Swedish progressive metal titans OPETH have set "Watershed" as the title of their forthcoming album, due out on June 3 via Roadrunner Records (one day earlier internationally). The CD, recorded in the band's native Sweden and produced by frontman/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt and Jens Bogren, is a masterwork that follows the time-honored OPETH tradition; its modern yet timeless, progressive yet paying homage to the sounds of classic rock.
According to a press release, "Watershed" is truly one of those special records that cycles through a variety of moods, speeds and textures, complete with lots of subtleties and nuances of sound. Because of its expansive scope, "Watershed" is destined to land the album atop many "best-of" lists. Album opener "Coil" is a gorgeous acoustic number, featuring local folk vocalist Nathalie Lorichs, while "Heir Apparent" will knock listeners unconscious with its blunt force metal. Always one to defy the rules, OPETH posits sung vocals over artillery-like blast beats on "The Lotus Eater", cementing their reputation as innovators and redefiners.
"Watershed" combines elements of modern metal, prog rock, free jazz and hints of European folk music, all of which come together for a seamless, unique collection of songs that will leave an indelible mark upon all who listen.
The follow-up to 2005's "Ghost Reveries" is the first OPETH release to feature new guitarist Fredrik Åkesson and drummer Martin Axenrot and is the band's second effort for Roadrunner Records.
"Watershed" track listing:
02. Heir Apparent
03. The Lotus Eater
05. Porcelain Heart
06. Hessian Peel
07. Hex Omega
In a recent interview with Revolver magazine, Åkerfeldt stated about "Watershed", "The music is much more complex. The metal parts are even faster and a lot more technical than the last one. It's really hard to play some of this stuff. I mean, I wrote it and even I have trouble playing parts of it. I think it's going to be hard for some people to get into. It's definitely not a commercial-sounding record. The arrangements are exhausting. And it's much darker. Even the major patterns are very dark, while I think 'Ghost Reveries' had some light."
When asked if the songs were influences by anything musical, Mikael replied, I was hugely inspired by Scott Walker, who's an avant-garde artist and crooner. Last year he put out a record called 'The Drift', which is quite extreme and frightening, and it made a huge impact on me. Immediately, I wanted to do something like that. It just felt right. Also, with the situation the band has gone through over the last couple of years with the lineup changes, I just wanted it to be this way. I didn't want it to be a happy-sounding record."
OPETH's "The Roundhouse Tapes" high-definition-filmed DVD has had its projected release date pushed back to September 2008 from the previously announced early 2008. This will also feature lots of fan interviews, band interviews, soundcheck footage and live photos, along with exclusive menu music written by mainman Mikael Åkerfeldt and keyboardist Per Wiberg.
OPETH's "The Roundhouse Tapes" double CD has sold 2,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set contains "a captivating OPETH performance from the Camden Roundhouse, London, UK, on November 9, 2006, and sees the band in scintillating form churning out a selection of classics from their illustrious career," according to a press release.
The band will take part in DREAM THEATER's "Progressive Nation" in the spring, a package tour that will also feature the talents of 3 and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME.
"Ghost Reveries" has sold around 90,000 copies in the United States since its 2005 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.