Music Interview: Opeth still strong

By Nolan Lewis

There are people who say metal reached its peak in the ’80s. Those people are idiots who have no idea what they are talking about. If it’s proof you want, you’ll receive it when Opeth invades MacHall next week. For the past 15 years the band has led metal with their progressive style of melodic Swedish death metal infused with classical and acoustic instrumentation.

Last year the band was forced to look for a new home with the closing of the record label they were signed to. Being one of the best and most popular metal bands in music meant they weren’t short an offer for a new home. The band knew what they wanted and found it at Roadrunner Records.

“Basically distribution was the biggest thing,” explains the bands keyboardist Per Wiberg. “For me, being the new boy, I was surprised by how many people would come up after the show and ask where to find the records even though for being a metal band they were fairly popular.”

Regardless of signing so fans can get their music, the move was still met with some disdain by some purists.

“We’ve sold out,” jokes Wiberg. “It’s hard to understand. The band has been going for 15 years and we got where we are doing our own thing so why should we change now. [Roadrunner] is a very classic metal label, a lot of bands that I listened to when I was a kid in the ’80s like Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Obituary were all on Roadrunner.”

Regardless of the few complaints the band went forth and released their eighth album, Ghost Reveries, through Roadrunner last year. The album has been praised by critics and fans alike. After the turbulent recording of their last records, Deliverance and Damnation, due to outdated equipment and a drunk studio owner the band prepared themselves better for the recording of Ghost Reveries.

“We rehearsed before we went to record so a lot of the song structures were basically finished before going into the studio,” Wiberg explains. “Which meant we had a lot more time to fuck around with ideas and pay more attention to detail instead of just trying to finish the album.”

The attention to detail is evident, proving the band is still evolving and pushing the genre to new heights. Regardless of the high regard many, if not most critics hold the band in, they don’t feel pressure when they begin writing new music.

“You shouldn’t worry too much about what the critics say,” Wiber says. “I mean definitely this band has been really praised in the media and sometime the honeymoon is going to be over.”

With 15 years behind them Opeth doesn’t seem to be giving away their spot at the head of the metal pack.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, if we start to worry too much we’re not going to do good stuff anymore,” Wiber says.

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