Swedish prog-rock unit Opeth recorded two versions of their upcoming In Cauda Venenum album, which they’ll release in each language on September 27th. To build up hype, they’re releasing one song in both languages as a monster, 17-minute YouTube. The Swedish version, “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör,” plays first — replete with imagery that plays off the album art — and it’s immediately followed by the English take, “Hand in Heart,” starting at the 8:28 mark.
Against a backdrop of chugging guitars, unpredictable rhythms and ominous melodies, frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt sings about dropping acid and death; the band prefers the Swedish version. In between it all, he and Fredrik Åkesson play sound-blurring guitar solos.
In a statement, Åkerfeldt said that the track was one of the first he wrote for the album and that he thought it was a natural single. “I guess it’s one of the more straightforward songs on the album, a rather rocking little thing,” he said. “It’s got one of the ‘happy mistakes’ in it, too. [Martín] Mendez’s 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.”
He added that the tune is not necessarily representative of the rest of the tracks. “All the songs on the new album are different from each other and therefore equally representable in my view,” he said. He also said that he no longer defines “heavy” for himself as metal, despite the fact that Opeth formed 30 years ago as a death-metal group. “I can listen to Korn and say, ‘OK, that’s heavy,’ but it doesn’t really mean anything to me,” he said. “It’s an impossible mission, to be the heaviest. … I’m not trying to tap into that anymore.”
The band will be touring in support of the album, mostly in Europe this summer and fall. Their lone announced U.S. date as of right now is an appearance at the festival Psycho Las Vegas on August 18th.
In Cauda Venenum Track List (in Swedish and English)
1. “Livet’s Trädgård” / “Garden of Earthly Delights”
2. “Svekets Prins” / “Dignity”
3. “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör” / “Heart in Hand”
4. “De Närmast Sörjande” / “Next of Kin”
5. “Minnets Yta” / “Lovelorn Crime”
7. “Ingen Sanning Är Allas” / “Universal Truth”
8. “Banemannen” / “The Garroter”
9. “Kontinuerlig Drift” / “Continuum”
10. “Allting Tar Slut” / “All Things Will Pass”