like a cut & paste job. Not terrible, but disappointing.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very good review although mine would be harsher.  I’m a huge Opeth fan but found this album to be unlistenable.  Sure the musicianship is still there but it’s ever more disjointed than Watershed and dissonant in a very bad way.  Even the vocals sound bad and I love Damnation.  Ghost Reveries left me indifferent while Watershed was the first time I thought they sounded disjointed, now Heritage is even worse with forced chessy one-liners (God is Dead?) thrown in too.  I don’t know if it was signing to Road Runner or Per but too me Deliverance was their last good album and they’ve lost it since.

    • Anonymous

      I´ve not listened enough to Heritage to make a final conclusion, but i def think the word disjointed is a pretty good word to descripe the more disapointed feelings i had with it, The Devils Orchard to me so far, seems as the best track. And btw. While i respect your opinion i think that Ghost Reveries succeedet in more areas than the prodcution(sorry that i put words in your mouth). Devin  Townsend records may not have been a very lucky outcome either if it wasn´t for the wall of sound and great voice of Devin, but can we blame him for having a great voice and making it sound great in the studio with lots of reverb and stuff? It makes up for a more pleasant and amazing experience than most music out there for me, and so does Ghost Reveries, thou it wouldn´t really have succeedet without a good clear production maybe.

      • Anonymous

        It’s funny you mention Townsend’s sound as although he has a great voice and writes great music, it’s exactly his wall of sound that makes his music sound cluttered to me and the reason I never really got into him.

  • I agree with your review completely!  It’s like you read my mind and typed it out!  The disjointed nature of the songs of this album really left me scratching my head because there are some truly great moments, but none of them flow together.  It’s something that bugged me about Watershed too, but it really shines through on this album too.  Definitely a huge disappointment.

  • Anonymous

    I’d rather be listening to Leprous.

  • 100% Agree with this, the album is a cheap forgery of those classic albums from times past. This wont appeal to any seasoned prog listener because they will see right through it and probably just whack on Van Der Graaf Generator instead.

  • Zadion

    I must admit I agree with this review. While I do not go through the extended effort to over-analyze every song the same way you do, the fact that I’ve not even been able to listen through the entire album at once yet speaks for itself. I was really hoping I’d disagree with you, given that I found Watershed to be a good album (which even has 2 of my favorite Opeth tracks on it), but here we are…. I will say however that the title track is great.

    Shameful, really. Perhaps it’ll grow over time – after all, it took about 5 listens before I felt Ghost Reveries was anything better than boring, and now it’s one of my favorite albums.

    Regardless, this is nothing new to me, because Deliverance is still their worst album easily.

    • Anonymous

      Oh come On, Deliverance is their worst?
      I mean, everyone’s intitled to their own opinions but… DAMN.

      Deliverance is my favorite Opeth Album and one of my 5 favorite albums of all time. Of all time!

    • Anonymous

      Oh come On, Deliverance is their worst?
      I mean, everyone’s intitled to their own opinions but… DAMN.

      Deliverance is my favorite Opeth Album and one of my 5 favorite albums of all time. Of all time!

      • Zadion

        I can’t understand that. To me, Deliverance wasn’t just boring but it was just plain annoying at times. It’s the only Opeth album I can say that about.

        • Anonymous

          Well, I happen to find Deliverance a wild and exciting ride. From the heavyness of Wreath (possibly their most aggressive song yet), to the fantastic Deliverance song, with has the best “outro” for a song EVER, to the melancholy of A Fair Judgement, to the astound evil main riff of MAster’s apprentice and finally the prog-weirdness of By the Pain, I think this album is all around a win, in every aspect. 

          Of course, this is just my opinion, but I can’t find a single “annoying” moment in this album.

      • Deliverance is the weakest of their records pre-Watershed, in my opinion.

  • mike gager

    ive never figured out why so many people like opeth. i mean they are talented musicians, no doubt about that, its just that the songs they play are just plain boring. maybe thats how “prog metal” is supposed to be, i dont really know.

  • “I’d say there’s about 40 minutes of pretty good to excellent music” <—- rated a 2.0/5.0 in this day and age of pop crap?  

    The new CD is a natural evolution for Opeth.  Anyone who wasn't expecting this is crazy.  "Heritage" is fantastic, and I can't wait to see them perform it live next month.

    • jon

      I liked the album too, I thought that Watershed was the last album Opeth could do following the musical blueprint they had following and you can tell they were moving toward a more 70’s prog sounding direction since Ghost Reveries. Even Akerfeldt knew the album was going to piss off people, but I think it’s a step in the right direction regardless of how odd it feels listening to Opeth songs less than 10 minutes long. Funny that everyone’s all over the new Leprous album, which isn’t bad but I think it’s hypocritical that they think it’s great that they sound like a cross between Mars Volta and Faith No More, and when Opeth mixes in a 70’s prog sound that’s out of line, hmmmm…..

      • You didn’t read this did you?

        I like prog. I like Opeth. I like the 70s. I think the writing is bad. You need to read the words on the page before you criticize them.

        • jon

          I read them, I just disagree with you. 

          • Yeah, but then you claimed things about what I’d said that aren’t the case. The issue is that the writing is bad, in my opinion, not that I can’t handle Opeth mixing in 70s prog. 

    • Read the whole sentence.

  • Eh… I liked it.

  • Come back Steve Wilson, I miss you.

