Listen to new Opeth record Sorceress in vlog from Mikael Åkerfeldt
Fans got their first taste of the new Opeth record Sorceress this week, when frontman and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt appeared in a video blog documenting the recording process. The video includes samples of the new material both at the start and at the end at 9.12. The sound and production is very much still in the proggy vein of previous record Pale Communion to my ears. This continuity isn’t surprising as Sorceress was recorded at the same studio.
Opeth’s Sorceress both “progressive and rehashed”
Åkerfeldt commented on the 12-day recording process, which took place in May:
“[Sorceress] is extremely diverse. And if I may say so myself, extremely good. I feel the right to say that since I like to think I know this band better than anyone on the planet. Also, I always manage to detach myself from the record and listen as a fan.
“It’s a fine little record. My favorite in our discography right now. It’s both fresh and old, both progressive and rehashed. Heavy and calm. Just the way we like it.
“I find it difficult to understand that we’ve been going on for 26 years, let alone that we’ve made 12 records now, all of which I am very proud of. Sorceress is no exception.”
New album due out on September 30
Åkerfeldt wrote the music for Sorceress over a period of five to six months. The final product is due out on September 30. It was recorded in Rockfield Studios, which is located near Monmouth in Wales. The studio has been in operation on the site since 1964. It’s distinguished by the fact that Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody in the main studio in 1975. Despite this history the band decided to record in the second studio on the site, as they preferred the sound of the Neve console in that building to the SSL console in the main studio.
The band lived on-site during the recording process and apparently spent a lot of time drinking beer while not recording. The video takes place during the tenth day of recording and features guitarist Fredrik Åkesson laying down his signature fusion-tinged shredding at the 5.55 mark.
Sorceress is Opeth’s first album on Nuclear Blast, via their own imprint Moderbolaget Records. The switch ends a four-album and two-decade relationship with Roadrunner. The vlog claims that the 11-track album is available for pre-order. However they must have left that job up to the ‘work experience kid’ as none of the provided links actually go to a pre-order page. If you want to keep tabs on it, the pre-order will presumably appear at some point at the Moderbolaget Records page.
Keyboards take centre stage on Sorceress
It seems likely keyboardist Joakim Svalberg, who joined the band just before Pale Communion, is featured extensively on Sorceress. In the vlog Åkerfeldt said during the recording the band used Fender Rhoads 88, Yamaha grand piano and a Hammond C3 organ. The latter was used “pretty much on the whole record”, Åkerfeldt said. The group also rented an electric harpsichord for the recording, which is something that has not appeared on any Opeth record to date.
Opeth will head out on a month-long North American tour with old school metallers The Sword in late September. The Swedes will then tour Europe throughout November. Details for both tours are on the Opeth site.