Opeth Frontman: ''Heritage' Gave Us a Future'

"The thing that annoyed me is people saying 'This is not Opeth,'" says Mikael Akerfeldt.

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Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt recently discussed the band's latest album "Heritage," pointing out the importance it had for the Swedish five-piece, as well as the negative reactions it received from some of the fans.

Singer/guitarist admitted that although he wishes he could say that the criticism made no impact, it did ultimately make him more cynical.

"It sounds a bit pretentious to say that, but it helped us, it gave us a new direction," Akerfeldt told Face Culture. "Not saying that we're gonna try and repeat the sound of Heritage, but it gave us a future, I think."

When asked about the hate the band received from "die-hard" fans, the frontman commented: "It made me a bit more cynical. I would love to say that it didnt affect me at all, but I became a bit more, like whatever, 'f--k off,' you know.

"I can't force people to like it, and I understand that some people don't like it, but the thing that annoyed me is people saying 'This is not Opeth,'" the frontman said. "I knew that it's impossible to please everybody, and that's not our goal, but what is Opeth is that we always recorded what we want to hear, that is Opeth."

Akerfeldt then discussed some of the backlash the band received after embarking on a tour to promote "Heritage," describing some of the fans' reactions as "outrageous."

"That's one of the more annoying things, people get upset because we're not doing what they want us to do, which I think is completely outrageous. Overall, it was fine, it's just that those people who didn't like it were much more vocal, screaming 'What the f--k!' 'Play some f--king metal!' One guy even challenged me for a duel.

"For some reason, it makes me happy that people [get] so passionate that they can allow themselves to lose their f--king sanity just because of some music, you know," the frontman concluded.

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

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20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LOVED Heritage, keep 'em coming Mikael, this shit is awesome!
    vinnym86, the thing is: people who tend to hear opeth tend to like OPETH, ie not Damnation or Heritage... They might like em, for example i think damnation is a masterpiece! one of opeths finest. But i cant "judge it" in the same way as i would judge Ghost Reveries... If you ask me, Heritage would've made an awesome Storm Corrosion album. Another example of this is Steven Wilson: He has Bass Comunion for random shitty noise, Porcupine Tree for alternative/ progressive rock, and his solo band for a more "70s"oriented music i guess... Basically, Opeth is for Opeth stuff, Storm Corrosion for Storm Corrosion stuff and Bloodbath for Bloodbath stuff. If you mix up, some people aint gonna like it.
    I don't believe in giving a band creative boundaries to exist within. I liked Opeth when they wrote Morningrise. I like them now with Heritage. They were and still are Opeth, and no other band.
    I think Opeth has always been more a set of ideas than a particular musical style. "I knew that it's impossible to please everybody, and that's not our goal, but what is Opeth is that we always recorded what we want to hear, that is Opeth." Said it best himself
    Dont get me wrong, I really enjoyed Heritage, I've seen them every time they toured in Argentina. I just try to put myself in other kind of fans shoes. And i don't think they are wrong either. But the question here is where is the boundary between a band's being loyal to their fans, and their fans being flexible to the band's new approach to music... Who knows...
    A band owes fans NO LOYALTY. Create art, then tell yourself why you created it. If it was made for other people to like, than you've failed as an artist. Fans, on the other hand, owe bands they love loyalty. If their favorite artist takes a new direction, a TRUE fan would respect the artist's choice, rather than bitch about it not being the same as before.
    Mikael is handling the Heritage feedback very well. Handling it like a true musician, proud of his work. Opeth is so cool because none of their albums sound alike. It's new every time. You can guess most progressive bands into what they will sound like with their next album (somewhat), but Opeth will always have something new up their sleeves. That's why I loved Heritage so much. Why Opeth is one of my absolute favorites, additionally.
    didn't care for this album. still, shouting at such a talented musician? that's really harsh. Everyone should be thankful we have musicians like Akerfeldt
    Bands evolve, but narrow-minded metalheads will never understand that. I was a little skeptical at first about Heritage, but I gave it a chance and it turned out to be one of my favorite Opeth albums.
    Can't say it's one of my favorite Opeth records, but it's still one hell of a masterpiece (like all their stuff)!
    What I do love about Opeth is even though they underwent a transformation in their writing, they still play their old material and keep their fans happy, well most of them at least.
    Ghost Reveries will always be one of my favorite albums of all time...none of their other material is even comparable for me.
    Listen to Deliverance. I mean I'm sure you have already listened to it but woah man... Deliverance is just great for me. Master's Apprentice particularly
    everyone is overlooking my favorite Opeth album: Blackwater Park. i know many of you will probably say it's their "sell-out" album but it is pure genius! seeing them perform some of the tracks off BP is amazing! flawless almost... Yeah... i like Opeth
    No ****in way dude not me, Blackwater Park is the first Opeth album I have ever heard and to this day it is, to me, completely unbeatable!!
    I think that before Heritage was released, some people were worried about the influence of others on Opeth (Steve Wilson). I think some may have already braced themselves for change, and made up their minds before hearing the album that change was not for them.
    I heard him say he never reads the shit reviews only the good ones and doesn't give a **** who likes his music because he makes it for himself. He doesn't make it for us, basically, "if you don't like it, don't listen to it". Good attitude if you ask me, at least the music is genuine and the man has the balls to do what HE wants and not be pressured to change a single fuking thing about anything he writes. I still think Deliverance is the best Death Metal record ever made.
    I have Nothing but total respect for Opeth,they are an Uber talented band.Heritage was different indeed, but the quality was true to Opeth and shouldnt be judged so harshly,anyone who has a true ear for music will enjoy that album.
    for the most part, I didn't care that much for Heritage but I sure didn't have a hissy fit over it. God damn some people are losers! :/