Opeth: 'Progressive Metal's Doing Quite Well Today, a Lot of It Has to Do With Dream Theater'

Prog is coming back to the foreground, frontman Mikael Akerfeldt agrees.

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Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeld shared an optimistic stance about the current state of prog music, attributing a lot of its popularity today to Dream Theater.

Chatting with Team Rock after receiving the Metal God award at this year's Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards, Mikael acknowledged that prog is coming back to the foreground these days.

"I think Dream Theater has a lot to do with that," he said. "When they came out in the early '90s, they spawned a lot of bands, younger guys who started playing. We were a death metal band at the time."

Explaining how he ultimately started to find his way around the prog genre, Mikael praised DT as the band that had successfully merged the progressive rock vibe with the heavy edge.

Asked to name a single musician he would name a God, Akerfeldt instantly replied, "Ritchie Blackmore," calling Deep Purple axeman his own idol. "If he walked into this venue, everybody would be like, 'That's Ritchie Blackmore.' He is a God, for real," the frontman said.

During the rest of the chat, Mikael also talked about his kids, who happen to be fans of One Direction and Justin Bieber. More details in the video below.

The new Opeth release, "Pale Communion," is set for August 26 release via Roadrunner Records. Full details here.

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27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm not a Dream Theater fan (LaBrie's voice is rather grating to my ears) but I have to say, I completely agree, they have been a huge influence on progressive metal today and as a proghead myself I'm glad that the genre is becoming increasingly popular, because the genre is so broad that there's something for everyone.
    Agreed. Cheesy as **** with a dreadful vocalist and some of the worst lyrics ever written but they've definitely had an impact. Helps that they can absolutely tear it up.
    Screw the downvotes. I'm a big DT fan and completely agree with your post, though James has grown on me.
    It's kind of tragic that most people see LaBrie as the weakest member of the band who only stands around shaking a tambourine. LaBrie was an excellent vocalist before he got food poisoning. I don't know if he's recovered nowadays but back in the 90's LaBrie was full of power, energy, dynamics and control. The stuff he sang up in the fifth octave was some of the best I've heard from any singer. He wasn't just a great singer but he was a good frontman as well. If you watch any videos of him pre-food poisoning, you can see how much he's enjoying himself on stage: playing with the crowd, improvising vocal phrases etc. I'd recommend listening to the albums Live at the Marquee and the Mahattan '93 bootleg as examples of Labrie in his prime.
    I saw them a couple of years ago and the thing that most surprised me was how good LaBrie sounded live, and comparing to some videos from older gigs, he's definitely improved.
    Don't forget the majority of their songs are little more than "LOOK WHAT I CAN DO" wank put together with as little thought to song writing as possible. Definitely a big impact on Progressive Metal, though, hence why it's such a hit-and-miss genre. Might as well just listen to Psychotic Waltz all day if you want Prog.
    Listen to their CD Awake. Labrie was incredible on that album. At some point later he ate a pepper or something and it screwed up his voice. Couldn't make that up!
    People call DT extremely cheesy and what-not; but I always thought Scenes from a Memory/Metropolis was brilliant.
    For me it's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, I can literally listen to that album 5 times a day.
    Whenever someone uses the word "cheesy" as serious criticism with no other argumentation, I know to not take them seriously.
    Scenes From a Memory is indeed brilliant. It's beyond brilliant. I think it's a masterpiece. Same with the second disc to Six Degrees or the song Octavarium. Their musical ideas mixed with conceptual ideas has created some amazing music.
    It's quite refreshing to hear some truth when the cool thing to do recently is saying they're "wankery" (which is about as true as calling Pink Floyd death metal if you have the slightest clue about their discography). But then, Mikael is generally very smart.
    Plain and simply, anyone who describes Dream Theater as 'wankery' or 'LOOK AT WHAT I CAN DO' clearly does not have a good understanding of Musical Composition or any particularly adept skills in Musical Analysis. The band constantly demonstrates coherent structuring, development, and originality within the foundation of their roots. If you don't like them, then certainly nobody has the right to say that you should, but don't bash something just because your mind personally can't get a firm grasp of understanding on it. Thumbs up for Mikael Akerfeld for giving them the respect they deserve.
    There is no need for any musical knowledge to understand that really, they have a ton of songs which easily and completely crush such stupidity. The Spirit Carries On or even the famous Pull Me Under, from the most known, and I could probably try to find the character limit for comments on this site if I tried to list only all the most obvious examples.
    Im actually quite grateful to Petrucci and the guys...i dont even like them one bit but like metallica did for the thrash scene (pantera later also) thats exactly what DT did to prog...and oh my do i love me some Haken,OPeth etc etc
    For gods sake why do all Radio-type presenters have to be like her in that video. God I cant stand it. That over-enthusiastic, trying to make EVERYTHING sound whacky and fun approach they have. Urgh. But anyway, yeah I agree, I cant stand Dream Theatre even though I love most prog, I just cant get into them. But I cant deny they have helped the scene in only very positive ways.
    Radio personalities are that way because it keeps listeners attentive. You have to be able to hear their enthusiasm because you can't normally see it.
    Well, Dream Theater is influential but Opeth is innovative as ****. Mikael deserved that title.
    Don't dig the vox. The few prog. metal bands I've heard seem to have a similar vocal style. Plus it's too light for my tastes. Respect to DT members tho for having a rep. for technical excellence, as well as being an influential band. Prog. metal? Give me progressive DEATH metal any day, like our man Mikael and his superb band Opeth. \m/