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IS THE NEW OPETH RECORD BEING RECORDED IN BACKWARDSVILLE?

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opeth 2008

The Internet united in one gigantic boner this morning when they turned on their Commodore 64s for the morning and read this, a news bit proclaiming that Opeth will enter the studio in January 2011 to record the follow-up to 2008’s Watershed. Any Opeth news is, of course, good news. But then there was this mystifying detail that caught my intrigue:

Jens Bogren will engineer the effort while mixing duties will be handled by Steven Wilson.

Zuh????

The first thing that struck me as wonky is that they have Steven Wilson mixing. Like every Opeth fan I know except Metal Injection’s Frank Godla (who only likes early Opeth, of course), I consider Blackwater Park to be Opeth’s flagship album and credit Steven Wilson’s production as a big part of its magic. Sticking him solely behind the mixing board and removing him from the creative process entirely seems… odd. Why bring Wilson back into the fold for the first time since 2003’s Damnation if all he’s going to do is mix, a job at which he’s certainly capable/good but isn’t his strongsuit?

As for Jens Bogren, the dude’s insanely talented… as a mixer. Bogren mixed the aforementioned Blackwater Park and about a bazillion other metal releases you love. He’s produced some great records too, but the guy is like the Swedish Don of mixing; his knob-twiddling abilities are untouched. So Opeth’s got a guy mixing that should be producing and the guy who should be mixing they have… engineering? Don’t get me wrong, a recording engineer is very important in crafting the tones that go on tape but this whole thing just seems backwards to me. Why not let Wilson man the boards and offer creative input and give the final tracks to Bogren to let him work his magic?

Then I realized the above doesn’t even make mention of a producer, which I take to mean Mikael Akerfeldt will be self-producing as he did on Watershed. Which is alright, except that you’re going to have Steven Fucking Wilson on the project and he’s not even going to be involved in the composition, arrangement OR creation of tones. And oftentimes, it’s really good to have someone, anyone, as a 2nd set of ears on a project, someone that’s not in the band to offer creative input from an outside perspective.

And then I realized I just wrote four fucking paragraphs on a First World Problem of the utmost insignificance, and this album is probably going to rule anyway.

-VN

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