OPETH Heritage (Roadrunner)
Swedish heavy metal band Opeth’s tenth studio album is a departure from its death metal roots (see album cover above) and is a serious venture into progressive rock territory. A successful one it must be said. Opening with the neo-classical piano piece, Heritage, the rest of this album contains a potent hybrid of hard rock, symphonic metal, folk and jazz fusion elements with ‘proper singing’ (no growls) making it closer to a neo-prog masterpiece one might get from Dream Theater or Spock’s Beard.
Whilst death metal purists might find this direction compromising, the addition of nylon guitars, mellotron and flutes will recall classic Jethro Tull and please old-school progressive rock enthusiasts (yours truly included) no end. Clocking in at almost an hour, Heritage is a treasure trove of virtuosity and high concept that has to consumed whole. Heavy and epic when it needs to be, and sensitive and soulful at the appropriate moments, Heritage is a worthy addition to 2011′s list of best albums.