Breaking news: Water is wet; the sun is hot; and Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt says he’s no longer inspired by death metal. This comes as no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past 5 years or so and has been following the band’s career but there’s still some impact to know exactly what Akerfeldt’s thoughts are on the direction Opeth has taken in the past few years and the reasoning to withdraw Opeth’s known death metal foundation and turning into a more mellow-progressive rock.
During a recent interview with Faceculture.com, Akerfeldt discussed about the subject:
“I was struggling a little bit to find a direction for what was going to become Heritage, because I wrote songs thinking along the same lines as I always thought. You know, that we’re a death metal band—the foundation of this band is death metal. So I wrote music similar to what we had done on the Watershed record and it wasn’t bad, I just didn’t feel it. I felt that I was done… I still like death metal and it’s not like I don’t appreciate what we’ve done, the previous records. When I was writing for what was going to become Heritage, I was writing music just for the sake of writing—I didn’t pay too much attention to why I was doing it, I just wrote stuff cause we were going to do a record.”
While everybody believes that it was Akerfeldt’s sole decision and influence to change the band’s style, he also mentioned initially writing some death metal styled songs and showing them to bassist Martin Mendez, who told him it didn’t sound right. He continued explaning:
“I hadn’t been listening to death metal, there was no death metal in my own creativity in music, I left. That’s been gone for a long time. I wasn’t consuming music like that anymore. I wasn’t buying music like that, I wasn’t listening to music like that anymore. Ultimately it didn’t inspire me anymore. And I’d been meaning to go elsewhere, I think, subconsciously for a longer time than what has been shown on the records.”
There you go, that’s basically what happened to Opeth: Akerfeldt had lost interest on damping himself on new death metal music leading him to lose interest and inspiration from the style and dedicating to write music he also had a long-time fascination and Mendez was the one who gave him that extra push.
If you still care about what he’s been doing lately, we got some news for you. Remember that solo project Akerfeldt talked about a few months ago? seems like it’s going to happen really soon as he discussed about a side-project he’s already working on:
“I’m thinking of a project, actually—a thing that I want to do with a couple of friends of mine, that I will be writing for. And also, of course, a new Opeth album, hopefully. I have written snippets of music that I haven’t decided where they’re gonna end up yet— or I haven’t decided if they’re gonna end up anywhere yet.
Well, it will be… I can probably with confidence say that it will happen. But it will be in Swedish. I’ve asked one of my friends, I’ve e-mailed him asking him if he would be interested, because we did a song a long time ago together. Dan Swanö—he’s a producer; he produced the first two Opeth records.
So I asked him if he wants to play drums on this project. And another friend of mine from Stockholm, who is a classically trained piano player, but he plays bass and has a really cool vintage studio too, so I’m thinking of doing something like that. But I’m not sure how it’s gonna end up. I want it to be not so progressive, really, but maybe more ‘folky’ and psychedelic, I think.”
I like how he drops Swanö’s name like he’s some random guy who just happen to be some ‘producer.’