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Opeth, ‘Heritage’ – Album Review

Opeth 'Heritage'
Roadrunner Records

Swedish metal act Opeth are back with their 10th album, ‘Heritage,’ and the disc marks a departure from the band’s signature sound.

Opeth have taken a different route on the album, as frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt chose not to growl or deliver heavy vocals on the record.

‘Heritage’ opens with a solemn instrumental piano piece which then leads into the disc’s first single, ‘The Devil’s Orchard.’

‘The song is a gloomy yet jazzy and funky tune which highlights the complex guitar playing by Åkerfeldt and Karl Fredrik Åkesson. The track also displays Martin “Axe” Axenrot’s chaotic drum patterns and the intricate bass lines of Martin Mendez, not to mention the spiraling nightmarish keyboard playing of Per Wiberg. ‘Heritage’ marks the end of Wiberg’s journey with the band, as he decided to leave Opeth after recording the disc.

The third track on the album, ‘I Feel Dark,’ allows Åkerfeldt to show off his soulful vocals, as the song sounds like a sultry lullaby in the beginning. The tune takes the listener on a groovy roller-coaster ride by switching up the tempo throughout the almost seven minute track.

Tracks like ‘Slither’ and ‘The Lines in My Hand’ both pick up the pace of the album with an experimental vibe that has traces of 1960s psychedelic rock. Åkerfeldt says in a press release that the album is “quite intense at times in some ‘old’ murky way, and quite beautiful and stark at times, if I may say so myself.”

Just as the album began, it ends with an instrumental piece. The concluding song is titled ‘Marrow of the Earth’ and includes light drum and keyboard patterns as well as clean electric and acoustic guitar riffs.

Åkerfeldt own statement on the album sums it up best: “It’s obvious I’m going to say nice things about it since I wrote, basically, the whole piece, but I guess it will raise a few eyebrows and it certainly is an acquired taste.”

4 Stars

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