Mainman Mikael discusses continuing negative reaction from some followers over Swedes’ move away from roots.

Opeth mainman Mikael Akerfeldt says some fans need to realise that they don’t know what’s best for the band.

And while he’d never set out to intentionally upset his followers, they have to allow the musicians to do what they feel is artistically right.

The Swedish outfit have dealt with criticism from some quarters as they moved away from the extreme-heavy sound of their earlier years.

Akerfeldt tells The Metal Review: “They have a hard time understanding that they don’t call the shots – and perhaps they don’t know what’s best for the band.

“On a strictly commercial level, if we wanted to avoid confrontation we’d do music we think the fans want to hear. Records like Blackwater Park and Ghost Reveries came about on those premises.”

But he continues: “We don’t treat this band like a money-making machine. We’re not businessmen – we have a very pure kind of interest in music.”

And he’s ready to keep moving away from Opeth’s roots. “I don’t want to scare people off even further, but there are styles of music that I love, but haven’t taken in yet.”

Akerfeldt cites the example of a conversation with one fan who objected to hearing clean vocals on an Opeth album. “A drunk guy came up to me and he was like, ‘What the fuck are you doing? You’re so talented, you had the best voice for it – and now you’re doing this shit?’

“I responded, ‘I just felt that I couldn’t write good stuff with that style for now, and I couldn’t come up with anything that I found interesting.’

“He looked at me, paused for ten seconds, and asked ‘But why don’t you do heavy shit?’”

Opeth released 11th album Pale Communion last year, and Akerfeldt recently said it had helped some fans better understand its predecessor, 2011’s Heritage. The band play this year’s Bloodstock Open Air in August.

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