  • Anonymous

    Whereas for most “Heritage” grows on them with repeated listens, it has the opposite effect on me.  On initial listening I really like it.  But alas, as much as I want to like it more and more because just like Metallica the name Opeth does something to me, I realize now it was a forced affection.  I guess I really want to like it because “Watershed” didn’t do anything for me at all.  

    I realize the band is evolving and Michael has every right as an artist to go wherever his heart leads him musically, but I also know what I like.  Perhaps I am a Neanderthal but I discovered Opeth through Black Metal and it is Black Metal Music that I like.  I know other form of music has its own merit but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  I’m not a prog fan.  If I were I would be extolling the virtue of Porcupine Tree but I don’t listen to Porcupine Tree (well, I’ve tried but this form of music does nothing for me).  Sadly, I think this is the end of my journey with Opeth.  Regardless, there is still the albums from “Orchid” to “Ghost Reveries” and for that Opeth will always have a special place in my heart.  

    • I agree. And that’s good stuff.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you. I know what I like and I know that I don’t like regurgited Yes music. I think this album is utter dross but it has nothing to do with flow, timing, etc. I liked Opeth because they were an excellent metal band. They’ve been labelled as progressive but they’ve always previously had good taste. There is a reason bands like The Stooges and the Ramones formed and it was to kill off over indulgent rubbish such as this. I’ll always have their old records but they’re lost me as a fan now.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate your review a lot. You are one of a few commentators connected with a real effort, tallent and sight.
    But this time, we don’t have same kind of view.
    What i think is that You have to live in past and a future in a same time to understand this record.
        We all Opeth-fan (hopefully)  understand that this time it is question about transition.  Not only transisions in this melodies, record itself but transition in development with the band and finding a new era.
      Yeh. It’s not so good record and it sucks sometimes, but anyway I think in my mind; this is the best so far. When you have reached the point where The Band  is the “saviour of the black metal (and dignity), what you do?
    More record sales, loosing yourself, stick in security OR concentrate at your chilren when they are young, fand a same time later, finding a new way of expression, be The Creative Band who’s  discography GONNA BE REMEMBERED.
    Time and space. In the Opeth career timeline, this record gonna stand in his own. Maybe Heritage is faulier, maybe it’s turning point, maybe it’s ice breaker. Anyway,  it is too difficult, sad, distressing for 90%  of listeners. I think You have to live in 100% darkness (couple of months per year)in Scandinavia,  be socially ultra-undeveloped, drink too much or be lost anyway to like Opeth.   Most of us are. 
    Everything is better than getting bored.
    I believe in Mikael Ã…kerfeldt.
    I believe in Daniel Gindenlöf.
    I believe in Black Bonzo, Ritual, Roine Stolh and ALL the real bands, All the real music fans. All the same.

    Sorry my english, i’m finn and finnished (my smoke)……


    • I’m not sure why we should be socially ultra-undeveloped to like opeth, but I’ve noticed that of all opeth fans including myself. Why is this?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, nobodys wrong. But in My mind progression is good. I love (extreme) metal more than any other kind of music. But I quess Ã…kerfelds mind is going different way. That’s why I like music so much.

    • I love progressive music. I want my progressive music to be coherent. These two things are not mutually exclusive. Apparently Ã…kerfeldt’s mind is going a different way on that one. ;) 

  • David Damien

    2 out of 5? really? With all the crap that’s being packaged and sold as ‘Metal’ these days. Opeth could record themselves taking shits and burping and it would still be better than half the crap that’s coming out right now. I think it should have recieved at least a 3.0. It’s good. But not great by Opeth standards. 

  • David Damien

    2 out of 5? really? With all the crap that’s being packaged and sold as ‘Metal’ these days. Opeth could record themselves taking shits and burping and it would still be better than half the crap that’s coming out right now. I think it should have recieved at least a 3.0. It’s good. But not great by Opeth standards. 

  • I think Ghost Reveries was the end of the Opeth era that began with MAYH, and Watershed began a new one – not rushed, not “bad”, just different.   

    I have to disagree on your main points:  the bad transitions and lazy writing.  This is a meticulously thought through album – even more than Watershed was.   If anything, Mikael has gotten much better at knowing when a smooth transition belongs, or a jarring transition belongs.    Listening to Orchid and Morningrise, or even elements of MAYH or Still Life, transitions were ill-formed , and he still was growing as a songwriter.    Ghost Reveries (and yes, Watershed) had a much better use of them.    You seem to be implying that “jarring transitions = bad”, or “keyboard transitions = bad”, which I just can’t understand.   For example, I think The Devil’s Orchard transitions to be some of the *least* jarring of the entire album, it just reminded me of 70s jazz fusion in its approach.   The keyboard transition on Nepenthe is jarring, but on reflection totally fits with the feel of that song as you grow with it.   Basically, I think Mikael has progressed a lot as a songwriter, and may be using techniques you plainly just don’t like.    You’re not alone, of course, in this.
    I admit I am a bit disappointed with Heritage in that I miss the death metal, period.   But for some reason, I keep coming back to it.  

  • I love this album! and your reviews thanks!

  • Anonymous

    As a big fan of Opeth but also of Progressive Rock , I think this album had to be Ã…kerfeldt’s solo album, not an Opeth album

  • I find many problems with this review, the primary being that it reveals a  bias held by the reviewer during listening, experiencing and rating this album. He mentions and acknowledges the subjective nature of a review, yet fails to remain objective and keep his expectations and biases away.

