El disco que nos faltaba de los geniales suecos (salvando aquellos de su primera etapa centrada en el death metal puro), la continuación de "Ghost Reveries" es una reivindicación del rock progresivo adaptando estructuras y sonidos al carácter típico de Opeth, dando lugar a siete temas en los que tan pronto encontramos cortes acústicos, estructuras complejas e inquietantes y temas salvajes, en un disco emotivo y oscuro pero también extremadamente entretenido. Otra joyita de los suecos para terminar con la saga Opeth.
Género: Metal extremo progresivo / Rock progresivo
Género: Metal extremo progresivo / Rock progresivo
Lista de Temas:
2. Heir Apparent
3. The Lotus Eater
5. Porcelain Heart
6. Hessian Peel
7. Hex Omega
2. Heir Apparent
3. The Lotus Eater
5. Porcelain Heart
6. Hessian Peel
7. Hex Omega
- Mikael Åkerfeldt / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, co-producer
- Fredrik Åkesson / guitars
- Per Wiberg / piano, electric piano, Mellotron, Hammond, MiniMoog (?)
- Martin Mendez / basses
- Martin Axenrot / drums, percussion
Nathalie Lorichs / vocals (1)
Lisa Almberg / English horn, oboe
Christoffer Wadenstein / flute
Karin Svensson / violin
Andreas Tengberg / cello
- Mikael Åkerfeldt / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, co-producer
- Fredrik Åkesson / guitars
- Per Wiberg / piano, electric piano, Mellotron, Hammond, MiniMoog (?)
- Martin Mendez / basses
- Martin Axenrot / drums, percussion
Nathalie Lorichs / vocals (1)
Lisa Almberg / English horn, oboe
Christoffer Wadenstein / flute
Karin Svensson / violin
Andreas Tengberg / cello
Avanzando hacia el Prog-Rock más tradicional, "Watershed" es el noveno álbum de estudio de la banda sueca. Si bien el álbum de debut de Opeth, "Orchid", fue un puro death melódico con algunas tendencias progresivas, desde "Still Life" se habían establecido definitvamente como una banda de death metal progresivo, y mantuvieron esa etiqueta hsta este disco. En "Damnation" crearon un álbum de prog-rock puro, y "Watershed" parece un equilibrio entre sus álbumes progresivos de Death Metal y el suave prog-rock de "Damnation".
Con un poco de retraso llega a El mundo de Kovalski la obra maestra editada este año por los suecos Opeth -o lo que es lo mismo, el nuevo disco del talentoso Mikael Akerfeldt. Y es que las peticiones de los lectores de este blog son sagradas para Kovalski. Este nuevo cd supone además la presentación discográfica del nuevo batería Martin Axenrot -músico relacionado con bandas de death-black como Bloodbath donde coincidió con Akerfeldt- en sustitución de Martín López, y del nuevo guitarrista Akesson -que sustituye a Lindgren y que estuvo en los Arch Enemy del genial Michael Amott. La producción ha corrido a cargo de Jens Bogren -productor del anterior disco de Opeth Ghost reveries y de bandas como Soilwork y Katatonia- y del propio Akerfeldt. El disco comienza con un tema acústico COIL -con guitarras acústicas y flautas, y la dulce voz de Natalie Lorichs que recuerda enormemente a la de la ex vocalista de The Gathering Anneke van Giersbergen y que da la réplica a Akerfeldt en la segunda parte del tema. Un tema acerca de la inercia -desilusionada- en una relación amorosa: "When I get out of here Will I leave you behind? I found that the years passed despite ". Curiosamente los dos opinan lo mismo, pero siguen juntos. Gran tema -y extraña forma de comenzar un disco de death metal progresivo- que nos retrotrae a la época de Damnation. Heir Apparent comienza de forma depresiva, con esos arpegios tan típicos de Akerfeldt, y después de una coda tenebrosa a cargo de Wiberg en el teclado deviene la tormenta en una de las interpretaciones vocales de Akerfeldt más espeluznantes. Después de un solo buenísimo con la eléctrica entra la guitarra clásica para dar paso a un parte totalmente black-death que recuerda a bandas como Dimmu Borgir, luego retoma la parte acústica, etc. Un tema muy complejo que finaliza con una inspiradísima melodía instrumental. The lotus eater es otro grandísima tema que empieza con un tarareo "mudo" y se convierte en una avalancha en la que Akerfedt es capaz de alternar melodía con partes black. Un riff simple se convierte en la base para un desarrollo vocal emocionante y el mellotron de Wiberg poniendo los pelos de punta: "You are stuck in a beautiful future.Changing and waiting and seeking the truth of it all". Los interludios, los puentes entre sección y sección están cuidadísimos. Akerfeldt en estado de gracia. Nuevos pasajes acústicos con flautas, guitarras limpias y arpegios marca de la casa desembocan en una parte casi cómica con aire jazz -¿es que el genio de Akerfeldt no tiene límites?-. El final del tema me suena a los Pink Floyd más psicodélicos con voces en off. El momento cumbre del disco viene con Burden (Burden), una balada impresionante que te hace sentir que el mundo no está acabado. Un aire a los King Crimson del Red impregna el sonido -ese mellotron, oboes-, la voz de Akerfeldt rasga las bonitas melodías y la letra profundamente triste -como casi todas las de este genio-("If death should take me now. Count my mistakes and let me through. Whisper in my ear. Taken more than we've received. And the ocean of sorrow is you"), el solo de teclado es espectacular y la guitarra solista brilla en "Fading away". Pero eso no es todo, la canción termina con una melodía en las guitarras -con coros sin letra de fondo- que quizás sea posiblemente lo mejor que haya compuesto este hombre en toda su vida. El momento menos brillante del disco viene con el single Porcelain Heart, una canción que suena demasiado a otras cosas de Opeth pero que también tiene una parte central escalofriante (video de Porcelain Heart) después del solo -minuto 3.30- ("I see blood spilled 'neath my feet, Lead me through wastelands of deceit, Rest your head now, don't you cry, Don't ever ask the reason why"). Los dos temas con los que concluye el disco con excelsos. Tanto Hessian Peel como Hex Omega reúnen todo el talento que hay en Opeth. El principio de Hessian Peel suena a los Dire Straits de Love over gold (¡no es broma!), luego la clásica de Akerfeldt acompaña una bonita melodía de la guitarra eléctrica sin distorsión y canta Akerfeldt: "Will their children cry When their mother dies And in the autumn of their lives Will they feel the same?". Típico riff con la acústica y presencia del mellotron, voces limpias, esta gente ahora tocan el cielo. Solos melódicos de guitarras con dobles voces que podrían recordarnos a los Maiden más clásicos. Parte crepuscular con una nueva sección acústica que enlaza con parte más black -voces guturales- y nos parece escuchar a los Opeth del Deliverance. Vuelven más partes acústicas tremendamente inspiradas -este tío no para, el tema dura más de 10 minutos- y termina la canción con melodías disonantes. Hex Omega se está convirtiendo en mi tema preferido del disco. Riffs rebuscados con esos arpegios akerfeldtianos, y toda la melancolía que reúne su genialidad. Flautas para "Two years In your heart One moment of doubt". Solos de guitarra heavies, vuelta a la simpatía por el caos, y final con un ritmo de guitarra entre purpleliano y blacksabbathiano, repetición con Axenrot realizando variaciones hasta que el sonido de órgano da por terminada esta obra maestra. En términos técnicos decir que el sonido es perfecto, Akerfeldt está mejor que nunca en las voces y en las guitarras solistas; Axenrot aunque con un estilo menos estilista que López -muchas dudas se despertaron cuando se dio a conocer el sustituto del uruguayo- hace un trabajo brillante; las composiciones están muy inspiradas, la producción está repleta de muchos detalles, transiciones, arreglos de gran gusto y calidad. Cada escucha invita a descubrir nuevas facetas que antes pueden haber pasado desapercibidas. El disco del año. El mejor disco de Opeth. Un disco que terminará siendo mítico. Si no lo es ya.Kovalski
Cambiando radicalmente de época, de género, de país, de todo, voy a pasar a una banda de los 90s de Metal Progresivo de Suecia, quizás la más importante del género a nivel mundial (luego de Dream Theater).Gastón Manestar
La particularidad que tiene esta banda es que ganó muchos adeptos de ámbitos muy distintos, gente que escucha géneros muy diferentes parece disfrutar de la música de Mikael Åkerfeldt.
Obviamente el hecho de que hayan venido el año pasado a tocar en la Argentina les suma muchos puntos en la subjetividad de esta review ;)
Los que no estén acostumbrados a escuchar "Death Metal" o metal con voces guturales, yo les recomendaría no acercarse mucho a los primeros discos de la banda, ya que para alguien que conoce toda la discografía es obvia la evolución de la banda, hacia un sonido cada vez más progresivo y elaborado con el paso del tiempo.
Una cosa muy cuestionada sobre el nuevo cd de Opeth fue la formación de la banda. Y en ese sentido, se podría decir que es una banda complicada: los cambios de formación fueron tantos que el único sobreviviente de la formación original es Mikael. En wikipedia también se les complicó para explicar y por eso le pusieron un artículo aparte [*] :O
Para poner algo de background: en el 2003 la banda había lanzado el exitoso Damnation, como una muestra de que la banda podía hacer un cd entero de canciónes fuera del estilo metalero. Obviamente esto amplió el público al que Opeth estuvo dirigido, sin embargo esto llevó a la crítica de muchos fans "Opeth se vendió". Obviamente la banda no se había vendido, y sólo estaba pasando por un momento experimental, que bien se puede observar en el dvd vuela-cabezas de 2003, Lamentations, donde tocan un primer set con todos los temas de Damnation, y un segundo set con todos los viejos clásicos death-metaleros de la banda, con temas de una adrenalina increíble de más 10 minutos de duración.
