As the debate of "death metal Opeth vs. prog rock Opeth" still rages on on the web, frontman Mikael Akerfeldt gave an articulate explanation on why the band's vision is the only way to go.
So if you're bashing Opeth for taking the prog rock route, you should definitely read this. But even if you're not, it's still a good read.
"We get a lot of s--t for our choices musically and I've had some fans even tell me to my face, 'What are you doing? Why aren't you writing the good stuff any more?' And I'm sorry to hear that but we don't play it safe," Mikael told iHeart Guitar Blog.
"It's not like we deliberately want to be strange and f--k things up. It's almost like I'm latching on to how I've always been writing music, what I like, and I want to keep that intact. That's been intact since the first record.
"I understand the sensitive people who have loved the band but maybe don't like the new stuff, but I don't like it either for them to feel like we're turning our backs on them. We're still doing what we want to do, we're writing songs with the same process we always have, and besides, when we go out on tour we're going to play the heavy s--t they want to hear too. There's going to be a mix of material."
On whether Opeth will ever sound like on their older albums, the frontman added, "When it comes to new music that sounds like the old records, it's simply not gonna happen. We want to move on, y'know? But that's not necessarily saying we're never going to do a death metal scream."
As the interviewer compared the backlash to the criticism Pink Floyd have been getting after deciding to release a new album, Akerfeldt drew a few parallels himself, sharing some personal thoughts on "The Endless River" along the way.
"People have so many odd opinions about that. Like, referring back to us, it's like people saying it's not Opeth any more, like they have the power to decide when it's not Opeth any more because it just simply doesn't fit their idea of what we are, y'know?
"But I think that’s a bit unfair. I think people should be happy that Pink Floyd are doing a new record, and it's debatable but they should just shut up and enjoy it! If they like it or not, it is David Gilmour who has been the head of Pink Floyd since the mid '80s, and if the music features Rick Wright who passed away, why wouldn't you want to be able to listen to it? And Nick Mason's probably gonna play drums as far as I know, and Roger Waters is not gonna be angry! For me I look forward to it, very much."
As reported, the latest Opeth album, "Pale Communion," was dubbed by Akerfeldt as far more melodic than the rest of the group's opus. Focusing on vocal harmonies, the musician noted:
"A lot of metal fans might be sad to hear that I went into old man's rock territory. I was listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and I was introduced to David Crosby by Steven Wilson who played me his first solo record, and obviously he was in The Byrds and he's a master of vocal harmonies. I picked up on that and there was a time when I was writing this record where I figured I wanted to do harmony vocals all the way through. Like, only harmony vocals."
"Pale Communion" saw its release on August 25 via Roadrunner, marking the band's 11th studio effort. You can order it here.