    From the very beginning of the album, it is pretty clear that “Heritage” was never intended to hold any resemblance to its predecessors. Not in the sound, nor in composition. Most importantly, it is different even in the  structure or “flow” of the songs, which is what the reviewer seems to be most angry about. It is obvious that he cannot leave behind his expectations from Opeth’s composition and “flow”, but once he does and listens to the album, he will start noticing subtleties in the “flow” that are difficult to appreciate suddenly, but there nonetheless. (An example: the sudden, apparently discontinuous mid-song shift in “I Feel the Dark” is preceded by a barely audible whisper. I hated the shift until I heard the whisper. It suddenly made sense, and reassured me that Opeth’s talent at storytelling through music remains intact)

    Akerfeldt hasn’t lost his genius all of a sudden. It’s all there, except that it has changed shape and form. I am no expert, but the amount of complexity on this record is at par with any other Opeth album. 

    Conceptually, I think “Heritage” is another step in the dierction Opeth took with  “Deliverance” and “Damnation”: complete albums written in the same sound. Deliverance is evil, monstrous and heavy. Damnation is beautiful, soft and delicate. Heritage is natural, atmospheric, mysterious and as Akerfeldt says, “earthy”. 

    The review doesn’t consider other aspects of the album: the way the songs flow into each other, and the way the whole album feels complete, and how it takes you through a journey of highs and lows. The performance of the band members is stunning, including the drums, the bass, and the vocals (guitars are missing). The review also misses the new experiments with composition that Akerfeldt has tried in the album. Just labelling it “progressive” is a typical casual listener’s response, but a reviewer must look beyond that and see the way it is”progressive” is any different.

    While I don’t like this album as much as I like “Blackwater Park” or “Ghost Reveries”, I like it as much as “Damnation” and “Deliverance”, and definitely think a 2/5 is an insult to the intricate complexity and beauty in its music. It is definiely a 3.5, or maybe a 4.

    • You didn’t read mu acknowledgement of my subjective position, did you? All of my judgements about this record are colored by my opinions and subjective position. Per definition a review is an opinion. Don’t try to hold me to some kind of standard of objectivity that is impossible. Your claim is: “You’re not objective because you don’t agree with my opinion.” That is unqualified horse shit. Go follow that link and come back after you’ve read it.

      Also: I like Opeth and want them to succeed. I cannot begin to explain to you how much I am not invested in Opeth “sounding like they did before.” the problem is the writing. The writing is sloppy and something I don’t dig.

      • I did read that, and I respect you for it. Many reviewers act as if they are objective while being extremely subjective. A review is, of course, an opinion, and I’ve always held that a review states more about the reviewer than the thing being reviewed. A reviewer must be aware of this and consider it when writing the review.

        Even though a review is an opinion, it must consider all aspects of the work: it must provide a complete picture. There may be many who like some aspect that the reviewer didn’t consider, and they will disagree with the review. Everyone has his/her own preferences of what to focus on when experiencing a work of art. A good reviewer provides judgment on many of these focus points.

        I am not objecting to your review because it doesn’t fall in line with my opinions. What I object to, however, is that your review seems to indicate that “Heritage” is a horrible album – it most certainly isn’t.

        There are aspects to Heritage that are intricate, complex and intelligent: song structures (complex time signatures, unconventional scales and chord progressions), emotional capacity, arrangement (complicated, since different styles are mixed together), exceptional performances (just listen to the bass, keyboards and vocals), and a very natural sound (doesn’t feel processed at all). All of these are objective measures.

        When someone reads your review and sees your 2/5 rating, they will be inclined to believe that most of these aspects of the album are bad. That is clearly not the case: there is much effort and dedication involved in the album. You’ve said so yourself.

        Just because the album did not shine out on transitions and the “writing” as you call it, doesn’t make it horrible. It might make it horrible for you because that is your focus and you had high expectations. I respect your opinion on that.

        But there are other aspects of the album that have been given much effort, and your review doesn’t indicate that. You haven’t given any weight to them at all. There is a clear bias, and that is why this is just a poor review. 

        • Anonymous

          @Alok Meshram Well put!

      • dave lescinsky

        I have to agree with you AMG as I am a huge opeth fan and have fully embraced their many changes and transformations but as you stated……their still needs to be great songwriting…..many of these songs have incredible parts but none of them are put together as cohesively as earlier efforts.  Lines in your hand and pyre(bonus) may be the best examples of great songwriting on this record……many of the other tunes actually sound like jams and parts seemed forced to fit together. After a week with this release I still feel the same way. I am just hoping that this is a transitional record and opeth will come back even stronger! And even mediocre opeth is still heads above most……though I have to say that the Arch/Matheos may be my prog-metal release of the year!

  • Anonymous

    I guess I’m “that guy” that loved Watershed :/

    • It’s alright. You weren’t alone in your lapse of judgement. :p

    • Anonymous

      @BestServedCold Watershed is a work of art. You are not alone. Music, like all forms of art and expression is RELATIVE. We all come from different life experiences that have molded us into who and what we are. Therefor the whole world may hate something that you are in love with and that doesn’t make the world or you right. It’s all in the eye (or ears) of the beholder :-)

    • Yeeee, finally someone speaking the same language! I find it their best ever (having been their fan since the very beginning). Mature, powerful, surprising, diverse.

  • For what it’s worth (which should be absolutely nothing to any reviewer with integrity), I agree with all the points of the review.

