Watershed (1st review)

Churn out as much quality as Opeth, and each album will be studied for the slightest inclination of a flaw. Truth is, Mikael Akerfeldt and his mammoth baby Opeth have no flaws and are literally, in this reviewers eye’s, perfect. Say what you will, Watershed proves without a doubt that you don’t mess with Opeth.

Even in the midst of a huge line-up change, Watershed shows no signs of weakness at all. It is quite stunning really. The loss of Peter Lindgren and Martin Mendez was a shocker and a scary time for fans awaiting new material from the band. I’m not sure how he did it, but one thing is for certain, Mikael Akerfeldt is the reason Opeth sounds the way they do, and he has found musicians to continue the legacy with ease. Watershed only moves forward and sets new standards for the band.

One standout ingredient within Watershed’s musical body is the vocals. Mikael is going the distance and using way more cleans with amazing results. I’m not sure who is working with him at Roadrunner, but something has happened since they signed there and it has been a push in the clean areas of Opeth. Checkout “The Lotus Eater” for a great example of Akerfeldt’s monstrous mix of death and clean vocals over blast beasts . Pretty ridiculous, and that’s only the beginning. Submerged in just “The Lotus Eater,” we see Per Wiberg has a way better grasp on the keyboards than in Ghost Reveries. The dark, circus-like atmosphere that the keyboards create help mold Watershed’s aura. Funny thing is, we all felt that old Opeth needed Keyboards anyway. The music just screamed for it. Couldn’t have been more perfect. Another surprising venture for the band comes with guest female vocalist Nathalie Lorichs. She adds wonderful areas to the song “Coil” and it could have been done more.

The beautiful thing in the song writing is how it sounds like Opeth just as much as any other album. They just can’t shake loose that vibe and they never should. That’s what keeps them alive. Mikael said in an interview that writing comes smooth and easy. It really shows. The man just has no problem writing songs and I can’t see it ever changing. The beautiful thing about this album particularly is how they returned to the dark heaviness and folk acoustics that we loved from previous albums. “The Porcelain Heart” sounds like it should have been on Blackwater Park or Still life. Amazing. All of the jazz and blues influences are there as usual but they are engulfed in this foggy dense feel that Watershed creates.

One could go on and on about Watershed because it is an in depth album and sums up so much for the band thus far. Opeth have once again shown the world that they are not going to become that band you love to hate. Each album is a new venture with new ideas. What more could we ask for as metal fans?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
May 29th, 2008


  1. Commented by: axiom

    Mikael’s guitar playing has been getting better and better as well as the vocals, Shane. The guy’s a monster. I can never understand the harsh criticism some people direct towards Opeth. Fools!!!!

  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    This proves it. He is the man of the year when it comes to songwriters. I didn’t really care for Ghost Reveries. It was brilliant, but not as dark as I like. This one set in with ease.

  3. Commented by: Kyle Huckins

    It pains me to say it, but your review is better than mine, although we both agree that this album kills.

  4. Commented by: bast

    Haven´t heard this one yet, one of the best bands in our time nevertheless.

  5. Commented by: Stiffy

    Kyle, I thought we hit on the same points. Thank you though.

  6. Commented by: Kyle Huckins

    I just thought you did it better than I. Then again to quote Pitch Shifter, can’t hate me like I do, I know me better.

  7. Commented by: gabaghoul

    so the question remains, is this their best yet? I’m having trouble choosing btwn this, BWP, MR and MAYH… Spot on review, btw.

  8. Commented by: Stiffy

    Great question gaba. hard to do though. StillLife did it for me. This is damn close.

  9. Commented by: Joe

    I think I might be wrong here, but i believe Mendez is still in the band. I believe the individual you were referring to was Martin Lopez. Either way, it is a very minor problem in a good review. Still haven’t heard this album, I eagerly await my pre-order.

  10. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah, I think this is thier best since MAYH, which still remains their best album IMO

  11. Commented by: Staylow

    This is such a mind blowing album – I think I’ve spun it at least 30 times since I first got it – that’s a really high number of spins for a single album for me in such a short period of time. I can’t comment on whether I think it’s their best or not, as I’m still not as familiar with the first few albums as I should be, but I can say it’s better than Ghost Reveries for sure.

    Great spot on review, by the way.

  12. Commented by: Stiffy

    Yeah Joe, you’re right. Thanks for pointing that out. Sorry guys.

  13. Commented by: Hybbe

    You’re correct, Joe. The reviewer got the wrong Martin. Other than that, fantastic review and a fantastic album. Their best since Still Life, in my opinion.

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