Interview: Mikael Åkerfeldt(Opeth)
Interview Mikael Åkerfeldt(Opeth): Orchid/Morningrise/My Arms, Your Hears/Still Life/Blackwater Park/Deliverance/Damnation. Mikael Åkerfeldt interview February 2004.

Chapter VII and VIII from the Book of Opeth

 I had started to write for what was becoming “Deliverance” and “Damnation”.
I was kinda jaded and didn’t really feel like writing, didn’t have any inspiration at all.
I wanted to write heavy music, something heavier than we’d ever done, still I had all these great ( I thought) mellow parts and arrangements which I didn’t want to go to waste.
My best friend, Jonas of Katatonia, heard my moans…”What shall I do?” He’s the one who came up with the idea of doing 2 albums…one heavier, one mellow.
The idea wasn’t brand new as our former label Candlelight, and Lee Barret had sown the seed after we did “Morningrise”, although that idea was more based on doing a single, all mellow album. Not two albums. Anyways, this was so exciting that I more or less decided that this is what we gonna do. I decided even before asking the rest of the band, that’s how excited I was. When I eventually told them about these plans, all of them we’re into the idea. When I told the label however, there was a little more talking involved to get them interested.
Basically I had to lie somewhat…saying that we could do this recording very soon, it won’t cost more than a regular single album + it will be fantastic. We didn’t even bother to negotiate the contract. These two albums count as one album in the contract, so we only got funds and advances for a single album. Are we crazy? Maybe stupid? Yes, I believe so, but we have a sincere devotion for music an for doing experiments, so money is never an issue.
Them “lies” I told actually came true eventually. We did record both albums during 7 weeks, which is what we spent on doing “Blackwater park”. I had heaps of material already…I’d been writing for a long time at home.


I got a lot of help from my new “toy”, a Boss BR-8 digital studio. Well, studio….it’s a 8 track thing I bought off Dan Swanö. Anyways, if it wasn’t for this device there probably wouldn’t have been any more albums at all.  
As most of you know by now, the 4 of us see the recordings of "Deliverance" and "Damnation" as the toughest test of our history. We wrapped everything up in the studio in the early fall of 2002.
Andy Sneap and Backstage productions had been booked for mixing and mastering. Peter and myself went down there just days after we came back home. I remember being so tired that I virtually just came in there, gave Andy the hard drive that contained the album, said something like: "Mix it!" and then went to sleep on the couch. I was in a terrible state...all of us was tired, but I was the only one who'd been working basically 24/7.
The other guys in the band had been able to take some time off, go home etc. Sneap started mixing and everything went fine. He's credited as a "saviour" in the sleeve as he surely saved much of the recording. "Deliverance" was so badly recorded, without any organisation whatsoever… some sounds we're dirty, and some instruments, like the hi-hat, didn't have a microphone of it's own at all.
He had to get it out of the overhead microphones. Anyway, he probably did loads of tricks we don't even know about, basically I don't wanna know. Everything came out fine in the end, and we've now put it behind us.

by Mikael Åkerfeldt

Read the Book of  Opeth at

1995 Orchid

The band released their first album 'Orchid' in the summer of 1995.


01. In The Mist She Was Standing [14.09]
02. Under The Weeping Moon [09.52]
03. Silhouette [03.07]
04. Forest Of October [13.04]
05. The Twilight Is My Robe [11.01]
06. Requiem [01.11]
07. The Apostle In Triumph [13.01]

- What do you think about your debut album, 'Orchid' ?
'Great debut I think. We were prepared and had been rehearsing the songs for years. It's a bit naive and sometimes I can't believe what I've written, but it's good all the same.'
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
' "Under the Weeping Moon" is a cool track...the middle part is really psychadelic for being a death metal band in 1994.'
- Any anecdotes /special memories from the recording sessions? 
'I vomited during the mix due to too much booze the day before. I missed a lot of the mix but it sounded good. We were also chased from the pub by a huge drunk woman who were throwing bottles after us.'

1996 Morningrise

Opeth's second album, 'Morningrise', was released in the Autumn of 1996.