    I feel particularly compelled to disagree with some of the points that mister Alok Meshram posted above me.  He states that the reviewer doesn’t appreciate “other aspects of the album: the way the songs flow into each other, and
    the way the whole album feels complete, and how it takes you through a
    journey of highs and lows.”

    The truth of the matter is, the songs DON’T flow into one another.  They simply bleed into each other like wet newspaper ink, with no regard for the form of the letters they were made from.  Saying that two songs flow into one another implies that the transition between them respects the structure and foundation of each song.  These transitions seem more like two grannies causing a fender bender in a parking lot.  The songs also don’t have any concept of moving between their respective highs and lows.  You can’t get to a high point without climbing up to it, and conversely you can’t get to a low point without walking down to it.  The “highs and lows” here resemble the blips on a heart monitor.

    There was a time when I might have defended this album.  I defended “Scarsick” by Pain of Salvation quite vehemently when it came out.  It took time to realize that I wasn’t standing at the threshold of some great new progressive experiment that my mind simply couldn’t comprehend the brilliance of, as even some of the reviewers that I most trust were wont to do.  In time, I came to accept the fact that most of the album just plain sucked.  I refuse to sink to that level of fanboyism again.  And let’s be clear, I’m a HUGE fan of every album Opeth put out between My Arms Your Hearse and Ghost Reveries.

    I won’t, however, be taking this journey with them.

    • I believe you might have misinterpreted my words. What I meant by “flow” was the emotional content in the songs and how it changes from one song to another. There is a certain journey embedded within the album, told through the songs.

      In simpler words, each song has specific emotional content that it evokes from the listener, and the way the songs have been arranged makes the listener go through a series of emotions that makes for a great experience.

      You seem to be focusing on the flow from a structural point of view, and I agree with you somewhat. “Blackwater Park” and “Ghost Reveries” were better in that area.

      This album, as I’ve stated, is a work in a different direction, focusing on a specific sound. That sound doesn’t focus on good structural transitions, nor does it focus on smooth dynamism (the “highs and lows”). It’s focus is to sound atmospheric, natural and “earthy”. That is the reason for the uneven highs and lows: it is part of the way the album was meant to be.

      In any case, there are many other features of the album the review didn’t consider, and that is what I don’t like about it. See my reply to AMG.

  • Anonymous

    I am listening to the album for the first time right now. It may be that my expectation to it were very low after reading this in depth review. However, after only one song left to go – I really love it! 

    So for those being a bit discourage after reading this review, don’t throw in the towel just yet. And I am sure Mr. Angry metal guy would like you to give it a chance despite his disappointment (-:

    I just like it so far. Not overanalyzing it, just giving my review based on the pleasant feelings invoked in myself as I listen. 

    Best regards and thanks Opeth once again!

  • Henrik Kindvall

    I just felt I had to add my view on this subject.

    Thing is, I’ve always loathed Opeth. Of course I’ve acknowledged their skills as musicians and Michael’s voice is godly both when it comes to clean and growls (I really like Bloodbath btw).I’ve listened to each and every Opeth record (apart from “Ghost Revires” and “Watershed”) and always failed to find something that even comes close to resemble a good song. Ok, so there were this one part somewher on “Blackwater Park” that I kinda enjoyed.

    But this record sounds like I always wanted Opeth to sound. It’s weird, because I really don’t enjoy any prog music whatsoever. I just felt that this is the first time that I actually UNDERSTAND what Opeth is all about. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the songs here are overall shorter in length compared to earlier Opeth-works that I now am able to enjoy them. Actually I think that it just may be that, as I think they’ve never been able to do anything interesting for their 10 minute+ songs. Give me lengthy In The Woods…-songs any day instead!

    Based on this, I can actually understand why those people that always liked Opeth (including the reviewer) feels that there are some things missing on “Heritage”. I, on the other hand, thinks it’s a step in the right direction for them. Not that this record is perfect by any means, but let’s put it like this: I’d probably give “Blackwater Park” (my “favourite” Opeth-record) something like 1/5 and “Heritage” 3.5/5…

    Hope that none of the Opeth-fanboys looks me up and tries to kill me… ;)

  • I’m afraid, when held up to their back catalogue, this album sucks a bag full of dicks.

    • Daniel Joyce

      The first 8 Opeth albums put every metal ban that ever tried to shame. The “epicness” of thier first 8 albums is unmatched and never will attempt to be matched by any other band.

  • this album is horrible.  I can’t believe how much better “sounds of a playground fading” is.  I never thought that In Flames would be able to surpass Opeth.

    Believe me, I am a DIE HARD opeth fan. I love EVERY SINGLE ALBUM SOOO GODDD DAMN MUCH, except watershed.

    Watershed showed that martin lopez’s departure and the lead guitarists departure was a detrimental thing to occur. this new album just proved it, the opeth we knew and loved is dead.

    • Anonymous

      Caultahgew, You’re ridiculous. 

    • haha die hard Opeth fan.. :P FUCK for what u said..

      they are always OPETH and always will be.. there is no single track from them that we hate or dislike.. u fucker jst go ahead and read the whole page of new Opeth website and u’ll get the answer for what they are trying to say(from new path).

      nobody cares if anyone dislike the new album. according to the new album art this album is the sun among the shining stars..

