By ANDY COLE
The content of your average metal album is predictable enough: punding drums, monster voices and guitars galore, but Opeth’s latest album, “Heritage,” throws all of these expectations aside. It should certainly be noted that if you only enjoy Opeth because they play death metal and you like loud noises, then you will more than likely hate this album.
“Heritage” is not a metal album. In fact it’s difficult to place “Heritage” into a genre at all. Genre instability aside, “Heritage” is a brilliant album. Frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt has gone all-out with his songwriting, combining the genres that birthed metal (shock rock and psychedelic rock) with the harmonies and instrumentation fans have come to expect from Opeth. There is even a tinge of Jethro Tull mixed in for good measure.
The album is, however, devoid of the typical death metal traditions, such as harsh vocals and chaotic sounds, that Opeth has employed on previous albums. This serves the album well, as the lighter texture allows listeners to hear the compositional complexities that may otherwise have been lost within machine gun drumming and death metal screams.
There are some who would say “Heritage” sounds like every other Opeth album, and in a sense this is true. It has very distinct qualities that evoke Opeth’s previous albums, such as “Ghost Revelries,” “Orchid” and “Damnation.” However, it’s hard to fault Opeth for having carved out a signature sound within a genre that can often be bland. In fact, it’s one of their most endearing qualities.
If you have never listened to Opeth before or even if you are not a metal fan, you should still listen to “Heritage.” If you are an Opeth fan you cannot miss this album. It is one of the most unique albums in Opeth’s discography, with something to enjoy for music fans across the spectrum.
“Heritage” was released on Sept. 14 on Roadrunner Records. It is Opeth’s tenth studio album.
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