OPETH — Watershed (review)

OPETH — Watershed album cover Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
“Watershed” is Opeth’s eleventh studio album, but it still amazes me how the band became a true progressive rock band only with this release. “Watershed” is most definitely Opeth’s most ambitious and experimental album to date, a lot more than “Blackwater Park”, “Still Life”, or “Ghost Reveries”. Sure, it’s not as good as these mentioned albums, but it is one fabulous piece of art.

I certainly didn’t expect “Watershed” to be like this, and probably neither did all the fans. These were in fact very excited in particular about this album, since it had been three years since the band had recorded anything (“Ghost Reveries”). So when it came out, the album was a hit album, with many songs released as singles. Paradoxically, like I said, the album turned out to be very quirky and even eerie in some moments, even though the typical, Death Metal Opeth moments, alternated with soft melancholic ones, are still here. Now, more than ever the band bring use instruments such as flutes or electric pianos, that can dominate a really large part of the song.

“Watershed” has probably one of the best album structures that Opeth has ever accomplished; Seven songs, almost all of them quite long. It feels sometimes like this album was intended as an opera, as a sort of concept album that perfectly flows through the songs. It’s something in the atmosphere that unites all the tracks,and it could easily be what I like to think of “light darkness”, a sound that isn’t quite dark, but still has some mysterious moments.

Songs like “Heir Apparent”, or the opener “Coil”, have now become two of my favorite listens on my Ipod. And “The Lotus Eater” is even better; it is the perfect synthesis of the album, in almost nine minutes of changing styles, rhythms, and music. Then though some other songs a bit weaker and not as convincing; “Porcelain Heart” is a typical Opeth song, but it is somewhat predictable at moments. “Hessian Peel” has some pretty cool and eerie moments, but the metal parts don’t give to much feel to me. “Hex Omega” is then a little too similar (even thanks to the once again use of flutes, that don’t seem to be as “mind blowing” as before) to some of the previous songs. Special mention to “Burden”, a great, slow retro prog song, with tons of mellotron and haunting vocals by Akerfeldt.

An album that I strongly recommend, despite the negative views, and that I’m sure all the Opeth fans, even though at first they would be a little shocked and surprised by it, would love sincerely.
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Andyman1125 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Watershed is Opeth's 9th studio album ;)

Good review, though. I had some similar thoughts about the experimentalism of the music.

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