OPETH — Watershed (review)

OPETH — Watershed album cover Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
The Block
Heir Apparent

My introduction to Opeth was this album. For me they had to stand up to the greats, in my mind, which were Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, though I only had “The Perfect Element” at the time. At first I was telling myself to turn it off every time I got to “Heir Apparent”, the first song I had ever listened to with growling. But in the end I began to like this album, and then, all of a sudden, I loved it.

With songs such as “Coil” with its great acoustic flavor, and “Hessian Peel” it’s hard not to like this album. “Coil” starts off the album on the right foot with great acoustic guitars and very nice clean vocals by Mikael Åkerfeldt that lead nicely into “Heir Apparent”. Right from the start “Heir Apparent” offers nice heavy riffs that bolster the melodies very nicely. This song has great contrasts in it, going from soft, lightly placed beats to heavy metal laden riffs that transfer perfectly into Åkerfeldt’s growling. The keyboards on this album are also quite superb, showcased in “Burden” a long with many others. “Burden”, besides having really cool keyboard solos, has some great guitar work by both Mikael Åkerfeldt and Fredrik Åkesson.

Now the vocals are what really make this album, and Opeth what they are today. They, and more specifically Mikael Åkerfeldt, are the pioneers in progressive death metal with their signature sound. Since Opeth has been going from clean vocals to death growls in the same song many bands have caught on and incorporated this technique in their albums, such as Haken’s “Aqurius” which just came out recently. Another reason why I like the vocals on this album is that now they are almost the standard for most of the metal and progressive metal that I listen to. Mikael Åkerfeldt is a complete genius in everyway, and his vocals show that.

The production on this album is great, providing great boosts to the highs and support to the lower sounds. Opeth’s ability to transfer from dark to light in one song can be credited to the production a little bit since you can hardly tell the difference all throughout, providing a nice smooth feel.

“Watershed” opened my eyes a long time ago and I can see it doing the same to anyone who is a bit tentative about heavier progressive metal. If you don’t already have this album I propose that you stop reading this review and go out to your local record store and buy it. For a great album Opeth gets 4.5 stars.
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J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
This is a really great album! I'm going to have to revisit Watershed sometime soon... I haven't heard it in over a year...

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