For me this is the best album of the year, even though there have been some very, VERY, strong releases from other artists – including Steven Wilson’s Grace For Drowning, Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Turn Of Events and Peter Gabriel’s New Blood and The Octopus by Amplifier to name but a few.
Heritage is Opeth’s most progressive album to date and continues their departure from the doom laden progressive metal and growly vocals of the earlier releases. On repeated listens this album continues to grow on me and each spin reveals new layers. I detect strong hints of King Crimson, Yes, Tull and Black Sabbath as well as a subtle flavour of Dio-era Rainbow and also the delicate impression of jazz. All of this is underpinned by the musical brilliance of Mikael Akerfeldt and company who have taken a slew of traditional ingredients, shaken them up and redispensed them along with some modern spice to create something altogether sublime.
I see from reviews posted on ProgArchives that there are some who do share my view of this album, mainly due to its lack of extreme elements such as vocal growls, pounding riffs, etc. But I think if you look back over Opeth’s back catalogue this is very much a logical progression for them as well as being to Mikael Akerfeldt’s influences. Despite the detractors I think Opeth have delivered an album that stands up as well as anything else they have done. I look forward to seeing where the next stage in their musical journey takes them.