OPETH's Mikael Akerfeldt On Heritage Album

Radio Metal spoke with OPETH's Mikael Akerfeldt during Hellfest this year. Here are a few […]
By The Beast
July 8, 2011

Radio Metal spoke with OPETH's Mikael Akerfeldt during Hellfest this year. Here are a few excerpts from the chat:

About Opeth's new album, Heritage: "I never heard music like that, so I can't compare it to other bands. If you want to compare it to another band it has to be us. But still, it's different. For me it kind of makes sense because I've been doing this for such a long time. So it's not a massive departure for me and for the guys in the band. But for fans, if they are, for example, into My Arm Your
Hearse it might be a bit different. But I'm hoping that a lot of people are ready for this type of album from us. The music is all over the place. It's hard to define the album and say it sound like this or like that. There are no songs that represent more the album than any other songs, it's an album as whole. You can't listen to only one song and you'll know what the album is going to be like. Because like I said, it's all over the place."

About the departure of keyboard player Per Wiberg: "He was fired. But he was going to leave any ways because he wasn't happy with us. It's not like we weren't friends but I don't think he felt comfortable playing keyboards with this style of music. If you don't give of your own ' and he didn't ' then you don't belong with us. It's as simple as that. The difference is that Joakim (Svalberg) is a keyboard player while Per wants to play guitar, sing and he wants to take care of the business side of things. He wants to run the ship, so to speak. There was no place to do that in Opeth. He wasn't confortable just playing my songs I guess. I don't think he ever connected with the music that we do to the point where he felt that he belonged with us. He was always more interested in doing other things. I'm happy for him if he's happy but he's not with us anymore and I'm happy that he's not with us anymore, based on the fact that he didn't want to be with us (laughs)."

About his project with PORCUPINE TREE main man Steven Wilson: "We've written six or seven songs. We have a record deal and it's coming out next year. But we don't have a name really for it. I guess we'll have to come up with a name. We want something slightly more creative than the Wilson Akerfeldt Project. It's grindcore highly influenced by Scum from NAPALM DEATH (laughs). Well sometimes it sounds like us because when I'm singing it sound a bit like Opeth, I guess, and when he's singing it sounds a bit like Porcupine Tree. It's! I don't know. It's good! (laughs) The project is just the two of us but we did hire a string section."

Read more at this location.

Opeth's live set at the Sonisphere festival in Knebworth, UK on Sunday, July 10th, will be streaming live at Roadrunner UK's website, beginning at approximately 5:50 PM GMT (that's 11:50 AM EST/8:50 AM PST). If you want to watch the performance, just click here on Sunday morning.

To ease the pain of having to wait over three full months (!) to hear the new Opeth album Heritage (due out on September 20th via Roadrunner Records), BraveWords.com caught up with Mikael Åkerfeldt this week for a quick overview of the band's next magnum opus!

"We recorded 12 songs, where ten are on the album," says the frontman. "Two songs are being saved for the special edition. So there's ten songs and Per (Wiberg; former keyboardist) is still on the album even though he isn't in the band anymore. He's playing keyboards on the entire album. I'm plating keyboards too. We also have new keyboardist Joakim Svalberg (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, GLENN HUGHES) who is going to tour with us. He's not a member yet. We just did the first show with him (at the Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee) a few days ago. He's also on the album playing the opening number ('Heritage'). The songs are all over the place. I'd like to think that all of the songs have their own identity so to speak. One song is a little tribute to RONNIE JAMES DIO (called 'Slither') and it's a kind of gimmicky sounding song, tongue-in-cheek. The working title of that song was called 'Kill The Queen'. It's done as a tribute to him because we love him so much. The other songs move from folk music to prog-rock to jazz, crossed with PINK FLOYD and fusion like HERBIE HANCOCK or WEATHER REPORT. We actually have the (former) drummer/percussion player from Weather Report on the album - Alex Acuña (ELVIS PRESLEY, PETER GABRIEL, CARLOS SANTANA). We also have a Swedish fusion flutist who is playing a flute solo to a doomy riff. It's all over the place and a fun listen. It's really challenging and I don't think it's boring. It's very complex with a beautiful mix and a beautiful master. It was mixed by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) and myself and mastered by a guy by the name of Peter MEW at Abbey Road Studios in London who has engineered many, many obscure records that I've collected over the years. It was recorded at an old, vintage studio in Stockholm called Atlantis studios, which used to be a record label called Metronome. It's where ABBA did all their albums pretty much. So back to these songs, I don't know how to explain what they sound like. They are all over the place. And one song is not representative of the whole album."

Stay tuned to more of BraveWords.com's chat with Mikael Åkerfeldt in the coming days.

The tracklisting for Heritage is as follows:

'The Devil's Orchard'
'I Feel the Dark'
'The Lines in My Hand'
'Marrow of the Earth'

The first single and video from Heritage will be the song 'The Devil's Orchard'. The album - featuring artwork by longtime collaborator Travis Smith - will be released in several configurations that will certainly incite the interest of Opeth's legion of fans, known for their passion for collecting and collectibles. The album will be released as a standard version; as a special edition loaded with extras; as a box set exclusive to the Roadrunner and the bands own official Omerch webstore; and as a double LP. There is something for every Opeth fan, thanks to this expansive variety of options.

Opeth are taking part in both on Heavy T.O. on Saturday, July 23rd and Heavy MTL on Sunday, July 24th.

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Source: Bravewords.com

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