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Review of the Album "Watershed" by Swedish Progressive Death Metal Band Opeth

Updated on September 3, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Opeth: the band as it was in 2008

From left to right: Fredrik Akesson, Martin Axenrot, Mikael Akerfeldt, Per Wiberg and Martin Mendez.
From left to right: Fredrik Akesson, Martin Axenrot, Mikael Akerfeldt, Per Wiberg and Martin Mendez. | Source

Watershed Represents a Turning Point in the Career of Opeth

The album Watershed by Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth represents a sort of turning point in this band’s career and it is definitely for the better! If 2005’s Ghost Reveries may be their best work (based on a pretty good guess), then how good is Watershed? It is solid and unique. The cover of the album shows a person sitting behind a desk and perhaps writing something important. What he is writing we can only surmise.

My guess is that the person behind the desk on the album cover is Count Dracula even though the band does not cover horror related themes in their lyrics.

Watershed is Unique Because it Starts Out With an Acoustic Duet Song

The album starts off with an acoustic duet kind of song called Coil. There is a duet performed by vocalist and guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt and Natalie Lorichs, the person that was dating then new drummer Martin Axenrot.

About the Songs "Coil" and "Heir Apparent"

The song Coil is about someone that sacrifices so much for the one that they love only to discover that they have been waiting for nothing because that person has decided to leave them. When the relationship ends and when the other person is “left behind” it can feel like years have passed by and one of the two people is left in a state of sorrow. Heir Apparent sounds like a sort of doom metal song that we would have heard back in 1994 with the band The 3rd and the Mortal.

This kind of a beginning to an Opeth album is likely to leave some fans in a state of shock, But relax, Watershed is an enjoyable listen.

Other Notable Songs On the Album Watershed Include "The Lotus Eater"

The loss of Peter Lindgren does little to dampen the spirits of this band and they just continue to produce good quality progressive death metal every time! The Lotus Eater begins with well performed melodic vocals by Mikael as the song addresses the concept of a person that is obsessed with being a liar and doing things that hurt other people. He is obsessed with death and his past comes back to haunt him.

The Importance of the Song Burden

The song Burden with the piano playing and the synth like atmosphere shows once again the versatility of Opeth. The song is about a person that has carried a burden of sorrow in his spirit. If he must die, he wishes that his mistakes and sins could be forgiven so that he could be led through the gate to Heaven. Watershed also shows the growth of this band because a big portion of Burden is influenced by Black Sabbath (1966-2017) as the guitar playing is a blues and jazz influenced lead guitar section that we would hear in songs such as Wishing Well back in 1980.

The Songs Coil and Heir Apparent

Is the Song Hessian Peel a Masterpiece? No but it is Still a Good Song

One user on YouTube mentions that the song Hessian Peel is a masterpiece. The song is about what two people feel like as their deaths approach. What will happen to the children after their mother passes away? Will they ever be the same? The song expands on the theme of sorrow and loss. Even though this is the case, the music isn’t sorrowful at all. The song addresses the larger concept which is that the person that somehow has the desire to end their life has had many trials and tribulations and in these cases, the person is sometimes so overwhelmed by the pressures of life that they feel like ending their life. Playing guitars on this album is Fredrik Akesson who once played for a short time in the band Arch Enemy and he was the main guitar player in the Swedish hard rock band Talisman.

Favorite Song on Watershed

What is your favorite song on the album Watershed?

See results

"The Lotus Eater"

Final Thoughts About the Album Watershed

The last song Hex Omega is about a mother that lost her child two years ago and she is trying to come to terms with her past. Watershed may not be quite as good as the album Ghost Reveries but it is another solid and unique album from one of the most well-known bands of progressive death metal.

The Song "Hex Omega"

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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