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Opeth - Watershed
The Swedish progressive brutal metal legends Opeth return after nearly three years of silence (not counting the live album) with an utterly splendid new record entitled Watershed. In my experience Opeth was always the band that raised the bar with every album with success, gaining a bigger following with every release and tour. Will Watershed manage the same?
 
No fucking doubt in my head it will. I’ll state it up front, this is again the best album this band has ever made. First of all let me mention the changes in the line-up; this is the first time replacement drummer Martin Axenrot joins in on the recording, as well as the newly recruited second guitarist Fredrik Akesson. Both have a more metal background, which naturally leads to a more metal sound record. The production of this album really presents this well, a tight brutal metal sound with metal solos and, for the first time ever in Opeth’s history; blastbeats! What a revelation!
 
Let me guide you through the album real quick, it starts with a the sort of ballad/duet called ‘Coil’, which features the wife of drummer Martin Axenrot next to frontman Mikael Akerfeldt. It's a very beautiful song that introduces the album to the listener in a very gentle way. From that song on, the stuff Opeth throws at me drops my jaw more than once. Especially the blastbeats offer a nice refreshment in the sound of the band, in particular in the song ‘The Lotus Eater’ (which I personally think is the best track on Watershed) where a clean vocal line is sung over one such blastbeat. Utterly amazing!
 
Furthermore the band incorporates even more old school (hippie) rock in its play, and even some more jazz again. In the previous mentioned track there are great examples to be found of this. And when in the track ‘Burden’ the first vocals appear, I even feel a little bit of the spirit of Freddy Mercury lingering around. When this track ends, the listener even gets treated to an acoustic guitar passage, played on an out of tune guitar. I don’t know why, but I dig it all the way.
 
If you find yourself in the lucky position to own the special edition, you will get a very nice postal package containing a bonus DVD on which you’ll find the album in 5.1 mix, three bonus tracks and a documentary on Opeth and where they stand with this album. I’d like to mention that in the first shot where Mikael Akerfeldt is being interviewed, he is wearing a glorious shirt that I must have as well. Conan the Barbarian. Fucking awesome!

Back to the music then. I cannot conclude anything else other than that Opeth have outdone themselves again, with great ease. This new line-up sounds like the strongest the band has ever seen, although only one original member remains. Refreshing, yet familiar. Astounding and mind-blowing release that will end up high in my year list for damn sure.
Opeth - Watershed
96/1001Details Roadrunner Records
Released on Saturday May 31st, 2008
Extreme Progressive Metal

Writer @DemonDust on Tuesday Jun 3rd, 2008

Tags: #Opeth
Tracklisting 1. Coil
2. Heir Apparent
3. Lotus Eater
4. Burden
5. Porcelain Heart
6. Hussain Peel
7. Hex Omega
Line up Mikael Åkerfeldt: vocals, guitar, production
Fredrik Åkesson: guitar
Martin Mendez: bass
Martin Axenrot: drums, percussion
Per Wiberg: keyboards
Nathalie Lorichs: guest vocals on "Coil"
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