OPETH Frontman On European Festivals, Italian Bootleggers, TED NUGENT, BLOODBATH And YNGWIE

Guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of the Swedish progressive metallers OPETH has issued the following update:

"OK, so we're back since my run in with the (fucking) pox! I'm doing well now, only some scars in my face which looks kinda cool! Not really.

"Did a string of festivals and it was nice to be back on track, to be honest. First one was in Finland (Ruisrock) and it was amazing! Perhaps I have to move there sometime with my family as it's so insanely great there. Show was awesome! People were chanting 'Opeth!' way after we'd gone off stage! The crew behind the stage were amazed and they almost let us back up there to do another tune!!

"Next up was Slovenia and Metalcamp. Had a nice drive over there from the airport, but as we're getting closer, it started raining. Literally pissing down, and then thunderstorms and lightning like there's no tomorrow! We heard we might have to cancel, but luckily the second stage was in decent shape so we moved the gig from the main stage and played the smaller one. Was a cool, decent gig. I guess the people were pretty tired of the rain by then, but they soldiered on and made it a very memorable night for us. Didn't see any other bands but we got a bottle of tequila from Al Jourgensen's (MINISTRY) wife. A token of their appreciation for…something, I don't know for what!? Very nice gesture, however!

"Then we went to Greece and Rockwave, which was amazing. We had three days off at a four-star hotel right on the beach. Basically, it was a brief vacation for us going there. Had Greek salads, souvlaki and tzatzikis every day. Drank with CARCASS, shook hands with Patti Smith and hung out with some great peeps! The gig was great too! But the heat almost made me pass out! The Greek crowds has always been fantastic and this was no exception. Great times. Also met some of the dudes from JUDAS PRIEST who were headlining. Their show was good! Really enjoyed it even though I was on my ass from a few drinks too many.

"Italy and Evolution festival next. Had a pretty good time there. Good food, hung out with the dudes from PAIN OF SALVATION, IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILLITY. Well, ordinary Swedish type of 'hanging out'… basically cracked a few beers together. After our show (which was great), the skies opened up again and literally the worst hailstorm or tempest or whatever, I'd ever seen started. Forcing IN FLAMES to cancel their show. We had hail the size of golf balls bombing our caravans for a good 20 minutes. It was scary! What's happening with the world???

"I love Italy, I love our fans there and I love the food, but I hate the bootleggers outside the show. They're selling cheap-looking shitty OPETH shirts on massive stands and no one does anything about it. To be honest, I'd rather our fans there wouldn't wear OPETH shirts at all if the bootlegs were the only option. It's quite horrible! We've started up our own merch company called O-merch which will have the best qualities, the best prices and coming straight from us! Even designed by us! I have no problems with bootlegs when it comes to live albums and collectable stuff like that, but shitty looking, shit-quality shirts? Yes, that bothers me!

"Another bad experience in Milan, Italy was the international airport which I think is the worst in the world! We're so ripped off and treated badly I couldn't believe it! Ugh!!

"After Italy, we went on to Holland and Bospop which was a cool festival! It was held at the same site that hosted the Dynamo festival a few years back. Now we're playing alongside ZZ TOP, TED NUGENT and EUROPE, to name a few. Hung out with EUROPE a little which was cool! Cool guys and great band! They had a brilliant show!!

"The Nuge was walking around backstage picking up trash from the floor that us other bands had been leaving behind. Gotta hand it to him! Cleaning up after us kids! He's massive too! I wouldn't mess with him in a million years! I missed his show unfortunately.

"And now I'm back home again! The day after coming back I had a recording session scheduled. As some of you might now, we have a new BLOODBATH album coming out soon. It's called 'The Fathomless Mastery', and it's so massive! It's evil and it's straight-on DEATH metal! No fuss, nothing but death! Jonas, Anders and Sodomizer have come up with 11 great songs. I wrote some lyrics to some of them but other than that I had no input whatsoever. Anyways, I recorded the vocals during a day and a half and it sounds great! Went for the David Vincent approach and I'm quite happy! The lyrics are so evil it's insane! Not only mine, but Jonas and Anders wrote some pretty retarded stuff too! Don't know when it's released but it's coming out through Peaceville anyways. It's done now, just the other day. All the recordings are done and it will be mixed by David Castillo during the coming week, I reckon.

"Now, I'm relaxing and spending time with my family, but we'll start rehearsals soon, which will be fun. We're gonna go through a bunch of new songs and a whole lotta ol' material too!

"Fredrik will come over to my place so I can teach him some older riffs.

"Oh, went to see YNGWIE MALMSTEEN with my wife a few nights ago. Can't say I dug it! I used to absolutely love him, now I could barely stand being in the concert hall, and many others with me. The set list was nice enough but I think he overplays and slaughters every song pretty much. Band was OK but nothing spectacular. I will always think he's the greatest 'metal' player in the world, but that's because I know he can play with more emotion than all other widdly woo's out there. I mean, the song 'Marching Out' alone just send shivers up my spine. Now it's like he's competing and struggling to be 'the fastest!' I left the show bewildered and a bit sad, to be honest. He's a fucking icon to me, and it was like…. 'shrug!' Well, well……!

"Had a great night out with my wife anyways, can't remember the last time we went out for dinner and to catch some tunes."

Italian news blog Musica Metal has posted video footage of OPETH performing the song "Heir Apparent" on July 12, 2008 at the Evolution Festival in Milan, Italy. Watch the clip below.

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