Sin embargo recién en 2004 se incorporaría el tecladista Per Wiberg a la banda, agregando el elemento que Opeth necesitaba para poder sacar un disco como Ghost Reveries, donde la banda vuelve a demostrar su grandeza, y cuya gira traería el disco en vivo Roadhouse Tapes (que en 2008 sería editado también en dvd, y es también impecable).
Lo que causó cierto rechazo en el lanzamiento de Watershed, fue la despedida de el guitarrista y el baterista de la banda, que eran considerado pilares de la misma. Los nuevos miembros fueron muy criticados, incluso el guitarrista Friedrik Åkesson, que tenía una trayectoria que incluía bandas del calibre de Arch Enemy y Tiamat; el baterista "Axe" Axenrot tenía menos con qué defenderse, y se decía que no iba a poder estar a la altura de los arreglos de percusión que había hecho Martín Lopez (llama la atención el nombre, ¡pero es Uruguayo!).
A pesar de esto, el disco fue obviamente un éxito, y considerado por muchos como el mejor disco progresivo del año, el mejor disco de metal del año, etc.
El comienzo es Coil, una melodía melancólica a dúo con una cantante invitada, que es como un canto introductorio. Realmente uno puede sentirse exaltado entre la transición de este tema con el siguiente Heir Apparent, que comienza con un riff muy poderoso que se frena para dar lugar a un teclado imitando la melodía en lo que parece un rincón oscuro de la canción. La voz de Mikael aparece recién casi al final del segundo minuto, en unos rugidos que acompañan la atmósfera violenta del tema.
Luego de un solo de guitarra lo sigue una sección muy progresiva y lenta, con una guitarra acústica que es la introducción para que el tema estalle nuevamente.
The Lotus Eater, empieza con esa melodía cantada "mmmm", que es inesperadamente interrumpido por la marcha furiosa de la batería y unas lyrics confusas. La guitarra y el teclado tienen unas melodías muy progresivas en el medio, cuando la voz de Mikael se convierte casi en un coro, que es arrastrado por la marea de sonidos liderada por la bateria y un riff de guitarra furioso, que termina en unos murmullos confusos con un melotrón tocando la melodía en fade-out.
Comienza luego la atmósfera tranquila de Burden, con un piano solemne y luego un ritmo que recuerda a Led Zeppelin. La tranquilidad de este tema que de a poco se transforma en un sólo de guitarra super rockero. Realmente una joyita del disco, un tema de rock clásico interpretado por una banda de Death Metal Progresivo es siempre una sopresa (no es la primera vez de esta banda, por supuesto!). Fue lanzado como single, y es uno de los temas que se distingue del álbum ya que es la única "balada" del álbum. Y lo más impresionante es el final, donde la guitarra permanece tocando una melodía mientras las cuerdas son desafinadas, y uno puede escuchar las pequeñas variaciones que esto introduce en la misma hasta llegar a una melodía irreconocible. ¡Increible!
El tema siguiente Porcelain Heart también fue un single (el primero del álbum, que se usó para su promoción), el cuál tuvo un video con una versión obviamente cortada, ya que el tema es de 8 minutos de duración, y seguramente MTV no los debe haber dejado ;). Es uno de esos temas de Opeth que nos pasean por todas las emociones que existen entre la nostalgia y la furia. El trabajo vocal de Mikael otra vez es elogiable y toda la banda muestra una coordinación increible (la batería haciendo movimientos muy inesperados por momentos). Jamás termino de encontrar detalles en este tema.
Lo sigue mi favorito del álbum, Hessian Peel, el cuál creo que define la obra completa en sus 11 minutos y medio de duración. Luego de un blues introductorio, la melodía nos prepara para un tema cambiante, y se presentan de entrada una gran variedad de instrumentos. De a poco la bateria va preparando el espacio de entrada para la guitarra eléctrica. Como la mayoría de los temas de Opeth, tiene una sección intermedia muy instrospectiva o reflexiva, con pocos instrumentos, que es seguida por una súbita explosión de sonidos. Esta vez es Mikael quien ruge desde el infierno.
Otro detalle interesante que contiene este tema son algunas líneas de sus lyrics grabadas al revés, que aporta cierta confusión y misticismo al tema. La canción termina con la melodía caóticamente alterada, y nos deja esa horrible sensación de vacío al finalizar.
Comienza así el útlimo tema, Hex Omega. El ritmo de este tema parece indicarnos por momentos que se trata del tema de despedida, mientras los riffs y melodías furiosas asoman por momentos. Con todo esto sumado, tenemos un final que no podía ser más adecuado para el disco.
El disco que tengo yo es una versión estadounidense -ya que tardó mucho en salir la versión naconal, y creo que ya se consigue en cualquier casa especializada- contiene 3 bonus tracks: Derelict Hends, un tema que tiene un estilo similar a los del álbum pero que a mí particularmente no me gusta; Bridge of Sighs un cover de Robin Trower (que también había sido tocado por Metallica) que es un blues bastante accesible, en el que la banda se da el lujo de demostrar su apertura mental en la música; y Den Ständiga Resan que es un tema bastante peculiar por estar cantado en sueco, y es un cover de una cantante sueca, es algo así como una balada acústica donde Mikael nuevamente se luce con su registro vocal, que al cantar en su idioma natal se nota mucho la diferencia. La música de este último tema me hace acordar mucho al tema Patterns in the Ivy de Blackwater Park, con la diferencia que este último es instrumental, pero el estilo es parecido.
Un single que fue sacado con este disco y que no está incluído en el cd que tengo yo es Mellotron Heart, una versión de Porcelain Heart hecha casi enteramente en mellotron, lo que le da un ritmo bastante peculiar. Realmente algo extraño y que no pasa a ser más que una "rareza" que en poco se acerca a la genialidad del tema original.
Sin duda un disco muy recomendable para cualquiera que se esté acercando a la banda o al estilo. No es el mejor del grupo, ni mucho menos el más accesible, sin embargo se aprecia bien que el talento creativo de Opeth no ha disminuido en toda su larga trayectoria. Puntuación: 7/10 Imperdible
El disco empieza con una hermosa canción acústica, bella y delicada, sorprendentemente ligera en contraposición con la mayoría de álbums de la banda, que empiezan con riffs pesados y aplastantes, para continuar con un track oscuro y pesado, creo que "Heir Apparent" es la canción más pesada del álbum, con riffs densos pero muy melódicos, junto con el furioso doble bombo y la voz gutural crean una gran canción de death metal progresiva. Pero para la mayoría de los amantes del progresivo, las cosas se podrán aún mejor.
"The Lotus Eater" e la tercera pista se abre con Akerfeldt tarareando una melodía con un oboe sintetizado antes de que abra la canción a pleno, en un intercambio entre voces limpias y guturales, el álbum hasta aquí ofrece secciones y atmósferas de teclados realmente muy "prog" mientras que las secciones instrumentales están muy bien logradas. Luego vendrá la comentada "Burden" que es... ¡una balada!, una canción muy emocional y con una excelente musicalidad y un excelente solo de órgano Hammond, aquí es donde realmente se muestra la versatilidad de la banda, que tiene un aire jazzero a veces, pero con un uso frecuente del mellotron que me recuerda a Porcupine Tree.
Le seguirá algún tema más centrado dentro del metal que alternan con instrumentaciones acústicas, riff metaleros que alternan con aires bluseros o pequeñas secciones que asemejan a guitarras españolas, adición de vientos, algunas voces gruñidas pero en su mayor parte son voces limpias, y el mellotron brillando en todo momento.
Con todo lo dicho, obviamente "Watershed" es otro gran álbum de Opeth. Esto es muy recomendable para las personas que no son grandes fans de metal, pero también para los amantes del metal, pero en todos los casos muestra el verdadero potencial de Opeth. Una verdadera mezcla de estilos, un álbum dponde abundan los cambios de ritmos drásticos, esa combinación más pesada y tranquila quizás ya hizo impacientar a aquellos metaleros que solo querían revolear las cabezas, incluso antes que con "Heritage" les diera un cachetazo en plena cara. Y eso es lo que más me gusta de esta banda, no se casan con nadie, hacen lo que se les canta sin preocuparse de su conveniencia o no, porque cuando ya estaban en la cúspide de su estilo nativo, cuando se les dió que eso les resultaba poco y fueron (y van también actualmente) cambiando de estilos pero no de actitud. Opeth es una banda muy poco recomedable para quienes tengan la mente cerrada, sea del estilo que sea. Apoyamos la experimentación, el echarle huevos e ignorar lo que quieren los fans para hacer lo que al músico le apetezca.
Opeth – Watershed (2008): todo lo que fuiste y todo lo que quisiste serAndrés Gallego Torres
Cuando Watershed salió a la venta en el año 2008, la banda venía ya tiempo sufriendo las críticas desde diversos frentes de seguidores: el arrebato progresivo de Damnation no fue entendido por las mentes más cerradas, pero las quejas fueron aún más peregrinas en lo referente a Ghost Reveries, donde hubo quien osó acusar a los suecos de vendidos por fichar por un sello de gran volumen como Roadrunner Records.
El caso era quejarse, imagino, porque lo único cierto llegado a ese punto era que, tras dieciocho años de carrera y ocho discos ya publicados, la banda liderada por Mikael Åkerfeldt seguía ofreciendo un altísimo nivel en todo lo que ofrecía al respetable. Su noveno larga duración no fue una excepción, aun a pesar de que el contexto en que éste se puso a la venta podría haber afectado de manera comprensible los resultados. Ya os digo yo que no fue así, pues estamos ante otra sobresaliente muesca en la culata de su rifle.
Cambiar todo sin cambiar nada
Per Wiberg como miembro a tiempo completo en los teclados demostró ser un inapelable acierto, pero la papeleta se hizo más complicada cuando Martin Lopez primero por problemas de salud y Peter Lindgren después por falta de conexión con el proyecto decidieron abandonar el barco. Se marchaban así dos pilares fundamentales de la formación, dejando a Åkerfeldt como el único miembro original que aún permanecía en la alineación.
