5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4 1/2 stars really,
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This review is from: Watershed (Audio CD)
Opeth's latest offering, "Watershed" was really something of a surprise, and comes as proof that they will never let us get comfortable and settle into a predictable rut as so many talented bands do. Instead, Opeth continue to challenge their listeners with something really quite different, not only from "Ghost Reveries" but also from all their previous albums. Of course it is still unmistakably Opeth, with Akerfeldt's trademark vocals and their unique combination of blasting death metal ferocity with mellow acoustic brilliance and awesome prog solos. However they have gotten a bit more experimental on us and mixed in some touches of jazz/blues (for example in the beautiful "Burden" and the unexpected funk section at the end of "the Lotus Eater"), a few moments of strings and flutes in the awesome "Heir Apparant", some very effective but not overused female vocals in the stunning opener "Coil" and the unexpected humour of the discordant ending of "Burden".
"Watershed" is also pleasantly varied and progresses very neatly through different styles, blending them together perfectly. They move very skillfully from the mellow acoustic sadness of "Coil" with its moving female vocals and beautiful lyrics into the brilliantly heavy, fantastically discordant "Heir Apparant", moving into the jazz tinged acoustic perfection of "Burden", then varying between the heavy and the melodic with their usual ease throughout the remaining songs. Some of them don't quite hit you at first and take a few listens to appreciate. Initially, hearing the complete change of direction of "The Lotus Eater" and the discordance of "Heir Apparant" I wondered what had gone wrong with Opeth, but "Watershed" is one of those albums that you will still be listening to in a year's time, not something catchy which hits you on the first listen and then you forget about it. I still think "Ghost Reveries" and "Still Life" probably can't be beaten, but "Watershed" hardly fails to live up to expectations.