    • George Kirk

      Good point about Lopez leaving – they haven’t grooved the same way since. Lopez’ jazz stylings kept the drumming interesting, Axenrot just doesn’t have the same feel. As much as I enjoyed Watershed, it didn’t strike me as genius in the same fashion as Damnation, Deliverance, Blackwater Park or Ghost Reveries.

    • It is SO weird to hear that “Waterhed” was disliked by so many people. I actually didn’t read any reviews after that because, having been their avid fan since “Orchid” (yes, I am THAT old in loving them), I was absolutely sure that it would be treated as their absolute masterpiece… as I actually believe so. Martin Lopez was great but that doesn’t change the awesomeness of “Watershed”.

      With “Heritage” is a different story. I really tried to like it. I listened to it a lot of times in a row. I respect the way they tried,  I accept the fact they did that but the result is nothing more than a collection of ideas. Mikael’s self importance might have reached him by producing an album that is more intellectual and less soul-animated than the previous ones… exactly the same story as with Steven Wilson, a good friend of the band/sound engineer/producer.

      Lesson to be learned!

  • Anonymous

    Damn. This is one of those times when the phrase ‘To Each his own’ is the perfect statement. I’ve been an Opeth fan since ‘My Arms Your Hearse’ and I believe this album to be their most brilliant piece of art they’ve recorded. It reminds me of everything I loved about ‘Damnation’ but with even more Beauty. I admit it did take a few listens to click but when it did it was that Eureka moment you don’t find in much Metal coming out these days. I respect the opinion of the Reviewer but am in complete disagreement with everything he stated was wrong with it. But you know what they say about opinions ;P 

    • That yours is just as stinky as mine? Yeah, that’s about right. ;)

  • Anonymous

    You only listen to albums that you think have cool album covers? You went all the way Retarded with that statement. Really. ALL THE WAY Retarded lol

  • I respect the Ã…kerfeldt originality on this album and some of the tracks do grab my attention but overall i feel it is messy and incomplete. I love Opeth and I hope that with their next album they will return to their original and godly roots.

  • elmuffino

    I like how you can state why you don’t like something, instead of just saying you don’t like it. I think you have a very valuable opinion; i often check AMG before buying a record. However, even with this review, i have pre ordered “Heritage” and am waiting for its arrival. I hope you are wrong, but from I’ve heard, this record is a letdown. 


    • I hope I’m wrong, too. I mean, I am just as invested as everyone else is in Opeth’s success. I love the band, they’re fucking great. But this isn’t great and I can’t say that I like it.

  • Great album, harsh(but partly true review. This album suffers greatly from a disjointed disease :) Akerfeldt composed bits and parts and let a 3 year old put the puzzle together). Anyway, I love this album, i really do. Transitions would have made this album almost perfect, but it is still a great piece of work!

  • disappointment?? dude even if opeth tried to make an bad album they couldnt!!shit review!! , learn to listen to music then try again bitch!

  • I thought I’d plop my hat in the ring and agree with someone’s comment that this review is spot on for being honest in how it picks up on the main faults of the album. Kudos to AMG for being brave enough to withstand the onslaught of fanboys.

    It’s just all so disappointing.

  • Anonymous

    I read about 10 comments that people left that you replied to, and it’s obvious that you’re just an immature, easily butthurt guy, and you can’t stand when people disagree with you. Just the few comments/back-and-forths that I read that you had with these people, you always lashed back when all the person was doing was offering a different opinion. Your review is not the say-all for this album, get over it. I would give this album a 5/5 easily. Then again, Damnation is my favorite album, so it’s not a surprise. You went on forever about lousy transitions, but so what? That means it should be a 2/5? Fanboys (including me) shouldn’t write reviews, cause we’re just biased. And you sound just like every basement dweller out there, “…it is not a record that I think really belongs in the same breath as the band’s earlier stuff.” It’s not trying to be the early stuff. And I know I’m whining a bit, but my point is, your opinion means nothing in the grand scheme of things, which is something you clearly don’t understand.

    • He isn’t concerned when people disagree, only when people misinterpret or especially when people downright misquote his review.  That’s not being immature or “butthurt.”  By the way, I don’t agree with the review either.  My contention is that he said some good things about the album whereas I think it’s 100% a piece of shit.  Most of the songs don’t go anywhere.  I despise country music, but I think there are some country songs I’d rather listen to than this piece of shit. 

  • Matt Smith

    I’ve listened to this once, and it hasn’t stuck with me. The Devil’s Orchard is a great song and has been stuck in my head, but overall I feel underwhelmed. It usually takes me more than a few listens to “get” the album, so maybe that’s the case here.

    I think I’d like it a lot more if I knew that this new direction wasn’t a permanent departure. But I don’t, and with Opeth being my favorite band, that worries me.

  • Matt Smith

    I’ve listened to this once, and it hasn’t stuck with me. The Devil’s Orchard is a great song and has been stuck in my head, but overall I feel underwhelmed. It usually takes me more than a few listens to “get” the album, so maybe that’s the case here.

