Opeth
Watershed


2.5
average

Review

by TheSportingSwine USER (1 Reviews)
June 13th, 2008 | 213 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A disappointing release from a band who are capable of much better.

Prior to the albums's release, Opeth mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt described this album as being heavier, darker and more technical than anything they had done before, causing much anticipation within the bands fanbase. But sadly, such comments are made by practically every metal band as they hype up their newest release, and ultimately, this leads to an album that cannot live up to expectations.

Unfortunately, this is the case for Opeth's 9th observation, Watershed.

Listening to the album for the first few times, there was something wrong, something I could not quite put my finger on. It was only around the 3rd or 4th time I realised what it was. I knew the album, almost in its entirety. I was bored already.

I should explain at this point that much of Opeths appeal lies in the atmosphere their music creates, the way you can immerse yourself into them, and allow the music to take you on a journey. The long, meandering songs require many listens before they begin to sink in, and bit by bit you find yourself remembering a riff, or a vocal line, a part you previously had not noticed. Ultimately, Opeth create satisfying music, that rewards patient listening with a large repeat value.

This is what Watershed lacks. There is no sense of depth, no atmosphere, and several signs that show Akerfeldt is beginning to run out of ideas. The opener, Coil, is a pleasant acoustic track, featuring guest vocalist Nathalie Lorichs, but at 3 minutes it just doesn't add anything. It would have been better broken down and used within another song, rather than left as a stand alone track. Porcelain Heart is another example of this. It is over 8 minutes in length, yet consists of just 3 riffs, repeated over and over again. I can't help but think this is purely to make the album longer, rather than to enhance the song itself.

Watershed also features a rare Opeth phenomenon; a bad song. Hex Omega is not even bad by Opeths standards, its just bad full stop. Mikes vocals have none of the power he is capable of, the riffs are bland and forgettable, and just when it seems to be going somewhere, it ends. All in all its a bizarre choice of album closer, that leaves you feeling unsatisfied, something that I have never experienced with Opeth before.

Speaking of Mikes vocals, only 3 songs here feature his brilliant death growls. It sounds like Mikael is allowing his old prog influences to domminate his songwriting too much. I know Opeth have never just been about metal, but at the same time, its often the moments of sheer heaviness that make up the most memorable and haunting moments in the Opeth cannon. The lack of variety in the dynamics, particularly vocally, contributes towards the total lack of atmosphere present on Watershed

However, Watershed does have its redeeming points. Heir Apparent is one of the most straight up brutal songs the band have ever recorded, ending with melodic beauty that harks way back to My Arms, Your Hearse. While it won't go down as one of their absolute classics, it is more than worthy of Opeth's outstanding back catalogue. Burden, which resembles a Whitesnake power ballad, features some stunning soloing, and heartfelt vocals, and The Lotus Eater features some signs of genuine experimentation.

Sadly I could not escape the fact that after 3 listens I had heard everything the album had to offer. While Watershed is not a bad album, it has little or no replay value. I admire the band for trying something different, for this album bears little resemblance to Opeth of old, I just hope they learn from their mistakes and recover from what is their largest misstep thus far.

Recommended tracks; Heir apparent, Burden.


user ratings (3029)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jim
June 13th 2008


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

while this is a slight departure, i must say i enjoyed it more than you.
i don't think hex omega is as bad as everyone's implying tbh
good review

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2008


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Welcome to the site. I should probably give you a few warnings.

1- This review WILL be needlessly neg'ed because you *gasp* didn't like an Opeth album.

2- You will most likely be scared away forever by our countless Opeth fanboys.

Just a heads up.This Message Edited On 06.13.08

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

TheSportingSwine
June 13th 2008


204 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cheers for the feedback. It will be interesting to see if all the fanboys still like this in a few months time once the initial "new album" excitement has worn off.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2008


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I know what you mean, this is already starting to wear off from the 3.5 i gave it when I reviewed it.

rasputin
June 13th 2008


14550 Comments


eatures some stunning soloing, and heartfelt vocals

hehe, heartfelt akerfeldt

BallsToTheWall
June 13th 2008


44644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've had this since it leaked, April or May, not sure. Only Opeth album I have and love. Completely disagree but well written. I'm a recent figure to joing the ever growing Opeth fanboy elite so automatic neg from me.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Wizard
June 13th 2008


19522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It sounds like Mikael is allowing his old prog influences to domminate his songwriting too much.


