OPETH Wrote And Deleted Death Metal Album After ‘Watershed’

Opeth 2018
Photo credit: Steve Thrasher

In a new interview with Revolver, OPETH frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt has revealed that he had about 30-40 minutes of a death metal record written in place of 2011’s Heritage, but bassist Martín Méndez talked him out of doing it.

He said: “I was stopped by Martín Méndez, our bass player. He said, ‘This is not what you should be writing.'”

When asked if everyone in the band was on board with moving away from death metal, Mikael responded:

“I think Fredrik [Åkesson, guitarist] who had only been on one album at that point, was a bit shocked. Because he’s a metal guy. But not the other guys.

“We bonded so much during the writing of Heritage. But I did write a good 30 or 40 minutes of Watershed-type OPETH music. But when Martín spoke up I just said, “Thank you,” and deleted it. And started Heritage.

OPETH will release its new album, In Cauda Venenum, on September 27th via Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

Recorded last year at Stockholm’s Park Studios, In Cauda Venenum will be released in two versions, in both Swedish and English languages.

Regarding 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 MESHUGGAH anymore, although indeed they’re a f*cking heavy band. I’m not trying to tap into that anymore.”