Mikael Akerfeldt says many Opeth fans who didn’t like 2011 album Heritage see it in a new light after hearing last year’s Pale Communion.
The band began following a more progressive path with Heritage, leading to negative reactions from some followers. During their first run of dates in support of the release, guitarist Fredrik Akesson told of a moment when the band were challenged to a duel by an unhappy supporter.
But things have changed since the launch of Pale Communion, Opeth’s 11th title, in August last year.
Akerfeldt tells The Rockpit: “I do appreciate that Heritage was a little bit of a shock to fans who are into the more heavy type of sound. Maybe it was a bit much to expect them to take it all in, so we got a bit of shit for that record.”
But he adds: “With the coming of Pale Communion, people come up to me and say, ‘I did not like Heritage when it came out – but I finally understood it and I’m starting to like it.’
“So I’m hoping it’s going to escalate into a love for that record. For me it was never a big step to do Heritage, but I do accept that it might have been too curvy of a curveball for people. Now it’s starting to calm down a little bit.”
Akerfeldt says Opeth didn’t plan things that way. “I tried writing songs that were more linear with the sound that people are familiar with,” he recalls. “They weren’t bad, or anything like that, but they weren’t right.
“There was something lacking – the belief from the other guys when I played to them. They were like, ‘Eh, not sure about that,’ so we needed a change. We found our way back to writing songs the way I should be writing songs.”
Opeth play this year’s Bloodstock Open Air at Catton Park, Derby on August 8, then return to London to play the Palladium on October 18. Their touring plans for the rest of the year include visits to Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.