Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Roadrunner Records
Format: Double Gatefold 2LP (Personal Collection)
Mikael has done it again. A stunning display of technical prowess (which he seems to always humbly undermine in interviews) and a deft hand at good old fashioned songcraft takes an epic win once again for Opeth. Also showing Opeth and their fans love, Roadrunner has put out a great collection for us all. It’s simple, but still wonderfully done.
A double gatefold with beautiful art from Travis Smith containing two black records is what I got. The records themselves are held in old school styled sleeves, plain white paper with clear plastic over the holes to see the record’s label. A lyric sheet is included, with all the album credits on one side and all the lyrics on the other.
The inside of the gatefold is photos of the band in the studio during the recording of Heritage, while the back is a simplistic tracklist. Visually, the album really stands on the front cover, as you can see above.
Musically, it’s quite different from what we’ve grown accustomed to. Gone are Mikael’s death growls, which most people are going to hear this change first. Also gone is the metallic sounds, relying on hard rock and prog rock to take the listener through a sometimes psychedelic journey. There are still Opethian things, parts that remind me of the Ghost Reveries album and even touches of Watershed and Still Life are present, too.
Hammond B3, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, grand piano, and acoustic guitars, all in use by Opeth in the past, are even bigger in the sound now, sometimes taking the song delivery away from the electric guitars and becoming lead instruments rather than just pretty backing colors. Personally, this is a good thing. Growth has always shown between albums for Opeth, and between Watershed and Heritage there has been the largest growth for the band, and it’s because of their desire to just write a prog rock album rather than flirting with the idea.
Album highlights for me are numerous, but the songs “The Devil’s Orchard”, “Slither” (written as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio and a killer live song) and “Famine” really stand out as favorites. The only problem, and the main problem for all Opeth albums really, is that there just are not enough songs to hear.
10 out of 10.
Heritage 2LP Tracklisting:
2. The Devil’s Orchard
3. I Feel The Dark
8. The Lines In My Hand
10. Marrow Of The Earth
Fredrik Åkesson – Electric rhythm and lead guitars
Martin Mendez – Electric and upright bass guitars
Martin Axenrot – Drums and percussion
Alex Acuña – Percussion on “Famine”
Per Wiberg – Hammond B3, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Grand Piano
Björn J:son Lindh – Flute on “Famine”
Mikael Åkerfeldt – Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, Mellotron, Grand Piano, FX
Joakim Svalberg – Grand Piano on “Heritage”