Los elegidos para heredar dos puestos de tanta relevancia como la guitarra y la batería fueron Fredrik Åkesson, hasta entonces un soldado de fortuna que había rasgado las cuerdas para grupos como Arch Enemy, Talisman o Tiamat, y Martin Axenrot, quien ya había coincidido previamente con Åkerfeldt al hacerse cargo de las baquetas para Bloodbath. Uno de los grandes triunfos de este trabajo fue precisamente que tanto relevo en el seno del grupo no tuvo incidencia alguna en su sonido, que siguió de forma perfectamente fluida el camino marcado hasta entonces.
Si la carrera de la formación de Estocolmo es una balanza en la que un brazo sirve para pesar el componente death y el otro el progresivo, es obvio que ésta quedó perfectamente equilibrada con la dupla formada por Deliverance (el arrojo) y Damnation (la contemplación), y aún consiguió mantener una cierta estabilidad con Ghost Reveries; no obstante un vistazo general a Watershed anticipa lo que más tarde sería una evidencia en Heritage: la balanza empezaba a caer ya claramente del lado melódico.
La carga es pesada
“Me he divertido más trabajando en este disco que en ninguno de los anteriores. Siempre he visto el proceso de grabación de un álbum como una sucesión de problemas durante uno o dos meses. Éste resultó divertido e interesante. Hasta podría decir que lo disfruté.”
Estas declaraciones del vocalista y cerebro creativo de la banda son otra buena muestra del cambio de ciclo que este trabajo representa. Tampoco vamos a calificar Watershed como un disco alegre o brillante (ni los Opeth más recientes podrían definirse de esa manera), pero no cabe duda de que es un trabajo definitivamente más enérgico que sus antecesores, especialmente en unas partes melódicas que ya no vienen tan cargadas de melancolía nórdica y oscuridad impenetrable.
La singular ‘Coil’ que abre el álbum es una buena muestra de ello, diferenciándose de cualquier otra pieza de su discografía gracias a la aportación estelar de Nathalie Lorichs, la pareja de Axenrot, junto a la cual por momentos nos recuerdan a los cortes de Anathema donde Lee Douglas se encarga de las voces. El contraste con la faceta más agresiva de la banda no se hace esperar, pues tanto ‘Heir Apparent’ como ‘The Lotus Eater’ nos recuerdan que Opeth aún no han dejado de ser una banda de metal.
En cualquier caso, dichas canciones cuentan con amplios pasajes progresivos que, esta vez más que nunca, se adentran en las influencias setenteras del grupo, como así demuestra el espectacular teclado de ‘The Lotus Eater’. Tras un nuevo arranque indiscutiblemente rockero como es ‘Burden’, en la que optan por tirar de épica, los tres cortes que cierran el álbum vuelven a apostar por el equilibro entre death y melódicos, en ‘Porcelain Heart’ y ‘Hex Omega’ con varios cambios de registro y en ‘Hessian Peel’ con una clara división de la pieza en dos mitades opuestas y sin embargo perfectamente emparejadas.
El éxito no es menos merecido por llegar tarde
“Es muy, muy diverso, e incluye un montón de cosas que no habíamos hecho antes. Hay varios momentos amor/odio. Creo que algunas personas pensarán que es un auténtica mierda, pero es realmente interesante. No será un disco aburrido, digámoslo así.”
Desconozco si alguien su sano juicio considerará Watershed una “auténtica mierda” como Åkerfeldt sugería, poniéndose la venda antes de la herida, pero de existir, no ha salido mucho de su cueva para hacer ruido. Dos discos después, ya queda claro que estamos ante el último álbum a la antigua usanza de Opeth, en el cual aún tenía cabida el death metal más técnico, pero cediendo inevitablemente terreno a los elementos de folk y de rock progresivo que pasarían a ser las notas dominantes en Heritage y Pale Communion.
Los diferentes instrumentos se grabaron a medio camino entre dos estudios, lo cual hizo que el líder de la formación admitiera haber perdido algo del control sobre la producción sonora, que compartió con Jens Bogren. A pesar de ello, los resultados fueron absolutamente impecables en este sentido, con una de las entregas técnicamente más equilibradas de los escandinavos hasta la fecha y en la que todo suena como debe de sonar.
Este noveno capítulo en su carrera discográfica alcanzó los mejores resultados comerciales de sus dos primeras décadas en activo, especialmente en el mercado americano, que había sido relativamente reacio a la propuesta hasta la fecha. Allí alcanzó el puesto número 23 en las listas de éxitos, sumándose a la excelente acogida que por descontado tuvo en los territorios donde sí habían conseguido brillar anteriormente.
Nos acercamos ya al final de nuestro repaso a la discografía de Opeth con el que, salvo sorpresa mayúscula, quedará para el recuerdo como el último disco de la banda sueca en el que el death metal aún tuvo cabida. Es sin duda uno de sus trabajos más equilibrados, donde los diferentes rasgos que forman el pasado y el presente de la formación se asocian de la manera más armónica, e incluso podríamos hablar de él como un punto accesible para quien decida ir dando los primeros pasos en su obra. Sin duda, otro triunfo más en su colección.
Sobre este álbum tiene algunos momentos muy buenos, algunas melodías maravillosas que lo hacen un gran álbum pero creo que tiene discos mejores y más logrados, tiene mucho prog de la vieja escuela, es muy ecléctico estilisticamente, y muy disfrutable en su generalidad.
La suma de todo esto hace a un buen álbum en un esfuerzo sólido. Otro gran disco de Opeth... el que nos faltaba traer al blog cabezón. Por lo demás, considero que cualquier cosa que diga de este disco va a ser arañar la superficie de algo que hay que escuchar para entender. No creo que este disco sea el indicativo de la música que Opeth ha dejado atrás, sino más bien el de lo que fluyendo, cambiando y mutando permanentemente.
- La canción "Hessian Peel" contiene un verso grabado al revés que dice: - "Out on the courtyard, Come back tonight. My sweet Satan, I see you (Afuera en el patio, regresa esta noche. Mi dulce Satán, puedo verte)". Esta es una burla al supuesto verso grabado al revés de la canción Stairway to Heaven de Led Zeppelin, que dice: - “Here's to my sweet Satan (Aquí esta mi dulce Satán)”.
- En la portada trasera del álbum, la canción "The Lotus Eater" está escrita como "The Louts Eater".
- En la portada trasera, destaca el rostro del hombre en un marco, que en realidad es una foto de rompecabezas. Si se examina cuidadosamente, se puede observar que la imagen está compuesta por los diferentes rasgos faciales de los integrantes de la banda hasta formar una sola imagen.
- Una pista titulada "Mellotron Heart" fue incluida en un CD promocional separado con un número limitado de copias del álbum. " Mellotron Heart " es una grabación alterna de la pista "Porcelain Heart" tocada en melotrón y sintetizadores mini-Moog. La cubierta del CD es la misma que el material gráfico del álbum estándar con la figura y el escritorio sustituido por un mellotron. La pista está también disponible como una descarga gratis exclusivamente para los que preordenaron el álbum en la página de The End Records.
Ahora, les dejo algunos comentarios en inglés, hay muchos, solo copie algunos antes de aburrirme.
Watershed is the 9th full-length studio album by progressive Swedish death metal act Opeth. The album was released in May 2008 by Roadrunner Records. There have been a couple of significant lineup changes since the release of Ghost Reveries (2005) as the two longtime members, drummer Martin Lopez and guitarist Peter Lindgren, left the band in 2006 and 2007 respectively. New drummer was Martin Axenrot and new guitarist was Fredrik Åkesson.UMUR
The music on Watershed is generally no surprise if you know how Opeth usually sound. The combination of progressive doomy death metal and 70s progressive rock is still delivered in the trademark Opeth fashion. Mikael Åkerfeldt´s vocal style varies from deep brutal growls to emotional clean singing. He performs both styles to perfection. Songs like Coil and Burden where Mikael Åkerfeldt solely sings clean vocal parts, really show how much he has grown. His clean vocal delivery is stronger than ever and the melodies are more intricate than on earlier releases. His growling is also in a class of its own. He is one of those rare death metal vocalists that are almost instantly recognisable. The above mentioned Coil features a guest female vocal performance by Nathalie Lorichs. That´s a new feature in Opeth´s sound and a nice surprise. Actually Coil is quite a surprising opening song, but what a beautiful song it is. The 7 track, 54:54 minutes long album not only features beautiful and emotional tracks like Coil and Burden though but also great progressive death metal tracks like Heir Apparent, The Lotus Eater and the epic Hessian Peel where the two styles are more integrated. The former features some of the most brutal riffing yet in an Opeth track. As always the songs are very intricate and quite challenging both structurally and when it comes to technical playing. Both Porcelain Heart and Hex Omega took me a while to warm up to and I still feel they are a bit sub par to the rest of the material. We´re still talking high quality compositions though.
The Japanese version of the album has the track Derelict Herds as a bonus. The special edition version of the album, which is the one I own, include a DVD where Derelict Herds and two other bonus tracks are also included. The other two bonus tracks are Bridge of Sighs which is a bluesy Robin Trower cover and Den Ständiga Resan which is a pop/ folky type Marie Fredriksson cover. The latter features Swedish language singing by Mikael Åkerfeldt. Derelict Herds is a progressive death metal track which could well have fit on the original album ( those lucky bastard Japanese). The DVD also contains DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes of the entire Watershed album plus a making of Watershed documentary with interviews and video footage from rehearsals. A pretty good bonus in addition to the original album IMO.
