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OpEd

Engaging In "Ghost Reveries:" A Fan's Look At Missing Opeth's True "Heritage"

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Our “Sunday Old School” column covering the legendary Swedish progressive death metal act Opeth is just on the horizon, and we’ve decided to take this opportunity to look more in-depth at the band’s latest album “Heritage,” which has divided the fanbase. While I personally find the album disappointing, other members of the MetalUnderground.com staff hold differing opinions. If you don’t fancy my take on the album, Rex_84’s opposing look at “Heritage” may be more to your tastes.

Before the album was released I made of point to avoid listening to any advance tracks, wanting to hear the upcoming masterpiece in its entirety with no preconceived notions of what I was going to be experiencing. Although I gave it a 3.5 out of 5 in the final review, I have to confess my opinion of the album lessens every time I listen to it. With the exception of “The Devil’s Orchard,” I’m at a point where I almost hate this album.

I should reveal up front that I’m one of those people that would easily get labeled an Opeth fanboy on any given Internet discussion. If you’ve ever complained about how fans of the Swedish outfit are “pretentious” or “snobby,” you were probably talking about me. My CD case isn’t arranged alphabetically or even by genre – it’s arranged in order of bands I listen to most frequently to bands I listen to least often. “Orchid” through “Watershed” occupy the first nine spots in that case.

The first time I ever heard Opeth was on my 14th birthday, and it’s a tale I enjoy sharing whenever metal stories come up in conversation. Being raised in a very Christian home, under no circumstances was I ever to be listening to something with loud guitars and indiscernible vocals. Jars of Clay and Rebecca St. James were the order of the day, and Audio Adrenaline was the heaviest thing going on. With my family gathered around for the birthday bash, my older brother passed me a computer game as a gift, and this was back when PC software came in those ridiculously oversized boxes. Peaking inside the box, I see a copy of “My Arms, Your Hearse” had been covertly placed underneath the game manual, safely out of parental view.

My exposure to so-called “real” metal was actually fairly limited at that point. Sure, I’d heard Metallica and whatnot on MTV, but as far as actual honest-to-Lucifer extreme metal, my experiences were essentially limited to a Destiny’s End album and one Samael EP, so I had no idea what to expect when popping that CD into the player. I certainly didn’t think the album would be starting with the sounds of rain and piano notes before the metal hit, and then suddenly my world exploded. That shit on the radio everyone was listening to? That wasn’t music anymore. THIS was music.

Hearing that album, I never would have guessed one day I’d be shaking front man Mikael Akerfeldt’s hand or talking metal with him in the Opeth tour bus, but almost a decade later my first-ever interview for Metalunderground.com happened to be on the 2008 Prog Nation tour. Honestly I must have been a blathering, star-eyed idiot for that whole conversation, because the love affair that started on my 14th birthday had only grown since then into a full blown obsession.

But that extreme adoration is why the flop of latest album “Heritage” has had such a big impact for many die-hard fans such as myself. In my review, I mentioned how I had worshipped at the altar of Opeth for a good long time, but “Heritage” had officially shaken my faith with its subpar execution of a previously stellar formula. Now before anyone cries foul and attacks my elitism and unwillingness to listen to something that isn’t extreme metal, let me get something out of the way: the lack of death growls is not what kills “Heritage.” Opeth’s all clean foray with “Damnation” is one of the band’s best albums – it’s moody, dark, and still has all the unique song structures you’d expect based on the clean songs on any other Opeth release. But unfortunately “Heritage” isn’t on equal footing with “Damnation,” and individual tracks from “Heritage” can’t even stand up to the less-heavy songs on pretty much any of the earlier albums.

For instance, compare “Haxprocess” to “Burden,” the softest offering on previous album “Watershed.” The opening to “Haxprocess” is almost intriguing, and probably could have been amazing had it wove the themes of a witch trial into Opeth’s normally amazing heavy/soft dichotomy, but the song immediately goes limp, and stays that way.

At under seven minutes, it’s fairly short for an Opeth song, but a mere three minutes in and it’s already overstayed its welcome with long stretches of repetitive nothingness. And – oh look! – drummer Martin Axenrot even gets to tap his cymbals every now and again (probably asleep with his hand on auto-pilot). Somewhere around four minutes of essentially nothing, especially toward the second half of the song, could have been cut out and resulted in a track that was actually worth listening through.

