Opeth Interview – Martin Mendez Talks Heritage & The Difference Between Fans
Longtime progressive death metallers, Opeth, have released a masterful work that’s a credit to the true talents of the metal genre. Not owning Opeth’s Heritage is not only going to leave a gaping hole in your metal catalog, it’s also like a fan of The Beatles not owning Revolver. However, don’t get the idea that you’ll get a typical Opeth album.
With Heritage, Opeth is decidedly exploring different sounds, different genres, and different influences. Unless you’re a hardcore Opeth fan who would clone your own personal Mikael Åkerfeldt to keep chained up in the basement if you could or you’re a metal fan who likes more than just mom’s cooking, you might want to skip this album; it’s certainly not for everyone.
Opeth – “The Devil’s Orchard”
Truth be told, Heritage might alienate a lot of fans with its artistic endeavor, but, in the same breath, this artistic exploration will generate a greater appreciation for Opeth if you understand the band. The album has completely abandoned death growls (but this isn’t the first time Opeth has done so — see, Damnation) and the heavy death-metal riffage is gone. The softer side, the side that’s most often reserved for interludes and intros and/or outros, of Opeth is still definitely present and fully explored in a progressive, jazzy, and funky way.
One of the great aspects of Heritage is the absence of the relatively new trend of peak limiting, meaning that the album is quiet when it’s supposed to be and loud when it’s supposed to be; there’s no “wall of sound.” The beauty of this lost art is that it plays on the emotions of the listener, forcing him/her to become more engaged with the music.
Even if Heritage is a gigantic step away from progressive death metal and the typical Opeth album format, meddling in quiet subtleties, there’s still breadth to its sound. All while sounding distinctively Opeth, Heritage at times sounds like Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly (“The Devil’s Orchard”), an updated Led Zeppelin or The Tea Party (“I Feel the Dark”), a blend of Joe Satriani with Mr. Bungle (“Nepenthe”), Jethro Tull and Focus (“Famine”)… and you get the point; the album is wonderful mix of genres primarily coming out of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It all sounds modern though.
Favorite tracks on Heritage will vary by listener, but I can’t get enough of “The Devil’s Orchard,” “Nepenthe,” “Haxprocess,” and “Folklore.”
The Verdict: [rating:4.5]
Heritage is potentially a very important album for the metal genre, proving that the players are diverse and talented, proving that a band can have artistic integrity without becoming something that they’re not. Not once does this album sound pretentious and never does Opeth try to wow you with some over-the-top contrived epicness. It’s creative, it’s innovative, and, as I said before, you’re catalog is incomplete without it.
In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Jethro Tull, Focus, My Dying Bride, Moonspell, Paradise Lost, Amorphis, Cradle Of Filth, Between The Buried And Me, Porcupine Tree