Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt (Swedish: [ˈmîːkaɛl ˈôːkɛrˌfɛlt]; born 17 April 1974) is a Swedish musician. He is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive metal band Opeth, and the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath. He was also guitarist for the "one-off" band Steel, and is part of the collaboration Storm Corrosion with Steven Wilson.
|Born||17 April 1974|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, producer|
|Labels||Roadrunner, Candlelight, Century Black, Music for Nations|
|Associated acts||Opeth, Storm Corrosion, Bloodbath, Steel, Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Ayreon, Edge of Sanity|
Åkerfeldt is known for his progressive rock-influenced songwriting style and his frequent use of both clean baritone and growled vocals. Åkerfeldt was ranked #42 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World, and #11 among "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists" on MetalSucks.
A native of Stockholm, Mikael Åkerfeldt was the vocalist for Eruption, a death metal band which he formed in 1988 at 14 years old. After Eruption came to an end in 1990, he joined Opeth, ostensibly as a bassist. When vocalist David Isberg insisted Åkerfeldt join the band, all other members left. Isberg assumed guitar duties, and when he left Opeth two years later, Åkerfeldt replaced him as the vocalist.
Åkerfeldt revealed in September 2009 that he is contemplating recording a singer-songwriter acoustic solo album. However, in 2014 he expressed the view that he didn't have the need of a special solo project and that he can put pretty much anything into Opeth.
Åkerfeldt is a collector of obscure 1970s rock and heavy metal albums. He also tends to show his influence from these obscure bands, making reference to them in Opeth album titles such as Blackwater Park, Still Life and My Arms, Your Hearse, as well as songs such as "Master's Apprentices" and "Goblin". He is also influenced extensively by jazz, the musician Ritchie Blackmore, Magma and its founder Christian Vander, and Hideki Ishima.
When asked what the album was that 'made him a metalhead', Åkerfeldt answered that it was probably The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden, but also mentioned Lick It Up by Kiss. In a different interview he stated that he usually cites Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath as the best (and favourite) heavy metal album of all time. He also has considered Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny as his favourite metal album.
On 15 August 2003, Mikael Åkerfeldt married his longtime girlfriend, Anna. In 2004 Anna gave birth to their first daughter, Melinda. The couple had their second daughter, Mirjam, in 2007. In 2016, in an interview with The Quietus, Åkerfeldt revealed he had gone through a divorce.
Åkerfeldt is known to be friends with Steven Wilson, the frontman of one of his favorite bands, Porcupine Tree, who also produced the Opeth albums Blackwater Park, Deliverance and Damnation; Mike Portnoy, former drummer of Dream Theater (who is featured in their music video for Wither); and Jonas Renkse of Katatonia. He is also presumed to be the basis for the character Toki Wartooth from the popular cartoon Metalocalypse, as divulged in an interview with Ultimate Guitar. Åkerfeldt doesn't practice any religion and considers himself an atheist.
Åkerfeldt has almost exclusively used PRS guitars since the Deliverance/Damnation era and has his own signature model. He also occasionally uses guitars by a variety of other brands as well, including Gibson and Jackson.
Åkerfeldt uses the following electric guitars, according to the Opeth web site.
- PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt Signature Guitar
- PRS P24 (Antique White)
- PRS Custom 24 (Tortoise shell flame top)
- PRS Custom 24 (Blue Flame Top)
- PRS Custom 24 (Black Quilt)
- PRS Custom 24 (Black)
- PRS SC 245 (Black Cherry)
- PRS 22 fret Modern Eagle (Grey Flame Top)
- PRS Modern Eagle Single Cut 24 Fret (Wine Flame Matte Top)
- PRS Custom 22 12-String (Black)
- PRS Singlecut (Black Quilt)
- PRS Starla (Vintage Cherry)
- Gibson Flying V ('67 Reissue)
- Gibson Les Paul Standard V.O.S. (Tobacco Sunburst)
- Gibson SG Standard 1961 Reissue
- Fender Stratocaster 1975 (Black)
- Fender Stratocaster 1972 Reissue (Natural)
- Jackson Guitars USA RR USA Model
- B.C. Rich Mockingbird (Black)
Acoustic guitars/Steel stringEdit
Åkerfeldt uses the following acoustic guitars, according to the Opeth web site.
- CF Martin (with Fishman Pickup)
- CF Martin 00016GT
- Takamine 12 String
- Seagull (with Fishman Pickup)
- CF Martin 000-28
Acoustic guitars/Classical nylonEdit
- Amalio Burguet 3am (cedar top)
- Landola CT/2/w
Åkerfeldt uses the following amps, according to the Opeth web site.
- Orchid (1995)
- Morningrise (1996)
- My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)
- Still Life (1999)
- Blackwater Park (2001)
- Deliverance (2002)
- Damnation (2003)
- Lamentations (2003)
- Ghost Reveries (2005)
- The Roundhouse Tapes (2007)
- Watershed (2008)
- In Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (2010)
- Heritage (2011)
- Pale Communion (2014)
- Sorceress (2016)
- In Cauda Venenum (2019)
- Brave Murder Day (1996) – harsh vocals
- Sounds of Decay (1997) – harsh vocals
- Discouraged Ones (1998) – backing vocals, co-production on vocals
- Tonight's Decision (1999) – additional vocal production
- Brave Yester Days (2004) – harsh vocals (on disc 2: tracks 1–6), additional vocal production (on disc 2: tracks 6–9)
- The Black Sessions (2005) – backing vocals, co-vocal production
- Breeding Death (2000, EP)
- Resurrection Through Carnage (2002)
- The Wacken Carnage (2008, CD/DVD)
- Unblessing the Purity (2008)
- The Fathomless Mastery (2008)
- Bloodbath over Bloodstock (2011, DVD)
With Edge of SanityEdit
- Crimson (1996)
- Heavy Metal Machine (1998, EP)
With Storm CorrosionEdit
- Storm Corrosion (2012)
- Ayreon: Åkerfeldt sings the parts of "Fear" in The Human Equation, the 2004 release.
