Opeth
Watershed (2nd review)

After a three year absence Opeth return to us and somehow they manage to get even more bizarre yet again. I’m not going to compare this to older Opeth as I am a latecomer to the Opeth phenomenon myself. I only started a bit before Blackwater Park, thanks to a friend of mine who could have made me listen to just about anything, or do anything for that matter.

Back to the album however. They start off with a brief acoustic song called “Coil”. It’s something of a misleading start to the album but it is quite good. Akerfeldt’s vocals are just amazing, and just for fun they brought in Nathalie Lorichs to make it a short duet. From there the album tries to destroy the listener with a pummeling that you don’t normally associate with these guys. It is not all fast and heavy by any stretch but when they do put the hammer down, bones shatter. When they do get mellow and ambient it’s almost a welcome respite from the assault.

The highlight of this album for me is the third song, “The Lotus Eaters”. It also proves conclusively that they have lost their minds once and for all. At the opening they combine Akerfeldt’s clean vocals with blastbeats. No one does that. Add to that possibly the funkiest metal bridge since “Angel of Death” to appear in a song and you have one for the ages. Amazingly it all works. They even manage to use quite a bit of keyboard and not turn me off. Ask my former employers how difficult this one is, they have many a tale to tell. The production is crystal clear without being sterile. There is great warmth to the sound of this album, while at the same time you know these guys are machines at their respective jobs. This is pure majesty right here. I don’t think I’m enough into this style of music to have this as my album of the year but I am amazed.

Similar to one of my favorites, Enslaved, they have really taken their own style and infused it with a lot of 70’s prog rock weirdness to devastating effect. I’m hoping as they get more out there they continue to get better, though I haven’t the faintest idea how they are topping this one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kyle Huckins
May 29th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    aside from the way out of left field keyboard ditty in the middle of Lotus Eaters (a track that is now in my top 10 Opeth songs of all time), I didn’t think there was a lot of overtly bizarre stuff. I just thought Akerfeldt was finally able to tap into his vast storehouse of 60s-70s psychedelia and execute on whatever he wanted to weave in.


  2. Commented by: Gelfling

    Akercocke did the ‘clean vocals over blast beat’ thing in the song ‘Axiom’ on their Antichrist album last year! So Opeth ain’t the first to do it…
    Anyway, great album!


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