It’s no secret that Åkerfeldt has a serious vinyl collection that would get any audiophile drooling. We asked Mikael about his passion for The Beatles and what his favourite album from their discography would be. This is what he said;
Recorded last year at Stockholm’s Park Studios, In Cauda Venenum will be released in two versions, in both Swedish and English languages, with the band considering the Swedish version the ‘official‘ version.
Commenting on the album’s lead single, ‘Heart In Hand‘, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt says, “‘Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör‘ or ‘Heart in Hand‘, as it’s called in English, is one of the first couple of songs I wrote for ‘In Cauda Venenum’. I immediately knew that it would probably be favoured by “the powers that be,” when talks of future singles for the record would commence.
And I was right. I generally leave it up to the label or management to pick the so-called singles. I’m indifferent, as I put an equal amount of dedication into all songs, so it doesn’t matter all that much to me. I guess it’s one of the more straightforward songs on the album, a rather rocking little thing. It’s got one of the “happy mistakes” in it too. Mendez’s bass broke down in the middle of recording.
At the time he played an old Hofner Beatles-esque bass guitar that started humming real bad, but it sounded so good we immediately decided to keep it in there. I’d be putting myself down if I said that noise is the best part of the song, but it’s up there! I like when stuff happens out of your control, and it actually adds to the piece. This is the first full taster of the new OPETH album, and of course I hope you like it. All the songs on the new album are different from each other and therefore equally representable in my view. Enjoy!”
Regarding the the sonic direction of the new record, Åkerfeldt adds, “For us, at this stage with In Cauda Venenum, heaviness isn’t guitars tuned down with screaming vocals over the top. That’s not necessarily what I call ‘heavy’ music these days. I can listen to Korn and say, ‘OK, that’s heavy.’ But it doesn’t really mean anything to me. I mean, I catch up on things in magazines or online. I read about bands that have the ‘heaviest record ever,’ and I’m not too impressed by that. OK, it’s cool but what does it say? What does it mean? It’s an impossible mission, to be the heaviest. That’s been done before.
Over time, I got tired of that tag. Of course, when I was younger it meant everything to me. I was always on the pursuit for heaviness in my youth, trying to find the next level of heaviness. First it was death metal, then it was bands like Meshuggah, but heaviness is now more about emotions, heavy chord progressions, music that has feelings. Heaviness doesn’t mean anymore, although indeed they’re a fucking heavy band. I’m not trying to tap into that anymore.”
OPETH will be playing shows in support of In Cauda Venenum around the world through the end of the year with their biggest headline show to date in Ireland at the iconic Olympia Theatre on November 1st. Tickets are on sale NOW via Ticketmaster. Please check MCD Productions for further details or visit the bands official website for information on all scheduled dates.
Order your copy of In Cauda Venenum via this link.
A full list of dates are listed below;