OPETH’s MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT: ‘People Should Be Happy That PINK FLOYD Are Doing A New Record’

Peter Hodgson of iHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metallers OPETH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. iHeartGuitarBlog.com: "Pale Communion" is such a headphones record! Mikael: That's good, I like to hear that! I've been talking to the guys in the band and people in general about how people listen to music these days. Are they listening on stereo speakers and amplifiers and stuff like that, or on the headphones? I was worried if people were getting the chance to listen to it on nice headphones instead of shitty computer speakers. iHeartGuitarBlog.com: Was there a particular song or moment that dictated where this album was going to go? Mikael: Yeah, you could say that. The first song I wrote set the standard for the rest of the record — or at least I got some type of idea what I wanted to do with the record. That was the last song on there, called "Faith In Others". I wrote that song and it ended up being quite a melodic song, which gave me something of an idea for the rest of the record. I wanted to focus on vocal melodies and melodies overall for this album than I've done before. iHeartGuitarBlog.com: There's always going to be the guys who are, like, "Where are the death vocals?" but you also have a lot of fans who will follow you anywhere you take them. Mikael: Well, I hope so. We get a lot of shit for our choices musically, and I've had some fans even tell me to my face, "What are you doing? Why aren't you writing the good stuff anymore?" And I'm sorry to hear that but we don't play it safe. It's not like we deliberately want to be strange and fuck things up. It's almost like I'm latching on to how I've always been writing music, what I like, and I want to keep that intact. That's been intact since the first record. I understand the sensitive people who have loved the band, but maybe don't like the new stuff, but I don't like either for them to feel like we're turning our backs on them. We're still doing what we want to do, we're writing songs with the same process we always have, and besides, when we go out on tour, we're going to play the heavy shit they want to hear too. There's going to be a mix of material. So people will get their fix, but when it comes to new music that sounds like the old records, it's simply not gonna happen. We want to move on, y'know? But that's not necessarily saying we're never going to do a death metal scream. That might happen, y'know? iHeartGuitarBlog.com: It's like the backlash against the new PINK FLOYD album coming out later this year. They're just trying to express themselves, and the whole reason people like them in the first place is because they like how they express themselves — and also it's not like the new album will walk across the shelf and break the old ones. Mikael: Exactly. People have so many odd opinions about that. Like, referring back to us, it's like people saying it's not OPETH anymore, like they have the power to decide when it's not OPETH anymore, because it just simply doesn't fit their idea of what we are, y'know? But I think that's a bit unfair. I think people should be happy that PINK FLOYD are doing a new record, and it's debatable, but they should just shut up and enjoy it! If they like it or not, it is David Gilmour who has been the head of PINK FLOYD since the mid-'80s, and if the music features Rick Wright, who passed away, why wouldn't you want to be able to listen to it? And Nick Mason's probably gonna play drums, as far as I know, and Roger Waters is not gonna be angry! For me, I look forward to it, very much.

Pale Communion

Progress. A word that sprawls its meaning to the four corners of the horizon. A word that in modern music terminology is used to define the change of a band’s sound to another hype or level. A word that is synonymous to the nature of Opeth’s music. But the new leaves in the tree of opeth happen not to share the same roots. “Pale Communion” seems to have grown from seeds in the near field but not the same tree.. On their eleventh observation, Mikael Akerfeldt and Opeth, sound they’ve found a perfect balance within the music these five guys can reproduce better than anyone else. Rock in a progressive rock manner but quite more straight forward and a lot folkish- if I may use the term... The album busts in with a 70s lick made by Deep Purple and it progresses in the same attitude and vibe. Hammonds for the world but I could say it doesn’t even get close to the “monster” of Jon Lord soundwise. Camel-ish enough though!Eternal rains will come? Cusp of eternity, the first tune to come out earlier than the rest of the album, is a beautiful radio-friendly tune with some ah-ahs borrowed by Ritchie Blackmore’s Night first album. Moon above, sun below is the only track exciding the 10 minutes of duration. Many acoustic passages similar to Damnation days and a few outbursts with some quite heavy metal guitar solos here make this track surface more than the rest of the album. Actually the track builds up to its ending theme from 6.22 till the end with a familiar Opeth cresendo (A Fair Judgement/ Porcelain Heart type). Elysian Woes, sounds like a lost track of a Camel single b-side or an intermission track of a 70s Genesis album. Another nice acoustic but nothing extravagand. Goblin, is a beautiful 4 minute instrumental with great 70s prog rock themes. Probably my favourite on this album even though not original at all. River, starts off with some major 12stringed guitar melodies and as it moves on the music in it unveils into an upward tempo and into the most powerfull and metal-ish sound you’ll find in here with some double bass included as well (no growls though). Kind of in the ways of moon above sun below... Voice of treason is a known formula of song with a basic melody circulating throughout the whole song until the end and several melodies emerging every now and then to acompany it. Finally Faith in Others is a long outro melodic piece of music with all vocals procecced through phone-box effect with a quite melodic and touching imagery building. Probably the most Opeth sound-ing in terms of atmosphere here in Pale Communion... To sum it up, every Opeth release really can’t be bad in any term...the music is here, the production that fits the music is here, the emotions are here...nothing is missing but the element surprise and uniqueness. Opeth have all these years managed to surface their music because of certain elements that other bands couldn’t mix together- or let say couldn’t do it that perfectly as Opeth did. Unfortunately these elements seem to missing from Opeth’s latest observations and stabornly refusing to get at least some of those in the play... Thus I’d rate Pale Communion as the second album that Opeth search their new identity. I’m not sure how many albums will it take till they find themselves but we’ll be here waiting for their comeback.

OPETH: New Song ‘Eternal Rains’ Available For Streaming

"Eternal Rains", a brand new song from Swedish progressive metallers OPETH, can be streamed below. The track is taken from the band's highly anticipated eleventh studio album, "Pale Communion", which will be released on August 26 via Roadrunner Records. The cover artwork was once again created by Travis Smith — with art direction by OPETH guitarist/vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt — and can be seen below. "Pale Communion", which was produced by Åkerfeldt and mixed by longtime collaborator and PORCUPINE TREE frontman/guitarist Steven Wilson, was heralded by the lead single "Cusp Of Eternity". "Pale Communion" track listing: 01. Eternal Rains 02. Cusp Of Eternity 03. Moon Above, Sun Below 04. Elysian Woes 05. Goblin 06. River 07. Voice Of Treason 08. Faith In Others his one as well, and may be some new fans. You never know."

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