February 16, 2024

JETHRO TULL founder Ian Anderson will make a guest appearance on the next album from the Swedish progressive metal band OPETH.

The veteran flutist, singer, songwriter and guitarist, who will turn 77 in August, revealed his contribution to the OPETH LP while talking to Italy's "Mystery Tour" radio show. Asked about his non-JETHRO TULL musical activities, Ian said: "Well, from time to time I play on other people's records, if they're interesting to me. I just did — last week I played on three or four tracks from a prog metal band called [OPETH]. [They're] Swedish."

Back in 2021, OPETH leader Mikael Åkerfeldt told Prog that he originally approached the JETHRO TULL leader about playing the flute on the band's 2011 album "Heritage". "I did e-mail Ian Anderson but I never heard back from him," he told the magazine. "Funnily enough, when I went down to Steven's [Wilson] place to mix the album, we're sitting on his couch and he says, 'Oh, I just got an e-mail from Ian Anderson,' and I was, like, 'What?!' And he just said, 'He just wants me to look into mixing [JETHRO TULL's 1971 album] 'Aqualung'. I'm really happy in retrospect that we have Björn [J:son Lindh playing on 'Heritage' instead] because it fits with the vibe of the record."

OPETH's latest album, "In Cauda Venenum", was released in September 2019 via Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Recorded in 2018 at Stockholm's Park Studios, the effort was made available in two versions, in both Swedish and English languages.

Regarding the decision to release "In Cauda Venenum" in Swedish, Åkerfeldt told Revolver: "Doing it in Swedish was just an idea that popped into my head, like, 'Maybe I should fry my egg in the morning instead of boiling it.' It wasn't any deeper than that. And I figured the music climate has changed so much, does it really matter which language it's in? That was it. And it didn't have me writing more lyrics — it just had me writing more music. And the music didn't sound more Swedish or anything like that. But it was a gateway that opened, and it was fun.

Mikael added that he was "not regretting" the fact that "In Cauda Venenum" was also recorded in English. "A lot of people [in the U.S.] are saying they only listened to the English version," he said. "So I was proven right, in a way. I can say a thousand times that the Swedish version is the original version, but it's up to people to choose. I can just hope that they check out both versions. But I do think the Swedish version is slightly better — only because it was first. It's more innocent. With the English version, regardless of what you think about it, that's me trying to copy a vocal line I had done in another language. So it's less exciting to me."

In May 2022, OPETH issued "In Cauda Venenum (Extended Edition)" via Atomic Fire Records. This release, available on digipak, contained the English and Swedish versions of "In Cauda Venenum", with new illustrations by internationally renowned Travis Smith in the booklet. In addition, there was also a third CD including three previously unreleased bonus tracks, both in English and Swedish: "The Mob" / "Pöbeln", "Width Of A Circle" / "Cirkelns Riktning" and "Freedom & Tyranny" / "Frihet & Tyranni".

OPETH played its first concert with new drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (PARADISE LOST, BLOODBATH, BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT) in September 2022 at Helitehas in Tallinn, Estonia. Väyrynen replaced stand-in drummer Sami Karppinen who had been the temporary replacement for Martin "Axe" Axenrot since the fall of 2021.

In August 2022, one of Axenrot's BLOODBATH bandmates told BLABBERMOUTH.NET that the drummer's refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 led to his exit from OPETH.

Axenrot has not publicly commented on his exit from OPETH and it is not clear if his vaccination status was the only reason he is no longer playing with the band.

Axenrot officially joined OPETH more than a decade and a half ago as the replacement for Martin Lopez, who left the band in May 2006 after being plagued by illness and anxiety attacks, which forced him to miss several of OPETH's tours.

Mikael Åkerfeldt photo credit: Anne C. Swallow for Atomic Fire Records

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