Two months ago, Opeth announced that their new album, In Cauda Venenum, will be out this September. Ever ambitious, their new album will actually come out in two versions: one in Swedish and one in English. Today, fans can hear the first single in both languages. “Heart In Hand” (or “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör”) is an 8-minute track, and it continues the sound Opeth has explored on recent albums.
“Heart In Hand” begins with a man saying “yuck” in Swedish. Then the song then launches into galloping guitars and a classic progressive rock sound. Frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals soar on the verses, telling a tale of our troubled society. It sounds like an epic poem set to music. The chorus here is among the best of any song in Opeth’s discography.
The song ends with a peaceful, pastoral lullaby, a stark contrast to the previous 5 minutes of guitars and doom. Mikael Åkerfeldt has described the ending part as nostalgic, harkening back to his own childhood when things were simpler.
“Heart In Hand” also comes with a mesmerizing visualizer video. It animates the illustration that will serve as the cover art for In Cauda Venenum. The Victorian-styled imagery looks haunting, with figures lurking in fire-lit windows. Meanwhile, the five Opeth band members have been fashioned into an ominous scorpion – adorned with a top hat and monocle – which is certainly unsettling.
Listen to “Heart In Hand” below. It begins with the full Swedish version, while the English version of the song starts at 8:28.
Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt described the new song, revealing it was among the first songs he wrote for the upcoming album. He continued,
I immediately knew that it would probably be favored by “the powers that be” when talks of future singles for the record would commence. And I was right. I generally leave it up to the labels or managements to pick the so-called singles. I’m indifferent as I put an equal amount of dedication into all songs, so it doesn’t matter all that much to me. I guess it’s one of the more straightforward songs on the album. A rather rocking little thing. It’s got one of the “happy mistakes” in it too.
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.
This is the first full taster of the new Opeth album, and of course I hope you like it. All the songs on the new album are different from each other and therefore equally representable in my view.
The band also shared a video of Mikael describing “Heart In Hand”:
You can stream or download “Heart In Hand” at all the major music providers here. If you understand Swedish – or just want to be adventurous in your listening habits – find the Swedish version of the song (“Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör”) here. You can also pre-order In Cauda Venenum from Opeth’s official store here. The album will include 10 tracks. See the full tracklisting – both Swedish and English titles – below:
- Livet’s Trädgård / Garden Of Earthly Delights
- Svekets Prins / Dignity
- Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand
- De Närmast Sörjande / Next Of Kin
- Minnets Yta / Lovelorn Crime
- Ingen Sanning Är Allas / Universal Truth
- Banemannen / The Garroter
- Kontinuerlig Drift / Continuum
- Allting Tar Slut / All Things Will Pass
In addition to the forthcoming album, you can also look forward to seeing Opeth live. For the next month, Opeth will be touring around Europe. They’ll be in the UK and Ireland in October and November, with additional dates in Europe, Japan, and Australia through the end of this year. Find dates and tickets here.
Opeth’s last album, Sorceress, came out in September 2016. Last November, they also shared their live album, Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
In Cauda Venenum, the band’s 13th studio album, will be released on September 27, 2019. Enjoy “Heart In Hand,” and get ready to hear the rest of the new songs in just two months. Keep checking back here for all the latest Opeth music news.