Today one of the online imprints of Sweden’s Espressen newspaper published an interview that writer Martin Carlsson conducted with Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth. It included some questions and answers about Opeth’s next album, which you will see in a moment.
Coincidentally, I and a few of my current or former NCS comrades engaged in a lengthy debate about Opeth during our Seattle get-together last week. The debate was spawned, of course, by the band’s last album, Heritage. It went on for quite a while, and beer was involved, but I think it can be summed up, in part, as follows:
Point: Heritage was a huge ripoff. It wasn’t Opeth. If Åkerfeldt wanted to do what he did on that album, he should have done it through a side project, something like “The Mikael Åkerfeldt Project”.
Counterpoint: Mikael Åkerfeldt can do what he wants. He’s earned the right. Besides, his voice probably can’t handle live death growls for more than a song or two any more — you can’t tour in support of an album that you can’t perform live, night after night. And the other guys in Opeth need to eat, so he did right by them in making Heritage an Opeth album. Also, it’s possible he was under some label pressure to make this kind of album — don’t forget that Heritage was a Roadrunner release.