Opeth fans can’t call shots says Akerfeldt

Opeth mainman Mikael Akerfeldt says some fans need to realise that they don’t know what’s best for the band.

And while he’d never set out to intentionally upset his followers, they have to allow the musicians to do what they feel is artistically right.

The Swedish outfit have dealt with criticism from some quarters as they moved away from the extreme-heavy sound of their earlier years.

Akerfeldt tells The Metal Review: “They have a hard time understanding that they don’t call the shots – and perhaps they don’t know what’s best for the band.

“On a strictly commercial level, if we wanted to avoid confrontation we’d do music we think the fans want to hear. Records like Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries came about on those premises.”

But he continues: “We don’t treat this band like a money-making machine. We’re not businessmen – we have a very pure kind of interest in music.”

And he’s ready to keep moving away from Opeth’s roots. “I don’t want to scare people off even further, but there are styles of music that I love, but haven’t taken in yet.”

Akerfeldt cites the example of a conversation with one fan who objected to hearing clean vocals on an Opeth album. “A drunk guy came up to me and he was like, ‘What the fuck are you doing? You’re so talented, you had the best voice for it – and now you’re doing this shit?’

“I responded, ‘I just felt that I couldn’t write good stuff with that style for now, and I couldn’t come up with anything that I found interesting.’

“He looked at me, paused for ten seconds, and asked ‘But why don’t you do heavy shit?’”

Opeth released 11th album Pale Communion last year, and Akerfeldt recently said it had helped some fans better understand its predecessor, 2011’s Heritage. The band play this year’s Bloodstock Open Air in August.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.