Opeth: 'A Lot of the Fans Aren't Quite Open Minded'

Guitarist Fredrik Akesson calls the fans unreceptive while discussing the groups latest release and musical diversity.

Ultimate Guitar

It's not rare to hear that metal fans can be stubborn and unreceptive, and it would seem that this is an opinion Opeth guitarist Fredrik Akesson also shares.

While discussing the sound shift Swedish metallers' made with their latest release "Heritage" during a recent Unsung Melody interview, Akesson confessed seeing a large portion of the bands fan base as not "quite open-minded."

The guitarist went on to take a defensive stance for the record, saying, "It's not like we did a pop album or anything like that. It's very dark, moody and intense in different spaces, but in a different way, of course."

He then continued with a talk about Opeth fans, adding, "I think a lot of the band's fans aren't quite open-minded; maybe it takes a little bit of time to digest each album, which I can understand. I think it was very important to do a different album, for Mike [guitarist/vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt] at least, and the whole band as well."

As far as the music itself goes, guitarist commented that the five-piece initially "had the goal to play the heavy riffs," just to scrap everything and start all over again.

"Mike wanted to do something different from the beginning," Akesson says. "That is for sure. He wrote a couple of songs first. They were more in the same vein as the previous album, 'Watershed.' Then, he deleted those and started off new. The edition of the song 'Heritage' was created then I think."

As far as the new album goes, latest reports say that the band is making "good progress" and aiming to go in a "different direction" from the previous album.

"Heritage" came out back in September 2011 via Roadrunner Records as the group's tenth studio effort. With 19,000 copies shipped in the US within the first week, it debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart.

