8/1/2008 - Review by: Anthony Burke
Progressive metal and brutality are generally not two words used in the same sentence unless you are referring to Opeth. Watershed marks the ninth studio release from Sweden's progressive death metal outfit. Will Watershed live up to its title and open the floodgates to yet another Opeth classic [Still Life, Blackwater Park, ect.], or will it just be another annoying drip in their bucket like Ghost Reveries? Tune in to the same dark channel to find out.
As we open, we are introduced to an soothing acoustic track which features a female vocalist [Mikael Akerfeldt's wife] as well as Mikael himself. A bit slow and short, but a unique sound from the boys to kick things off. Next we hit my personal favorite track, "Heir Apparent", which has progressive metal and power riffs meshed with the perfect amount of brutality [Per Wiberg's keyboard blend perfectly with the band]. The next five tracks have an eclectic mix of growls and clean vocals, as well as hard hitting guitar and drum solos. The result is a rather unique Opeth sound. However, it does seem to be verging on odd at times. There is a throwback sound found here, mixing their older sound with that of a group like Pink Floyd, adding textures that make a modern Opeth sound.
I'll lay it out for you, this is a fantastic album, but not one you can pick and chose tracks to play and never feel the entire experience. This is an album that virtually stands on its own. The new improved lineup [Mikael Akerfeldt - vocals, Martin Mendez - bass guitar. Per Wiberg - keyboards, Martin Axenrot - drums. Fredrik Akesson - guitar] shows the evolution of a great band. Opeth has went from a four piece to a five piece and only Mikael Akerfeldt and Martin Mendez are from yesteryear. Those who don't like change, may not dig this, but then again, this is the 2008 release, not the 1998 release. The arrangements are simpler, but there is plenty of headbangin to be done. It is a change, but a good change. Run down to your nearest record shop and get your copy today!
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