Opeth Frontman: 'It Would Be Impossible For Metallica To Write Another 'Master Of Puppets''

Mikael Akerfeldt discusses his opinions on Metallica and current state of extreme metal music in general.

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In a recent online radio interview with Andrew Haug, Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt reached the subject of metal giants Metallica and their willingness to experiment and change their music. When asked whether he has more respect for Metallica for wanting to change their sound, the frontman started by saying that "you can't stay the same."

"It would be impossible for Metallica to write another 'Master Of Puppets'; I don't think they want to, either. Metallica is very interesting to me, because they shaped a whole new form of metal music with at least the first five records. They keep doing records... I mean, they did 'Load', they did 'Reload', and those records were f--ing hated. I'm not sure if they were hated because of the actual music or if it was hated because of their image, or whatever it was. And then they tried to kind of get back into playing faster with 'St. Anger' and 'Death Magnetic', but I guess that didn't really do it for their fans either; it didn't really do it for me, to be honest. But they're really interesting."

Akerfeldt added that he thinks Metallica is bigger than ever these days, calling his own band "a fart in the wind" compared to them. He did however find interesting that Metallica doesn't play much of the new material live, giving a more thorough explanation of his opinion.

"I've been wondering about this for quite some time: Why don't they play more new stuff live? Why do they go out and do the 'Master Of Puppets' or whatever other records that they are doing? Why don't they focus on new material? Aren't they proud of the new stuff that they do or do they just wanna please the fans? Either way, I think it's fine and it's none of my business, whatever choices they make, but I just find it interesting. Because the way we see it, obviously, we're just a fart in the wind compared to Metallica, but when we put out a new record, that's what we love the most and that's what we wanna promote and that's what we wanna play. But I remember seeing them just after 'St. Anger' came out and they had, like, a two-and-a-half-hour show, or whatever it was, and they played only one new song. And I didn't understand it. I didn't really like 'St. Anger', and I personally didn't wanna hear more songs than just a song or two from the new album, but I just found it interesting that they don't seem to stand behind their own material when they are actually on stage touring for this new album."

The frontman also reached the subject of new extreme metal, calling it dull and getting a lot of reactions from the music world community. With the full transcript of the interview now available via Blabbermouth, we can see the whole statement and a more detailed insight of his thoughts.

"'Heritage' is a record I particularly love. I think in our catalog, it's probably my favorite record. Basically, I've been getting closer to the music I listen to. I don't listen to new extreme metal. I think it's dull, I think it's s--t most of it. And I can't get impressed with bands that are fast, that play... Brutality, for me, does nothing. I've been into the whole death metal scene for ages, so it's not happening that I'm gonna be impressed by brutal music anymore. And I think metal has a new meaning to me than it did before."

"I think 'Heritage' is metal - I think it's rebellious, anyway. But a lot of people, obviously, would disagree. To a lot of people, metal is screaming vocals, double-bass drums, pretty much a computerized recording that sounds inhuman, and I think we just reacted towards that, I guess. To me, it's maybe a bold statement or whatever you call it, but in our catalog, I think, 'Heritage' is the most metal record."

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's hard to argue with him really.
    Except on the point of Metallica playing new songs live. Not quite so much after St. Anger (they played 3 songs off it when I saw them), but Death Magnetic ? They played 6 songs - "That Was Just Your Life", "The End of the Line", "Broken, Beat, and Scarred", "The Day That Never Comes", "Cyanide", and "All Nightmare Long" when I saw them. Playing 6/10 songs is not bad at all from a new album....
    Actually, they we're able to play all the songs on Death Magnetic since it was released. Though some (The Unforgiven 3, The Judas Kiss, Suicide And Redemption & My Apocalypse) we're played not as often but those rarities were some of the best songs in the album IMHO. The good thing about Death Magnetic is the energy that those songs have. They can easily blend with the other songs from the earlier albums.
    Absolutely. As I said, they played those 6 at the show I saw. I know they played the rest of them, and that made me happy.
    I guess, there is that one song we are waiting for them to play completely or at least most parts... oooEEEEo!!
    That part of the new songs not being played live its complete crap. When i saw them they played 7 Death Magnetic songs...
    In contrast to the last article, "Opeth Frontman Calls New Extreme Metal Dull", I actually really agree with him here. He makes a lot of valid points, and presents them in a very intelligent way.
    Why didn't they print the whole article last week? This explains his comments on extreme metal.
    Because at that time the interview was still recent and every metal webzine was commenting only on that quote. A few days back it was uploaded online and so it was milked further by the same webzines
    It was an online radio interview and there probably wasn't a recording or a transcript until now, so someone just got that part and made it big news. I searched for the whole interview last week and couldn't find anything
    One of the smartest things I read here in a while
    Take a band like Machine Head as an example, the song "a farewell to arms" is a roller coaster ride that starts off soft and builds and builds until it kicks the shit out of you. That song is heavy and fast but the fact that it starts slow and soft gives huge contrast so that you can appreciate the difference. If its all just blazing fast chords and screams down tuned to 'negative' a flat its going to all start sounding the same and become very dull. You can't have a sonic assault with only one frequency. No boxer throws only right handed upper cuts. It's too predictable and he would loose. That's why there are guitars and bass' to cover the range that the other doesn't. 'Master of Puppets' Arpeggio section and 2 voice solo to bridge the first and second half pummelings. It's the contrast that shows just how heavy the heavy is.
    This. The things is that (extreme) metal has become more popular and therefore more saturated. There's too many bands out there, so it's harder to pick out the creative innovative extreme metal-ers. *Contrast* is an important musical element, and while metal has definitely showed contrast, (scream vs. sing, riff vs. solo, other simple contrasts, etc.) there hasn't really been any *new* or *innovative* contrast lately, or at least its buried somewhere in a sea of endless metalcore, djent, others, etc.
    Opeth > Metallica
    opeth(2013)>metallica(2013), In the eighties they popularized and revolutionized a new genre of music, most of their new music to me sounds like the a more generic boring version of the modern metal I like (of course it's pretty flattering that modern metal has picked up on their sounds so much, and we've all seen how the fans react when they try to change their sound). I appreciate metallica greatly and they have influenced more music than these guys could ever hope to influence but as of right now I have much more to be excited about with a release from a younger band such opeth thats still ready to innovate than some old superstars well past their creative prime.
    I'm not sure why Metallica does it that way. I mean I think that they have such a huge catalog of material that they really want to give the fans things that they want to hear like Master of Puppets, One, or Fade to Black. I think they do appreciate the new music they make, but they want to give people the classics.
    Sewage Rat
    'a computerized recording that sounds inhuman' He has so been brainwashed by Steven Wilson (not necessarily a bad thing though)
    Thank you UG, finally the whole statement about that "dull" extreme metal thing. I can say that I agree with him now.
    Whatever his reasoning, if he's going to continue in the style of Heritage, his songwriting in that genre better get good FAST. That album went nowhere.
    It's great to see the comment from last week in its true context. Much respect to Mikael!
    Most bands steer away from playing new songs once they are outside their prime.