MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT: 'The Essence Of OPETH Is Change'

MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT: 'The Essence Of OPETH Is Change'

Guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt and guitarist Fredrik Åkesson of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH recently spoke to Guitar World magazine about the band's twelfth album, "Sorceress", which was released at the end of September.

"It's got a little bit of everything," Åkerfeldt said of the album's musical direction. "There are some progressive moments, some jazz moments, some acoustic things. And even though it's not a death-metal record, it's still got some really heavy moments in there as well."

As for whether or not fans will see those heavy moments as being heavy enough? Åkerfeldt laughed and said, "At this point, I think we could probably write the heaviest song we've ever written, and unless I scream on it, people would still complain."

Asked if he believes there will be complaints with "Sorceress", Åkerfeldt said: "Oh, yeah! Of course! And that's fine. I mean, I can understand it. But it also kind of makes me a little bit sad that some OPETH fans don't think it sounds like OPETH if we take away the screams. At least that's what I hear the most. Like, 'When are you gonna scream again?' That seems to be the biggest problem with people when it comes to the heaviness of OPETH. I don't think it has so much to do with the music."

"It's a delicate thing for a lot of people, apparently," added Åkesson. "But I don't spend a lot of time on the Internet reading comments and stuff anyway. What matters to me is when we walk onstage and I see the people that look happy. That's what's most important. Because there's always gonna be the internet trolls hanging around." He laughed. "Although sometimes it's kind of funny to read the comments. Some people are quite creative!"

"It's like I said about people being afraid of change," Åkerfeldt concluded. "In music, if you get used to a certain sound in a band and you like that sound, you don't really want it to be different. I mean, there are shitloads of bands that haven't changed in 40 years. And, to me, it seems like those bands have a bunch of records, and the ones that people listen to are fucking old. Anything they do that's more recent, nobody really wants to hear it. Even if it's the same sound. So you can't win, really. I mean, if we would have never changed, and kept all the ingredients from the first album intact and were still doing that 20-odd years later, I'm not sure if people would be any happier. But that's not even an issue, because that's not gonna happen. Because the essence of OPETH isn't death-metal vocals. The essence of OPETH is change."

For the band's first effort for Nuclear Blast via OPETH's imprint label Moderbolaget Records, the group returned to Rockfield Studios in Wales, also home to pivotal releases from QUEEN, RUSH and JUDAS PRIEST, where the Swedes had tracked "Pale Communion" in 2014 with Tom Dalgety.

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