Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt: 10 albums that changed my life

Mikael Akerfeldt
(Image credit: Press)

The first album I bought was…

Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast [EMI, 1982]

“I was eight years old and on a mission to buy a metal record one day, and it just happened to be Maiden. It’s become one of the most important records in my life. I don’t even have to listen to it anymore; I hear it in my head. It’s in my DNA.”

The best album artwork is…

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath [Vertigo, 1970]

“It’s a beautifully spooky cover and I’ve gazed at it for years. I almost got obsessed with those infrared film photos where the colours are reversed slightly. I’ve been looking for the artist for 25 years but he’s vanished from the face of the Earth. I want him to do an Opeth sleeve.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

The Beatles - The Beatles [Apple, 1968]

“I come across as a complete Anglophile with all these British bands but I’d love to have made either Abbey Road or The White Album. I’ll settle with The White Album because it’s the longest. Without any competition, I think The Beatles are the best rock band that ever existed.”

A kid asks me what metal is, I hand them a copy of…

Judas Priest - Defenders of the Faith [Columbia, 1984]

“I remember seeing the Freewheel Burning video on TV as a kid – it was the fastest and heaviest thing I’d ever heard. I was so disappointed when I bought Rocka Rolla after it because it sounded like a different band and their singer was listed as Bob Halford. I thought it was Rob’s brother!”

Nobody would believe I own a copy of…

Anton Szandor LaVey - The Satanic Mass [Amarillo, 1968]

“It’s not completely out of this world because I have a slight fascination with occult stuff, but I have an audio recording of a Black Mass from San Francisco. I’ve never played it all the way through because I get bored!”

The album I want to be remembered for is…

Opeth - Heritage [Roadrunner, 2011]

“It caused the biggest stir with our fans, but it happens to be one of my favourite records and the collective favourite of the other members, too. I really love it and it might become a hidden classic for people. It’s a slow burner because it’s been six years and more people are telling us they hated it at first but now love it.”

The album I want played at my funeral is…

The Beatles - Abbey Road [Apple, 1969]

“It depends whether I want people to be crying or happy, but Golden Slumbers starts very sad and melancholic but turns into a beer-drinking kind of song.”

The most underrated album is…

Judas Priest - Turbo [Columbia, 1986]

“I remember getting hold of it and hearing the synthesisers that were forbidden in heavy metal. I love even the cheesy songs like Parental Guidance that metalheads talk shit about but I’ve always liked that. Everyone was trying to put out cool records in the 80s.”

The album that should not be is…

The Offspring - Conspiracy of One [Columbia, 2000]

“The entire Offspring back catalogue! They’re a joke band to me and I don’t get it. I don’t think I could be friends with someone who listens to them. I’m sure they’re nice guys but their music is shit, I’m not even sure who it’s aimed at. I can’t even drink a beer if their songs are playing in the room – I just leave!”

The album that reminds me of school is…

Alice Cooper - Constrictor [MCA Records, 1986]

“All my mates at school got that record when it came out because of He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) from the Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives soundtrack. It’s more pop than rock because there’s not a lot of distorted guitars. In school, we had an hour on Fridays where pupils could decide what we’d do, and one week my friend chose the music so he recorded a full 60-minute cassette of that song on loop.”

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