The two new members fit perfectly to the lineup, which means that their addition don´t have consequences for the core sound of the band´s music. New drummer Martin Axenrot is a bit more hard hitting and less subtle than Martin Lopez, but he does a great job and Fredrik Åkesson adds a slighty faster solo style to the album than the solo style we´re used to from Peter Lindgren. We´re talking small details here though. The rest of the band are well playing as always. I remember I was afraid of what a keyboard player would do to Opeth´s sound but with his performance on Ghost Reveries, Per Wiberg convinced me that his addition to the lineup was only a new and exciting feature in Opeth´s sound. Fortunately he continues his tasteful approach to playing on Watershed and his choice of retro sounding keyboards really gives the music the right mystical and at times epic atmosphere. more modern sounding synths would have ruined Opeth´s sound IMO. One of the center elements on Watershed are the many acoustic guitar sections and those sections are still as amazing than on any of the preceeding albums. Just beautiful.
The production is warm and detailed. Maybe the most professional and well sounding production yet on an Opeth album. I think it´s the first time I´ve been completely satisfied with the drum sound on an Opeth album.
So all in all after having listened to Watershed now for a couple of years, I´m very satisfied with the album and while there are some tracks that don´t do as much for me as others, the quality of the material is extremely high. As such there are few new features on the album compared to the preceeding albums but when the outcome is a great as it is on Watershed I´m pretty much content. Opeth produce extraordinaire albums and have been doing that for years now. If any band deserve the masterpiece stamp for several of their albums it´s definitely Opeth. Watershed is another extraordinaire album in a now long line of extraordinaire albums by the band and fully deserves a 5 star rating.
I have to admit that I didn't like this album until maybe the fifth listen. I always thought it would be amazing to hear a heavy OPETH album with only clean vocals, but the truth is that those brutal vocals are too important to their violent sound as proven here. Anyway i've still grown to really like this record and it's quite different from their previous recordings. A new lead guitarist and drummer on this one as well.Jon Davie
"Coil" sounds so beautiful with the acoustic guitar and clean vocals. Bass joins in then flute around 1 1/2 minutes.The female vocals really do work well here as they arrive before 2 minutes. Some aboe here as well. "Heir Apparent" is a great contrast to the opening track as it is crushingly heavy with only brutal vocals throughout. Heavy to open but a calm with piano takes over quickly then all hell breaks loose with death vocals. Ripping guitar after 3 minutes then a calm returns. Heavy again after 4 minutes as the contrasts continue. "The Lotus Eater" opens with Akerfeldt humming and some cello before it kicks in with clean and death vocals taking turns. A calm after 2 minutes before the band explodes back in. Nice guitar before 4 minutes followed by another calm. Check out the drum/keyboard section before 6 minutes (haha). I love it. Kicks back in to end it. Great tune. "Burden" opens with piano as mellotron floods in and the guitar cries out. A fuller sound with vocals takes over as the mellotron continue. Fat bass lines too. Such a moving section. Killer organ before 2 1/2 minutes. I like the vocal melodies followed by a tasteful guitar solo after 4 minutes. Amazing tune.
"Porcelain Heart" is another favourite. Nice heavy intro before settling right down a minute in. Vocals join in reminding me of "Damnation" then it kicks back in before 2 minutes. Contrasts continue. Great section before 4 minutes. Love when the heaviness returns 6 1/2 minutes in and vocal melodies join in. The drumming sounds great. "Hessian Peel" is laid back with vocals a minute in. I can't tell you how much I like the sound here. Some aboe as well. Kicks into a higher gear 3 minutes in then another gear before 4 1/2 minutes before it calms right down with flute and piano. Contrasts coninue. An all out assault 9 1/2 minutes in. "Hex Omega" is uptempo and heavy to start but it settles before a minute with vocals and flute. Contrasts continue. Ripping guitar after 3 minutes before another calm with piano. Heavy to end it.
Well it took a while but there's little here that I can find fault with. And it's still getting better. Easily 4 stars.
Oh how would this be great without these horrible death metal things. Well, they're bad for me, but perhaps not for everyone. I'm symphonic prog type. But as I can appreciate this genre, I quite a like this album as well. I can simply suffer through these parts and enjoy great melodic death metal. But melody isn't only thing important, it's more like something which keeps me hooked on, otherwise meaningless death metal growls. I have good feelings about this album. And I'm not afraid to tell that it's complex one. Huh, did I've just heard mellotron ? Track by track, it's like minefield for me. I'm trying to avoid death, seeking guitar solos, his clear vocals and so on.Marty McFly
Minefield, this fits perfectly. If not DM, I would give it five stars.
Despite Opeth losing the lovable Martin Lopez and the essential secondary guitar player, They still produced another masterpiece, definitively their best since Still Life. However, this album should not be compared with Still Life, it is quite different and I was surprised when I heard it. The album uses the brutal elements of My arms, Your Hearse while mastering the dynamics and non-metal songwriting of their previous two albums. There is quite a bit of 'prog' experimentation, mostly on the softer moments of the album, but there is no mistaken that this is still Opeth.Zitro
There are many surprises here. The first is how well the new musicians fit here. The guitar player is more technical, but his playing is generally restrained and harmonizes with Mikael very well. The drummer is also more technical, but it actually helps as he makes fantastic drum patterns throughout the album. Secondly, Per Wilberg's keyboards take a larger role and are well integrated with the music. His playing is restrained and very tasteful, with no cartoony synths nor cheesy orchestra sounds. Lastly, it surprised me that while the leader hyped this as the heaviest and darkest album, it has minimal use of growls, and has some 'less sad' parts. This helps create a soft/heavy balance that is ideal for me, as I need my death grunts to a minimum, and want plenty of soft sections in order to have the metal parts make a bigger impact when they come.
Other positive aspects of the album are the great sound engineering which helps make the metal parts more crushing, and the overall consistency.
"Coil" is an unorthodox introduction. It sounds like Mikael sending a letter to a loved one, who replied back. Yes, this song has a female vocalist and her voice shines. The fantastic singing is backed by gorgeous acoustic guitar work and other instruments appear during the choruses, which are absolutely beautiful. Orchestral sweeps, complex acoustic patterns, and great vocal delivery mark them. 10/10
"Heir Apparent" is easily the heaviest song in here, and one of the most evil and brutal songs they have ever done. It opens with a very evil Doom Metal riff and dark piano lines, until it leads into the first growls of the song. There is an amazingly brutal guitar riff later with guitar soloing on top which leads into the first soft part which has flutes and acoustic guitars. Afterwards, a very brutal theme alternates with a complex acoustic part. After an intense crescendo with strings, the song ends with a melodic metal theme. 9/10
While Heir Apparent is a nod of "My Arms Your Hearse", "Lotus Eater" is a more experimental piece. Experiments include having clean vocals over brutal metal, putting a funky keyboard solo, being extremely tight/dynamic, and ending with a very sinister mellow atmosphere with a crowd talking. 9.5/10
"Burden" is next and it is one of the songs where Mikael indulges himself with his progressive rock fantasies, but do not fear as this is another magnificent piece. If I can name three influences, they would be Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, and Deep Purple. The vocals are great, the keyboards are more prominent, and the guitar melodies and soloing are very moving. The ending is odd, with acoustic guitars detuning while they are still playing. Overall, this is my favorite Opeth ballad alongside Coil and Face of Melinda. 10/10
"Porcelain Heart" is the most commercial-sounding song of the album, but it works in all levels. The acoustic guitar verses are haunting, the guitar riffs carry a lot of punch, the drumming is fantastic, and the orchestrations in the last soft interlude are gorgeous. If you do not mind, a riff or two from "The Grand Conjuration" were recycled. Fortunately, they work much better here. 9.5/10
"Hessian Peel" begins bluesy. The first four minutes is made up of very well-constructed and well-arranged folk-classical music until an elegant metal riff appears, which gives a hint that the song will soon turn heavy. It does, and death metal vocals finally return, if briefly. What comes afterwards borders on genius, and I would let you hear for yourself. The song finishes with a staccato Hammond organ beat and a neat bass beat that gives it a slight electronica feel. 9.5/10
"Hex Omega" was a song I expected to be brutally heavy, but the song is a growl-less metal song with a heavy emphasis on clean vocals, soft atmosphere, and a bit off jazz touches. Not much to say here, except that it is another excellent tune. 9/10
As for Bonus Tracks: Derelict Herds is a quite neat song that sounds very much like Riverside with a growling section in the middle which sounds quite different for Opeth. The covers are quite nice and faithful to the originals. The one sang in Swedish is the standout for me. It is simple, but gorgeous. Bridge of Sighs also is worthy of notice due to the solos at the end.
It all sounds like if the band is very inspired and is not afraid to experiment. This gives it a 'transitional album' feel which gives hope in that the band could actually top this with a more perfected album in the future.
I do not know whether I like more Still life or this one. Still life is stronger on lyrics, coherence, and storytelling, while this one sounds more philosophical, reflective and mature instrumentally-speaking. If you're more of a metal-head and are not familiar with Opeth, start with Still Life, which is some of the best heavy metal you'll come across. If you're a prog rock fan, this one might be a better place to start as the soft and melodic elements are plentiful, balancing out the brutal parts.
A provocative title for a provocative album, OPETH's 'Watershed' is indeed a transitional work.Russell Kirkpatrick
Two new members means the music sounds different, and kudos to AKERFELDT for allowing this difference to show through. As a follow-up to 'Ghost Reveries', their US breakthrough record, this is astonishingly risky, with an emphasis on PER WIBERG's keyboards and some outright lunacy in the composition, but I think many of the choices made here are ill-advised. One example: the transition from standard to de-tuned acoustic at the conclusion of the otherwise straight-laced 'Burden' is straight-out disconcerting. It spoils the effect they've created, and if it's an in-joke, it's surely an example of poor judgment. The relative lack of growling is another error, in my opinion, lightening the atmosphere too much. Other innovations - a verse from a female vocalist in the gentle opener 'Coil', for example - work much better.
