Åkerfeldt Says Opeth Is Still Metal

Despite proggier sound, Mikael says Opeth are part of the metal scene

Mikael ÅkerfeldtMikael Åkerfeldt

Mikael Åkerfeldt

Despite their most recent albums sounding nothing like the extreme metal stylings their fans had fallen in love with them for, Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt insists in a new interview with this site that the band’s still part of “the metal world.”

Says Mikey:

“I don’t know anything else than the metal world, because that’s where we are, if you know what I mean. But we’re trying to push the boundaries a little bit. But mostly musically, but also sound-wise. And to be on our own. We don’t like to belong in a group. We wanna be on our own. But we are okay with being defined within the metal scene, because that’s our origins. Our roots come from real extreme metal, and then gradually I guess we have moved away from that. But we still feel that we belong to the metal scene, so to speak, but we don’t feel an affinity with bands in the metal scene, and definitely not the sound from the metal scene of today.”

I never thought I’d see the day when Opeth went soft. I mean, I dig the last two discs a ton. But Opeth basically reintroduced me to heavy metal with Orchid; when I was a kid in the ‘80s, I was listening to the classic acts like Priest and Maiden, but got more into punk and hardcore as a college student.

Then, while living in Connecticut in the late 1990s, a friend turned me onto Opeth with Orchid, and soon afterwards, Blackwater Park came out on Koch and I was fucking sold. I have never looked back. So to see them go soft now is just…unreal.

Does Mikael feel fans have embraced the new sound?

“The metal scene is… It’s something I’ve been thinking about and talking about a lot, it’s very hard for me to define what it is., really. I know that if you listen to brutal death metal, you might have a problem with what we’re doing today. But that is not the definition of metal. I think the definition of metal is very blurry, and I’m not sure if you can define what metal is. But, like I said, that’s our roots, so I feel that we still belong. I still feel many of our fans have probably made this type of journey with us. They’ve grown up. Maybe they listened to the same stuff that we did. Maybe it’s easier for them to understand what we’re doing now.”

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