    I think I’d like it a lot more if I knew that this new direction wasn’t a permanent departure. But I don’t, and with Opeth being my favorite band, that worries me.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, I can’t believe anyone who is really moved by Opeth can think this a “genuine disappointment.” It is definitely not going to be liked by a lot of opeth fans, but we’re not living in a vacuum here. Looking at the whole evolution of Opeth, this release is neither surprising nor disappointing one bit. We can get technical and talk about jarring transitions (which I do agree, there are a few indulgent, awkward ones), but the feel of the music still very much retains the grandeur and sophistication that is at the core of Opeth’s spirit.  After Ghost Reveries came along, I have come to understand the new direction of Opeth.  Even so,  Heritage is a beautiful, timeless movement that should not be compared to any of Opeth’s previous METAL albums. It’s a step forward, even as it is a nod to nostalgia.  The more I listen to it, the more I still detect the same Opeth blueprint but in a different form. Beauty and darkness? Check. Slow/hard transitions? Check. Pysched out interludes? Check. Immense texture? Check. And yes, it’s NOT DEATH METAL. Opeth will lose fans from this, but will also solidify and gain new ones. Life evolves people, deal with it.

  • Chris Oyler

    You’ve pegged it for me.  “Disjointed” is absolutely how I’d describe this album and it makes it very hard to enjoy.  I’ve had this on repeat in my player since I received it and am really trying hard, but there are just too few moments that I can grab on to and savor without being jolted and shoved toward the next bit of noodling. 

    Since Opeth isn’t prolific in the slightest, that makes the disappointment even more crushing since I know I’ll have to wait another 4 years to see where they go next.  I’ll be filing this one in the back of my catalog…even behind Watershed.  Bummer.


    I could list the standard disclaimer about how I like Opeth’s prog influences and how I don’t mind when a band changes radically, but I won’t.  Just trust that I don’t dislike this disc simply because of the style of music it contains and because it’s different than what they “normally” do.

  • No matter how many fanboys this album will make angry, Opeth will always have an edge over all the other bands in their supposed “genre”. Mikael is one of the only songwriters in metal who understands that you can’t just change a few boring riffs to 7/8 or to a 13/4 time signature and then expect to be called “great prog metal”. This album was brilliant because it contained some actually progressive and tricky ideas, and not just regular sections that were somehow bend/twisted around to sound progressive.

  • Great review! That’s exactly how I feel about this album. The more often I listen to it the more disappointed I get. I tried to like it but it is impossible.

  • I had hoped for perhaps something with a tiny bit more punch when I first heard this album.. althouhg a good album, I feel it could have been done.. well better I guess… I didnt get the “Oh My Fucking God”  feeling of awesomenes as when I first heard Blackwater park (the track first and foremost, although I like that album very much).
    this album sort of just leave me standing in a small room in vacuum, trying to figure out what I liked the most… I guess I feel the songs here are just longer versions of breaks in some of the heavier songs.. although the breaks are awesome they kind of miss some of that dark element.. so personally I’d give this album a 3/5 for personal preferance.

  • I agree completely with the transitions, the album flips about in the middle of songs for no apparently good reasons and songs don’t feel like they’re progressing to something new but actually disrupted. I like it, i don’t hate it, and I’ve enjoyed all Opeth’s work before it, but, compositionally, the lack of a feel of cohesion this time out hurts the album. Kudos to Angry Metal Guy on this one. (Also, the bonus tracks, for me, seem more solid than the album tracks proper…)

  • George Kirk

    Your review articulated in a most excellent fashion how I feel about this album. This is the first Opeth album I have ever thought “meh – this is OK – not great, just OK” – and I am a huge fan of 70s prog, jazz fusion and other types of music. Compared to the genius of the rest of their back catalog, I find this album disappointing.

  • Nice review. Firm but fair I think. I’m still giving it a chance to grab me though.

  • Anonymous

    My 2 cents.
    First of all I would like to say how impressed I am by the intelligence
    of the people who have posted here. I get slammed all the time by people who think Death/Extreme metal is for pimply faced, socially inept 14 year old boys .
    I am 45 and I have always been struck how articulate and smart the fans of this great art form are. My hats off to all of you.

    My juries still out on this one. Songs,  in general are good.
    It hasn`t clicked just yet. Ackerfelts music sometimes take many listens to get. I couldn`t even get all the way through MYAH for a number of years,  Now its my hands down favorite.
    My favorite part of this album is the bass.
    My God is Lopez a spectacular bass player, playing beautifully in the pocket and then releasing a gorgeous melodic line. Sublime.
    Production is good but not great. Mikes vocals sound a little strained in some places could be his age  or possibly some vocal damage from the growling. Lets hope not.
    I have the utmost respect for ANY artist who truly follows his heart, I believe this is what Mike has done from the beginning. I fully support this album and will be seeing them when they play California.
    8/10 stars.

  • A lot of feedbacks for this one, huh! Well, I feel like a black sheep, because this record grew on me like hell (lame pun involving the artwork =P)… I understand your issues with the album, I had the same sensation of jarred transition and disjointed elements at first…

    Then, trying to comprehend this record, I began a retrospective journey into the realms of progressive rock, from well known acts like King Crimson, Genesis & Camel to obscure but shining gems like Van Der Graaf Generator, Comus, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso & Kaipa. Music I know and loved before acquired new dimensions and beauty during this (trippy) trip, until I came back to Heritage and it clicked on me and started to grow.