- Candlemass: Åkerfeldt performs vocals for one song on the Candlemass 20-year anniversary DVD.
- Devin Townsend: Åkerfeldt appeared as a guest vocalist for Deconstruction. He sings on the song "Stand".
- Dream Theater: Åkerfeldt performs a spoken word part in "Repentance" on their 2007 album Systematic Chaos. He also sang the second verse of the same song on its first live performance, during the Progressive Nation 2008 tour. During the same tour he also performed the growled part of the song "A Nightmare to Remember" with the band live.
- Edge of Sanity: Åkerfeldt provided vocals and guitar parts in Edge of Sanity's 1996 album Crimson, and also wrote lyrics for a song on Infernal.
- Ghost: Prequelle (2018) – acoustic guitar on the instrumental track "Helvetesfönster".
- Horrified: Åkerfeldt growls a few words on "Avatar of the Age of Horus" off of their Deus Diabolus Inversus album.
- Katatonia: Åkerfeldt sings on the 1996 album Brave Murder Day, and the three-song EP Sounds of Decay, released 1997. He also performs backing vocals on the album Discouraged Ones and was the vocal producer on Tonight's Decision.
- Ihsahn: Åkerfeldt performs on the song "Unhealer" from the 2008 album angL.
- OSI: Åkerfeldt performs lead vocals on the track "Stockholm" for OSI's 2009 album, Blood.
- Porcupine Tree: Åkerfeldt sings backing vocals on "Deadwing", "Lazarus", "Shesmovedon" and "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" and plays a guitar solo on "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" on the 2005 album Deadwing.
- Roadrunner United: Åkerfeldt performs vocals on the song "Roads" alongside Type O Negative keyboardist Josh Silver on the Roadrunner Records 25th Anniversary album Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions.
- Soilwork: Åkerfeldt performs vocals on the title track of the album A Predator's Portrait.
- Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited II (2012) – vocals on "Supper's Ready".
- "Mikael Åkerfeldt (OPETH) - When I Was A Teenage Headbanger". YouTube. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
- Mikael Åkerfeldt Archived 24 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Opeth – Official Website, Retrieved 3 June 2012
- "GUITAR WORLD's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". Blabbermouth.net. 23 January 2004. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists: The Entire List in One Place". MetalSucks. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "History of Opeth, Chapter I" Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 12 February 2012
- "History of Opeth, Chapter II" Archived 27 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 9 November 2013
- "OPETH Frontman To Record Acoustic Solo Album". Blabbermouth.net. 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "Mikael Akerfeldt: 'This Record Is More Melodic, Slightly Heavier and a Bit More Schizophrenic'". Ultimate Guitar. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Post Metal". www.stim.se. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Blake, Mark (13 August 2014). "Heavy Load: Mikael Akerfeldt". TeamRock. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Hearts Are Falling – An Interview With Katatonia's Jonas Renkse". Metalblast.net. 23 May 2016. Archived from the original on 26 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Seminal Progressive Rock Pioneers Magma Confirmed For Mikael Åkerfeldt's Curated 2014 Roadburn Event – Roadburn". Roadburn Festival. 8 October 2013. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "SPECIAL TALK SESSIONミカエル憧れのギタリストと夢の対談が実現!! - Mikael Akerfeldt / OPETH & Hideki Ishima / ex-FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND". Young Guitar (in Japanese). Shinko Music. 6 (June 2013).
- "Floris van Bommel interviews Mikael Åkerfeldt at FortaRock XL 2013". YouTube. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?". YouTube. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Chapter VIII". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Chapter IX". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Chapter XI". Archived from the original on 4 September 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Franklin, Dan (21 September 2016). "Dead Man Touring: Mikael Åkerfeldt Of Opeth Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
Although markedly different from those albums, Sorceress has something of the mood and tone of that work, driven by Åkerfeldt’s personal experience, including a recent divorce, more than a reflective, authored distance.
- Geddes, Duncan (8 November 2007). "Opeth: 'The Band Will Continue For As Long As There's Good Material In Us'". Ultimate Guitar. Archived from the original on 26 November 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
- August 2014, Mark Blake13. "Heavy Load: Mikael Akerfeldt". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
- "Opeth - Mikael Åkerfeldt & Fredrik Åkesson". prsguitars.com. PRS Artists. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "www.opeth.com" – various "Equipment" pages on the official Opeth website
- "Opeth's "Pale Communion" Coming June 17". Roadrunner Records. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Noble, Barnes &. "The Human Equation". Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "CANDLEMASS: '20 Year Anniversary Party' DVD Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Gricourt, Nicolas (31 March 2011). "DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: DECONSTRUCTION DISSECTED". radiometal.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Systematic Chaos". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Dream Theater - Repentance feat. Mikael Åkerfeldt". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) with Dream Theater". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Crimson - Edge of Sanity. Credits - AllMusic". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Infernal - Edge of Sanity. Credits - AllMusic". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Prequelle, Ghost". Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- "Horrified - Deus Diabolus Inversus - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Horrified - Deus Diabolus Inversus (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "KATATONIA - SOUNDS OF DECAY - opeth.com". Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "Tonight's Decision - Katatonia. Credits - AllMusic". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "angL - Ihsahn". Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- "Blood - OSI". Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- "A Predator's Portrait - Soilwork". Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- Biographies of Unique Musical Figures on LEBmetal.com
- Mikael Åkerfeldt at IMDb
- Opeth official website