Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: Upon listening to your [forthcoming, as-yet-untitled 11th studio] album, I felt that it has a very similar vibe to your previous release, "Heritage". Would you say it's a continuation of that album in that sense?
Mikael: Yeah, to a certain extent. I mean, it's the next album, so I guess it's closer to that album than, say, the first album. But I'd like to think there's an upgraded sound, and by that I don't mean a modern sound. We were looking at some of the late '70s and early '80s production, and that's what we were going for sound-wise and it's one of the reasons why we ended up recording at Rockfield Studios in Wales, which is a legendary studio where many of our favorite bands recorded. So, musically, I guess you could say it's similar to "Heritage", but I'd like to think it's more hard rock and metal sounding. We also have something new that we didn't have before in certain songs. I don't really know what it is, which I like. I like to either recognize our sound or to hear something completely new, and I think we have both on the new album.
Metal Assault: So, would it be fair to say that people who liked "Heritage", would like this new album as much, or even more?
Mikael: Yeah, I hope so. I hope everybody will like it, of course. I think it's probably a bit easier to get into because it's a bit more melodic. There's definitely more attention to melodies and I wouldn't say it's an easy-listening album at all, but there's more melody than ever before, not just "Heritage". I'm hoping that people who liked "Heritage" will like this one too and also fans who liked the old shit will hopefully like this one as well, and may be some new fans. You never know!
Metal Assault: Right, but I'm sure you're aware that with the musical direction you took on "Heritage", you polarized OPETH fans, to some extent. By now, are you at peace with the fact that some people who like this music and some won't?
Mikael: Yeah, that's always been the case. It wasn't something that happened exclusively for "Heritage". We got that reaction from old albums too when they came out, like "Blackwater Park". A lot of people didn't like that album, and it was the same for "Ghost Reveries" and some of the other albums we've done in the past that are now considered to be some of our best stuff. They got negative feedback when they were released. I think "Heritage" probably took longer to settle in with our fan base because of the fact that it was a different-sounding record for us, but I think it's settled in now. People have warmed up to it with time. I mean, there are still people who hate it, of course, but I think there are people who initially hated it who now love it.
Read the entire interview at Metal Assault.