Opeth have reached their tenth observation as they like to refer to their albums. After many rumours and talks about it, that took place before the release of “Heritage” , here’s a small review of what you’re about to hear.
I had this small nightmare going on in my head, before the release of “Heritage” after listening to “Devil’s Orchard”… To be honest, it got me pissed… I was annoyed by the guitar sound, annoyed by the general idea of exclusively clean vocals and in general, I lost all ground as one of my favourite bands had something so different ready to release. Unfortunately, I’ll have to say, these thoughts didn’t get away when I listened the album in its entirety. It’s quite weird though, since Opeth have been so different from one record to another and progress being the only right word to discribe precisely their back catalogue, why “Heritage” doesn’t move me at all…
Here’s where I’ll just have to explain further myself, and I’ll do it track by track…
A haunting and promising piano instrumetal intro, I’d rather say brilliant and wise in its “first track” place as an Opeth record opening track.
02. Devil’s Orchard
A mid/fast tempo 70s track with great drumming, an Opeth classic opening riff and a middle section surprisingly in the likes of Watershed but with sound of King Crimson hunting every note but the vocal lines…”God Is Dead”
03. I Feel The Dark
A six minute track placed into two sections…One in the likes of an Opeth ballad (Porcelain Heart) with the intro of a classical guitar and the main theme following with an acoustic…till a weird sound fires everyone and another track gradually builds with a riff which is gently moving us back to the first minutes and fades…
Here I just have to say that Ritchie Blackmore would be proud. Opeth have officially dedicated this track to the Voice of Rock the unforgetable Mr. R.J.Dio, and all I can say is that Rainbow’s “Kill the King” hasn’t ever been so well “interpreted” by a prog death metal band, well that’s what Opeth stood for so far, as long as tags are concerned, with the classical guitars in the end reminding me of Black Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell outro guitars.One of the best tracks…moving, fast and to the point.
To be honest I didn’t get some parts of it. It’s split into 5 or six sections slow bluesy-jazzy-slow again-jazzy solo-slow again. The slow parts seemed like a sharper version of Albatross by Fleetwood Mac…the jazzy ones could fit to any fusion rock band of the 70s..Bizarre…and I have to admit that those parts of jazzy explosions seem to last to short for my tastes.
Another ballad type song in the likes of ballads done in the latest Opeth records; Sleepy and somehow too long.
And here’s where things get a little bit more strange…Percussions(by legendary Alex Acuña) and a ritualistic atmosphere giving me a straight memory recall of when I first heard Weather Report’s “Black Market”, no doubt that was the point of it eitherway…A piano/voice section followed by a complex riff in the Opeth style back with rather simple and usual vocal lines,and after a Rush breakthrough into a vast doomy riff accompanied by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)- I’m just joking because here you’ll get the chance to hear Björn Johansson Lindh. And after some listens to this song it actually sounds almost more Opeth than all the others…
08. The Lines in My Hand
Al Di Meola meets Martin Mendez and Opeth pay tribute to fusion rock once again. Although it doesn’t make any sense of a summer breeze song in an Opeth record. Great bass lines although…Short track, might do for some, not me.
Camel have always been Mikael Akerfeldt’s love and here’s the only track that somehow reminds me of really good Opeth material in the style we’ve known so far. Best track for sure, with the last guitar melodies stucking in your head from the first listen. Excellent…
10. Marrow of the Earth
A goodbye track of slow tempo guitars mostly, no vocals a classic instrumental track ideal to wave you goodbye…till next time…
Now that you read this track by track description, I’ll focus on the production which actually couldn’t be more fit as these songs have nothing to do with the classic Opeth sound we’ve all waited for. Furthermore, I have to admit that I’m really curious about how these songs will sound with an audience attending…They really are good record songs but will they work on stage…I’m sure we’ll know in few months. Finally, I have to admit that the vocal lines sounded to have repeated themselves with older songs from the back catalogue, in many parts of this record, as so sounded some guitar licks here and there. This is something I couldn’t expect and didn’t like at all. Of course the sound of all the instruments, although ideal for these songs, are nowhere near to what you can expect.
Earthly, as these songs where described by Mikael Akerfeldt himself few days before the actual release of the record, and also as “the record that seems to be preparing since he was 19 yrs of age” I could say that it is a vast and quite experimental turn? Or just another experiment in the rollercoaster of Opeth releases ??? Who knows but himself…It really isn’t what you expect although the high level of musicality and great playability is overseen in the entirety of “Heritage”. Maybe if it was more Opeth in some way, it could be more well received…
|Track List||Line Up|
02. The Devil’s Orchard
03. I Feel the Dark
08. The Lines in My Hand
10. Marrow of the Earth
|Mikael Åkerfeldt – Vocals, Guitars, Mellotron, Piano
Martín Méndez – Bass
Martin Axenrot – Drums, Percussions
Fredrik Åkesson – Guitars, Guitars
Joakim Svalberg – Keyboards