“Famine” is an even worse offender in this category, ending up essentially being an interlude track composed of interlude snippets. While individual parts may be interesting or worthwhile, the whole thing doesn’t even come close to stacking up against the softer or piano-driven tracks on other albums. Normally I love non-metal instruments showing up in metal albums (like the fiddle in Hardingrock, the saxophone on Ihsahn’s solo albums, or any given orchestral Therion track), but I can’t help but laugh and think of Ron Burgundy talking about “baby making music” when the track’s ridiculous flute solo shows up about five minutes in.

To hear the contrast more strongly, play “Famine,” then listen to “A Fair Judgment” from the “Deliverance” album. The former sounds like four or five interludes that couldn’t be effectively placed on other songs, and is only occasionally engaging. The latter is interesting the whole way through while still using only clean singing and utilizing several piano and acoustic guitars segments. Adding insult to injury, “A Fair Judgment” is a full three minutes longer, and it still holds up interest better than the shorter and more succinct “Famine.”

Likewise from my previous comparison, “Burden” off the “Watershed” disc sounds like an actual song, crafted and composed specifically to be a track that didn’t happen to include growling. “Haxprocess” on the other hand, like most of “Heritage,” sounds like the rejected intros, outros, and interludes that hit the cutting room floor and never made it on to the past Opeth albums. Even if the bizarre guitar de-tuning at the end of the “Burden” is a turn off, it’s still only limited to the end of the song, instead of filling the whole album.

The disparity only becomes more readily apparent if we use other Opeth songs without growls, such as “Porcelain Heart,” which has only clean vocals, but at least still has instances of heavier guitar work. That entire dimension of Opeth – the thing that once prompted the band members to say they “exist in a genre of one” – is almost entirely gone from “Heritage.”

It’s no secret that Opeth is Mikael Akerfeldt’s machine, especially after the loss of two long-time members in previous years, but frankly it seems like both drummer Martin Axenrot and guitarist Frederick Akesson are completely wasted in the band’s “Heritage” era. Both are skilled in the more extreme arts, and the fact that they don’t even use drums in “Storm Corrosion,” the new non-metal collaboration between Mikael and Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson, doesn’t bode well for what role Axe will play in future Opeth releases. When you’ve got guys who have played with Arch Enemy and Witchery, what’s the point in having them perform largely uninspired rock?

I recently spoke with Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse, who has been friends with Mikael for decades, and during our chat he revealed he saw the changes that would end up in “Heritage” coming for years. Renkse commented on the album, “I thought it was different, but it was kind of expected for me. I’m good friends with Mike and we try to hang out as much as possible between tours. We always try to listen to music and he’s always playing new albums he’s found from the ‘70s and his tastes are always getting more and more obscure as the years go by. What he’s been showing me the last couple of years since the “Watershed” album, he’s very much into this style, which is pretty much the style that went into the “Heritage” album, so I was seeing it coming.”

Perhaps the fanbase should have seen this coming as well, as “Watershed” went much more into prog and lowered the amount of death metal overall, although it was still a balancing act that was overall very satisfying. It would be a pure guess on my part to speculate on what might motivate someone to change gears musically - perhaps from feeling stifled by a particular label or even a simple desire to go in a different direction after playing music for so long. It’s hard not to think, however, that the change wasn’t influenced in some way by events in the band’s history, such as the departure of Peter Lindgren and Martin Lopez, and the brutal toll that screaming on stage for years can take on a voice.

In interviews between the “Watershed” and “Heritage” cycles, Mikael talked about losing that sort of dream metal band experience of performing music from your youth with your best mates forever. Coupled with the recent announcement that he’s also left Bloodbath, the only other project where he utilizes death growls, it seems like the Opeth we knew and the death metal icon we adored is essentially gone for good.

But who knows, maybe Mikael has had his downtime and will eventually decide he needs a more aggressive or more interesting outlet again, and we’ll end up with another Opeth masterpiece a few years down the road. Unfortunately for this fan, that doesn’t seem to be a likely turn of events. In a bizarre instance of unintentional foreshadowing, it seems we may have to be content to engage in “Ghost Reveries” with the amazing albums already released, because it appears the Opeth I fell in love with all those years ago has faded away.

How do you feel about Opeth’s latest, and where do you think the band is going in the future?

