Keyboardist Per Wiberg has been relieved of his duties as a member of OPETH as part of a mutual decision
with the band. Keyboard duties on upcoming tours will be handled by a musician who is already rehearsing with the band. Said musician’s identity will be released at a later date.
OPETH vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt released the following statement on the matter: “Well, it’s been somewhat of a revolving door of members during the last couple of years, and now Per is no longer a member. [Martin] Mendez [bass], Axe [Martin Axenrot, drums] and Fredrik [Åkesson, guitar] and I came to the decision that we should find a replacement for Per right after the recordings of the new album, and this came as no surprise to Per. He had, in turn, been thinking about leaving, so you could say it was a mutual decision. There’s no bad blood, just a relationship that came to an end, and that’s that. We wish Per the best, and he did a splendid job recording keyboards for the last record, which stands as his final recording with OPETH.”
OPETH entered Atlantis studios (formerly Metronome studios) in Stockholm on January 31 to begin recording its tenth album for a fall 2011 release via Roadrunner Records. Jens Bogren (SOILWORK, KATATONIA, PARADISE LOST, BLOODBATH) engineered the effort while mixing duties ere handled by Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE). The new material has been described by the band as “good.”
OPETH’s last album, “Watershed” (2008), sold more than 19,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 23 on The Billboard 200 chart. Its predecessor, “Ghost Reveries”, debuted at No. 64 on the Billboard chart back in September 2005 with first-week sales of just under 15,000. OPETH’s 2003 album, “Damnation”, opened with a little over 5,000 copies.
As part of the ongoing celebration of their 20th anniversary, OPETH released live footage and audio from the band’s performance at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall. The concert (recorded on April 5, 2010) included two sets, the first consisting of the band performing 2000’s now-classic, breakthrough epic “Blackwater Park” in its entirety, and the second, a chronologically arranged selection of material from the rest of OPETH’s extensive catalogue, totaling almost three hours of music. “In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall” is, like the rest of OPETH’s greatest work, “purposefully warped in all the right places” (Decibel). The front cover artwork concept pays tribute to DEEP PURPLE’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”, underlining the band’s longstanding love for their prog-rock roots.