Sound — 9
There are few bands that could be considered peerless in the music scene but Opeth are one of the ones that are leagues and bounds ahead of anyone considering themselves to be tagged with 'Progressive Death Metal'. So it's no wonder that when there's rumours of an Opeth album in the works, the whole metal community waits with baited breath and hope for the outcome. This album was held up by high expectations of the incredible standards we've come to expect of Opeth. Following up 'Ghost Reveries' was never going to be an easy task, but, and sorry to ruin the ending, Opeth come out triumphant. Mixing the 1970esque Prog-Rock album 'Damnation' and the the heavy sounds of 'Deliverance', 'Watershed' stands at the ground for leaving behind the full on death metal assaults, but using the rough vocals to accentuate the music. The album is both deceptively soft and deceptively rough and while Mikael kerfeldt is happy to share duties with native pop vocalist Nathalie Lorichs on 'Coil', the blastbeats are ever present in songs such as 'Hessian Peel' and 'The Lotus Eater' although used sparingly to form the dynamics and textures we are so used to with Opeth.
Lyrics — 8
Mikael kerfeldt has all the credentials to sing clean and growl in a melodic death metal band and Opeth takes many of it's sounds from the Gothenburg metal and moulds it to a prog rock song structure (or lack thereof). kerfeldt sounds as strong to this day as he ever was. His growls are distinctive and switches to clean, melodic singing to give the songs their dynamic feel and tempo changes of the prog rock genre. The lyrics themselves are laced with metaphors and imagery. Many seem to be addressed to certain people with lines such as 'Why did you leave me?' and 'You follow the siren in your head', which gives the lyrics a personal meaning to kerfeldt. The lyrics however seem to tell a story without being too explicit, leaving a lot up to the imagination.
Overall Impression — 9
Opeth will always be the bastion of 'progression' in any type of metal. There is no other band like them and while people may find the death part of progressive death metal hard to listen to, those who revel in it will be in for a treat as Mikael kerfeldt with his soaring riffs, imagery, textures and tempo changes take you on a ride through Watershed. It feels like a new beginning and a step in a different direction in progriseveness for Opeth. We can only wait and see.