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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44 Comments on "Opeth Loses Its True 'Heritage'"

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R10's avatar

Member

1. R10 writes:

I would agree with your assesment,xF. I purchased Heritage one day following the opening of thier US tour in Worcester back in Sept. Gave Heritage two honest listens,struggled makng it through the second time. It's been shelved,buried in my collection,never to be listened to again,right there with the last Morbid Angel,Machine Heads Burning Red and Supercharger,etc. Ive been a Opeth fan for roughly ten years or so. I still enjoy their older work,broke out Blackwater Park yesterday for a listen. While i respect Akerfeldts courage for releasing such a record,then playing it live;its not something i particually want to ever hear again,or see live. Who knows what the future brings for Opeth,hopefully something more in line with Ghost Reveries,for my listening sake.

# May 9, 2012 @ 10:25 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Welp writes:

Nice article. Very nice. Mikael is stubborn though. The whole world could tell him that album sucks, and he still would act like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Some other bands respect their fans wishes and just take the bad with the good. Like My Dying Bride with that weird 38.38374% or whatever album. They never play that stuff live because people hate it. Seems like Opeth is gonna try and transform into some lame hipster rock group.

# May 9, 2012 @ 10:39 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
zMETALlica's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

3. zMETALlica writes:

I've thought they've been going downhill since the Deliverance days. more and more 70s inspired and less metal inspired. I guess he decided to say F it and just make what his heart wants. nothing against that, but it's not metal. he should have just made a new band or done a 'solo project' or something instead of branding it under Opeth.

# May 9, 2012 @ 11:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. Locke696 writes:

^ but you could say that about countless other metal bands. times where it worked, too. a lot of times, those changes are for the better. you could be totally unimpressed for the first couple releases then suddenly they changed things up and get all these listeners professing their love. so maybe opeth hoped for that so they kept the record "Opeth". you never know.

# May 9, 2012 @ 12:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
PorcupineTreeFan's avatar

Member

5. PorcupineTreeFan writes:

I happen to really enjoy the Heritage album. Is it my favorite Opeth album now? No. Do I prefer the more metal-influenced albums over Heritage? Yes. However, I'm disappointed that this article is mainly focused on comparing Heritage to Opeth's Deliverance or individual softer Opeth songs. Opeth is and has been an evolving band. Take a look at their last 2 albums (I would even go as far to say their last 4 albums have represented major evolution in the band). Mikael's tastes are vast and 70s progressive music has always been in the blood of Opeth (it started with Orchid folks). Now he is simply letting his progressive influences (and jazz) take center stage. I find nothing work with that. Perhaps I'm different though. For me, I personally prefer prog to metal.

Mikael knew the album would piss lots of people off. In particular those within the metal community. His hope, as he has made clear in many recent interviews, is that people would try and be open minded with regard to the new album. Listen and judge the album by its own merits. DO NOT compare it to other albums. It's a new direction. Some will enjoy, others will hate.

# May 9, 2012 @ 12:10 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

6. Diamond Oz writes:

Agreed ^

# May 9, 2012 @ 12:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Welp writes:

You can't brand yourself as orange juice and give people grape juice. Which is what Opeth is doing here. They are branding themselves as heavy metal, and giving people uninspired ripoffs of old prog bands from the 70s.

Someone mentioned earlier, if he wanted to explore such a drastic style change he should have started a side project. Now Opeth will suffer forever because of his selfish hipster attitude.

When you reach that level of success, you owe it to your fan base that made you who you are. Without the fans they would be nothing, and by doing this it was pretty much a smack in the face to many fans who love Opeth for what they were.

No matter which way you slice it, is new sound isn't Opeth. Just like the new Metallica records aren't truly Metallica. They will be remembered for the sound they pioneered, but forgotten for the sound they destroyed.

# May 9, 2012 @ 2:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

8. R10 writes:

Welp,you hit it dead on! Metal fans are an uncompromising,close minded bunch. Akerfeldts free pass runs out i think with one more misstep. Dont advetise in metal mags,on metal websites,if your pushing something other metal. So if Akerfeldt decides to scrap drums,guitars,and bass for the next record,decides to record dark,woodsy,tunes with background fife or panflute,should we accept it? Ummmm,no! Im thinking Akerfeldt will come back to reality by next album,or he can market his "art" to jazz fans,play exclusive shows at opera houses around the world. Thank god for Katatonia,they saved that show i saw last September.