The fact it's a transitional album doesn't make it a great one. In fact, I believe it's a step down from 'Ghost Reveries' and, for all its good qualities, not a patch on 'Still Life' or 'Blackwater Park'. Lovely production and all that, splendid musicianship (AKERFELDT's clean vocals are now perhaps the best in metal), but there really isn't more than a couple of memorable songs here. 'Coil' and 'Heir Apparent' make a good beginning, 'The Lotus Eater' is a quintessential progressive metal track, and 'Burden' may well be the best of the gentler, 'Damnation' type songs OPETH have done, but as an album, this is mediocre, lacking a vital spark - this from a dedicated OPETH fan, who rates 'Blackwater Park' as the best metal album of all time. Mediocre because the compositions are over-fragmented. There isn't enough time for either the heavy or the gentle sections to develop. There aren't the plethora of staggering riffs here, and the few that crop up (at 1.30 from the end of 'Porcelain Heart' for example) aren't sustained. Develop the ideas! At their best OPETH crush the listener flat beneath giant slabs of sound. Not on 'Watershed'. Here I can breathe, and to my mind that's not a good thing. Destroy me, OPETH. Grind my soul into the dust with your sonic assault. Pile it on without mercy. Don't tease me like this!
That's my personal reaction. But I'm aware on an intellectual level that this album is actually the most progressive thing they've done. 'Hessian Peel' and 'Hex Omega' finish the album with a pleasingly sophisticated blend of gentle soundscapes and prog metal, and the latter has a killer finale, but again, hardly vintage OPETH. Perhaps this is a market-broadening exercise, or perhaps I'm missing something, but visceral, stomach-punching OPETH this is not.
Of the bonus tracks, 'Derelict Herds' is the most worthy, and ought to have been included on the album. The others are covers, curiosities at best. OPETH does the blues.
To sum up: there is little of the genre-defining stellar songwriting on display here. What they do is done well, but after repeated listens I'm nowhere near convinced that this deserves to be called a watershed. Too much has been given away to make a few gains.
Everyone knew Opeth's ninth "observation" was going to be different. The group lost drummer Martin Lopez and co-founder Peter Lindgren and replaced them with Martin Axenrot and Fredrik Åkesson (respectively), metal musicians who didn't seem to have any progressive tendencies or experience. We trust Mikael's judgement, but a safe assumption would be that Opeth would be at their heaviest and fastest with their next release. So, with these new players in tow, Opeth have made Watershed their easiest listen yet...?Chris
That's what I said! And it's true! Looking at the album as a whole, Damnation aside, this album has the fewest growls of any Opeth release to date. Three tracks don't have any! This was true of the band's masterpiece Ghost Reveries, but that album was 11 minutes longer and had one more track. This could be good news for music fans who have been stuggling to get into the band because of the death metal aspect.
Mikael serenades us with the aid of a female vocalist in the intro, "Coil." The music is in traditional Opeth fashion with a huge dose of 70's prog rock, but it does have a new atmosphere about it, one that almost has a trace of hope. That doesn't make sense! The female vocals are a nice touch, and a sign that this album will have a lot of experiments. This moves immediately into the heaviest track on the album, "Heir Apparent." I can't say Mikael's growl has been deeper than it is here. It's also clear that keyboardist Per Wiberg is finally going to get some attention with this release. This track is all over the place, and for a while you're not going to be sure whether this is a mess of riffs or a carefully crafted song. This is going to come up again, and it will suffice to say that this album doesn't have the flow of past albums, but it also is not a mess. "The Lotus Eater," being available before the album's release, really got the hype up. And it's no wonder why, this one is loaded with new ideas from, from blast beats under clean vocals to a macabre dance party keyboard riff. Oddly enough, this all works very well! The song proves to be the most interesting, fun and awesome one on the disc. By this point we should all be convinced that the band will be fine without the lost members. Truth be told, Axenrot relies more on the technical aspect of drumming and is consequently far less tasteful than Lopez, but I think the band works with the new members' gifts well. After a strange outro of voices with eerie keys, we are hit with "Burden," Opeth doing full-fledged 70's prog rock. Another track with all clean vocals, and loaded with Hammond organs, this one is going to be the track that arouses all the people on this website. But in the wake of the last track, I'm limp. I love the song, and I love that kind of music, but not as much as "The Lotus Eater." I get the feeling that "Burden" is slightly underdeveloped. Just slightly. This one has another interesting outro, but one that is much more interesting and creative. Mikael has someone manually detune his guitar while he plays the outro riff. Interesting indeed, but of course there is an unecessary laugh thing following the acoustic ditty. "Porcelain Heart" may be the most boring, mainstream oriented track on the record. It's only a bit boring in spots, but the fact that I'm getting bored is a bad sign. Not Opeth's best, but not bad. "Hessian Peel" brings the band back to where they should be. The long one here at 11+ minutes is largely reliant on clean vocals, but does have a few growls in the middle. So even the tracks with growls don't have many! I forgot to note that Porcelain Heart was the same way. This track is fantastic, though. Quite a bit of fun. Among the highlights on the disc, the closer "Hex Omega" doesn't stand out, but it is a worthy track.
After such an album as Ghost Reveries, and with a new lineup, it was time for a transitional album. Considering this is a transitional album, it is a darn good one. There is a lot to get out of the album, so it's worth grabbing, but it simply doesn't have the consistency of the band's best, some of the experiments aren't natural yet, and it's just not as compelling and powerful. There seems to be a lack of complexity in the finer areas of songwriting; the transitions aren't as clever, and the song endings don't seem to have been given much thought. For intance, look at the end of "Coil" being the plucked root chord and "Hessian Peel" ending in an unresolving way only made more so by a repeated keyboard chord from earlier in the song for 30 seconds. The emotion also seems forced in spots. These are things I hate to say but can't help saying. Fortunately, the musicianship is still top-notch, some of the experiments work very well and most of the infractions are minor. By any other band's standards, this would be brilliant, but for those who know Opeth, some of their sophistication is just missing.
If you're not an Opeth fan, this may change your mind about the band. If you're a fan, you're going to like this record to some degree. It's no Ghost Reveries, Blackwater Park or Still Life, but it competes with the rest of the catalog. It's score is kind of on a sliding scale, but it's high points are definitely high enough to earn Watershed 4 stars.
I'm on the fence with this album: on one hand you have some great tunes, a new exciting drummer and the interesting addition of keyboards in the works, on the other hand you have the lack of direction and the fact that it sounds... it pains me to say it but in parts it sounds way too much like dream theatre (who i don't like)! It wouldn't seem immediate, but give it a few listens and that is what it sounds like to me: Dream Theatre gone extremely heavy. As far as the overall new sound goes, i'm not as keen as i was. As far as the songs go, it's hit and miss. Let's face it, this is no Still Life or Blackwater Park!Aleks Podraza
Coil is a nice little mellow number to kick start the album, quite contradictive to typical Opeth as they normally start with the most intense song on the album, e.g. Still Life - The Moor, Blackwater Park - Leper Affinity. I like mellow though, so i rate this song quite highly. This then leads into the massive Heir Apparent, probably the heaviest, most death metal like off the album, and i love it! The best track IMHO. It has everything an Opeth fan looks for, from the death metal growls, modest complexity and great guitar lines to the beautiful mellow sections that define Opeth from other metal bands.
The Lotus Eater however is a mess. I love complex music, like Gentle Giant and Mahavishnu, but Opeth are NOT complex. There is a bloody good reason why i can't stand DT, that is because metal + complex = mess, and i'm not keen on mess. This is Opeth trying to be overcomplicated, and i'm not pleased with the results! That said, this song has a killer drumbeat and a great melody at the finale, so it's worth listening to.
Here comes the real shocker: Burden is NOT Opeth, i don't care what anyone says, i do not listen to Opeth for blues/classically orientated POP music. Yes, you heard me say it, this song is radio friendly, and you know how much we hate radio here on PA! I'm not knocking the tune however, and there is also a well played organ solo in the works, so it's a good track. It really does stick out in the Opeth repetoire however, and if i'm in the mood for an Opeth song, then i sure as hell aint in the mood for this one!
Porcelain Heart is more like the classic Opeth we know of on Still Life and Blackwater Park and is a very heavy number that makes good use of Åkerfeldt's clear voice. A semi-ostinatic melody flows through this song on top of some heavy and acoustic guitar breaks, however i do wish the growling was present in this tune, it brings the up and down contrast that makes Opeth so great, and i think that this song lacks it. It's a bit of a growling song without the growling, for want of a better expression. It doesn't feel like 8 minutes either, which is a good thing, however i do still think it needs some more interesting sections.
The next track is almost the exact opposite of the band's previous work, and is fairly average with a slow build up and some strong blues influences (especially at the start with the Muddy Waters-esque nickel-stringed acoustic guitar play). Despite its length, it doesn't pack too many interesting moments. The only real ones that stick out for me is the first distorted guitar riff and the final 3 minutes of the song. Yet again, a valid criticism is that they are trying to be too complicated, like Dream Theatre, and it just simply isn't working out
This is more like it! Back to Opeth's traditional style for the second time on the album, it ain't half that bad. The mighty Hex Omega will probably appeal to fans of Still Life with the harmonic minor scale dotted around here and there. However, i still cannot find an effective arrangement in this tune, and it reflects exactly what the rest of the album lacks: solid arrangement that works. The ending also doesn't sound like an ending, demeaning the album a considerable amount.
This album has its moments, no doubt in my mind about it, but i find myself just cutting the crap and fast-forwarding it to those parts. The album also lacks continuity and nothing really connects the tracks like in previous albums, which is a disappointment. It would've also been nice for a better intro and ending as well, and perhaps more of what non-Opeth fans hate: the growling. Looks like i will still be playing Still Life, Damnation, Blackwater and Morningrise for quite a while still! 2.5/5 at the very best i can give, which rounded to the nearest star is a 3. Sorry guys, but this one seemed a little rushed and overcomplicated.
