Drowned In Sound recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Drowned In Sound: The band’s music has changed a lot over the years – particularly on the most recent two albums, of course. Do you feel the band’s fanbase has now come to terms with the move away from metal on the last two releases?

Mikael: Perhaps. But the so-called “new” sound is not here to stay, really. I don’t know. We might do something completely different. I’m happy if we end up having a diverse discography, and it doesn’t matter if we’re considered to be an inconsistent band. As long as we’re not considered samey, I’m fine… or as long as we don’t consider us samey at least. Fans have their favorite records or eras regardless of what I think.

Drowned In Sound: What would you say to continued critics of the band’s new style? It always seems churlish to me to criticise bands for choosing to make the music they want to make…

Mikael: It’s taste, I guess. Some people don’t think “Taxi Driver” is a good film and prefer Adam Sandler. We are more De Niro than Adam Sandler, but public opinion is not how I think. And De Niro did both Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin, you know. Adam Sandler has become known for playing a slightly retarded character in virtually all his films. It’s what he does. He’s happy with it and his fans are happy with it too. So don’t fix it. Just that we’re not happy with being that, or “Taxi Driver” all the time either for that matter.

Drowned In Sound: Does the change reflect a decline in your own interest in extreme metal music at all? I know you’ve stopped doing BLOODBATH as well now…

Mikael: I don’t consume that music anymore unless I’m in a party vibe. I love some of the older bands like CELTIC FROST, MORBID ANGEL, BATHORY and AUTOPSY, but new metal is too polished for me. It’s a paradox since we’re so polished in comparison but “my” death metal has to be gritty and dirty. Not polished, quantized and “perfect.” And I never considered OPETH to be a pure death metal band anyways. It’s in our DNA but there’s a lot more to OPETH than death metal. It’s virtually only been the vocals, the screams, that had us rubbing shoulders with our extreme metal peers. You take the screams out and we’re some type of metal, but not very extreme like that.

Read the entire interview at Drowned In Sound.