Mainman discusses band’s move away from death metal roots in new web series

Mikael Akerfeldt says the fact that he no longer knows how to describe Opeth’s sound is what makes them a prog band.

In the first episode of FreqsTV’s new Into The Machine series, the frontman recalls the band’s early death metal roots and explains how they forged a more progressive sound as their career took off.

He says: “We started out being a death metal band. We were finding our feet in that scene. We were hungry, young, aspiring musicians who wanted to have a career in music and do what we loved doing. And I still love our brand of death metal.

“What kept us in the genre was that type of vocals. But if you’d taken that type of vocals out of the equation, we wouldn’t have been a death metal band, we’d have been a progressive metal band.”

He continues: “By the time we did the very first record, I had personally moved away from consuming that type of music. For my own influences I was going back and listening to 60s, 70s stuff.

“And with time, 25 years later, I don’t really know what we are anymore – which makes us a progressive band.”

As for his feelings on what makes an act prog, he adds: “It’s a genre in itself. The idea of progressive music is that it should be genre-less. I think in the very truest sense of the word we are a progressive band. We take influences from all sorts of music. We don’t try to fit into the whole progressive scene.”

Opeth’s most recent album was 2014’s Pale Communion. This year, they are lined up to support Iron Maiden in Gothenburg on June 17 and will also appear at Be Prog! My Friend in Barcelona on July 2 and at Helsinki’s Monsters Of Rock on July 7.

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