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Opeth - Watershed CD (album) cover

WATERSHED

Opeth

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 909 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Metalstyle
4 stars After a long 3 years of waiting, the new Opeth record has finally arrived to the public. It wasnt long ago that Opeth were just this little band from sweden. Now, especially since signing to Roadrunner Records in 2005, they become one of the world's most in demand metal bands today. This new found fame and fortune left many of Opeth's long-time fans to worry about where the band was headed. The 2005 release titled 'Ghost Reveries' did not depart far from their signature progressive death metal sound but many of the die hard fans still felt alienated by the band, after they've become a household name across the globe. This new release will do one of two things for current fans of the band. One, they will either feel further away from the Opeth they fell in love with in the beginning or their love of the band will grow stronger.

One thing an Opeth fan first notices about this new record is the almost complete absense of Mikael Akerfeldt's trademark death growl. Sure, 3 out of the 7 tracks do contain the growling to some extent, but by no means do they dominate the sound of this record like they do on albums past such as 2001's Blackwater Park and 2003's Deliverance. This time around the sound of the record is more than ever focused on the actual songwriting itself. With songs like 'Burden' and album opener 'Coil', Opeth demonstrate a new found maturity and an even sort of adult-contemporary-esque vibe to the package as a whole. The loss of former guitarist Peter Lindgren and drummer Martin Lopez do nothing to hurt the band's quality of music and to be honest, it is most likely their departures from the band that allowed for this style of an album to be created in the first place. New drummer Martin Axenrot and guitarist Fredrick Akesson allow for these songs to grow into soft, beautiful blends between jazz, folk and blues rock to create an all new Opeth sound. But dont let these songs fool you, there are still songs like Heir Apparent that give enough death metal punch within 8 minutes to satisfy the hunger for the more metal-minded fan.

The highlight(s) of the album come on two different levels. As far as the cleaner songs go, nothing can come close to topping the heart wrenching ballad Burden. With smooth jazz lead guitar played flawless by new guitarist Fredrick Akesson, hormonized with the folky acoustic guitar of Mikael Akerfeldt, the song leaves one feeling very overwhelmed with emotion. Not to mention the Hammond Organ solo by Per Wiberg is literally to die for, 'Burden' is the song that will go down in history as Opeth's best. For ones looking for more of a classic Opeth feel, the song The Lotus Eater is the album's true highlight as far as metal is concerned. With blast beat drumming blended in with clean singing, rapid fire rhythm guitar, start-stop death growls and even a short funk breakdown this is one that will keep the older fans of Opeth hungry and thirsty for more.

Overall this album is by far a huge step forward in the careers of the five men that make up Opeth. This band is heading somewhere new, where that exactly is is yet to be seen but one thing is for certain. If Opeth were to disband today, Watershed would go down as thier true classic. The only question remaining is what could possibly come next for these Swedish metal titans?

Metalstyle | 4/5 |

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