Opeth’s evolution must be appreciated as a musical progression able to enclose changes that goes beyond compositional structures and remodeling properties as textures, pitches and dynamics of songs. Heritage is a compound of wonderful pieces conceived in innovative musical forms by Opeth; however, working on unexpected movements and very expressive dynamics can end up causing a general estrangement by some of their usual listeners. Unreservedly, such feelings happen throughout much of this effort.
Transitions reveal some inconsistencies that sometimes make long sections border on monotony; as evident on “I Feel The Dark,” which brings an abrupt stop that makes continuity of the song utterly incomprehensible. In spite of that sudden rupture and some de-contextualized transitions, great drumming and standard Opeth musicianship can be noticed throughout this album. The sublime vocals by Arkfeldt pervade with a dreamy atmosphere and strong lyrical voice that will certainly appeal to its listeners. Opeth actually didn’t fail with transmitting their message through Heritage. Their impeccable music techniques and extraordinary skills surely are all that matters to deliver meanings and emotions to their audience, but the flow and overall engagement of the album as a whole is what makes this progression falls short.
Heritage isn’t exactly a surprising Opeth album. It’s well known Opeth is a band that has embodied different elements and influences to their compositions throughout their artistic trajectory which can be confirmed by earlier works. The changes in taking off some old elements and adding others surely were necessary to accomplish a new alchemy. Growling vocals and dissonance of guitar riffs were supplanted by reverberant vocals and jazzy guitar solos, giving the songs glamour and seduction that embody new musical aesthetics. Conception of this album had no need to incorporate elements of death metal in a lively way. The classic progressive sounds of mid-70’s is definitely a beneficial inspiration where we perceive changes in loudness and softness of sounds in acoustic guitar and keyboards. The songs “Häxprocess,” “Nepenthe” and “I Feel The Dark” register this “motto” of the album; progression, softness, and jazzy sounds – aspects that overwhelm major parts of the album. “The Lines In My Hand” has a spectacular melodic complexity and texture obtained through great bass lines, drumming, acoustic and electric guitars, synthesized sound effects and Arkfeldt’s vocals. “The Devil’s Orchard” brings the genuine sonority of old Opeth’s songs, with its drums changing rhythm in accordance to passages, excellent backing keyboards and ethereal guitars, and vocals. Heritage is multifaceted, cohesive, and an imperative listen to those who are open to an intriguing album that continues their musical progression.
It’s observable that Opeth’s musical path is progressively brightened by experimentalism and softer sounds. A step forward was taken with Heritage. They shall prove that revisiting old sounds and genres is an assignment of prudence; previewing a profitable future depends on the ability of absorbing great virtues. The adoption of relevant elements from other genres and influences seems to delimit Opeth’s career now. It’s essential to consider that their musical evolution advocate, from now on, a new language and aesthetics. Heritage is an effort that establishes a new stage on Opeth’s musical production and their vision shall benefit by utilizing the large spectrum of possibilities their music offers.
Reviewer: Edla Lundgren
IRC: Bill Pulice
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