Winter is when all things are laid to rest until the spring.
The trees are dormant. Assorted critters head to their nests to hibernate, and the night lasts longer than the day.
What better time for progressive death-metal band Opeth to release, ironically, a live album called "Roundhouse Tapes." The album will hit stores in the United States on Tuesday.
The Swedish quartet guitarist/vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt, guitarist Fredrik Akesson, bassist Martin Mendez, drummer Martin "Axe" Axenrot and keyboardist Per Wiberg recorded the double-CD set during a gig at the famous Camden Roundhouse in London the very place the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and others have played.
Akerfeldt answered a few questions when the Deseret Morning News called his home in Stockholm a couple of weeks back.
"A few years ago, we filmed a live DVD," said Akerfeldt. "But due to licensing, we weren't able to perform some of the more recent songs we had recorded at the time. And that was unfortunate for us.
"So, this time around the options were open to us so we could play some of the new and more popular songs. We decided to record the Roundhouse concert for this CD and an upcoming DVD."
The soft-spoken Akerfeldt, whose vocals range from a mild and melodic tenor to an animalistic, throaty growl, said choosing which songs to play during the gig was a little difficult. The band, which is known for recording songs that average 10 minutes in length, has eight studio albums under its belt.
"So, you can see there are times when we would play five songs and the show would be over," said Akerfeldt with a laugh. "We had to choose the songs wisely, and make sure the songs we did choose would represent the band. We tried to do as many songs from the different albums as we could.
"But the Roundhouse had a strict curfew," he said. "Instead of allowing us to play two hours, we were left with 1 1/2 hours to play. So that also impacted what we were going to play."
Another criteria for these songs was how well the band played them during the tour.
"We wanted to make sure we sounded the best we could," said Akerfeldt. "But, as it would be, I wasn't feeling my best that night. My throat hurt, but we had already planned and booked this show. So, as the saying goes, 'The show had to go on.' And I was prescribed some antibiotics from a doctor and spent hours in the shower warming up my vocal chords. That helped a bit."
The tracklisting for "The Roundhouse Tapes" is as follows:
2. "Ghost of Perdition"
3. "Under the Weeping Moon"
5. "Face of Melinda"
6. "Night and the Silent Water"
2. "Blackwater Park"
3. "Demon of the Fall"
Regardless of the vocal difficulties, Akerfeldt said he is pleased with the album."When all was said and done, we looked at this show like it was just another gig," he said. "And truth be told, I enjoy playing the more calm songs. The music style we play is aggressive, but since we have those soft-hard dynamics, I find that the calmer songs are more fun for me to play. I can't speak, of course, for the others in the band."