OPETH Working With Keyboardist JOAKIM SVALBERG; U.S. Dates With KATATONIA Announced

According to the French edition of Rock Hard magazine, keyboardist Joakim Svalberg (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, GLENN HUGHES) has been rehearsing with Swedish progressive metallers OPETH for the past few weeks, but has not yet been made an official member of the band.

A photo of Svalberg in the studio with OPETH during the mixing sessions for the group's new album, "Heritage", can be seen below.

Keyboardist Per Wiberg, who joined OPETH in 2005, was relieved of his duties in April as part of a mutual decision with the remaining members of the band.

OPETH vocalist/guitarist Mikael kerfeldt released the following statement on the matter: "Well, it's been somewhat of a revolving door of members during the last couple of years, and now Per is no longer a member. [Martin] Mendez [bass], Axe [Martin Axenrot, drums] and Fredrik [kesson, guitar] and I came to the decision that we should find a replacement for Per right after the recordings of the new album, and this came as no surprise to Per. He had, in turn, been thinking about leaving, so you could say it was a mutual decision. There's no bad blood, just a relationship that came to an end, and that's that. We wish Per the best, and he did a splendid job recording keyboards for the last record, which stands as his final recording with OPETH."

In other news, OPETH will embark on a North American headlining tour in September with support from KATATONIA. So far the following dates have been revealed:

Sep. 19 - Worcester, MA - Palladium
Sep. 20 - Hartford, CT - Webster Theatre
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sep. 22 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sep. 26 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
Sep. 28 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
Sep. 29 - Charlotte, NC - Amos Southend
Oct. 06 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club
Oct. 08 - Winnipeg, MB - Garrick Centre
Oct. 16 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
Oct. 21 - Pomona, CA - The Fox Theater
Oct. 25 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater

OPETH will release its tenth album, "Heritage", on September 20 via Roadrunner Records. The CD was produced by Mikael kerfeldt and was recorded earlier this year at Atlantis studios (formerly Metronome studios) in Stockholm. Mixing duties were handled by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) and kerfeldt. Longtime collaborator Travis Smith also worked with kerfeldt to create, design and execute the album's artwork, which can be seen below.

"Heritage" will be released in several configurations that will certainly incite the interest of OPETH's legion of fans, known for their passion for collecting and collectibles. The album will be released as a standard version; as a special edition loaded with extras; as a box set exclusive to the Roadrunner and the band's own official Omerch webstore; and as a double LP. There is something for every OPETH fan, thanks to this variety of options.

Commented kerfeldt, "It will be our 10th album/observation. I dig it; we all do. In fact, it feels like I've been building up to write for and participate on an album like this since I was 19."

kerfeldt went a little deeper and described the music contained within "Heritage", saying, "It's quite intense at times in some 'old' murky way, and quite beautiful and stark at times, if I may say so myself.

"It's obvious I'm going to say nice things about it since I wrote, basically, the whole piece, but I guess it will raise a few eyebrows and it certainly is an acquired taste.

"I think you'll need a slightly deeper understanding of our music as a whole to be able to appreciate this record.

"I've realized my influences for this album are so diverse that I can't really say what it sounds like.

"If I can compare it to any other band, it would have to be OPETH, but it's different from the stuff we've done before.

"I've listened a lot to ALICE COOPER for the last year, yet I can't say it sounds like 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'.

"I hope you'll like it once you hear it."

"Heritage" track listing:

01. Heritage
02. The Devil's Orchard
03. I Feel The Dark
04. Slither
05. Nepenthe
06. Haxprocess
07. Famine
08. The Lines In My Hand
09. Folklore
10. Marrow Of The Earth

The first single and video from "Heritage" will be the song "The Devil's Orchard".

OPETH's last album, "Watershed" (2008), sold more than 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 23 on The Billboard 200 chart. Its predecessor, "Ghost Reveries", debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard chart back in September 2005 with first-week sales of just under 15,000. OPETH's 2003 album, "Damnation", opened with a little over 5,000 copies.

As part of the celebration of their 20th anniversary, OPETH released live footage and audio from the band's performance at London's famed Royal Albert Hall. The concert (recorded on April 5, 2010) included two sets, the first consisting of the band performing 2000's now-classic, breakthrough epic "Blackwater Park" in its entirety, and the second, a chronologically arranged selection of material from the rest of OPETH's extensive catalogue, totaling almost three hours of music. "In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall" is, like the rest of OPETH's greatest work, "purposefully warped in all the right places" (Decibel). The front cover artwork concept pays tribute to DEEP PURPLE's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra", underlining the band's longstanding love for their prog-rock roots.

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