editor Simon Rushworth recently conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Was “Heritage” an easy album to record or were there times when you doubted yourself?

Mikael: I did write a couple of songs just trying to find my feet and they were metal-sounding songs and not very good songs. So I started again from scratch. I came up with an idea for “The Lines Of My Hand” straight away and that set the tone. It was 180 degrees from what I was writing before but once I’d written that song, I felt I could do anything and the album was completed in six months. As a body of work, does “Heritage” stand up to the very best of OPETH’s back catalogue?

Mikael: First of all, I love playing the new songs live. Maybe it’s just because they’re newer than the other songs we’re playing, but they feel so much fun. We’re having a really good time playing these songs and they seem to go down well with the fans. In terms of the atmosphere at the shows, it doesn’t feel any different than it has done in the past. Is it the end as far as OPETH and screaming and/or growling vocals are concerned?

Mikael: I can’t say, really. I’ve never turned my back on anything and I’m not going to start now. It’s not like I don’t like that style of vocal delivery anymore. But I just can’t develop any more as a singer if I keep on screaming. In fact, I think I got worse at that as the years went by. But if the future songs require those vocals, then that’s what I’ll deliver. It seems like a long shot at this stage. All the talk before the release of “Heritage” was that it would be the album that divided OPETH fans. Have you seen evidence of that?

Mikael: It has been very well received by the people who’ve come out to the shows. On the Net, I’d say the opposite is true, but that’s no surprise. On the Net, people are hating “Heritage”, but I’ve stopped trying to seek approval for my work altogether. It probably has divided the fan base a little. But I’m hoping OPETH fans are a little more open-minded than they’re being portrayed. We’ve been out seven weeks on this tour so far, and there haven’t been too many heckles: we do hear the odd “play something fucking heavy” chant, but I don’t listen to any of that. I look at where the record is in the charts around the world and I’m not complaining. Of course, I’d like everyone to buy the record, but if they don’t, then the main thing is that everyone in the band is very proud of “Heritage”. If you’re looking at where the album’s charted, then I suppose you’d say it’s been a success, but t doesn’t mean that much to me.

Read the entire interview from