Heritage (Opeth album)

Heritage (Opeth album)
Studio album by Opeth
Released 14 September 2011
Recorded 31 January – 21 February 2011
(Atlantis studios in Stockholm)
Genre Progressive rock, jazz fusion, progressive metal [1]
Length 57:04
Label Roadrunner
Producer Mikael Åkerfeldt
Opeth chronology
In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Singles from Heritage
  1. "The Devil's Orchard"
    Released: 27 July 2011[2][3]

Heritage is the tenth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth, released on 13 September 2011 by Roadrunner Records.[4]

The album was recorded in early 2011 at Atlantis studios in Stockholm, Sweden. It was produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt, engineered by Jens Bogren and mixed by Steven Wilson. A critical and commercial success, the album moved 19,000 units in the United States in its debut week and charted at number 19 on the Billboard 200.



During a press junket in September 2010 for In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Mikael Åkerfeldt told Classic Rock Magazine that he was finally writing for a new Opeth album.[5] Originally, the first two songs Åkerfeldt wrote for Heritage were in the style of Watershed. After hearing the songs for the first time, Martin Mendez told Åkerfeldt that he would be disappointed if the album continued in that direction.[6] Relieved that Mendez was not interested in doing another conventional Opeth album, Åkerfeldt scrapped the two songs and started the writing process over. After composing what would become "The Lines in My Hand", he decided to write the new album in a brand new style.[6]

On 1 December 2010, Opeth announced that they would enter Atlantis/Metronome Studios in Stockholm on 31 January 2011 to begin recording the new album with Jens Bogren engineering and Steven Wilson mixing.[7] By late March, mixing was complete, and in April, Per Wiberg was relieved of his duties in Opeth as part of a mutual decision with the band.[8][9]

On 25 May 2011, Heritage was announced as the album's title.[10] On 26 July, the band premiered the album's first single, "The Devil's Orchard", on Stereogum.[11] On 11 September, the album was streamed in its entirety on NPR Music.[12] On 23 September, the music video for "The Devil's Orchard" was released.[13]

The cover art for Heritage was revealed at the beginning of June 2011, done once again by longtime collaborator Travis Smith.[14] As confirmed by Åkerfeldt in a video interview with Face Culture, it is rife with symbolism.[15] The tree represents the band flourishing in the present while its roots "going down to hell" represent the band's death metal history. The faces on the tree are those of the current band members, with Wiberg's head falling off the tree representing his departure. The skulls underneath the tree also represent past band members.

Musical style

Heritage is influenced by a multitude of artists, including Alice Cooper and Magma.[16][17] The album's title track is influenced by Swedish pianist Jan Johansson and Swedish folk music.[18] "Slither" is a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, who died during the album's writing process.[19]

In the press release for Heritage, Mikael Åkerfeldt revealed that he felt as though he had been building to write the album since he was 19 years old.[16] The album signals a departure from the musical style of Opeth's past albums, being one of only two albums by the band not to feature death growls (the other being Damnation).[20] In a review for Allmusic, Thom Jurek called Heritage the band's most adventurous album, describing the songs as "drenched in instrumental interludes, knotty key and chord changes, shifting time signatures, clean vocals, and a keyboard-heavy instrumentation that includes Mellotrons, Rhodes pianos, and Hammond organs".[1]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (72/100)[21]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [22]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[23]
BBC Music (Positive)[24]
Pitchfork 6.9/10[25]
Popmatters 8/10 stars[26]
Revolver 3.5/5 stars [27]
Q 3/5 stars
Sputnikmusic 3/5 stars [28]
Sea of Tranquility 5/5 stars [29]

Heritage has received generally favorable reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72, based on 14 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[21] Thom Jurek of Allmusic praised the album's bravery, awarded it with 4 stars out of 5 and said: "Love it or hate it, Heritage, for its many excesses -- and stellar conception and execution -- is a brave album".[1] Raziq Rauf of BBC Music gave a very positive review to the album and wrote, "Heritage has some strong predecessors to live up to. But it will surely be seen as one of their most accomplished works in years to come".[24] Rolling Stone critic Chuck Eddy was also positive towards the album, noting "They exhibit unexpected energy and rhythm".[22] Popmatters critic Brice Ezell commented, "Heritage isn't the type of record to blow away one's mind upon first listen; it takes time to grow in its complexities".[26] Dom Lawson of The Guardian said, "The Swedes' 10th album, Heritage, is a brave, melancholic and often beautiful heavy rock record that revels in the warm, analogue tones and shimmering mellotrons of the pre-punk 70s while still exuding a sense of wonder at new ideas".[23] Sea of Tranquility reviewer Murat Batmaz also praised the album, calling it "a slow-burning masterpiece. Its vision and its power are timeless."[29]

