On March 18, Swedish prog-metal giants OPETH completed an eight-date tour of Norway. The trek included stops in major cities Oslo and Bergen but also covers smaller towns like Volda and Sogndal. The tour was arranged by Rikskonsertene, a Norwegian state-sponsored organization that normally handles events featuring jazz, classical and folk artists.
Commented OPETH mainman Mikael Åkerfeldt: "We had a blast, did eight shows and all of them went well. Apparently, it was one of the most successful tours in the history of Rikskonsertene, which is saying quite a lot.
"Oslo was amazing. We had IHSAHN [former EMPEROR frontman] come play with us and he was amazing! His first show. I know he was a little nervous but I couldn't tell. He did great.
"Bergen completely killed! Awesome crowd! Had a little bar run with Grutle from ENSLAVED and King from GORGOROTH. We all got a bit wasted and Fred [OPETH guitarist Fredrik Åkesson] disappeared..."
Kristin Stoltz Thomassen, the information consultant at Rikskonsertene, told Norwegian music industry magazine Faro Journalen that the OPETH tour was part of an initiative Rikskonsertene is doing with the pop and rock genres.
"This project is supposed to bring established artists to a young and energetic audiences around Norway, especially in smaller places where promotors would not normally be able to bring artists," he said. "Young people and students get the chance to see artists they otherwise would not be able to see.
"OPETH has been on our radar for a long time, and with the success of the 'Watershed' album, ongoing touring and a dedicated fanbase, we regard this as a jackpot, but also the result of focused work."
Espen Slapgård, the promotion manager at Tuba Distrubution, which distributes OPETH's record label, Roadrunner Records, in Norway, was enthusiastic about the cooperation with Rikskonsertene.
"This is gold for the promotion of 'Watershed'," he said. "The tour enhances the lifespan of the album, and the effect of having eight dates with OPETH around the country is invaluable. We make the band more visible through interviews and stories in both local, regional and national media. We have now reactivated 'Watershed' and the six other OPETH albums we have in our back catalog."
"Watershed" reached position No. 7 on the Norwegian album chart in 2008, and has sold 3,500 copies in Norway. The band's previous album, "Ghost Reveries", peaked at No. 21 on the Norwegian chart and has shifted 6,000 units to date.
OPETH performing live at the House of Metal festival in Umeå, Sweden on February 28, 2009: