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2008 album from the forward-thinking Swedish titans, who seemlessly and fluidly combine Metal, Classic Rock, Prog, Folk and Free Form Jazz. With this, their ninth effort, Opeth continue to shake things up, turn the corner and push the limits of their sound. And the results are breathtaking. Ultimately, Watershed sounds at once completely like and absolutely nothing like previous Opeth records. Watershed takes all that is Opeth, and goes where Opeth have never gone before.
Top customer reviews
Well, that was then, this is now. Very recently one of my school buddies had his Sirius radio playing through his PC. The song "Heir Apparent" began. I was immediately captivated. Several days later I ordered Watershed from this site. And here is what I think of it:
One word: amazing. If I was allowed two words: freakin' amazing.
From start to finish, this album is the singular best piece of musical excellence I have ever heard. And it's so different and varying in it's style. From one second, Mikael Akerfeldt can go from singing a beautiful line such as "and cries out 'or the restless will also die'" to a brutal death metal guttural "a selection culled from the damned, drawing a lifeline of one." His voice and range can be quite surprising at times, at least to me not having heard Opeth before.
Speaking of singing, the lyrics are unbelievable, with every song having such deep meanings that it would take me ages to uncover what each song means. The track "Heir Apparent" in fact has extremely deep lyrics.
"Hear him spewing forth a meaning to miserable lies, see the twisted hand of doubt seal the affair. The insect trust; believer. Your body a vehicle to house his disease"
The song continues on about this one heir apparent. And just who is this apparent heir? Perhaps some have an idea but I certainly don't. And that's just track 2 of 7 on this album!
All the other members of the band are of course excellent. The keyboard section from Per Wiberg on "The Lotus Eater" combined with Martin "Axe" Axenrot's excellent beat on the drums is a complete departure from the rest of the song, which is excellent by the way. Blast beats combined with clean, melodic vocals? Sign me up. Guitars? Don't even get me started. The combined efforts (which seem effortless) of Akerfeldt and Fredrik Akesson are mind blowing, while Martin Mendez holds down the bass line like no ones business.
Other songs worth note besides "Heir" and "Lotus" include the excellent lighter rock-style "Burden" which includes the best of Akerfeldt's "clean" vocals (one of my album faves), "Hessian Peel," an epic 11:25 minute song that includes what seems like every metal element on Earth, including backwards lyrics as a homage to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and it's controversial lyrics "My sweet Satan, I see you" which indicates a sense of humor from this metal powerhouse. All the rest of the songs are obviously excellent, but the ones I have mentioned are truly worth buying the album for.
Overall, this album gets a 5/5 or a 9.5/10 from me. I would honestly dock .5 of a star for "Porcelain Heart" which doesn't seem as strong as the rest of the album. I would recommend "Watershed" to any fan of metal and especially to fans of Opeth. Based on this CD alone I will be purchasing the rest of Opeth's "observations" very soon.
Do yourself a favour, get the Digital Download. It appears That is all MP3 files so will rip to media player and ipod. I wish this had been more clear, I could have saved money and gotten the song I wanted. I played the DVD on my computer. The "prologue" and "rehersal tapes" have a video of the band talking about their music, and about each other. Then it plays the Watershed album again in DVD but No Video! And it plays the 3 bonus songs including "Bridge" , no video! I went ahead and bought the .99 cent MP3 of Bridge of Sighs so I could rip it to media player and sync to ipod.
I do like the CD though.
"Porcelain Heart", "Burden", "Lotus Eater" and the brilliant "Hessian Peel" highlight their continued conjuration and assimilation of superior musicianship, lyrical prowess, technical skill and cascading vision...haunting and experimental but Opeth nonetheless...Akerfeldt has come into the height of his vocal powers and though the death vox is rather sparse in this edition, he is pitch perfect.
My only reservations are perhaps the over produced "Heir Apparent"...the live version sounds better in my opinion and maybe because i heard that version first. Still, it is vintage Opeth and is one of the better selections on the disc.
Finally, "Coil" is somewhat of a mystery to me, though Akerfeldt serves it up in a sublime manner. Maybe it's the female vocals that distract but it is so short as to be tolerable after repeated listens.
Overall, Opeth remains on the cutting edge while remaining true to its progressive bent. Well done.