Opeth - Watershed
For so many of us, a new Opeth album means a new journey into higher musical bliss. The Swedish melo-death maestros have continuously offered up groundbreaking material and have carved a niche in the realm of popular music few metal bands can hope to. From early masterpieces "Morningrise" and "My Arms, Your Hearse" to their pinnacle release "Blackwater Park" leading all the way to '05's "Ghost Reveries", they've always been two things; consistent and competant. Towards the end of 2007, when words first began spreading on Watershed, I allowed the hook to plant firmly in my cheek and have been waiting to be reeled in for months. Now I've got my hands on the product, and I've spent ample time with it. It's grown under my skin so fast that I am gunshy about this review; the praise I have for Watershed is almost too much.
"Coil" acts as opener, and it's softly picked acoustic balladeering strikes immediately as a "Damnation" leftover. But you can pick up on something fresh right away: Mikael's vocals, in their typical angelic pillowyness, convey a larger picture in the overall sound; more powerful than I can ever remember. I'm not sure who it is, but there is a female guest vocalist on this track; this is, I believe, one of if not the first time they've used guest vocals; it really adds to the melancholy feel of the track. When the guitar drops in for the opening riff of "Heir Apparent", though, this all flies right out the window. It's still Opeth, worry not dear fans; the metal is in high order. That riff segues into a little piano melody, and shifts back to the down-tuned doom riff before picking up steam behind Mikael's demonic growls and a thick wall of percussion. The leads all over this song are mind-blowing; but fans should and will expect the best technical chops on that side of the Atlantic. "Lotus Eater" gets even better; the opening is beyond anything Opeth have done before, and the song progresses into mid-paced riffing that underscores the melodic vocalizing and organ that throbs beneath the surface. The progressions throughout are remarkable; from the haunting swirl of the organ breaks to the sudden blastbeats right behind; "Lotus Eater" may be one of the best things they've ever done. Just wait until the circusy middle passage kicks in, with grooving organ and a swirling riff vie for the catchiest melody and the bass kicks up some dirt as well. "Burden" may be their most accessable song yet; it's a melodic number on par with some of Damnation's better numbers, but it's more aggressive in it's passion and unashamed to act as center stage to the impressive lead chops of Mikael and as a shining example of what talent can do when talent is unleashed.
I could continue to go into the remaining three tracks, but as I said at the beginning of this review, I am reserved in not sounding like too much of a fanboy. The fact is, Opeth have been one of my favorite bands for such a long time that I knew deep down all along Watershed wouldn't dissapoint me. But it has still caught me off-guard; I was not expecting another "Blackwater Park", which is exactly what we have here. Another pinnacle of melodic metal perfection from the absolute, unfathomable masters of the genre. Apart from being metal's most recognizable name at this point in time, I firmly believe Watershed will be a pivotal part of their lasting legacy. Metal fans, music fans of all shapes and sizes, do yourselves a favor you'll never stop thanking yourself for; get Watershed and bask in the glory of it all.
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on 2009-08-16 Sinist3r Punk Said:
Ok, thanks for the pointers Music Guru
on 2009-08-16 MusicGuru Said:
Well, Sinist3r Punk, if you like Prog Rock, listen to Damnation, if you like Death Metal, listen to Deliverance, their earlier stuff is more Black Metal(Orchid and Morningrise) and the rest is Extreme Progressive Metal.(My Arms Your Hearse, Still Life, Blackwater Park, Ghost Reveries and Watershed)
on 2009-08-16 Sinist3r Punk Said:
I do not see what the big deal is with these guys.
Maybe I just havent been introduced correctly, but Opeth is kind of boring to listen to.