    I hold your opinions in high regard, so I’m not starting to screw over you review (which incidentally is very well written, adding various consistent motivation to the rating)… For me, it was just a problem of perception. I thought in terms of musical sections, of transitions, of time signature changes, but the strenght of Heritage lies in the indefinible sensation of menace it brings. Every listen is like listening to the sound of impending doom. The fractured structure of many songs for me is deliberate, done to increase this sensation, which incidentally is the same sensation given to me by masterpieces like Red or Pawn Hearts. Altough Heritage is not on the same level, in my opinion it stands as a positive landmark for Opeth’s sound into the progressive lands. And I’m thrilled to see where Opeth’s growing branches will lead

    A note: fantastic artwork, intimately connected with both the musical part and the history of the band

  • dude!i dont have time to write but i tell you this!U R NOT an opeth fan!if u were u knew whatever Rivfader666 feels,u should know that opeth is not a regular band and their songs make a LOTTT of sense after a while!that’s what makes it different and fabulous!!!!and i cant believe u think the first two minutes haxprocess is irrelevant!!!the first two minutes is what makes you feel shattered when the acoustic guitar after that begins to play!!!i dont know what to say!but a lot of things are said in this review that are not true!i’m just sorry but u r not an opeth fan!infact you look at their music like a rookie!sry i didnt mean to be rude! 

  • Jango Solzhenitsyn

    I was never an Opeth Fan. Always saw people worshiping Opeth, so downloaded Ghost Reveries and absolutely hated it. Got an opportunity to watch them live but didn’t go because I hated the band. This was two years ago.

    Now listened to Heritage and loved it. I mean absolute devotional love. Listened to Damnation and Blackwater Park loved them too.

    I have still not started to like Ghost Reveries but when I listen to the song ‘Heritage’ I literally see haunting images.

  • It’s a transitional album. Many bands have gone through this. Examples are endless. See Anathema, Amorphis, Ulver, and so on.
    It’s all about shifting into another form/genre while experimenting. Looking forward to the next album, while I sit this one out. We’ll just have to see if that brilliant songwriting is there anymore, or it’s just run out. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never lent an ear to Opeth before. But this album sounds terrific. Ambiant, Ian Andersonesque sometimes, powerful. Death metal is long distance here, and that’s a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    OK, I listened to Heritage over and over again… I dig it. 

    I went to see Opeth last night at Rams Head Live in Baltimore… Absolute garbage!!!!  It was like Opeth disappeared and some lounge jazz act showed up…  I mean throw me a bone here!!  The entire show was clean vocals. 

    While I do like the album “Heritage” seeing it live is very boring and disappointing, unless you are in a cozy lounge reclining on a leather chair sipping something “hippie”.  I waited 4 years to see Opeth live and I was disappointed to say the least.

    Katatonia opened for Opeth… nothing going on there!

  • Couldn’t agree more with AMG.  Seems though if you criticise this album you are viewed as a narrow minded metalhead who lacks imagination.  Truth is most of the album is just egotistical musical masturbation with no regard for the listener.  It’s embarrasing to listen to, it’s poorly executed and I have to say I think Akerfeldt has finally lost his head up his ass.  He seems to have forgotten that music is still supposed to be entertaining and for me, Ghost Reveries was the last album that was actually entertaining.  He’s also started acting like a bit of Diva on tour.  Worrying times for Opeth, and I say that as someone that’s been enjoying their music since the release of My arms your hearse.

    I enjoy Jazz, Blues, Prog Rock, Metal, Classical, Electronica, so it’s not as if I am that narrow minded, I just feel that their more traditional format of a Metal base flavoured with Jazz, Folk and Prog Rock (sounds a bit like pizza?) is what they do best, and the more they mess with that formula, the worse the music gets.

    Take your head out of your ass Mike, accept that some things you do better than others and get on with making decent music.

    Oh and don’t just glue passages of music onto the end of songs, because it’s a cool passage of music.  If it don’t fit, it don’t fit (the point of that heavy passage glued onto the end of “A fair judgement” on Deliverance for example ??)

    Best thing about this album is the cover.  I also agree wholeheartedly with Vince Rayner :)

  • Anonymous

    “Martin Axenrot is finally achieving Lopez-style jazz feel…”

    Ha! I think the major thing that is overlooked in every review I’ve read about “Heritage” is that the current line-up just doesn’t have the capacity as musicians to play the music that Akerfeldt is trying to achieve. Even Mikael, himself, is guilty of this as well, imho. 

    Martin’s drumming is no where close to Lopez because Martin is just a Metal drummer. A damn good Metal drummer,but, just that. You can hear that Lopez was raised around Jazz when he was growing up because the riffs & fluidity sound natural not forced like with Martin’s style. Plus, Lopez didn’t use the same Ghost notes on the snare over and over again. In this style of music, you can hear Axenrot’s limited ability just like when Neil Peart tried playing Jazz.

    Overall, I think Opeth had a fantastic formula and they knew their limitations. However, with Heritage, I feel like they forgot who they were.  Sure, I agree that Extreme music is getting boring because most bands are only concerned with speed & technicality,but, Opeth proved they could combine the extreme with the psychedelic successfully.  But, you can’t forsaken strong song-writing skills when you don’t have the ability to play fusion. Damnation was fucking awesome because they played on their strengths and didn’t let their influences go to their head. Seriously, how many of you realized that Damnation & Deliverance were from the same recording sessions?! What happened to that Opeth?

    • Yeah, I think Axenrot is getting there. I feel like this is easily his best drumming for the band to date. 

  • Im sick of hearing the “im a truly Opeth fan” stuff. Blah blah.. hear the album damn it! it’s bloody good!  what I’m really disappointed is on those “real” fans and such. Enjoy the music! is amazing!

    • I am a true Opeth fan. And I don’t like this record. One can be a fan of something and not like the output.