# May 9, 2012 @ 2:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrunoHockalugie's avatar

Member

9. BrunoHockalugie writes:

I think the album is excellent, but then again my favorite band is Pink Floyd.

I really was not surprised by this album, because it had seemed in interviews leading up to the album that Mikael was unsure how many fans would react.

To me, Peter Lindren and Martin Lopez leaving the band was far more disappointing than the album Heritage. That took me by surpise, Heritage not so much. I saw Opeth six times 2002-2010 and while each show was incredible but after seeing that line-up the rest really haven't matched up, The last two times I saw them (2008 on Prog Nation Tour and 2010 headlining with Entombed as support) and it just was not the same. Although the current line-up is better than 99% of the bands out there, nothing matches up to the first two times I saw them.

# May 9, 2012 @ 2:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Netromancer's avatar

Member

10. Netromancer writes:

Totally agree. Considering that I am a fan they should do what I want, how I want. After buying several Opeth albums I was never consulted ONCE during the making of this one. I have also bought a concert ticket. A CONCERT TICKET! Where is my input? I have said many times I liked this band in the past and they completely shut me out. I am deeply offended that my opinion is not paramount when making decisions regarding their music. How can they use the name they chose for their band when I don't like the last album they put out? Seeing as I listen to them I get to define the parameter of their sound. I choose what is and isn't Opeth. Mikael should have done what I wanted him to do concerning his own career and the musical direction of the band he started. How dare they make the album they wanted to make? They have insulted me personally. As I am sure they have all of you as well.

# May 9, 2012 @ 2:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. 354234 writes:

Faith No More went wildly off into territories nobody expected, too. They lost their best guitarist and countless fans by the time they split up.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

12. R10 writes:

Real life issues such as making a living will greatly effect Opeths next path,regarding direction. Yes,bought all thier albums,seen them live a bunch of times,i've got as much rights to gripe as anyone. Enjoy thier back catalougue immensely i will admit. Thats my Opeth here,didnt go to Juliard,or Berklee School of Music,so i fail to hear the genius in the latest record;sorry! Looking forward to that new Katatonia stuff though. No growled vox,but its still metal!

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. leenzeebeest writes:

Porcupinetreefan you're right about you have to have an open mind to listen to the new album but it's also taste and i don't like it , it's a boring album ,no dynamic it all .
I'll prefer the solo album of Steven Wilson or even the Storm Corrosion that has more dynamics and also better production .
There are bands that can still make beautiful music without metal but Opeth is not the one with this album.
Listen to Anathema and you will understand!!

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. Welp writes:

Imagine if Pink Floyd started writing death metal music. Using growling vocals and blast beats. They would have abandoned their fan base who grew to love them for what they were. Instead, they decided "who cares what fans think...screw them!" and continued to make death metal albums.

Let's look at a band like Slayer. They completely respect their fans, and give their fans what they want. Some people see it as repetitive, but Slayer fans love it. When you get a Slayer album, it's gonna sound like Slayer. Same with Megadeth. Anthrax, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, etc...

When you have a huge fan base, you need to support the fans or you won't endure. It's a fact of the business in order to ensure longevity. Mikael has stated numerous times he doesn't care what fans think. He's abandoned his fans just like he's abandoned the sound of Opeth.

This album was the nail in the coffin of Opeth. There will still be fans here and there who defend them, but the sound we all loved from them is dead and gone.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. Blaine H. writes:

I understand what some of you guys say about openminded-ness. I dig prog, maybe not as much as some of you, but I dig it. I'm not much into pure metal these days and haven't been for a while. The bassist of my fav band (BTBAM) jus released a jazz album and I love it. I embraced Heritage with open arms thinking it would be some darker more acoustic Damnation type stuff, but it turns out it was, well, it was just bad... I'm open to almost anything, but this album just couldn't hook me. I gave it a good few listens but other than 3-4 songs, I just couldn't get into it.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrunoHockalugie's avatar

Member

16. BrunoHockalugie writes:

^^^^^

Incorrect. There 1970 album Meddle was pretty much Heavy Meddle for the time. Check out the growls on the first song One Of These Days (I'm Gonna Cut You Into Little Pieces)

