Basically Opeth's new album, Heritage, is a retro album. Mix together the influences of 20 or 30 prog-rock bands from the 1970s, like King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Rush, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Van Der Graaf Generator and a couple of dozen other bands in the same vein, and there you have the Heritage result.
I don't find it bad, nor really interesting. This is a retro album. It's both produced and feels like a mimic of the old progressive/experimental rock sound of the 1970s. If I want prog-rock, with moog, hammond and mellotron, then I can pick up the classics. They're always better than the retro bands out there today.
A big surprise was that Martin Axenrot could play convincingly enough in a prog-rock atmosphere. It doesn't sound like a stiff metal drummer is behind the cymbal front, but someone who has the inspiration and groove for this kind of genre. Especially the aesthetics of jazz and fusion beats slips through the rhythms in a convincing manner. I've found myself respecting Axenrot far more for this contribution than anything else he's done before.
I don't mind change of direction, but I find it sad that they just copy the old ideas of production, arrangements and musicality of Mikael Åkerfeldts old favourites. If I had the chance to play in, let's say Änglagård or Anekdoten, I would try my best to influence the sound to move away from the expected sound of the bands that everyone in this kind of genre listens to. It's one thing to be influenced and adapting a genre in a broader point of view, music wise. But to simply throw away the sound that made your band unique and go back to the roots of your musical upbringing and just copy that musical entity feels a bit too "easy" for my taste. Still, I respect Opeth for changing up, just not their direction.