On June 1, Floris van Bommel conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH at the Fortarock XL festival at Goffertpark in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked about the progress of the songwriting sessions for OPETH's follow-up to 2011's "Heritage" album, Mikael told Brutalitopia: "I don't really know what's gonna end up on the record, but I have three ideas right now. And I've been working a little bit in between tours, which I don't necessarily do; I usually have a completely clean slate, like a clean calendar, before I really into the songwriting. But I have made some good progress."
He continued: "I have maybe 25 to 30 minutes of music, and it's three songs, so they're quite long. And one of them is called 'Goblin' — that's the name of the song — and it sounds like the band GOBLIN. [laughs] So it's a complete tribute to them. Another song is a ballad-type song… like a '70s-sounding ballad, I guess, which is a strong vocal song; it doesn't have any super-technical riffs, it's just a strong vocal melody and a pretty sad-sounding song. And then I have an all-over-the-place type of song, which… I was writing this, and I was just lumping riffs on top of each other, arrangements, and it's all over the place. I've kind of outgrown that style of writing, because that's the way I used to write on the first, say, two records. And I was, like, I have to kind of stop myself here and kind of arrange this a little bit niced, smooth the edges, if you know what I mean. But then I was, like, 'Why?' OK, I'm just gonna let this song be the schizophrenic, kind of, it-doesn't-make-much-sense-but-I-kind-of-like-it-type song. So it's really long. It's heavier than the 'Heritage' stuff in terms of, there's more riffs, and it doesn't have a theme. It has several themes, but it has no recurring theme. You might think that this might be the theme for this song, but it's not; it just disappears and moves on to the next [one]. So it's kind of fun in that way to kind of… It's quite youthful, this song. But I still have a lot of work with that one. And I have shitloads of ideas that I'm still gonna demo when we finish touring."
Released September 20, 2011, "Heritage" garnered rave reviews from everyone from Rolling Stone, who called the album "a career record that reimagines prog as actual rock 'n' roll," to Pitchfork saying "a pretty, well-thought-out collection" to NPR who called it "equally vast, thoughtful and heavy."
"Heritage" sold 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 19 on The Billboard 200 chart.