Swedish prog-metal overlords Opeth have been making vast and ambitious music for about three decades now. They’ve spent that entire time restlessly playing around on the borders of their own sound. It’s entirely possible that there’s never been another band as comfortable with the idea of switching abruptly from death-metal bone-rattle to ethereal folk reverie and back again within the same song. And now they’re looking to add to that legacy with a new album that’ll be out in two different forms.
Opeth’s forthcoming In Cauda Venenum, out this fall, will be available in both Swedish and English versions. Opeth haven’t recorded in Swedish too often, but frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt says that the Swedish-language version of the new one, the follow-up to 2016’s Sorceress, is the main version. The English-language take is merely a supplement. Nevertheless, Opeth have shared both versions of the first single, the sweeping number known as both “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör” and “Heart In Hand.” Each version of the song spans about eight and a half minutes, but Opeth have included both versions — first the Swedish, then the English. Below, listen to both versions and read what Åkerfeldt says about them.
”Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör” or ”Heart in Hand” as it’s called in English is one of the first couple of songs I wrote for In Cauda Venenum. I immediately knew that it would probably be favoured by ”the powers that be” when talks of future singles for the record would commence. And I was right. I generally leave it up to the labels or managements to pick the so-called singles. I’m indifferent as I put an equal amount of dedication into all songs, so it doesn’t matter all that much to me. I guess it’s one of the more straightforward songs on the album. A rather rocking little thing. It’s got one of the ”happy mistakes” in it too. Mendez bass broke down in the middle of recording. At the time he played an old Hofner Beatles-esue bass guitar that started humming real bad, but it sounded so good we immediately decided to keep it in there. I’d be putting myself down if I said that noise is the best part of the song, but it’s up there. I like when stuff happens out of your control, and it actually adds to the piece. This is the first full taster of the new Opeth album, and of course I hope you like it. All the songs on the new album are different from each other and therefore equally representable in my view. Enjoy!
In Cauda Venenum is out 9/27 on Nuclear Blast.