It is also worth noting that these guys probably have realised they are prog and are trying harder and harder to gain prog fans. I preferred them when they tried to be metal if i'm honest, i'm not a big fan of pomposity for the sake of it, and this is their most pompous album. They have lost the death metal side that i loved them for and i'm not keen on the direction they are heading. I'll just be praying for a better tenth album for now.
I've never been an OPETH hater, I like band's stuff, both early and late albums. 'Ghost Reveries' was far more interesting effort, dare I say, but maybe the thrill of it all is that OPETH have found the universal formula of a good album and now trying to make it work again. Sorry, but it failed.Igor Sidorenko
'Coil' is the only track here I really like, it's my favourite, though it's nothing close to what the band had ever been doing before. 'Heir Apparent', 'Porcelain Heart' and 'Hessian Peel' serve as usual OPETH tracks here: some riffing, some growling, some melodic places, but the formula doesn't work that good. Not now. Maybe, there's something wrong with ME, but the further we go the least captivating songs we hear: pseudo-experimental 'The Lotus Eater', harmonically too banal 'Burden' ballad and closing 'Hex Omega' track, sounding like some 'Damnation' outtake. I know, it's unfair to judge it that way, each song bears some intimate and personal feelings and emotions from musicians, and as we read in Akerfeldt's blog, he thinks 'Watershed' is their best album so far (quite predictable statement, isn't it?). But each of us has opinion and has the right to voice this opinion out loud. So, I think 'Watershed' is nice yet uneven record, it's not OPETH's best for sure, it has some its moments, but you won't lose much if you miss it. Let's leave recommendations for 5-star rating givers.
With so many reviews of this album appearing every day, I'll try to limit myself to a brief comment here.The T
I came to this album with high expectations. After all, I just saw the band playing life a few weeks ago, and they blew me away. Their previous albums were all at least good and two of them ("Ghost Reveries" and "Still Life") are masterpieces in my opinion.
The expectations, I have to say, have greatly surpassed the results, as "Watershed" is, by far, OPETH's weakest album to date (not counting the first three, which I haven't heard). The abuse of the soft- loud-soft-loud approach to building songs, plus the awful tendency to write longer- than-needed tracks are the reasons for this opus' failure.
Let's cut to the chase and say a few words about the songs, where I will illustrate my points of view.
"Coil" (8/10) starts with a quite melodic acoustic intro, with Akerfeldt and Natalie Lorichs singing together, in one of the band's most beautiful moments. Of course, people can say that this is not highly progressive, but I think this is good, which is better than just being "prog." That debate belongs someplace else, not in my review , so I'll continue to describe my reactions to the music.
"Heir" (9.5/10) must be one of the heaviest, most death-metal songs in all OPETH. The opening is just overpowering, impressive; the music then recedes to a quiet interlude with acoustic guitars and synths. The music picks up in violence and then goes back again to the dissonant interlude, but now it feels more ambiguous and dangerous. The first time one hears this, it feels like a chaotic mess. It takes a few listens but the song eventually appears as what it truly is: one of the band's best moments this side of "Ghost of Perdition". The final coda-like ending just releases the tension, and even if it feels a little out-of-place at the beginning, after a few hearings it makes perfect sense (music of any decent quality can't be seriously appreciated in just one sitting, a fact proven by the way the brain works). It's a shame that after this track, everything goes downhill.
"The Lotus Eater" (7/10) starts with a blast after a few humming noises by (presumably) Akerfeldt. The alternative use of clean and death vocals here works perfectly. The second section has a lot of energy and drives us towards the third, where the keyboards in the background add to the eerie atmosphere. Next we have one of the more sing-along-parts ever in OPETH, followed by more chaos which ultimately recedes into a very soft moment, which is not as successful as the preceding ones in the track. Next we have a very awkward sort-of psychedelic dance (?!) which leads to the final section. The song is somewhat uneven, and it's longer than needed. After such a terrific start, it starts to meander aimlessly halfway through.
"Burden" (8.5/10) brings back memories of OPETH's acoustic album, "Damnation". As with most of that record, this track is somewhat predictable but beautiful. No growling, a very strong classic-prog feel, all of which makes this the most retro song in the album, and maybe in all of the group's output. The song ends with an acoustic guitar section where the instrument is gradually detuned. It sounds weird but in OPETH's constantly-dark sound, it somehow manages to sound coherent.
"Porcelain Heart" (6/10) starts with a weak riff that eventually gives way to a quiet acoustic moment. As said earlier, If there's one thing I have to criticize in this record is the exaggerated use by Akerfeldt of this heavy-acoustic-heavy-acoustic structural approach, which takes the surprise factor away from some of the music. In "Ghost Reveries" the interludes worked better, as they were used more scarcely and not always in the same places. After this, another undulating riff starts, but it doesn't carry the weight to save this song from being mediocre. I've always had problems with bands that play either always loud or always low, or that play always fast or always slow. Note how many times I used the word "always" there. "Always" is not good for music . When something "always" happens, music loses surprise and power. This song is hurt by that: it's always "play it loud, play it soft, play it loud, play it soft." Boring song. And a waste of good ideas.
"Hessian Pearl" (5.5/10) starts with an interesting acoustic-atmospheric intro. When the electric guitar attacks with a nice little figure, the famous "wrong note" mentioned by another reviewer appears. In this case, I'll be forced to agree with the opinion that the note really adds neither "progressiveness" nor ambiguity to the music; it just makes it sound odd. What I won't do is blame the problem in poor musicianship. I think it's just an experiment gone wrong, a bad idea, something that could've happened to countless other artists. The song evolves into a weird kind of narcotic triple-dance that has a few moments of interests, namely the section when it fully sounds like Swedish (or Scandinavian) death metal, halfway through. A nice piano-solo interlude adds tension to the track, but the payback we receive is less compelling than it could have been, as the attack of the violence and the growling vocals is too sudden, and mostly, too recurrent in this album. It would seem that OPETH had lost the ability to go from soft to loud gradually; they can only do it by means of "big explosions" now. Also, this song feels like it was made longer artificially, as the final sections add nothing to the musical-story being told with notes, and just create chaos where a little coherence was necessary. It started with the weird "wrong" note, but actually, the beginning of the song was the better part. This song is another misfire, and again, mostly because of the repetitive structural technique of loud-soft and the artificial enlargement.
"Hex Omega" (4.5/10) starts slow again, but with no energy. Yes, energy can be found in soft, quiet acoustic passages: that stored, saved-for-later kind of energy, the energy of restrained tension, which may be the ultimate and most effective kind of force. But this sounds just like a poor attempt by Akerfeldt to sound "progressive", instead of actually being progressive, as he was in "Ghost Reveries" or "Still Life". The ideas are weak and uninspired, and we feel we're listening to an album that is at least 18 minutes longer than necessary. The worst track in OPETH's career. Horrendously boring.
It would seem that Akerfeldt has lost creativity. Apparently, his old association with Steven Wilson has come to be detrimental for the music, as it would seem that the Swede is trying to chase and catch the English's ghost, without ever actually doing it. In previous albums, the music was much more atmospheric, much more progressive. Nowadays it seems OPETH just wants to record as-long-as-possible albums, no matter how many senseless notes they have to add. This doesn't work as a good progressive-death-metal album and the last three tracks are horrendous as honest-to-god (or-Satan) death-metal.
I hope the great OPETH get back on track with their next release. I hope Akerfeldt realizes music can be progressive without being boringly long, and surprising without the "surprise" being always the same.
I give "Watershed" 2 stars. In a perfect world with a better rating system, I'd give it 2.5. But I give it this rating because I think the last three tracks (especially the atrocious final one) destroy everything that the first tracks in the first half of the album accomplished. I give it 2 stars because this is a band that has proven to be capable of much, much more. I give this album 2 stars because, sadly, it's what it deserves.
Undeniably well-crafted and executed, Watershed hooks the listener immediately with its fine playing and expert production-- but once the excitement of the fine introduction wears off it becomes apparent that this album is definitely style over substance.Jeff Morgenroth
For starters, the instantaneous and relentless energy present in the band's other key albums is very wishy- washy here; mostly due to Akerfeldt's now predictable songwriting (light/heavy/repeat). There are few (if any) really memorable moments, and I did not feel much emotion while listening-- something I get quite a bit of during, say The Moor, or The Grand Conjuration. So, while I commend and acknowledge the band's fine playing, it doesn't go nearly so far with these songs; they lack direction and power. Half-way through, the listener will probably looking to see how many tracks are left.
I do not recommend Watershed to Opeth newcomers-- it is a poor example of the kind of sounds that makes this band so great. To fans of the band, I would say to take it with a grain of salt; there is a lot of experimentation here and enough Opeth goodness to maintain some interest... but don't be surprised if Watershed turns into background music.
Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3
Five star albums are like buses, one doesn't come for ages and then two come along at once. I refer to the superb new album from Beardfish and hot on its tail comes this new musical behemoth from Opeth. Joking aside, although Opeth have released a number of excellent albums in the past with Watershed they have hit a new peak with an album combining all their past elements and produced their most diverse release to date. There are less Death Metal vocals than in the past (with the exception of largely acoustic Damnation of course) and Mikael Akerfeldt's seventies Prog influences show more than ever with some of their most beautiful quieter moments. As if almost in apology to their older fans for this they also hit us harder than ever with some of the most brutal riffs they have ever produced.Paul Fowler
Coil is a lovely way to open up Watershed: a beautiful melodic acoustic piece with a fine vocal performance from Akerfeldt and also featuring guest vocals from Nathalie Lorichs, who's lovely voice adds greatly to the feel of the track. The sublime nature of Coil makes following track Heir Apparent even more hard hitting. Opening with a powerful slow paced intro giving way to melancholic piano for a few bars, after a repetition of the intro the song bursts into life with Opeth at their most brutal underpinned by excellent new drummer Martin Axenrot. Like many Opeth fans, I was worried at the loss of former drummer Martin Lopez. However Axenrot proves to be a worthy replacement, not as subtle as Lopez but a fine dynamic technically skilled player nevertheless. The track goes through many changes throughout its nine minutes, for the most part retaining heavy riffing but still leaving space for acoustic interludes. Excellent stuff and one of the best Opeth tracks ever.
