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Opeth - Watershed CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.98 | 1158 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Opeth is not the type of band that I typically like, and I indeed have a difficult time listening to most of their albums. However, Watershed is an exception, and I think it is a brilliant album. I consider it brilliant just for the mere fact that it completely changed my view of this band from a bunch of useless noise to a masterful progressive metal band. The main thing I didn't like about this band is their use of "Cookie Monster" vocals that I felt ruined the great metal music being played underneath. Fortunately, the "Cookie Monster" vocals on this album are sparse and it gives room for Mikael Åkerfeldt to shine with his pleasant pure voice.

The opening track, "Coil", is a good indication of the different direction this album is headed. It is a pleasant track where the vocals switch between Akerfeldt's clean vocals and those of a beautiful female vocalist on top of acoustic guitar. It is a beautiful start to the album. Then, the complete contrast is the next track, "Heir Apparent", that shows the typical heaviness and "Cookie Monster" vocals that Opeth is known for. I have really grown to love this song and I love the contrast it provides from the serene begining. The musicianship in this song is amazing and Akerfeldt's vocals fit the dark mood of the track. "The Lotus Eater" is a favorite track of mine because it allows the heavy Opeth sound to coexist with Akerfeldt's clean vocals. I especially like the funky break in the song with extremely proggy keyboards. It is perhaps the most proggy moment of the whole album and it always gets me excited.

"Burden" starts off with a brilliant light piano before Akerfeldt sings with his pure clean voice. This is a wonderful track, one of my favorites on the album. I love the organ solo in the middle. This track makes me wonder why Akerfeldt doesn't use his clean voice more often in Opeth. The ending of the track is wacky with an acoustic guitar that increasingly gets more and more out of tune. It is strange, but I love if for some odd reason and feel it fits within the context of this album. "Porcelain Heart" is probably the weakest track of the album, but it is still good. It features some great acoustic guitar and Akerfeldt once again doesn't resort to the growling vocals that are so common on Opeth songs. "Hessian Peel" is a brilliant epic, perhaps the strongest song on the album. It begins with the signiture acoustic guitar that is all over this album. The beginning is magical with Akerfeldt's clean voice singing over a wonderful interplay of acoustic and electric guitar with some flute added in with great effect. Towards the middle, the growling vocals return, but I find it a good effect to show the contrast between the relatively serene beginning section. "Hex Omega" is a great closer to the album that really rocks.

Watershed is an album that gave me an almost revelatory experience and made me desire to repeatedly listen to it to get the same experience. It changed how I felt about Opeth and the technical/extreme metal category in general. It made me realize that growling vocals could have a place in the music (as long as they are used sparingly). Above all, this album is enchanting to me and creates a certain mood that I can't quite describe. During the summer of 2008 I couldn't get enough of this album and it was on constant repeat in my car. I would have never expected that of an Opeth album.

natewait | 4/5 |


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