By now you have probably read many reviews of Heritage – some positive, some negative and surely some in-between. Let me assure you, if you are expecting a negative review from me, you might as well quit reading right now. I’ve seen people talk about Heritage and bitch about how there are no guttural growls and whatnot and even go so far as saying that it sucks. Whenever a band does something out of the norm, it often gets criticized. Take the once almighty Metallica for instance. Load and Reload were albums that most fans totally loathed, but honestly they are good rock albums. Not the expected heavy Metallica albums, but still good albums that some fans enjoyed. St. Anger on the other hand was complete garbage from a musical standpoint, so that album did suck. With Heritage, Opeth have created an album out of their normal spectrum that for the most part is prog-rock. Everyone was forewarned that it would be different and not feature any death metal growls. I’m sure fans were totally mind-fucked the first time around when they heard Damnation too. So let’s get to the actual review, or whatever you want to call it.
So, yeah, the Special Edition Digipak. Since you’ve probably already heard the album by now, let’s talk about the cool things that come with this edition. The special edition comes with a DVD that has the making of Heritage documented, the 5.1 surround sound mix done by Steve Wilson, as well as the two extra tracks, ‘Pyre’ and ‘Face In The Snow’. You also get to pop the DVD into your pc and download the two tracks as mp3. The making-of portion of the DVD is quite entertaining. It’s basically Mikael Akerfeldt talking about the album for awhile, using funny anecdotes as he often does. You get to hear some commentary from other members of the band as they talk about the making of the album and some studio footage. It’s your basic making-of DVD that just about any band puts together for digipak, but it’s good. I would probably enjoy the 5.1 surround sound mix if I had a surround sound system in the house, but I don’t. The album casing has the sleeve attached in the middle of gatefold. The front has a hologram/kaleidoscopic type graphic (honestly, I can not remember what you call it) where you tilt it and it animates it. The faces on the tree disappear only leaving Per Wiberg and as you tilt it (best to do with one eye closed) the other faces appear and per falls off the tree and it’s roots spread. It’s a nice package for the price of about $16.99. You might find it cheaper elsewhere.
As far as the music goes on the album, I enjoy it all the way through. It’s very atmospheric, ambitious and has a nice clean, organic sound. I think that if Opeth made another typical Opeth album, then that is exactly what you would have gotten – a typical Opeth album and nothing more. That’s not a bad thing, but I’m certainly glad that they went this route with Heritage. My favorites from Heritage are Famine, Marrow Of The Earth, Slither, Face In The Snow and Nepenthe. If you don’t have an open mind about music and have the mindset that anything not metal is shit, then yes, you will hate this album. If you think “it sucks” and that’s the best you can do to say why you don’t like it, then you’re just a fool.