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    I completely agree with Fredrik here. And he's right. Opeth obviously weren't capitalizing on a fad here, they were making the music they wanted to make. And that's all I can ask of any self-respecting musician. I would have been more unreceptive if they became complacent for the sake of their closed-minded fans. And it helps that as prog albums go, Heritage is pretty amazing.
    Just because someone doesn't like an album it doesn't instantly mean they're close-minded. I didn't like it because it didn't feel like Opeth to me. Not because it's "clean" and "not brutal". Deliverance was amazing and still had their signature sound and feel. Heritage just sounded like an attempt to sound like someone else with a hint of Opeth in it. Calling someone close-minded just because they didn't like something is absolutely ridiculous
    Except when every time there is a metal release there are people bitching about it. Metalheads are the worst music fans and this is coming from someone who likes metal alot. If its not exactly how they think the album should sound then it automatically sucks so yes, metal fans aren't open minded.
    Totally agree. I used to like "metal" a lot in my past, but not anymore in general, although I really like some records. It's difficult to say that metalheads are close-minded when a person himself is a metalhead, but now, when I'm free from that, I can step back and say what I really see and have always seen, but never considered, due to being biased towards "metal".
    I dunno, I still find a lot of signature Opeth sounds, like their treatment of the acoustic guitars on "The Lines In My Hand", the whole songs "The Devil's Orchard" and "Slither". You could have stuck those songs in the middle of, say, Watershed, and they probably would have been recognizable as Opeth songs. And I call people closed minded not because they dislike something, but because they're unwilling to give something a chance (or a second chance), or because they're unwilling to recognize that it is quality, even if they don't like it. I still see merit in a lot of the things I don't like.
    I not only agree with you, but would say that it's not something that is specific to metal music. Or even... music in general. I know pop, rap, punk, stoner rock, DnB etc fans who only listen to those genre's or even a specific sub-genre. That's just what some people are like.
    The album sounded like an Opeth album, they were just exploring a side of Opeth that they haven't fully explored yet. Yea, it was really 70s sounding, but it fit the band really well. I see tons of metalheads whining about the new album not being heavy though, as if anything that isn't heavy is instantly garbage music. That's not what it should be about..
    It is, but (for me anyway) it's sullied by the fact that it sounds like a modern band trying to do '70s Prog. So, it sounded more like they were crafting themselves to a certain style than adapting elements of that style to their way of songwriting. Still a good album though...
    I agree with you, that this album isn't something new for music. The argument that they were trying to do 70's Prog is pretty much in place. But I still think they pulled it off very well and I like the album. If you look at it like that Bloodbath(where Mikael used to do vocals) isn't something new for music. It is typical death metal but the way it is done in this group it's awesome to listen to even though it isn't something new, they did it well and that is still better than being something generic in my opinion.
    Does it need to be new and completely innovative? Have you ever heard of an homage? Mikael has always talked about his love for 70s prog bands like Camel and King Crimson and Comus. Hell, every soft part of their death metal songs sounds like something Andy Latimer would have written. The prog has always been a part of Opeth, they're just finally letting it fly.
    Yes, but comparing "Bloodbath" to Heritage doesn't really work...
    I am not comparing Bloodbath to Opeth, I am comparing the way the music was made. They took something that has been done and did it in their own way. Opeth and Bloodbath are not comparable.
    Ok, but I'm arguing they didn't really do '70s Prog Rock their way. They did how they thought it should be done, yes, but it still sounded and looked like a modern band doing '70s Prog Rock. There was nothing that put the Opeth stamp on it. Any other band today could have played it (note I said "played", not wrote; the composition itself was good), and it would have sounded the same. There wasn't much musical integrity to Heritage.
    Oh, then I kind of misunderstood, sorry. I can't exactly agree or disagree with that, as I do not know enough of 70's Prog. Could you recommend to me a few bands so I can compare ? =)
    hmm.. I would say King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes would be a good start. Or maybe even something more modern like Steven Wilson's solo stuff.
    You forgot Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Also, the Moody Blues' album "Days of Future Passed" is good. Of modern bands, try Porcupine Tree, Coheed and Cambria (after "Good Apollo IV" [not that their other albums weren't progressive, but after that album, there's more Prog elements]), The Mars Volta, Karnivool (not technical music, but definitly progressive), and Animals as Leaders.
    Thank you both I did do know of Porcupine Tree and Wilson from before, but I am going to check the others out =)
    Tell me, what IS the Opeth "stamp"? Does it have a tangible quality that can be quantified? I've listened to a lot of Opeth, and I can safely say that, while they do have a particular style, they've done a lot of different things in their career, and a move like Heritage wouldn't have surprised me five years ago either.
    In my opinion a band should explore new territory as much as possible. I find it enjoyable when a band tries new things.
    tell that to metallica fans.
    I'm a gigantic Metallica fan and Love load and Reload just as much as their earlier stuff
    What "St. Anger"? Because that was really their exploration phase. That and the Lou Reed collab that we don't speak of...
