Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal act that managed to keep that alive and going, despite what you may have heard of their latest tenth studio album, Heritage.
The album starts off with the wonderful Heritage, an introduction fit to prepare you mentally for what you’ll be experiencing during the album, while the “Death” portion of the “Progressive Death Metal” is not very apparent, due to the lack of any of Mikael Åkerfeldt signature growling we all love, but the music itself has some Death metal elements, or at least those present in most of Opeth’s older work, such as in The Devil’s Orchard, the music is too grim to be, as others put it, progressive rock. Although it may seem that Opeth have taken a path akin to Porcupine Tree’s, which isn’t bad at all, since they managed to keep the Opeth feel within the entirety of the album, and Slither is a testament to that very claim.
Musically, the album delivers, and it delivers well, the bass work is nothing short of what you can expect from an Opeth album, Mendez’s Jazz-y licks are present throughout the album, but since the album is a bit “slower” then the usual Opeth stuff (minus Damnation) the bass, as well as the other instruments aren’t as fast (D’OH) as the older Opeth songs, though just as technical. Axenrot, for the second album he partakes with Opeth, delivers a stellar performance, the drums are well constructed throughout the album, highlighted mainly in Haxprocess, and Famine, the drum arrangements in these tracks are marvelous! As well as the percussion used in Famine, which delivers the album’s grim feeling perfectly. While it is saddening to know Per Wiberg has left Opeth, though he has done the keyboards for this album (minus the first track Heritage, which was done by Joakim Svalberg), he does a memorable, and amazing performance in this album, complimenting the feel of the album perfectly! Fredrik Åkesson, as he did in Watershed, still does in Heritage, I don’t know exactly who played the solos in Heritage, whether it was him or Åkerfeldt, but if it was in fact Fredrik, then he has certainly done a great job! Especially in The Devil’s Orchard and Folklore!
The album concludes with Marrow of the Earth, a wonderful piece that will sink deep in your hearts, reminiscent of Ending Credits, and further proves how Opeth have not lost their way, they have simply added a few modifications that have made the album as wonderful as it turned out to be.
Overall, this album can be considered (or at least that’s how it is to me) as a progressive/jazz attempt to make another Damnation, and by all means, Opeth have nailed it! I also found the absence of the growls rather refreshing (don’t get me wrong, Åkerfeldt’s are the most brutal growls I have heard, next to Decapitated’s ex-vocalist Sauron) but had he growled, it wouldn’t have fitted the feel of the album as did his clean voice.
Lastly, I leave you, my dear readers, with the song I enjoyed the most from the album.