01. Advent [13.46]
02. The Night And The Silent Water [11.00]
03. Nectar [10.09]
04. Black Rose Immortal [20.14]
05. To bid you farewell [10.57]

- Comments about your second album, 'Morningrise' ?
'Many fans say it's our best. It's unique I think for a metal band, but my least favourite Opeth album due to the sound. It's absolutely bollocks! The snare is the worst I've heard + the guitars are really mosquito like! Good album but not my fave!'
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'"To bid you farewell". is the best song on there I believe.'
- Any anecdotes /special memories from the recording sessions? 
'Our bassist at the time was bragging about how good he was in chess.
We played that a lot during the recording. He said he'd been studying chess strategies.
Everyone of us beat him!'

1998 My Arms, Your Hearse

'My Arms, Your Hearse' was recorded in 1997 and released in the spring of 1998

01. Prologue [00.59]
02. April Ethereal [08.41]
03. When [09.14]
04. Madrigal [01.25]
05. The Amen Corner [08.43]
06. Demon of the fall [06.13]
07. Credence [05.26]
08. Karma [07.52]
09. Epilogue [03.59]
- and what about your third album 'My Arms, Your Hearse'?
'One of our best Cd's! Cold and dark album. It's truly a one of a kind recording! The muddy sound is maybe not so great but perfect for the atnosphere of the album'
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'All of them, but "Amen Corner" and "When " are great! I like all song on that album!'
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions? 
'Lopez was using a pile of porn mags for pillow, and he slept on the floor of the toilet for 2 weeks.
Don't ask me why!
There were several fights and outburst. Very troubled recording, but it went alright in the end!'

1999 Still Life

Still Life, released in October 18, 1999.

01. The Moor [11.28]
02. Godhead´s lament [09.47]
03. Benighted [05.01]
04. Moonlapse Vertigo [09.00]
05. Face Of Melinda [07.59]
06. Serenity Painted Death [09.14]
07. White Cluster [10.02]

- Feelings about your fourth studio album , 'Still Life' ?
Fantastic album. Very emotional and melodic but also our most technical album.
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'"The Moor", "Melinda". are fantastic songs I think. Again I like all of them!
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions? 
'We signed the new record deal (Peaceville/MFN) in the studio wearing shades. It was recorded in the old Nacksving studio.'
 Hazelnutz favourites :: 'The Moor', 'Face of Melinda' and  'White Cluster'

2001 Blackwater Park

Released March 12, 2001

01. The Leper Affinity [10.23]
02. Bleak [09.16]
03. Harvest [06.01]
04. The Drapery Falls [10.54]
05. Dirge For November [07.54]
06. The Funeral Portrait [08.44]
07. Patterns In The Ivy [01.53]
08. Blackwater Park [12.08]

- This is one of my favourite records by Opeth, your feelings about it ?
'This is our breakthrough album so to speak. It did many good things for us. Deservedly so as it's indeed a very good album. Some of my best songs I feel!
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'"Bleak", "Blackwater Park" are probably the standout tracks on there.
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions? 
'I didn't shower for 14 days, I put my socks in the faces if the other guys.'

Hazelnutz favourites : 'Bleak, 'Harvest' and  'The Drapery Falls'

2002 Deliverance

Released November 4, 2002

01. Wreath [11.10]
02. Deliverance [13.36]
03. A fair judgement [10.24]
04. For absent friends (Instrumental) [2.17]
05. Master's apprentices [10.32]
06. By the pain I see in others[13.51]

- and what do you think about 'Deliverance' ?
'Bad memories about the recording but the album is good!'
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'"Deliverance". is the best song I've written I think!
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions? 
'No good memories!'

 Hazelnutz favourites:'Deliverance', 'A Fair Judgement' and  'By the Pain I See in Others'

2003 Damnation

'Damnation' released in April, 2003

1. Windowpane [7:45]
2. In my time of need [5:49]
3. Death whispered a lullaby [5:49]
4. Closure [5:15]
5. Hope leaves [4:30]
6. To rid the disease [6:21]
7. Ending credits [3:39]
8. Weakness [4:10]

- and what do you think about your, uptodate, latest album, 'Damnation' ?
'Our best album in a way but it's so different than the others you can't really compare!'
- Favourite Song(and why)? 
'"Windowpane" and "Hope Leaves".
- Any anecdotes/special memories from the recording sessions? 
'Not really...don't remember so much...I was working so hard I got consumed by work and didn't really have any perspective on what really was going on.'

Opeth Live 2003 at Klubben, Sweden
Opeth Links 

Opeth Official Site