The Lotus Eater keeps up the momentum with some of the bands fastest playing to date in places with some thrash metal style drumming from Axenrot. Again much diversity is present including a lovely mellow keyboard dominated lull from Per Wilberg: his addition to the band being one of the best moves Opeth made.
Perhaps Opeths most beautiful piece ever follows. Burden features one of Akerfeldts best vocal performances and the tracks notable for a superb Hammond (?) solo from Wilberg. The track reminds me a bit of Uriah Heep in their quieter moments.
Porcelain Heart opens with a grandiose sounding powerful riff before giving way to an acoustic guitar dominated verse. When the riff returns it's notable for Axenrots excellent drumming, playing across the riff rather than with it with some excellent fills. Another strong piece.
Hessian Peel, the longest track on the album opens with a bluesy sounding acoustic guitar before changing to more classical styling underpinned by a nice shuffley drum patern from from Axenrot. Opeth have the ability to combine the most beautiful sublime music yet bludgeon you senseless (in a good way) in the same track. Much use of light and shade is present once again here and although the track is over eleven minutes such is the quality and diverse nature of the piece, it appears to be over far too quickly. It's about time I mentioned new boy helping Akerfeldt out in the guitar department, Fredrik Akesson. As with Axenrot he proves to be a more than worthy replacement for his predecessor and holds his own against his boss. Martin Mendez on bass, although as usual low in the mix holds together the rhythm section with Axenrot admirably.
Hex Omega takes us out in fine style. After opening with full force it turns out to be a moody atmospheric piece. Although it has its heavier sections it's largely understated and melancholic before closing with a powerful repetitive riff.
So there we have it, Opeths best and most diverse and Progressive album to date. A strong contender for album of the year and with not a weak track present easily worthy of five stars.
For many reasons, I consider Watershed a transitional album... And the weakest Opeth's effort since My Arms, Your Hearse!José Antonio García-Ramos
This is a transitional album because is their first recording after the departure of two important members of the band. The co-founder of the group and second guitarist Peter Lindgren is gone, and the lack of the drums genious Martín López is even more decisive. And the transition is also in the music... Watershed is maybe the most variated and open-minded Opeth's album. The musical direction is diverse, and Akerfeldt shows all his influences here.
The brutal progressive death metal in the Deliverance style appears in Heir Apparent... After the folky guitars of Coil, with the ¿surprising? female vocals. Then, in the experimental The Lotus Eater we have even a funky interlude! Burden is a clear and pleasant tribute to the 70's rock, specially Deep Purple... In Hessian Peel we have an obvious entering in the symphonic rock, with a lot of Camel influences and even some string arrangements, being Porcelain Heart the most typical (and previsible, because part of its riffs are recycled from The Grand Conjuration...) Opeth track of the album. Hex Omega is just boring, and the only bad mistake of the album. Is a song wich starts good, but after the three first minutes it losts all its interest.
So Watershed is like an opening of the Akerfeldt's rich muisical mind... But in this way of finding new musical directions, I think that he has lost a bit of inspiration. Opeth started to loose the typical melancholy and deep sadness of their music in Ghost Reveries and in Watershed, this is even more evident. This is maybe the most happy Opeth's release... And this is not bad, but part of the originality and distinguishable feeling of the band is gone with it, in my humble opinion.
Nevertheless, this album really deserves a good listening... Despite some experimental and weird fragments (like the odd guitars at the end of Burden, and the hypnotic keyboards in Hessian Peel...), Watershed is maybe the most commercial and accesible Opeth album, so is not a bad point of entry to the band for newcomers (although is easily surpased by almost all the rest of the Opeth's discography...) And of course, despite the little deception this album is, I think that all the Opeth's fans will enjoy the ride, like I do.
The sound is also better than in Ghost Reveries, in my opinion... The Per Wiberg's keyboards are not so loud in the mix, having the guitars more weight than in the previous release. Nevetheless, the Wiberg's work is excellent again, and he has more protagonism in some parts. But I'm still missing Steve Wilson here... Watershed is far from the outstanding sound of Deliverance and Damnation, specially in the acoustic guitars, althouhg the improvement since Ghost Reveries in this fact is evident.
A pair of words about the new members: Martin Axenroth does a good job... But he obviously lacks the outstanding quality of Martín López, specially in the mellow parts, where he is not very inspired (you just have to hear the noisy cymbals sound in the final part of Burden...) Nevertheless, he rocks in some hard fragments... He is obviously a extrme metal drummer! And the new guitarist, Akesson, is really competent. He does a great job in the solos, specially in Heir Apparent, and the short solo he plays in Hessian Peel. This man is a guitar hero, and he can bring some interesting things to Opeth in a future.
Best songs: Coil (great opening, and a different acoustic Opeth's track... I specially enjoy the lyrics), Heir Apparent (the Deliverance feeling it has is great... Because Deliverance is my favourite Opeth's effort), The Lotus Eater (an irregular, but funny experimental song...) and Hessian Peel (the highlight of the album... I love its arabic feeling, and the symphonic elements. But the last hard minutes are not necessary... I think these minutes spoils part of this song's geniality)
Conclusion: this transitional album makes me have a good feeling about the Opeth's future... After loosing two important members, the band is still alive and they have released a very good album. But not a masterpiece and hardly excellent, being easily surpased by Still Life, Blackwater Park, Deliverance... And it's even a step under the irregular Ghost Reveries. Nevertheless, some new ideas are interesting, and the Akesson addition is a good fact in my opinion... So I'll wait impatiently for the next Opeth's release, and I'll take this Waterhsed just like a point of inflexion in the Opeth's discography, where they misleaded part of their typical sound and quality in the search of a new personality.
My rating: ***1/2 / *****
"Watershed" is Opeth's ninth album following up their previous studio CD "Ghost Reveries" which was named the best album of 2005 by some music critics. Coupled with the signing with Roadrunners, there must have been great expectations from Opeth fans on this album. Exemplified by a couple of lineup changes for Opeth in the past couple of years, including the departure of longtime guitarist Peter Lindgren and drummer Martin Lopez, the situation had been tough for the band. Their replacements are guitarist Fredrik Akesson (Arch Enemy) and drummer Martin Axenrot. The latter has been with the band for a while, but this is his first studio album with Opeth. This seems not a big issue as Mikael Akerfeldt wrote most of the material for the album.Gatot Widayanto
Dynamic, variety, excellent musicianship and great songwriting .
My first impression with this album was that this is an excellent album that every home must have it. The music combines excellent dynamics and energy that, if used properly, can elevate the life spirit - even though the nuance of the music is dark. Credits for this album include great songwriting (by Akerfeldt), a lot of varieties in the music and excellent musicianship even though there are new members.
Opeth has confirmed their clear musical direction since their "Still Life" album, I think. The band has developed a unique style over the years that differentiate them from others - no one like Opeth. "Watershed" continues the refinement of that style. This album marries heavy side of the band in "Deliverance" album with soft side in "Damnation" album. There are beautiful acoustic passages which lead into intense death metal with heavy riffs followed with all kinds of lengthy progressive and experimental passages. The progressive elements are larger ever before.
Observe the opening track "Coil, which is basically an acoustic song featuring duet melodic vocals by Akerfeldt and guest female vocal from Nathalie Lorichs. You might not believe that Opeth has ever made a song as mellow as this. The track "Heir Apparent, brings you to usual Opeth music with louder and more extreme notes that lead the album into the different styles in the same song combining mellow and deat metal riffs and growling vocal. I personally enjoy this track because I cannot expect what happens next. Each passage flows wonderfully to the next one with relatively unexpected fashion. The guitar and drums work so dynamically. There are musical breaks with acoustic guitar and flute-like sound which make the music is rich in textures. The death metal part does not seem to threaten me because there are many excellent melodic breaks.
"The Lotus Eater" starts acapella in the vein of PFM and I have never expected that suddenly the music blast off louder in death / black metal vein using high register notes growling vocal. It's a great surprise to me! There are musical break with mellow guitar solo combined nicely with piano. The next track "Burden" starts mellow with long sustain keyboard sound. The song is in relatively slow tempo with great guitar work. I have listened to "Porcelain Heart" (edited version) from bonus CD provided by Classic Rock magz previous month edition. It's truly a great song with some flavour of Porcupine Tree music. It's a wonderfully composed song.
"Hessian Peel" starts ambient with nice acoustic guitar improvisation. For the first 2 minutes the song moves in mellow style followed with drum it moves louder even though the tempo is still slow. In the middle of the track the song goes crazy with its blast of death metal music. This is very nice for me because I love metal music. Akerfeldt sings wholeheartedly followed with great guitar solo. On the remaining three minutes the song turns down into softer style. "Hex Omega" concludes the album nicely. The music reminds me somewhat with the style of Porcupine Tree "Fear of A Blank Planet". This is an awesome concluding track.
Overall, I rate this album by Opeth highly and I believe this is the best Opeth album I have ever heard. I have no hesitation giving this album with a five star rating due to its brilliant songwriting, composition with high degree of diversity and excellent musicianship. Highly recommended.
Really, just not that great.Joey Kelley
As the site's most avid Opeth fan, I must say, this record severely disappoints on many levels. While it may be their most progressive effort, it is also one of their worst. Oh sure, there are times when the band shines and shows why it continues to be one of the best modern bands around today, but there are so many parts on this album that just leave me befuddled and ultimately uninterested. After the shock of first hearing it is gone, there are a few things to note.
