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Watershed... - 100%

Final_Judgement, June 2nd, 2008

...an obvious reference to the tears of joy you will cry when you hear this masterpiece?

Well, we all know the band. Opeth has been near the top of the metal world for years now, which should come to be expected from such brilliant song-writers. All eyes were on them to see which direction they would take after their last album, Ghost Reveries, effectively split their fanbase while securing Opeth's spot amongst the mainstream greats of metal.

Well, first of all, I guess we should have expected Watershed to be a lighter offering than classic albums like Still Life and Blackwater Park. Like Ghost Reveries, Watershed has an obvious focus on clean singing and passages. That isn't to say it doesn't bring the heaviness in sections too though; the second track, Heir Apparent, will definitely satisfy fans looking for a return to the Blackwater Park era sound. Hell, when you have Mikael Ã…kerfeldt doing all your vocals, I don't think you care what style he is using. Some minor vocal experiments (see the clean vocals in The Lotus Eater and the female vocals on Coil) help keep the music interesting and fresh.

The guitars are played and arranged incredibly, as usual. I would describe most of the guitarwork on the album as having a certain urgent quality to them. I also noticed a lot more dissonant passages that kind of remind me of Opeth's older albums like Morningrise. I also feel that the keyboards were used much more effectively as a means of accenting certain sections. These instruments together make Watershed one of the most full-sounding Opeth offerings to date.

The drumming is definitely a huge highlight here. There are some tasteful blast beat and double bass passages on the album, but most of the drumming is very progressive and interesting. Fans of jazz drumming will definitely love the performance given on Watershed. Of course, one can pretty much assume the above information is true of any Opeth album. I particularly like the drumwork near the 6 minute mark of The Lotus Eater.

Long-time Opeth fans, or even metal fans in general, should all give Watershed a thorough listen. While continuing much in the tried and true Opeth style, the album still demonstrates a lot of musical growth for the band. I find that the band really showed that not only can they run with the metal greats of today, but also that they are a landmark for the progressive genre in general. Tasteful reprises and ambience only add to the overall musical experience and, believe me, this album is definitely an experience.

Stand-out tracks: If anyone can list any fewer than 7 songs here, let me know, because I certainly can't.