Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Opeth - Watershed

It's a tragedy that the 9th studio album of Opeth, titled Watershed, was leaked a month before the intended release, but, what the heck!!!

The album kicks starts with Coil, the shortest track with melo acoustics and soothing vocals of Mikael and Nathalie Lorichs would deceive the uninitiated that Watershed is Damnation part II. The track is mellifluous through out which ends with a mysterious sound that fades into the next track.

Heir Apparent starts with heavy riffs and it does not take much time to figure out the signature Opeth sound in this track. It's a spotty song alternating between silent acoustics, mind blowing heavy riffs, double bass drumming and violent howls of Mikael. This extremely powerful track,at 7th minute-20th second, takes a melo turn with soothing solo and ends with a siren.

Lotus Eater starts with a low hum by Mikael followed by rolling drums. This vigorously high-octane progressive track matches the previous one in terms of length but differs in terms of intonations and textures. With some awesome stereo effects and synthesized sounds, Lotus Eater spurts out brilliant solos in the middle. The fact that Fredrik Åkesson has made no harm to Opeth is very much evident in this track. It didn't take much time for me to conclude that this was my favourite track of the album, but somehow "Porcelain Heart" appealed more.

Burden, with heavy keyboard solos is yet another slow track with no howls of Mikael. The guitar solos in the second half somehow reminded me a bit of "A Fair Judgement" and a tad "Reverie/Harlequin Forest". A very melancholic track, very touching and has a perfect receipe of sounds which takes the listener to the realm of sorrowness. The dulcet acoustic tones in the outro are a feast to the ears.

The best track of the album, Porcelain Heart starts with repeating patterns of heavy riffs.
I, lost all I had (one April day),
I, turned to my friends (nothing to see),
I, wrote down a name (and read it twice),
I, wallow in shame.
These are the words that initiate the track and it takes me back in time to the days of Damanation. It starts pretty much the same way as "To Rid The Disease", but progresses with earth and sky difference. Mikael's vocals are melo through out the song supported by backing vocalists. For exactly 60 seconds during the interlude and at the outro, a brilliant pattern of vocals and heavy riffs make this track a perfect creation by the band - a piece of art work, a divine experience. The video of this track is evil and apt for a track of such brilliance.

A continuous bass sound follows Porcelain Heart which annoyed me for a couple of seconds, but then mellifluent guitar sounds started emanating from my Bose. It was Hessian Peel, a track with a unadulterated amalagamation of sort of a European Folk (reversed lyrics), Progressive Rock and Death Metal howls. This is the longest track in the album running for 11:25, almost half the length of their good old epic, Black Rose Immortal. At half the length of the track the track transforms into a thunderous assault of deathly vocals and powerful riffs. This surely is a catchy track.

Hex Omega, the terminal track is 7 minutes long which I, somehow, liked the least in the album.

The new Opeth line up has not changed the way Opeth used to sound, every song belongs to the unique genre "Opeth". All tracks are written by Mikael Åkerfeldt, Fredrik Åkesson has co-written Porcelain Heart. Guest singer Nathalie Lorichs has done a great job. Martin Axenrot's double bass on heavier songs are remarkable. All in all, it's a great album which wouldn't disappoint Opeth fans. If I were to ask for more, I would have loved to have a face melting guitar solo of considerable length, something of the sorts of Black Rose Immortal.
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