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrunoHockalugie's avatar

Member

17. BrunoHockalugie writes:

*Their

post 16 directed at post 14

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

18. R10 writes:

Hopefully the classic Opeth sound and direction is not dead and gone. Welp,i agree,the market tends to dictate the ultimate direction of a band. Free passes are handed out at times,but the said band has to ultimately appease the fan base to continue filling 1600 seat venues. Good example with Slayer;a mistep or two,but they still release albums thier huge fanbase wants to hear,for better or worse.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Welp writes:

Yeah because A Pillow of Winds, Fearless, etc... were so death metal. Hahaha

It was just an example. I was saying if Pink Floyd started recording DEATH METAL.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
The_Avant_Garde's avatar

Writer

20. The_Avant_Garde writes:

I did not read any previous comments before posting this so if I am interrupting a ongoing discussion, I apologize. Anyways,

I completely disagree with this entire article. Although well written, which is always the case from Ty, I think its personally ridiculous to compare Heritage to past albums and especially individuals songs from past albums. "Ok guys, listen to Haxprocess from Heritage. Now listen to Burden from the album that came before it, Watershed. See, they don't sound exactly the same! HERITAGE SUCKS!" That's basically the impression this article gives off. Trying to compare any two Opeth albums side by side is ridiculous, even in their earlier discography as each and every one has something completely different to offer.

Yes, I do understand that that Heritage may be a disappointing album for some Opeth "fans." It isn't a "brutal," "extreme" or "death metal" album and those who would associate with term "metalhead" would surely hate this record. Even I was slightly shocked by the direction the band, oops I mean Mikael Akerfeldt, took on this album but it is by no means a bad record. Shocked is one thing, but I felt no anger or hatred like so many of Opeth's "fans" have expressed. Mikael and the band NEVER, not once, advertised this album to be a death metal record in any way on any medium. Akerfeldt himself very blatantly stated in many interviews that the new record was not going to be a metal record. Those who are p***ed off about it not being a heavy album really aren't fans to begin with, because fans already knew this was coming from following the band's activities prior to the release of Heritage.

Heritage is such a fitting title for the record. If you go back and listen to Opeth's discography each and every album has moments that would fit right in with the material on this album. Even Orchid has it's odd ball sections, which Heritage is filled with and there are moments on Heritage that would fit right in on My Arms Your Hearse. Ever album prior to Heritage has really been a ever growing precursor to this inevitable change in sound.

Ironically, in my opinion, the weakest track is by far "The Devil's Orchard" as it is one dimensional and doesn't offer anything to really grasp onto and make it memorable while I find "Haxprocess" to offer up the most similar experience to the signature Opeth sound of old, yet being fresh and refraining from being repetitive.

Lets face the truth here for a second, the old Opeth formula was broken and was becoming ever more stale with each release. You can only do "Soft Intro/Heavy/Acoustic Interlude/Heavy/Soft/Heavy/Acoustic Interlude #2/Heavy" for so long. It was getting to the point where the music sounded more like it was coming off of an assembly line rather than written by an artist. The purpose of Heritage was to break this mold and do something completely new, which they did and should be applauded for. Those who don't like Heritage can always bring out Blackwater Park or Deliverance and put those on, there's no crime in that. I personally listen to Ghost Reveries, Still Life and Morningrise all the time, and then can listen to Heritage without any issues.

While I respect your opinions I think mentioning the Storm Corrosion project in relation to Heritage or the future of Opeth is complete BS and unwarranted. That record is its own entity and has nothing to do with Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Blackfield or any other band the two may be in. People more familiar with Steven Wilson's solo work and Porcupine Tree are more inclined to appreciate how great of a record it is, but it cannot be compared to any album previously released from either musician and using it to speculate and foreshadow to the future of Opeth is laughable.

# May 9, 2012 @ 3:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

21. R10 writes:

You would have to define Opeth "fan" TAG after reading your apologist post. Would a Opeth "fan" be someone who has spent hard earned cash on every Opeth release,and have seen them live countless times? Explain the whole "fan" thing please. Its cool you like Heritage,love that particular direction. I don't;sorry! Maybe Opeth's label should buy ad space in Jazz World for the next "opus". Advertise on jazz websites,ya know?

# May 9, 2012 @ 4:03 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. Welp writes:

Post 20 made me laugh out loud.

