Opeth: Heritage

The much anticipated tenth album from Swedish prog metallers, Opeth, has finally arrived to some apprehension, but respect. If you’re expecting some more evil sounding, classic Opeth style songs with growling vocals and all the fixings, then you’ll sorely be disappointed. However, I think you won’t be disappointed enough to completely cast out the album, but rather embrace it for being a step in right direction for the band after taking a big leap of faith. Even though it’s not a classic Opeth record, I think many people will remember this record for being a game-changer and hopefully will respect the album.

Now, I’m not the biggest Opeth fan, but I have liked everything that I’ve heard by them so far, and even though this isn’t my favorite album by them, it’s still a very strong record and I do enjoy listening to it. It’s very…different to say the least. It’s also very silly in terms of the way they do things that Opeth have never done before. For starters, there is not one single growling vocal on the entire record. It’s all clean vocals and it’s also very progressive in a 60s-70s classic rock style that reminded me of Jethro Tull or King Crimson. It’s sounds like a collection of Opeth’s influences coming out and thereby showing Opeth’s true colors.

That being said, in terms of the songs on this album, there aren’t many and their seems to be a lack of direction in some spots. There’s some bad transitions and there are a couple moments where it just feels like the song is going nowhere fast. It’s certainly not the strongest Opeth record songwriting-wise (That i would say goes to “Ghost Reveries”), but despite some of the obvious faults, the equally obvious musicianship of the bandmates is mind-blowingly impressive. The musicianship on the album is brilliant though, laced with beautiful melodies and intricate guitar hooks. It’s all very progressive and surreal, but I can’t for the life of me pick out a single, let alone songs that would fit well into an Opeth live set. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Opeth are one of those bands that can put out a record as extreme as this and still have all of their fans love them for what they are and never turn their backs on the band. If a band like Lamb of God or Children of Bodom did an album like this, it would be the end of that band as we know it.

Some songs that stuck out for me was the opening title track, which is a beautifully dark and devilishly attractive piano solo that fades into the song, “The Devil’s Orchard”. I also really liked the tune “Slither” and the beginning to the song “Haxprocess”. I would say that to an extent, this album is definitely a grower and requires you to be in the right mood for it for maximum listening satisfaction. It also is the winner for the most ridiculous album cover of 2011 to date. If you havent’ seen it it’s a lone tree in an Orchard with all of the band members’ heads on the tree. Look it up, it’s ridiculous.

Personally, I think it’s a great record. I’m all for bands pushing the boundaries of their sound/ style and I think every band needs to reinvent themselves to some extent every couple of records, and I believe that Opeth should be applauded for this record. It’s not their best record, but like I said before, it’s a game changer for sure and one that will be remembered for the impact it made more so than the songs featured on the album.


Luke Helker


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