I agree with this but I enjoy that he indulges in his influences alot on the album.

Sadly I could not escape the fact that after 3 listens I had heard everything the album had to offer.


Thats why this is their easiest album to get into and digest. Just an observation.

Prioir to the albums's release,

*Prior

Welcome to the site. Excellent review too. You back your opinion up well. Have a vote.

1- This review WILL be needlessly neg'ed because you *gasp* didn't like an Opeth album.

2- You will most likely be scared away forever by our countless Opeth fanboys.


If I see this happening, there will be trouble. A good review is not a neg' worthy thing!





Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

TheSportingSwine
June 13th 2008


204 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey Wizard thanks a lot for your feedback! I will try and edit that spelling mistake.

I agree with what you say about the album being easy to get into, it just felt too easy if that makes sense. It was like "OK what now?".

I guess the months of hype from Mikael didn't help.

fireaboveicebelow
June 13th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not a bad review because you did back up your opinions, especially not bad for a first. I think you rated the album low because you did not understand it.
You mentioned Opeth songs taking you on journeys and then you have your comments on Coil and Porcelain Heart. Coil would have been way worse if placed inside another song, it works beautifully as a 3 minute track opener. Porcelain Heart, to me, is more for doom fans since it's almost droning, so if you enjoy that kind of trance then you'll enjoy it and vice versa.

Wizard
June 13th 2008


19522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with what you say about the album being easy to get into, it just felt too easy if that makes sense. It was like "OK what now?".


No no, that was my biggest complaint with this album as well. I like the fact that I didn't memorize their previous albums right off the bat. This one I find flows a bit better. Mixed opinions I guess.

I guess the months of hype from Mikael didn't help.

I wish he didn't hype it up either. It could have hurt expectations. Too many metal bands do that these days and fail miserably.

Cheers dude for standing up to the Opeth fanboys!



mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is the most admirable review i've ever read!!

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
June 13th 2008


4927 Comments


give the young lad a medal of some sort!!

TheSportingSwine
June 13th 2008


204 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There isn't much to understand, its nowhere near as deep or complex as their previous stuff. I hate to say it, but it seems to me as if they were aiming for increased sales, its definately their most commercially minded album so far.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is not blackwater park 1/5

rasputin
June 13th 2008


14550 Comments


[quote=fireaboveicebelow]Porcelain Heart, to me, is more for doom fans since it's almost droning, so if you enjoy that kind of trance then you'll enjoy it and vice versa.[/quote]
haha are you serious? You obviously have never listened to doom, or drone, or Porcelain Heart.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

porcelain heart is like a redux of the drapery falls

rasputin
June 13th 2008


14550 Comments


porcelain heart is like a redux of the drapery falls

true, both of which are boring as all hell.

Ayashi
June 13th 2008


267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A most excellent review, I voted I should get this album, I've been having somewhat of a hard time getting into this band. I love bands like Children of Bodom, but Blackwater Park was just too heavy for me when I listened to it, went over my head or something. Perhaps I should start with Watershed, if it's their most 'commercial' (if you can call it that) record to date.

fireaboveicebelow
June 13th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=rasputin]haha are you serious? You obviously have never listened to doom, or drone, or Porcelain Heart.[/quote]okay maybe that was a bad explanation. I didn't mean drone doom for one, I meant that the song was trance-like in that it's repetitive and slow. I listen to plenty of doom too, but this is a wierd connection that I don't know how I came up with it...nevermind

its nowhere near as deep or complex as their previous stuff
would that be why mikael didn't include the lyrics because they're too personalThis Message Edited On 06.13.08

FR33L0RD
June 13th 2008


1464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@sporting
this album is more complex then you thought.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy