It's been 11 years since Opeth released Watershed, their last "heavy" record, and some fans are still grouchy about that decision. Especially considering Opeth took a hard left turn with their 2011 record Heritage, going from the disjointed death metal of the former into extremely 1970s progressive rock territory.
In a new interview with Revolver, vocalist and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt said Watershed was the culmination of the band's heaviness. On being death metal past that point, he adds "I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t do anything better. I wasn’t listening to anything with screaming vocals anymore, apart from the old shit. So I wanted to get closer to the person I am." Though there was more death metal in the pipeline.
Åkerfeldt says he had about 30-40 minutes of a death metal record written in place of Heritage, but bassist Martín Méndez talked him out of doing it. Or in his own words "I was stopped by Martín Méndez, our bass player. He said, ‘This is not what you should be writing.'”
He also adds guitarist Fredrik Åkesson was a little shocked at the move away from being heavy.
I think Fredrik, who had only been on one album at that point, was a bit shocked. Because he's a metal guy. But not the other guys. We bonded so much during the writing of Heritage. But I did write a good 30 or 40 minutes of Watershed-type Opeth music. But when Martín spoke up I just said, "Thank you," and deleted it. And started Heritage.
Opeth will release In Cauda Venenum in both Swedish and English versions on October 25. Neither will be death metal (that we're aware of).