# May 9, 2012 @ 4:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

23. hellrat writes:

Hell, I appreciated the perspective of the article and could not disagree more with Avant's pretentious and rather bombastic criticism of the piece...but then, I am not an Opeth dork, so I prolly ain't qualified to have an opinion one way or the other eh? :)

# May 9, 2012 @ 4:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

24. Cynic writes:

Well I am an Opeth dork hellrat so I'll do it - I majorly disagree with you Avant because

1. Comparisons are a great way of explaining subtle differences even if you can't compare the whole (which Ty wasn't doing)

2. I seriously doubt that neither Ty or other disappointed Opeth fans are the ignorant only "needs moar brutal!" stereotype you make them out to be. These are fans of a band who had already put out "Damnation", who have a ton of acoustic material and who are always though of as being the "open-minded persons" death metal.

3. You can produce unique and new music on the same song structure indefinitely. The fact that verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/extended chorus is still used to write great pop songs after 50+ years shows that. You can argue they were getting stale (I disagree), but that wasn't the problem.


Finally my thoughts since this great article has wound everyone up. I thought Heritage was ok, not a classic but not bad. I think the problem with it if there is one is that Mikael wanted to write a prog record, and used Opeth as a vehicle to do that ending up with an 70s prog Opeth album. In the end the two just didn't make awesome bed partners. He should have removed the Opeth part and just written a straight up prog album as a side project.

# May 9, 2012 @ 5:13 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

25. R10 writes:

Cynic,you're too smart for your own good. Always a Berklee/Juliard type response from you dude. All i have is my ears,been listening to METAL for over 30 years. What i dont take kind to is some folks above(not you)trying to establish who's an Opeth fan,and who is not;because they disagree with Akerfeldts direction. Im ok with folks liking Heritage,no probs;but dont call out someones fandom because they dont care for it. Xf really stirred it up on this article! Good job xF!

# May 9, 2012 @ 5:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Netromancer's avatar

Member

26. Netromancer writes:

I own every album they released except "Heritage" and every DVD. I consider myself a huge Opeth fan, but as I've said before the album just doesn't resonate with me. I've given it more than a few listens and it's quite possible I will buy it in the future, but I'm just not on board with it right now. Maybe I won't ever be. What gets my goat (and prompts responses like the last one I wrote) is this sense of entitlement, that the band somehow owes you something. You either like it and buy it or don't and don't buy it. It simply goes just that far. These aren't your bros, and you don't own stock in their band. They were up front about how it would sound and as many have stated, it was in no way surprising to see a different direction to their music. Plus it was posted on the internet for free. No bait and switch, here. Everything was out in the open and straight up. How is this some kind of slight or insult? There's nothing personal here. They made the album they wanted to make. Seriously, get over yourselves. As for "Heritage" it is what it is.

# May 9, 2012 @ 6:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
coldiem's avatar

Member

27. coldiem writes:

When I initially read that Opeth was writing an album with a 70's prog vein, I assumed right away that I would love it. But even during the first listen I felt the way that many are feeling. There's a whole lot of nothing going on for extended passages. Honestly, I feel that it would've been a killer album if they had mashed it with their usual back and forth with massive aggression and then relaxed quiet parts. There are riffs that are just begging to be cranked up to 11 and crushed with a massive growling vocal line, but instead they are castrated with laid back vocals and minimally driven guitars.

It just felt and sounded like a side project to me. Personally I feel the album would've fared better as one. That, or Akerfeldt should have saved the inspiration for Storm Corrosion, instead of writing two different projects in a similar vein. But, then again, beauty lies in the ear of the beholder because people seem to dig "Drag Ropes" for some reason. Personally, I feel like "drag" is a perfect word to describe that song. Take away the video and they have 1 minute worth of interesting music stretched out on a 9-minute canvas. To each their own, I guess.

# May 9, 2012 @ 6:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

28. Cynic writes:

Cheers R10! But all the learnedness in the world can't beat 30 years of metal :)

Netro - can't agree more about fan entitlement issues, Metallica fans and Lulu immediately rises to my mind.

# May 9, 2012 @ 6:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

29. R10 writes:

I don't understand the "entitlement" arguement Netro. Opeth owes me nothing,i owe them nothing. Simple,economics dictates the next move. I could give two sh*ts if Akefeldt releases an album with tin whistles and pan flute. Just dont call it metal! Ive more than enough pleasure out of Opeths past work and live experiances to justify money spent. They owe me zilch! It's their career,they should do with it what they please.