  • David Hall

    You need to consider this album on it’s own and ignore Opeth’s back catalogue. The appeal of this album will also depend on your music taste.

    For me I love 70s style prog rock. I think this album is arguably slightly better than Ghost Reveries and possibly their best since Blackwater Park. However it took me 2 months of constant listening to realise this.

    • I don’t think that’s fair. Why does one have to pretend other things didn’t happen in order to enjoy this? If this had been something good, I would have liked it regardless of the band’s back catalogue or not. When I reference the band’s back catalogue, I’m not talking about whether or not they’re performing the kind of music I expect them to, I’m pointing out that the writing is subpar.

      What I expected was a prog record with great writing. What I got was a prog record with bad writing. Back catalogue had little to do with it.

  • Al Heckman

    “But while Heritage retains Opeth‘s voice …, it does not retain its genius” – That says it all.  I completely agree.  I thought Opeth could do no wrong, but this is – as you said – a genuine disappointment.  Yes, they have achieved a compelling sound on this album.  And I appreciate that they wanted to have an earthy and real sounding album, but the songs themselves just don’t do it for me, although there are moments of brilliance. The beautiful moments, such as the start of “I Feel the Dark” are brought down by the awkwardness of the rest of the song and its just disappointing in the end.  My biggest fear is that Opeth may have lost it.  Damnation, for me, showed that Opeth doesn’t have to do metal to be brilliant, but Heritage is a mixed bag that is worrisome for such a great band.

  • Cerulean Nightmare

    It took me a couple listens to truly appreciate this album for what it is and you do not have to ignore Opeth’s back catalouge to do so. It’s not a “progressive masterpiece”.  But it is quite amazing and Folklore tops the cake for me. A great ending.

     I think people are very quick to throw labels and high expectations at every Opeth release.  I’m one of those that do not give Watershed full playtime. I have to pick songs and throw them into my own playlist where as every other Opeth Release gets its full play from me. 

    This band always says they play for themselves and hope that you also enjoy it.  If you don’t that’s fine.  Though they do not deserve the thrashing they are getting on this release.  It shows lack of true understanding of these artists.  They are ARTISTS  first.

    They do not play for a specific group of fans. Every release of theirs speaks to that. They progress in their style and I’m quite certain they will revisit the heavy shit in future releases.  I’m not sure why people feel they wont. None of them have stated they were through with growls and aggressive styling.   

    I raise  my cup to Opeth and anticipate the Heritage Hunter tour. I extremely excited to see Ghost.  I saw Opeth with their last run on Heritage through NYC and I totally dug the whole thing.  If you don’t like Heritage. Please don’t go to this tour. People yapping during the show were annoying.

  • Daniel Joyce

    This album is clearly not the “Opeth” we have grown to love with the best growls, the best classic acoustic guitar/singing along with spectacular druming and guitar rifts that give you chills it’s so epic. I for one thought that there is no other band in this world that could compete with Opeth’s “epicness” and I still do think this when reguarding their first 8 albums. But Watershed started the downfall…while I think Watershed is actually better than Heritage…it was still bad as in the quality of the music. I’m not saying it’s bad as in Opeth sucks! I’m saying the quality, the “epicness” of the music was like it was recorded in a basement instead of a studiot. Heritage takes this to a whole new level…the drum work on this album is hideous…WTF happend? Sounds like whoever is playing the drums in this album is a amature to be honest. The epic “electric metal” guitar rifts in Heritage are non-existent. This album to me sounds like a completely different band all together. The only good thing about Heritage is that Mikale got to make a album that he always wanted to make and I respect him for that but hate him for that at the same time. Who else is with me on this? I am a Opeth fan for life but it hurts me to see them go in this direction. PLEASE BRING BACK THE GROWLS AND “EPICNESS” while still keeping the “soft rock”?? approach heard in Heritage!!!!

  • Johannes Laass

    I listened to “Heritage” just recently and while my musical taste grew beyond Opeth to never come back I fear I liked the music except for the vocals which made me leave the band behind in the first place. I just can’t stand this egocentric mastermind shit. Which for me reached a first peak in Ghost Reveries already so I still admire the 7 albums before and no more. The warm sound suits the band way better than the technical overproduced metal mainstream of the two last albums before “Heritage” I think. Opeth created a certain style so why would they dismiss the organic part of it and go clicky-trigger-flat-shiny? So this is the real progressive (modern) part about it, not so much the songwriting which is like Damnation but less authentic and less dark. I just wanted to add this as a Non-Fanboy or Once-A-Fanboy. I really like your reviews and the very much alive community in here. The good thing about it is that we don’t have to agree on anything you write and still be delighted by the thoughts flowing around here, thank you.

    • Thanks for the kind words about the site. We try to make it a place for opinion exchanges without all the trolling and flaming.

  • One of my biggest musical disappointments in the last decade, followed by a banal and depressing tour of same. Opeth’s stand out quality was their use of aural light and shade, growling and clean, now diminished to nostalgia, or perhaps prophetically a heritage act in future? I always respect a band’s need for creative change, but this is not an album I can relate to.
    Thankful for their astounding back catalogue, which I will cherish as I predict Opeth has now peaked. Astute review. Thanks.

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  • smallwolf

    Just got into opeth recently. Yah, a late comer. Like this just as much as the older style. Yes it is different, some have a sound similar to Pink Floyd in my opinion. lyrically might not compare with older stuff, but still better than most of the dross on the air waves.