Mikael Akerfeldt: The essence of Opeth is change


Mikael Akerfeldt says “the essence of Opeth is change.”

The singer and guitarist has admitted the band deal with a lot of criticism from fans as they’ve moved away from the extreme-heavy sound of their earlier years.

He tells Guitar World (via Blabbermouth): “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.”

Akerfeldt says that people are “afraid of change” and, as a result, older bands will keep the same sound for decades to please their fans.

He adds: “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.

“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 going to happen. Because the essence of Opeth isn’t death-metal vocals. The essence of Opeth is change.”

Opeth have shows in Luxembourg and Germany this month, before their tour in Australia and New Zealand next February in support of their 12th album Sorceress.

Opeth tour dates 2016⁄2017

Nov 23: Luxembourg Den Atelier, Luxembourg
Nov 24: Berlin Astra Kulturhaus, Germany
Feb 02: Auckland Power Station, New Zealand
Feb 04: Fortitude Valley Tivoli, New Zealand
Feb 06: Sydney Opera House, Australia
Feb 07-08: Melbourne 170 Russell, Australia
Feb 10:Torrensville Thebarton Theatre, Australia
Feb 11: Northbridge Metro City, Australia

The A-Z of Opeth

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.