Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt 'Discouraged With Current Metal'

Everyone is hanging out to hear the new Opeth record Pale Communion and when Mikael Akerfeldt recently spoke to Ultimate Guitar, it just got us a little more excited. Mikael talks about the band’s new album, whether he’s planning on doing a solo project and being ‘discouraged’ with current metal.

Check it out!

UG: Does “Pale Communion” continue on where “Heritage” ended?

MA: I guess that’s inevitable because that was the record before. It’s not like I’ve gone through someRenaissance. I think what we wanted with this record, I wanted it to be slightly heavier and sound wise I wanted it slightly more updated.

Updated in what way?

Not modern. I always liked how “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath and “Mob Rules” and how those records sounded. I liked late '70s and early '80s productions and I guess we wanted to get something like that, which is why we went to Rockfield Studios in Wales [Queen recorded “Bohemian Rhapsody” here] and recorded. But musically, I’m not sure. In a way I guess it’s a continuation of “Heritage” but I don’t think they are similar. 

How would you characterize the sound of the new album?

I think this new album is still clinging to the '70s sound, which is a warm, natural sound but the technology was updated and more advanced. So it sounds like '70s but better in a way. If you know what I mean? I guess that’s what we wanted. I don’t like modern-sounding heavy records. I think many of them sound just not human. You also get tired and your ears get tired listening to new metal records. While some of those records I mentioned still sound fresh and never sounded old.

You’ve talked about being “discouraged” with current metal - is this part of what you were talking about?

Yeah. I think many of these records - and I’m not even talking about the music on there but I’m thinking soundwise - would probably benefit from having more of an old school sound to them. The musicians themselves I think would also benefit because less cheating would probably push yourself as a musician. 

In the past, you’ve talked about a solo record. Where is that now?

There’s no need for me to do that because I’m really comfortable writing for Opeth. I can put pretty much anything into Opeth and there’s no need for me to create some type of solo project in order to fulfill my dreams as a musician because I put everything into Opeth. I said that a few years ago because I was interested in doing a singer/songwriter record because I loved that so much. Which obviously would need a full band. But it was also something I wanted to do just to see if I could produce a record from scratch on my own in my own studio. It was a bit of an experiment and to be honest not something I yearned for. I had a big mouth and then people thought it was actually gonna happen. “When is it coming” and I was like, “Well, it’s talk. Just talk.” But who knows? If I end up with a bunch of songs like that maybe I’ll put it out. 

At the end of the day, did this upcoming Opeth album do everything you hoped it would musically?

Definitely for me but it’s part of a career for the five of us, the record label and management. It’s really difficult to see where it’s gonna take us. But as far as my own personal opinion, I’m really happy with it. I’ve worked a lot on this album. I want music to be emotional and I think this is an emotional record, which is really important to me. Heaven and Hell and that kind of stuff is really cool but without emotion it’s still nothing. So I think in that aspect this record is everything I wanted it to be this time around. Then we’ll see how it will benefit us.

Check out the rest of the interview at Ultimate Guitar