    I actually love St. Anger. It doesn't fit in with the rest of Metallica's discography and there's some awkwardness (that snare is still horrible) but it's a solid album that shows a different side of the band. The post-rock loving part of me really enjoys the repetitive, slowly evolving riffs that define that album. Lulu on the other hand is unredeemable. Just sounds like a metallica-influenced band with an awful drummer and no sense of musical structure let a homeless man mumble over one of their garage demos and then for some reason decided it was worth releasing.
    lulu was rather strange and shockingly unappealing in my opinion, but hey at least we now know that hetfield is the table
    OK, Heritage was a really different record, we got it UG. Stop throwing an article on the same matter every once in a while. I feel Opeth is becoming famous in this site only for the negative reviews of that album and I hate that. Opeth is not Axl Rose, Opeth doesn't feed on negative advertising.
    I think they're being a bit harsh... Damnation didn't have a single power chord on it, and fans ate that up.
    I loved Heritage, but then again, I'd consider myself more of a progressive (rock/metal) fan than a "metal" fan. I'd venture to guess those who are the opposite didn't like Heritage as much as I did. Even though those people may have felt "let down" because of the absence of Opeth's extreme metal side on Heritage, I like the direction of the band since Akesson's inclusion (Watershed/Heritage).
    Almost all the arguments that I've heard against Heritage have been "There's no growling, so it sucks".
    See my comment above. Most Prog Metal fans I've talked to (including me, though I don't talk to myself, lol) have an argument similar to mine.
    I think it's a freaking great album, and I love the new Opeth sound. It's refreshing to hear something new alongside the old work! I love bands experimenting with new sounds and different genre's. Keep up the great work!
    Well, to be fair, you can be open-minded and still not like something. Maybe that doesn't justify the outright hatred and vitriol, but it's still a valid opinion. Some music appeals to some people and other music appeals to others. It's really nothing to get up in arms about.
    It's always easier to blame backlash on the fans, even when you're a band like Opeth. If anyone was still following them because they were 'true metal', they probably killed themselves with Heritage, but what's more likely is they stopped listening to Opeth a long time ago. More power to them, or any band, to write whatever they want and be happy with it, but I hate seeing artists make excuses. Lots of Opeth fans are metal fans, but not all metal fans like or care about Opeth, so it's really disingenuous to pin this on metal as a whole or a closeminded community. For me personally, if Opeth puts out an album that sounds like 70s prog, I'm just going to cut out the middle man and listen to some prog.
    I am a music lover, en then its just a matter of taste. When i like the music from a band i might become a fan because i like their music. If the band changes it genre and i don't like it anymore, i'm not a fan anymore. I like metal. I can appreciate some other genres like classical music for example. But i just don't like jazz. I think i'm pretty open-minded as i can appreciate both metal and classical music. Some fans though are not music fans. For example: It doesn't matter what kind of music Justin Bieber would make. Many will stay fan of JB. Because its not primarily the music that they like so much. I think Opeth's fans are/were fan just because of their music, and not because of any other stuff.
    why is it that every ****ing metal fan I know says something along the lines of "I think i'm pretty open-minded as i can appreciate both metal and classical music." I appreciate that I probably know many wankers who are metal fans, and most metal fans are nice normal people, but why does stating you like classical music seen as like the ultimate show of credibility. Infact its not just limiited to classical music. People say i like metal, but i also appreciate jazz/ african tribal music/ rap (before it got commercialised of course) and all sorts of other unrelated genres to try and give themselves credibility, when talking about metal. if you can't make a cohesive defense about your specific music taste without name dropping different genres then you're an idiot. You are can say that you like one metal album, but disliked another metal album, WITHOUT jumping to defense by saying i like urm classical music as well. its like a get out of jail free card, and allows people like you to have unsubstantiated arguments. to be fair you made a reasonable post just now (if you hadn't included that classical music stuff) but anyone can make wild statements. Dio was shit, and ruined black sabbath,OZZY IS THE FUCKING KING - oh my opinion if valid because i like classical music... Everyone should just add "oh i like classical music, at the end of every single post they make" because i shows how smart they are." most people here probably like some other genre other then metal, and probably quite a few of them like classical music as well :O
    I don't think you really understand Metal fans, man...At all... It's not about what genres we like or dislike. Most Metalheads enjoy well-written music as a whole. When they dislike certain albums, it's probably because they don't find those albums to be well-written.
    my issue is not what music people like, its the pretentious way they defend it and laud there tastes over people, to add validity to their statements. so if you dislike a certain album, that a-okay, and i'm sure you have your reasons, but to say your opinion is more valid because you listen to classical music is bullshit for many reasons such as a) loads of people listen to classical music b) its just words with not reasoning or logical thought or musical argument, its just the words i like classical music so I'm open minded. c) so you if you don't listen to classical music you can't have a reasonable opinion about metal...of course you can.
    read what Second Rate commented below. He summed up what I was trying to in a much clearer better way!!!
    heritage was amazing! changed styles completely but still had that signature dark opeth tone to it. genius
    I have not been able to get into the new album personally. It just hasn't spoken to me in the way that other albums by them have. I'd never say a bad word about them for it, tho. If they did not make the music that they wanted to make in the first place, they may have never found a fan in me. I'll continue to pay attention to further releases, no doubt.