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Opeth - Watershed CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.95 | 1109 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This is a very good album. After a couple months of listening I can honestly say that I enjoy listening to this one frequently. It's a good one to blast in the car when I'm going somewhere, and it seems like the kind of record that is good whether you listen to it all at once or in different parts. It's got some beautiful parts, and some very brutal parts. Akerfeldt's growling voice is awesome, and I like his acoustic writing, particularly when classical and folk type individual string picking is required. Axenrot's drumming is also quite impressive, and he's got a good groove going on in most of the songs. Overall, this record goes through several dark moods, and explores a bit of what is possible in the death metal genre. Very good stuff.

Coil is a good short intro to the album. Nice and simple, and it features a beautiful female guest vocalist. It's not particularly beautiful, but it helps to give the beginning of the album a nice push before it actually takes off into metal territory. The only instrument used is a basic acoustic guitar. Maybe it's a bit repetitive, but it's nice that it is structured a bit uniquely. It ends with some static and dusty noise fading in.

That leads into Heir Apparent, so well that you may not expect when the first crash of electric instruments will blast in, that you might just jump in place out of surprise. This track starts off rather slow, repeating itself a bit for a minute, until the drums pick it up and Akerfeldt's growl comes in. As soon as that comes in, you realize you are in for. After a verse, the drums put it into a great swing groove, and the guitar riff turns more agressive. This track continues with this swing style for the rest of the song, until about the last minute, when a melodic closure of the song comes. It is a bit of a repetitive outro, but that's just fine, because this song is a good quality one, so not a lot can make it too bad.

After that is The Lotus Eater. It starts off with a strange humming, with an oboe in the background. You will wonder what kind of song this one is. Suddenly, the drums drop in and a brutal wall of distorted guitar blasts the listener loudly. The melodic singing and the guttural growls trade places frequently in this song, and the vocal rhythms are interesting. For example, in a couple verses there's a little pause before the last syllable of the last line, making the last word, Die a little more emphasized and desperate in my opinion. About halfway through, nothing's left but a keyboard orchestral soundscape and some acoustic guitar. After a while of that, a bit of feedback drones in a bit and the drums pick up in a up tempo beat. Suddenly, all the instruments turn into a funk session and play a groovy beat for a few measures. The song finally ends with more distortion and clean singing. A defenite good track.

Next is Burden. I'm always trying to compare modern songs to early 70's recordings, because when people compare modern bands to earlier ones, I find the production too different to make a similar sound. On this song, however, I figure it would fit in the earlier era and be played on the radio quite often. It's got some good keyboards reminiscent of the ballads of the 70's, a good organ sound. The end of the track, though is very unique compared to any song. An acoustic guitar picks up near the end and strums in a folk-ish style. As it goes on, it sounds like another person detunes the strings of the guitar as it continues to play. A very interesting sound.

Porcelain Heart is a nice track, though a bit repetitive. The acoustic parts are nice, but the vocal melodies do repeat themselves a bit too much. But there are parts when it seems all of the instruments drop out, and an interesting electric guitar fades in slowly. This song has a nice gloomy mood to it, but in my opinion it is a bit stretched out.

Hessian Peel is great. It starts off quietly with some beautiful acoustic guitars, and has a beautiful riff to it after a minute. It builds itself quite nicely, with a good swing rhythm. After about five minutes, everything drops out. You wonder, This one still has 6 minutes to go. What's going on?. Suddenly a bass rhythm seems to eerily appear, though it is very quiet. A couple of cymbal taps, and suddenly everything explodes into a hugely brutal and angry song. The growls go on, and after a bit of that, Akerfeldt starts singing again. After that huge dynamic crescendo, everything seems to calm down. It slowly loses the energy and calms down, and closes up with the bass rhythm. This is definetely the best track on the whole album.

Hex Omega is a bit of a let down of a closing track. Although the metal guitars are playing through the whole album, you don't get to hear Akerfeldt's inpenetrable growl. This song is mostly filler, there's not much notable about it. Maybe if it had been shortened, it would have been a nice closer, but otherwise it's just fine.

So there you have it. This album has quite a few excellent tracks, a few very good tracks, and only one track that is alright. But it's a very good overall listen, especially if you are a death metal fan but you have diverse tastes. It's got a good gloomy atmosphere through the whole of it and mixes a lot of folk and classical style acoustic guitars through it. It's not an essential Opeth album, but it's definetely not a bad one.

topofsm | 3/5 |


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