Album Reviews

Interviews with band

  1. OPETH

Overall Rating

Music Styles

Band Info

Founded: N/A
Ended: Active



  • No links currently

When Les Paul claimed heavy metal should ideally be "five guys on stage sounding like World War 3" he probably wasn't referring to Opeth. But that's not to say Mikael Akerfeldt, mainstay of the doomy Swedish legends, is no proven rock n' roll soldier. Reared on a 80s diet of Scorpions and Judas Priest, Akerfeldt's metal journey began in his teens and shows few signs of abating.

"It's a lifestyle," enthuses the 34-year-old singer-guitarist, cooling off with a post-gig beer somewhere in Europe." I still get that warm and fuzzy feeling when I think about Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind. Metal is something special, it's nostalgia and it's the future at the same time, especially now that I'm living in the middle of it! It's something that's meant so much to me for my entire life."

Eighties juggernauts aside, today's scene is a long way from its decadent heyday says Akerfeldt, who assumed leadership of Opeth shortly after its formation in Stockholm in 1990. The outspoken Swede singles out America's contribution to modern day metal as disappointingly lame.

"It's kind of bloodless," he says. "There's no nerve in the music, it's just devoid of any cool ideas. I'm not saying we're the fucking greatest band in the world but we try not to do the same old shit just for audiences to jump along to. We're trying to make it a little bit artistic without trying to sound pretentious."

Brimming with artistry is Opeth's ninth and latest slab Watershed, released this week. Melding stoner metal grooves with Eastern-style fusion, yet another example of the quintet's forward-thinking approach, the album also marks a first for Akerfeldt who for once relinquished creative control in the studio, causing him a good deal of anxiety.

"I'm usually there for everybody's parts," he says. "I'm kind of watching and listening to everything that they're doing and I usually have an opinion about everything. But this time because we had two different studios in the same building I was working on the guitars and Martin was putting down the bass and so I couldn't physically be there. But they're perfectly fine without me, I'm not like a fucking dictator who just tells them what to play!"

Often lauded by critics for their visionary sound, Opeth's diversity is a product of their Scandinavian death metal roots and Akerfeldt's ever-broadening musical palette, often coloured by obscure jazz, blues, fusion and prog-rock tastes.

"I pretty much get a record a day in the mail from Ebay," he says. "I always buy vinyl, I love the way it looks, it smells, the sound and the crackle. I look for first pressings and I love collecting them and hopefully there's a purpose to the album I'm getting in that it's going to inspire me to write something. I guess that's why we sound like we do."

Living his dream as a professional musician Akerfeldt says Opeth's status as an international contender is due largely to endless hours of toil, hardly the postcard metal image of an easy ride he envisaged as a youngster.

"On a professional level obviously we make a living doing this now," he says. "But there's a lot of negative things about being a working musician and a touring band. I've got two kids back home so it's not everything it set out to be - it's not what I expected.

"When I was growing up we had this magazine in Sweden called OK and when they did reports on bands I thought they were so happy and so creative and had lots of chicks and limousines. I was drawn to that luxury metal Whitesnake-type of thing."

And what's the reality?

"The reality is you get nowhere unless you work really f#&ing hard and make big sacrifices. And you need to rely on your creativity in order to squeeze out a good album every second year. It's a little bit of a rat race doing the same old thing over and over again.

"So my creativity lies in the music and the making of the albums and the rest of it is just childish immature bullshit being on the bus drinking beer and talking bollocks all day long. It's funny for some people but for me that's a big sacrifice because I'd rather be home with my family."



Mark Knopfler

2013-05-08 - Lodz, Atlas Arena 19:30 165-616 PLN

Roger Waters The Wall

2013-08-20, Warszawa, tickets: 242 zł - 1310 zł

Sonisphere Festival

2013-10-12 - Wroclaw 19:30, tickets: 165-1616 PLN

Iron Maiden

2013-08-20, Warszawa, tickets: 242 zł - 1310 zł

Need help?

Ask about this template.


Kate Houston*




1516 Woodstock Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90071



Contact us