Take Coil, which sounds like a track that couldn't make the final cut on Damnation. It's just insipid and boring. Porcelain Heart is a why? track. As in, why the hell is it on the record, it's the kind of songwriting I'd expect from a mallcore band, not Mikael Akerfeldt. Anyways, the good parts are Hessian Peel, Burden, and Heir Apparent. More or less, these songs hit the right spot and show why this band has accumulated the following that it has. Really outstanding songwriting during the last half of Hessian Peel, it's probably the best song they've done since all of Still Life. Unfortunate the rest of the album couldn't be this good.
While this album fails on many levels, I must point out that Per Wiberg has quickly become the 2nd most indispensable member of the band. His effort here on many levels keeps this album afloat and from being what I would consider a complete disaster (see Deliverance). One can only hope that the most important member (Mikael) has not run out of ideas.
For those with a short attention span, I'll put it bluntly. Watershed, Opeth's ninth studio album, is their best effort since the masterpiece that is Blackwater Park, far surpassing the attempts of the last three albums; Deliverance, Damnation and Ghost Reveries.Andrew Carter
The major problems of the most recent albums have been eradicated here and combined with a distinct shift in their approach to the music. Gone are the needlessly extended songs, as is the poor judgment that they displayed on one or two occasions in the accompaniment, and back comes the dark and melancholic atmospheres that have been missing since the aforementioned Blackwater Park. Since the release of Ghost Reveries, Opeth has undergone a fair bit of upheaval in the line-up with Drummer Martin Lopez being replaced by Martin Axenrot and Guitarist Peter Lindgren with Fredrik Akesson, changes that seem to have done something to re-invigorate the bands music. These changes have led to a noticeable increase in the technicality of the songs on offer here. With both new members coming from a more traditional style of Death Metal band where technicality can be king, this isn't overly surprising, but it is welcome and in no way, shape or form does it detract from the feel of the music. Its also noticeable that Keyboardist Per Wiberg also has a much more prominent role on this album than he did on Ghost Reveries, where he was rather unnecessary, and nowhere does this come through better than on Burden.
I've already touched on the reduction of song length being a good thing. Nowhere on here does Akerfeldt feel the need to extend musical passages for minutes at a time and this has lead to what is a very concise album with no fat, resulting in it weighing in at only 55 minutes. This has also affiliated the return of the dark, melancholic and gloomy atmospheres of the past, replacing the unsuccessful attempt at a more upbeat mood on Ghost Reveries, and the concise nature of the albums musical themes allows this mood to breath, to flow without feeling contrived. Its this point that I feel is the most important of the album as Opeth's unique, dark atmospheres were always the bands Ace up their sleeve, though it still falls short of the feel of Blackwater Park.
The increased technicality of the band is also a very good change here. I'm finding that those intriguing and excellent touches that all great music has is more abundant on here than previously. A few highly intricate acoustic parts, the sound of an acoustic guitar slowly falling out of tune at the end of Burden, the inclusion of female vocals, courtesy of Nathalie Lorichs, on Coil, the keyboard solo(!) on Burden and many more besides make for good listening here. Many people have noted that their is a wrong note early in Hessian Peel that gets repeated, but personally I don't hear anything wrong there at all, the same goes for the sudden changes between heavy and soft. Opeth have always had these changes and quite a few of them have been very sudden, for me it still works very well. The big surprise is that there is considerably less use of Akerfeldt's growl on here with Coil, Burden, Porcelain Heart and Hex Omega all been clean vocal only. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what to make of this as the music is still great and Akerfeldt still sounds good whatever voice he uses.
Overall a very good album, but not quite a match for Blackwater Park or Still Life, and equal to My Arms, Your Hearse. That last part might be telling, because My Arms, Your Hearse was a transitional album for the band and Watershed feels as if it might also be just that, so watch this space.
There are two types of Opeth fans, and that must be made clear.Jay Brieler
There are those who like death metal and the devil's diaphragm, and those who tolerate it for good music.
I am of the second type. I was introduced from my most prog friend to Opeth through Damnation, which I loved, and failed to get through the heavier stuff, until now.
Because of this fact, Watershed is the Opeth's best album for me. It is the Proggiest, most Akerfeld clean vocal combined with heavy guitars album they have, and to me that is combining their best elements. One additional plus is the addition of a new 2nd guitarist who is willing to blow some chops and to me this is Opeth's best album.
1. Coil - 8/10 - this one has grown on me. Most importantly, this announces that this album is not going to be the Opeth of old. Some nuance here, strange choice in the female vocal but the more I listen the more I like it.
2. Heir Apparent - 8/10 - this is a shout to the old fans and even still the breaks are great. The most death metal of all the tracks and plenty of the best dragonvoice of all time. Yes, I've come to handle it. For those like me who avoid the voice, don't discard this track because there are some very strong moments.
3. Lotus Eater - 11/10 - Akerfeld has been quoted as saying this is his favorite track off the new album and I totally understand why. There are two prog masterpieces on this album and this is the heavier of the two. The funk break in the late middle section totally works for me, and is just branching of a creative mind and adventurous band. If Thick as a Brick combined all of the elements of modern music in its time, Lotus Eater combines 2008 elements as no other track does.
4. Burden - 6/10 - I hated this track at first, frankly. Somebody's sig here is something to the effect of We wrote this one to get groupies and at first I thought this track was exactly that. But in fact their are some nice moments, and especially nice instrumentation choices here. The detuning is a strange exploratory choice that really didn't work but who cares.
5. Porcelain Heart - 8/10 - A very solid Opeth track, my previous favorite track of theirs was Drapery Falls and this continues in that feel. It doesn't break new ground for them but is a very strong Opeth track which does what I want Opeth to do, combine brutal guitars with Akerfeld's clean voice
6. Hessian Peel - 11/10 - A masterpiece of prog rock. Period. The Wrong note of the intro is a tension used by Steve Hackett frequently in early Genesis. IMO the best Opeth track of all time. No further explanation needed.
7. Hex Omega - 9/10 - another strong prog track, which left me wanting more which of course is what the last tradck should do. Not as strong as Hessian Peel or Lotus Eater, but still good.
If you like prog, this is the album for you. Not hampered by the constraints of being clean for an entire album, energized by new members, learning from Wilson but now free of him, Opeth produces a prog masterpiece, worth of the five stars I award it.
Opeth is a band that could very easily get stuck in a rut and put out the same music constantly. In the past, that is what they have done.Spence
Thankfully not for Watershed.
Mikael Akerfeldt has long been known to have a sense of humor, though that has been hidden in the layers of lyrics about Satan and death and so forth. Here, at last, the band seems to sit back a little and actually enjoy themselves on a record. Not only that, but they go ahead and try some new things out. Some people don't really appreciate these little ideas, but since I am always looking for bands who progress not on account of playing in an awkward time signature but in trying new and creative things, this mindset makes Watershed a particularly entertaining album to me.
The new drummer, Axenrot, steps up to the plate here for this album, too. He's good and talented and very fast. The new guitarist, Fredrik, happens to be good and talented and very fast, as well. With the addition of these fellows, the band runs the risk of being a more conventional speedy death metal outfit. Thankfully, Mikael's not letting that happen. The album opens with Coil, featuring a female singer for the first time in Opeth history. The next track, Heir Apparent, is classic Opeth. The Lotus Eater features odd combinations of really fast death metal and really gentle clean vocals, as well as a funky midsection. This song proved to me that Opeth is not letting themselves play the same game they always have.
Next comes Burden, a wonderful clean track with traces of Camel and Yes. Mikael's voice has never, ever sounded so good, to my ears. It concludes with a silly repetition of a guitar lick while the guitar is being downtuned, an element that bothers some people and tickles the fancy of others. From there, the album continues to be interesting and quality, while not as unique.
This album gets four stars from me not because it's a perfect album, but because Opeth finally put out a CD with their hearts in the place I most like them: looking for ways to be creative. I can enjoy standard music, but I highly recommend adventurous songwriting.
Out of all of Opeth's releases, this is my most highly recommended.
With 2006's 'Ghost Reveries,' Opeth burst out onto the world stage and became a household name in the world of metal. Now, with new members and a fresh new perspective, Opeth has released yet another fantastic album. Falling just short of perfection, 'Watershed' offers a dose of some great Opeth material, paired with some rather half-baked material. There are some instant classics on this album, such as the innovative track 'The Lotus Eater,' which stands as being both the highlight of this album and one of the best, strangest songs Opeth has ever recorded.
The new band members, while they will obviously meet criticism from hardcore purists regardless, are in fact incredibly talented. The new drummer, Martin Axenrot is a fair improvement from his predecessor, and although the jazz percussive influences can't be heard as much anymore, there's an added dose of metal to be heard here, which compensates for the added focus on prog-rock. This album can be thought of as one part 'Ghost Reveries' and one part 'Damnation.' While Opeth is typically thought of as a death metal band, only three of the songs to be found here have death growling! This is a sign of the future for Opeth... Potentially they will come to the point where they scrap death metal altogether? Hopefully not, because the growls on this album are some of his best yet. 'Heir Apparent' offers some of the most bone- crushing death metal Opeth has ever done, and stands as being one of their heaviest songs yet.
The beautiful ballad 'Burden,' while being something of evidence of Roadrunner's commercial pressures on the band, still works out to be a really nice prog-rock song, reminiscent of classic 70's prog. The only song on this album that dissapoints is the closer 'Hex Omega,' which although having some good riffs, doesn't really pass as being a very fitting closer. In fact, if 'Hex Omega' had been replaced with a better finishing song, this album would have received five stars. But as a final impression, it injures the album's overall effect. Despite this shortcoming, the album pulls through however, and stands as being a great Opeth release, and does not dissapoint. Definately worth the purchase.
Espero que lo disfruten mucho mucho.