OPETH guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt has confirmed to Metal Hammer magazine that he has made major headway in the songwriting process for the follow-up to 2016's "Sorceress" album. "I told myself I'd be taking a break, maybe even a sabbatical or something, after the last tour, but I think I lasted until after Christmas," he said. "I was definitely in the studio before New Year's. I started writing in December last year and I've got a lot of music — I think I've got about an hour and a half's worth of material — but I'm going to take it easy. I'm going to be very methodical and listen to a lot of stuff I've done and just make sure there's no gaps of any kind on the next album. That feels important to me."
Earlier in the year, OPETH guitarist Fredrik Åkesson told FaceCulture that Mikael had written almost 12 songs for the new album, but added that the band would "at least try to finish 15 songs" before entering the studio to record.
Regarding the musical direction of the new OPETH material, Fredrik said: "Compared to the last three albums, I would say, if I can reveal anything, this album is more complex, more energetic, and I think it's gonna be something."
Åkesson went on to say that OPETH always tries to explore new ground with every album and it isn't overly concerned with how its music will be received by its fans. "The first filter is the guys in the band, I would say," he said. "If we enjoy it, we can only hope that people that enjoy listening to OPETH will enjoy it; that would be nice. But if we're happy with it, we will release it; it's quite simple. I think this is kind of a Mikael question in a way, since he's the creative director for the band, so I know, speaking for him a little bit here, that he always tries to push everything into something new. And I think people will enjoy this new album."
"Sorceress" was released in September 2016. For the band's first effort for Nuclear Blast via OPETH's imprint label Moderbolaget Records, the group returned to Rockfield Studios in Wales, also home to pivotal releases from QUEEN, RUSH and JUDAS PRIEST, where the Swedes had tracked "Pale Communion" in 2014 with Tom Dalgety.
On November 2, OPETH released a new live album, "Garden Of The Titans: Live At Red Rocks Amphitheatre", via Moderbolaget Records / Nuclear Blast Entertainment.