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Opeth's Opus! Exclusive Interview!

By AJ Motts, On Air
Thursday, May 22, 2003 @ 11:55 AM

Damnation! Opeth Speaks to AJ

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During a week off from touring between Australia and the second leg of an American tour in support of Deliverance, Opeth decided to get the word out their about their latest opus, Damnation. I talked with guitarist Peter Lindgren about world of Opeth. Our time on the phone was short, so I tried to ask as many questions as I could.

The April release of the atmospheric Damnation follows closely behind the release of the aggressive Deliverance, which hit the shelves last November. While there was no plan initially to do two releases so close together, friends of the band said they should do it and Opeth listened. The original plan was to release a heavy follow up to Blackwater Park without making Blackwater Park 2. It is, after all, the Opeth mantra to never do the same thing twice. On the advice of friends, Opeth decided to take this release above and beyond the call of duty and release two cdís that compliment each other. The two CDís are not to be considered concept albums, yet they do compliment each other, in an opposite kind of way. Like fraternal twins the albums are similar, but different.

Once the decision was made to do two albums, the question became how. With so much material to choose from the band members felt like kids in a candy store. The band had written tons of material and decided to use all the aggressive music for Deliverance and the mellow music for Damnation. While you might think the music that influences Opeth would more closely represent the music from Deliverance, itís quite the opposite, at least for Peter, anyway. He revealed the music that influenced him is more representative of the music on Damnation.

The lyrics from singer Mikael Akerfeldt are some of his most personal to date. Steve Wilson came on board in the middle of the recording process to assist with producing the leads, vocals and mixing of Deliverance. Andy Sneap, who has produced Nevermore, Testament and others, was brought in to add is expertise to the atmospheres of Damnation.

With two CDís worth of music the record label wasnít sure what to do with them. One idea was to release a double CD, but Peter felt that one of the discs might get lost while the other one gets all the play in your CD player. So, the decision was made to release them independently of each other, yet have them coincide. Even the artwork of the CDís ties them together. In a rustic black and white, the mood of each opus is reflected.

When I asked how the two different styles of music would fit into a live show, Peter said the Damnation tour would be different for Opeth. He couldnít say exactly how it would be different, but they will bring in a touring keyboard player to add some atmosphere, as well as bring some acoustic guitars out with them. This current outing will be the second half of the Deliverance tour where the band will hit cities they missed on the first leg. You can look for the Damnation tour sometime this summer.

I asked Peter about the American music scene, mainly about rap metal. He stated that he was not a fan of rap metal, saying, ďItís crap.Ē He went on to say the bands like Slipknot and the like are not extreme bands, like Opeth is. He talked about how important the US market is, but that it is hard for European bands to break into the US market, however, Opeth was doing very well here, actually selling more records here than in Europe. Peter was pleased that Opeth always gets a good reception when they play in the US.

Lastly, we talked about the Internet, websites and the downloading of music. He said the Opeth fans are using the Internet as proved by the huge increase of hits on their homepage. The band is involved with the websites look and content, however, they do not get to respond to questions on the message board very often. In a surprising revelation, Peter says he doesnít mind if fans download their music, because he hopes they will download a couple of songs and then go buy the album. Itís also a good way for new fans to decide if they like the band before spending money on the CD. Besides, he said that downloading music hurts bands like Metallica more than a band like Opeth.

Look for Opeth now on the second leg of the Deliverance tour and this spring on the Damnation tour.

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