# May 9, 2012 @ 6:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
IrishMetal's avatar

Member

30. IrishMetal writes:

Yo, TAG in regard to your comment - "mentioning the Storm Corrosion project in relation to Heritage or the future of Opeth is complete BS and unwarranted."

Mikhael has stated that he sees Heritage and Storm Corrosion, along with Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning, as a like-minded triumvirate of albums, so I think it actually is pretty relevant and fully warranted.

# May 9, 2012 @ 7:17 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
31. washedinTime88 writes:

if you dint see this full on prog rock cd coming where have you been for the last 12 years , this is a good article but people need to have a open mind, not everything needs to be brutal . Trust me im a big death metal fan but i like prog,power,doom,jazz,blues,funk,soul ect.....

# May 9, 2012 @ 9:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
32. Ugh writes:

I tend to agree with the above article. "Heritage" just don't have the staying power of an album like "Damnation"...

# May 9, 2012 @ 11:24 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Overlord's avatar

Member

33. Overlord writes:

I still don't really understand the argument here.

Firstly, Opeth has changed their sound whether in a major or minor way between every album release to date, so this really shouldn't be a shocker to anyone.

Opeth has written 8 death metal albums, 98% of which was written by Mikael. Every single album has a different songwriting style to it, which is impossibly hard to pull off. As he has stated numerous times (unfortunately D:) he has grown tired of metal. If you aren't enjoying what you do, you do not do it well, so I applaud Opeth for not forcing a death metal album out just to satisfy some narcissistic fans "needs."

That being said, I thought he did a wonderful job giving Heritage the very distinct Opeth feel even though it was an entirely different style of music (also very hard to pull off). Slow interludes have always been a part of Opeth, and make the more interesting parts that much more interesting.

I do understand it's not everyone's cup o' tea, but to argue they lost their "Heritage" is just silly.


It appears to have worked though, I don't remember the last time I saw this many comments on and article in just one day, well done lad!

# May 9, 2012 @ 11:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
The_Avant_Garde's avatar

Writer

34. The_Avant_Garde writes:

As for the people who misunderstood my comment, post #26 from Netromancer sums it up perfectly.

It's the fact that there is a large portion of Opeth "fans" that are continuing to act, comment and believe that the band owes them something. Just because you bought a concert ticket in the past or a CD or every piece of Opeth merchandise ever released its irrelevant and they do not owe anyone anything. Opeth was my favorite band for quite a few years and I bought every album they've put out, including multiple versions of several of them along with spending my own hard-earned money to see them perform life on four separate occasions. So in theory I've put in quite a few hundreds dollars into Opeth. But that doesn't mean anything. Opeth are a band, led by someone who has every right to do what he wants, how he wants and write music in any which way he pleases. It is HIS band. He doesn't have to change the name, change labels or anything of the like. It is our choice to buy Opeth albums and if at any point you feel as if they have released something not worthy of your money it is your right to not purchase it and that's where the relationship should end. It really is that simple.

Its quite ridiculous how people are complaining about Opeth advertising the album on metal related mediums, saying how the band tricked its fans into purchasing the record. The band has no hand in how or where it is advertised, the label takes care of all that side of promotion. And honestly it only makes sense to advertise the album the way it was because that's how Opeth fans will see it. Would it make any sense at all to advertise an Opeth album in a women's fashion magazine or in a fancy commercial during an episode of Desperate Housewives? No.

# May 10, 2012 @ 8:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
35. hewhoshallnotbenamed writes:

^what he said\m/
personally i really liked heritage. also, i look forward to the next opeth album whether mikael & co. decide to make more prog rock, or black metal, bluegrass, or mongolian trance death polka. fact is, i don't feel like being fans of a band means we have a say in how said band should sound. opeth has never disappointed me in 10 albums, 3 concert dvds, or in the 4 times i've seen them live.

# May 11, 2012 @ 12:59 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
36. Ala'a writes:

Opeth is Opeth , a band that u adore or u cannot understand.

I Believe the Band want to present a new experience in each album , usually Opeth Fan know that it take time to like the New album, simply the Old Tracks r un-comparable or even repeatable !!!!

So for some of the wanna b an Opeth fan , here is the time that there voices will arise and become loud , talking about the old tracks to sh**ty the new.