The album also received some mixed reviews. Uncut magazine wrote, "On Heritage, [they're] jettisoning practically all trace of heavy whatsoever".[21] Q magazine noted, "Drifting, dreamy and at times, driving, it's further proof of the Swede's eclecticism".[21] Similarly, Kerrang! magazine wrote, "It's an album that succeeds on its own terms but if it really does mark the effective end of Opeth as a metal band, that will remain our loss".[21] Patrick Smith of Drowned in Sound also had mixed feelings about the album, and wrote, "Akerfeldt should be praised for breaking free of an often repetitive genre – there's nothing wrong with radical reinvention. But this departure didn't need to be quite so lacklustre".[30]

Supporting tour

Opeth are currently touring North America in support of Heritage.[31] In November, the band will tour Europe with Pain of Salvation.[32]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Mikael Åkerfeldt, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Heritage"   2:05
2. "The Devil's Orchard"   6:40
3. "I Feel the Dark"   6:40
4. "Slither"   4:03
5. "Nepenthe"   5:40
6. "Häxprocess"   6:57
7. "Famine"   8:32
8. "The Lines in My Hand"   3:49
9. "Folklore"   8:19
10. "Marrow of the Earth"   4:19
11. "Pyre" (bonus track[33]) (Åkerfeldt, Fredrik Åkesson) 5:32
12. "Face in the Snow" (bonus track[33]) 4:04


Credits taken from Allmusic:[34]

Additional personnel
  • Jasper Schuurmans – project coordinator
  • Sandra Artigas – photography
  • Travis Smith – art direction
  • Monte Conner – A&R

Chart positions

Chart (2011) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[35] 12
Austrian Albums Chart[36] 16
Belgian Albums Chart[36] 87
Canadian Albums Chart[37] 23
Danish Albums Chart[36] 8
Dutch Albums Chart[36] 10
Finnish Albums Chart[38] 2
French Albums Chart[36] 24
German Albums Chart[36] 9
Hungarian Albums Chart[39] 22
Irish Albums Chart[36] 34
New Zealand Albums Chart[36] 26
Norwegian Albums Chart[36] 8
Polish Albums Chart[40] 28
UK Albums Chart[36] 22
UK Rock Albums Chart[36] 1
US Billboard 200[36] 19
US Rock Albums[41] 6
US Hard Rock Albums[42] 2
US World Albums[43] 3

Release history

Heritage was released by Roadrunner Records. The album was released on CD, as a standard edition release, special edition release, and a limited deluxe edition release.[44] The deluxe edition will be limited to 500 copies, and will be released on 28 November 2011.[45]

Region Date
Japan[4] 14 September 2011
Australia[46] 16 September 2011
New Zealand[51] 19 September 2011
United Kingdom[53]
United States[54] 20 September 2011


