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Opeth - Watershed

Matti Frost   (179 reviews)

Posted: 09/30/2008 | Comments: 8 | Rate:

I'm writing this review as an apology. I can remember when Chris sent me the mp3 of Demon of the Fall and my reaction was puzzlement. I didn't get why people crapped their pants over this band. Chris said to me, Pudge, they're an album band, you have to listen to the whole album and hear the song in context.

When I first heard Heir Apparent on the radio, I thought it was a good song, but wondered what the whole album was like. I caved in and bought it just on the strength of that one track, and I have to say- Chris, you were 100% right.

This album is a work of art on more levels than I can consciously comprehend. I've rarely heard a band with so much depth. A band rooted in melodic death metal that can easily go into a song reminiscent of a early 70's-era King Crimson influenced prog ballad like Burden (complete with mellotron and a jazz organ solo). Or who can layer rich vocal harmonies over layered guitars grounded by pounding blast beats and hammering bass.

The mood of this album is palpable. A sense of foreboding and darkness laced through with melody, this album could be a movie soundtrack. It's epic, but not rushed. It's progressive, but not excessively technical. It's heavy, but it's dynamic, relying on tension and release rather than raw volume to achieve that power. It's modern, but it's also a throwback. Again, I can't get past the early Crimson feeling I get when listening to this. I could probably throw in some Zeppelin and Queen influence too, but only in parts here or there. This is a metal album, no doubt, but it's one that's so well written and paced out it's hard to just limit it to that genre.

I don't know where this sits in Opeth's catalog because this is my first complete album that I've listened to from them. I've discovered that I can't stop listening to it. Some may find the songs a bit long- which are par for the course in progressive metal. With the exception of the acoustic, folkish opening track Coil, all the songs are at least 7 minutes long. This makes it a great album to listen to passively, but if you engage it with an active ear you will hear just how much subtlety and creativity that's contained in each song, and your attention will be held.

I've read some other reviews of this that claim that this is boring, but I couldn't disagree more. This is a very engaging album, one you can listen to over and over again and hear something new each time. Grand and anthemia without relying on speed or over-the-top shred or excessive heaviness, Watershed is a definite possibility for Album of the Year.

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One falls off
3,805 Posts
I have this and really haven't listened to more than 3 songs, and when I have the time I'm really going to give it a go. My expetations are really high since I consider Ghost Reveries a masterpiece, but hopefully that won't come in to play when I get around to this one.
Old Head
38,734 Posts
I have this and really like it. great album/band.
drop a hard J
17,175 Posts
this one took me a few listens to come around on but now i love it. i wouldn't put it in their top 3 list but it still kicks ass.
45,059 Posts
good review, good album
GK 9
7,574 Posts
24,541 Posts
Band rules, album is great. I love every single album they've put out. To me, they all offer something different.
life is gawbage
22,796 Posts
this is the first thing of theirs I've actually been able to sit through since Orchid.
I brought gifts
17,791 Posts
got this in the mail yesterday.....loving it

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