# May 12, 2012 @ 5:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
37. coco writes:

the only thing coco prefers in the new opeth album are the instrumentals "marrow of the earth" and "heritage"....

pyre is a good track.....dream theater new sh** blows opeth away right now......

# May 12, 2012 @ 3:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

38. psythe writes:

Heritage appeals to my prog rock sensibilities, but not at all to my metal sensibilities. I would prefer the band to still be in the vain of 'Dirge For November', which beautifully juxtapositions both these sensibilities, but I don't mind Heritage as a prog rock album in itself. That said, much of it is very scarce and sprawling which suggests that perhaps the balance between atmosphere and construct was tipped slightly too far in favour of the former. The Storm Corrosion album didn't have this problem, though it definitely was not an outright Opeth album so potentially isn't a valid comparison.

# May 13, 2012 @ 12:38 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RememberMetal?'s avatar

Writer/Reviewer

39. RememberMetal? writes:

I won't name names but to those saying that fans cannot be critical of the bands that they love and remain fans are hilariously illogical.

Opeth went another direction. The fans that love "Heritage" have that right, those that think it is "meh", good in a non-metal respect or the most awkward, spiritless, inert, and emaciated offering the band have delivered to date have that right as well.

# May 13, 2012 @ 3:14 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
40. JoeTheRipper writes:

If I'm gonna take sides, put me on the "heavier is better" side. Anyone up for another Bloodbath album?

# May 18, 2012 @ 10:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Drum_Junkie's avatar

Member

41. Drum_Junkie writes:

It seems to me that many who are finding fault with Heritage are wanting it to be something its not.
With a touch of 20/20 hindsight, it seems plainly obvious that Heritage is a homage to the bands influences - and not just Mikaels. Martin Mendez has also stated his desire to go in this direction. And contrary to xF's brief mention of Martin Axenrot, I think he really shines on this album - much more so than he did on Watershed. (I will confess that I think Lopez still is a better fit. I'm stubborn that way.)
Maybe some of us are interjecting our own narrower impressions of what defines Opeth. I might be just as guilty as anyone else here. Instead of looking at what is missing, let's look at what is present. There are obvious prog sections similar to those on other albums (i.e. the end of White Cluster vs. Nepenthe), The guitar riffs still have an inhale/exhale quality to them. One characteristic that has always impressed me about Opeth is the way many of the riffs have two complementary parts, almost a conversation. Heritage still has those aplenty. The effective way they use both guitars to write complementary parts is not gone in Heritage. The guitar solos are evocative - Akesson and Akerfeldt both have a keen sense of structure, poise, and purpose to their solos that pull emotion out of those PRS guitars. Mendez interweaving bass lines are still there as always. Every listen, I find new respect for him. Per Wibergs' swan song with the band intensifies the 70's feel that the band as a whole were striving for. His keys are/were an added dimension that helped propel Opeth to new territory. The Piano and flute I felt were welcome additions. The flute especially reminded me of Jethro Tull. I don't know how anyone how who's heard JT could not pick up on that. I don't think I need to make any comment on the vocals, as that aspect has been debated to death. I will simply say that I enjoy singing along with them.

Opeth have said that they didn't want a Watershed pt. II.
I see this album as a tribute to the bands that influenced them to become the band they are. No one knows what their 11th album will have in store, but I am confident that it won't be a Heritage pt. II (or Damnation pt III.)

You can be disappointed in what it is not, or you can take comfort and enjoy the artistic effort that it is. The choice is yours.

# May 18, 2012 @ 5:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

42. R10 writes:

Quality post dj,as always. I saw Opeth on the first date of the Heritage tour in Worcester,the show was quite a shock to me. Although flawlessly performed,it lacked seriously in energy. I have'nt given up on Opeth,not at all. Heritage is just an album i'll probably never listen to again. Those are my ears though,sounds like plenty of folks appreciated the album. Gotta admit,the cover art rules.

# May 18, 2012 @ 5:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Drum_Junkie's avatar

Member

43. Drum_Junkie writes:

Thanks R10. I wish I could have seen them with Mastodon when they came through OK last month, but alas, the money tree has borne less fruit this year.

# May 18, 2012 @ 6:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
cruor's avatar

Supporter

44. cruor writes:

Mikael Akerfeldt has every right to do whatever he wants with his band just as much as fans have as much right to b**** about their opinion about it over the internet :)

# May 18, 2012 @ 11:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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