Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt Talks Swedish Metal Scene, Rise of Ghost, and More

The veteran metal band kicks off a North American tour in February


Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt

    Opeth released the stellar new album In Cauda Venenum last year, landing on our list of the Top 30 Metal + Hard Rock Albums of  2019.

    We spoke with Mikael Åkerfeldt about the album in Part 1 of our video interview with the Opeth frontman. During that same conversation, as seen in Part 2 above, he also discussed the Swedish metal scene and the rise of his country mates Ghost.

    When we interviewed Johannes Eckerström of the Swedish metal band Avatar last year, he had mentioned that there were social safety nets in place in Sweden that allowed for young people to pursue the arts. “In Sweden, you have time to try some different things,” he told us. “I think for Swedish parents, [they] usually see their kids like, ‘Yeah, you want to be a musician, cool, go for it, kid.’ It’s supportive on a state level and family level.”

    Åkerfeldt, however, felt that was a generational thing, and that he didn’t have the same experience as a young musician in Sweden. “My parents were like, ‘Oh my god. Put your hobby aside, and get a real job,'” he recalled. But he did add that “they liked that I was interested in music.”


    Having trouble viewing the video above? Watch on YouTube.

    The Opeth frontman appeared on a track on the most recent album from Ghost, and we wanted to get his take on the phenomenon that surrounds his fellow Swedish metal act. Åkerfeldt is good friends with Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge, and told us, “[When] I saw them play, I was like, ‘This is gonna be big, gonna be massive.'” He added, “Tobias, he’s a great musician, but also, he doesn’t have a 5-year plan, he’s got a 10-year plan.”

    As to why there’s so many great metal bands to come out of Sweden, Åkerfeldt points to one moment as a major influence on young musicians in the country. Watch the video above for that story and his further thoughts on the aforementioned topics.

    Opeth will kick off a North American tour on February 13th in Cleveland, with tickets available at the band’s website. See the dates below, and pick up Opeth’s latest album, In Cauda Venenum, via Nuclear Blast Records.


    Opeth 2020 North American Tour Dates with Graveyard:
    02/13 – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
    02/14 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
    02/15 – Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
    02/17 – Worcester, MA @ Palladium
    02/18 – Montreal, QC @ Mtelus
    02/19 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
    02/21 – New York, NY @ Apollo Theater
    02/22 – New York, NY @ Apollo Theater
    02/23 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
    02/25 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
    02/26 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
    02/28 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
    02/29 – Dallas, TX @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
    03/01 – Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
    03/02 – Denver, CO @ The Mission Ballroom
    03/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium

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