Published Dec 21, 2016During the recording session for Bloodbath's debut EP, 2000's Breeding Death, Opeth mastermind Mikael Åkerfeldt straight up vomited on a wall — giving a whole new meaning to that record's "Ominous Bloodvomit" song.
Broke and bored, the members of the yet-to-be-formed Bloodbath supergroup had attended a birthday party, where the idea came up to record the music they'd grown up around in the Stockholm death metal scene, like Entombed and Dismember. Åkerfeldt recently recounted the experience for Exclaim! TV's Aggressive Tendencies when Opeth played Toronto's Massey Hall this fall.
"I remember vomiting on a wall in the house where we recorded right before I'm going in to do the vocals, so as I was screaming I had the taste of vomit in my mouth, which is very suitable for recording like that," Åkerfeldt says. "In those days, we did it for fun.… It's become a real band; it's become a headline act, so that kind of speaks volumes on — the goal with that band is not, anymore, to vomit on a wall and record an EP."
He also explains his two departures (and returned in the first place) from the band he calls "just a piss take on our version of death metal — Swedish death metal, late '80's style — but with fun lyrics. I mean, the lyrics are ridiculous, to be honest."
In another Aggressive Tendencies video below, Åkerfeldt speaks about his early years when he wasn't interested in listening to anything not heavy, which he called "a valuable couple years." A little later, he was young and "had no money at all," so he went to second-hand shops — everyone was buying CDs, so vinyl was cheap — and bought albums of bands who looked like Black Sabbath, resulting in finding groups like Yes, Van de Graaf Generator and King Crimson.
"That was, like, the beginning of the end, you could say, of my interest in death metal because I'd discovered a style that was so much more than what death metal could ever give me."
Opeth's transition away from death metal was completed with Heritage. He reveals that he wrote music in a similar vein to that albums predecessor, Watershed, before deciding he couldn't continue on in that vein.
"I couldn't write songs like that that would be better. I tried, and I felt nothing for those songs, but I was fooling myself a little bit, I guess, thinking like, okay, even if we put out this record with these types of songs that are kind of lesser version of Watershed, it will still be pretty good. But we don't go for pretty good; we go for ourselves, between the guys in the band, we want to be like, 'Wow, that was amazing!'"
As he later reveals, "It was either Heritage or nothing."
Fortunately, nothing wasn't the result, and Opeth have released two albums since that one: Pale Communion and this year's Sorceress. He explains the new production style utilized on those, while also going into the latter's title track and his decision to contrast its fusion opening with the "most stupid, meat and potato thing I can come up with," the chugs of which no doubt will appease fans of their heavy material.
You can watch the four videos from interview for yourself below.