  1. ^ a b c d Jurek, Thom. Allmusic review Allmusic.com 2011-09-16. Retrieved on 2011-09-16.
  2. ^ "Opeth To Release Heritage In September". The Gauntlet. May 26, 2011. http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/298/21788/OPETH-To-Release-Heritage-In-September. Retrieved May 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Opeth To Release Heritage This September!". Roadrunner Records. May 26, 2011. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/news/Opeth-To-Release-Heritage-This-September-23027.aspx. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Heritage Opeth [CD]". Cdjapan.co.jp. http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=WPCR-14191. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  5. ^ "Opeth Exclusive: See Special Live Video Clip". Classic Rock Magazine. September 9, 2010. http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/opeth-porcupine-tree-mainmen-work-together. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  6. ^ a b Face Culture. You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v2pMSu7EUI&NR=1. Published 07/15/11. Retrieved on 07/21/11.
  7. ^ "Opeth website new album recording". http://www.opeth.com/index.php/news/show/id/195. 
  8. ^ "Steven Wilson's official Facebook page". https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=198507246836212&set=a.121603464526591.14146.114657261887878. 
  9. ^ Blabbermouth. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/news/Opeth-Part-Ways-With--Keyboardist-Per-Wiberg-22880.aspx. Published 04/07/11. Retrieved 07/29/11.
  10. ^ Official Opeth Website. http://opeth.com/index.php/news/show/id/212. Published 05/25/11. Retrieved 06/05/11.
  11. ^ Opeth – “The Devil’s Orchard” (Stereogum Premiere) stereogum.com. 2011-07-26. Retrieved on 2011-07-26.
  12. ^ Gotrich, Lars. First Listen: Opeth, 'Heritage'. NPR. 11 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  13. ^ VIDEO: Opeth Premiere New Music Video. Sonic State. http://www.sonicstate.com/amped/2011/09/23/video-opeth-premiere-new-music-video/. Published 09/23/11. Retrieved 08/03/11.
  14. ^ Blabbermouth. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=158890. Published 06/01/11. Retrieved 06/05/11.
  15. ^ Face Culture Interview. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6z5kFvhymU&feature=relmfu
  16. ^ a b "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - OPETH: 'Heritage' Album Details Revealed". Roadrunnerrecords.com. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=158656. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  17. ^ om een reactie te plaatsen!. "PART I: Interview with Opeth's Fredrik Åkesson at Webster Hall, NYC 9/21". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnZ9hUPClm4. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  18. ^ Face Culture. You Tube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ht1seTCcDQ. 2011-07-15. Retrieved on 2011-07-21.
  19. ^ om een reactie te plaatsen!. "Mikael Åkerfeldt Interview - The House of Zazz". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbF5tL0l9dA. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  20. ^ Inferno. http://www.inferno.fi/blogi-opeth-heritage-ilm-20-9-4914/
  21. ^ a b c d e "Heritage". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/music/heritage/critic-reviews. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Rolling Stone Heritage review". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/heritage-20110928. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Opeth: Heritage – review - Music - The Guardian". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/sep/15/opeth-heritage-review. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "BBC - Music - Review of Opeth - Heritage". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/m8x2. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  25. ^ Stosuy, Brandon. Pitchfork. http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15866-heritage/. Published & Retrieved 09/27/11.
  26. ^ a b Ezell, Brice. Another Watershed Moment. Popmatters. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/148449-opeth-heritage. Published & Retrieved 09/29/11
  27. ^ Grow, Kory. [1] revolvermag.com 2011-10-05. Retrieved on 2011-10-06.
  28. ^ Thomas, Adam. Sputnikmusic review Sputnikmusic 2011-09-16. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  29. ^ a b Batmaz, Murat. Heritage review seaoftranquility.org. 2011-10-27. Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
  30. ^ "Drowned In Sound Review of Opeth - Heritage". Drowned In Sound. http://drownedinsound.com/releases/16513/reviews/4143600. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  31. ^ Opeth Announce US Tour Dates! Roadrunner. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/news/Opeth-Announce-US-Tour-Dates-23044.aspx. Published 06/06/11. Retrieved 10/13/11.
  32. ^ Opeth - European Tour Dates with Pain of Salvation. Metal Storm. http://www.metalstorm.net/events/news_comments.php?news_id=14053. Published 07/13/11. Retrieved 10/13/11.
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  34. ^ "Credits". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/heritage-r2255282/credits. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
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  37. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/canadian-albums?order=gainer
  38. ^ http://www.ifpi.fi/tilastot/virallinen-lista/albumit/2011/39
  39. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". mahasz.hu. http://www.mahasz.hu/?menu=slagerlistak&menu2=archivum&lista=top40&ev=2011&het=38&submit_=Keres%E9s. Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  40. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". olis.onyx.pl. 2011-10-03. http://olis.onyx.pl/listy/index.asp?idlisty=692&lang=en. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  41. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/rock-albums
  42. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/hard-rock-albums
  43. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/charts/world-albums
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  45. ^ "Heritage Limited Edition Picture Disc now available". Opeth.com. http://www.opeth.com/home/news/item/97-heritage-limited-edition-picture-disc-now-available. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  46. ^ Heritage information roadrunnerrecords.com.au. Retrieved on 2011-08-31.
  47. ^ "iTunes - Music - Heritage by Opeth". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-09-14. http://itunes.apple.com/be/preorder/heritage/id454213824. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  48. ^ "iTunes - Musik – "Heritage" von Opeth". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-09-14. http://itunes.apple.com/de/preorder/heritage/id454213824. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
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  51. ^ "iTunes - Music - Heritage by Opeth". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-09-14. http://itunes.apple.com/nz/preorder/heritage/id454213824. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
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  53. ^ Heritage pre-order Play.com Retrieved on 2011-09-03.
  54. ^ "iTunes - Music - Heritage by Opeth". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-09-14. http://itunes.apple.com/us/preorder/heritage/id454213824. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
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