Mikael Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Leipzig – November 2012
17 April 1974 |
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboard|
|Labels||Roadrunner, Candlelight, Century Black, Music for Nations|
|Associated acts||Opeth, Storm Corrosion, Bloodbath, Steel, Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Ayreon|
Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt (born 17 April 1974) is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being 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.
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 along with Peter Lindgren, and #11 among "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists" on MetalSucks.
Career and biographical details
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 performed the death vocals on Katatonia's album Brave Murder Day and Sounds of Decay EPs.
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." He is also influenced extensively by jazz, the musician Ritchie Blackmore as well as Magma and its founder Christian Vander.
On 15 August 2003, Mikael Åkerfeldt married his longtime girlfriend, Anna Sandberg. On 13 September 2004, Anna gave birth to a daughter whom they named Melinda. The couple had their second daughter, Mirjam Ebba Maria Åkerfeldt, on 28 October 2007.
Åkerfeldt is known to be friends with Steven Wilson, the frontman of one of his favorite bands, Porcupine Tree; Mike Portnoy, former drummer of Dream Theater (he 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.com.
Mikael 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. In an interview on STIM magazine he reveals that the highlight of his career was the performance in Royal Albert Hall. 
Åkerfeldt uses 3 different tunings: E Standard, Drop D and Open D minor 9 (D-A-D-F-A-E). He has almost exclusively used PRS guitars since the Deliverance/Damnation era and has his own signature model.
Åkerfeldt uses the following electric guitars, according to the Opeth web site.
- Jackson Guitars USA RR USA Model
- PRS Custom 24 (Tortoise shell flame top)
- Gibson Flying V ('67 Reissue)
- PRS Custom 24 (Blue Flame Top)
- PRS Custom 24 (Black Quilt)
- PRS Custom 24 (Black)
- PRS SC 245 (Black Cherry)
- Fender Stratocaster 1975 (Black)
- Fender Stratocaster 1972 Reissue (Natural)
- Gibson Les Paul Standard V.O.S. (Tobacco Sunburst)
- B.C. Rich Mockingbird (Black)
- PRS 22 fret Modern Eagle (Grey Flame Top)
- PRS Modern Eagle Single Cut 24 Fret (Wine Flame Matte Top)
- Gibson SG Standard 1961 Reissue
- PRS Custom 22 12-String (Black)
- PRS Singlecut (Black Quilt)
- PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt Signature Guitar
- PRS Starla (Vintage Cherry)
Acoustic guitars/Steel string
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 nylon
- Amalio Burguet 3am (cedar top)
- Landola CT/2/w
Åkerfeldt uses the following amps, according to the Opeth web site.
- Marshall Vintage Modern 2466
- Laney GH100L with cabinet
- Laney VH100R
- Laney VC30
- Fender 1000 Rocpro
- Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra preamp / effects processor
- Marshall JCM900
- 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)
- 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)
- Heavy Metal Machine (1998, EP)
with Storm Corrosion
- 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 and to date only live performance, during the Progressive Nation 2008 tour. He also performed the growled verse of their 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.
- 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 albums Discouraged Ones and 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 sings cleanly 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 – Official Website, Retrieved 3 June 2012
- "GUITAR WORLD's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 27 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists: The Entire List in One Place. MetalSucks. Retrieved on 6 January 2014.
- "History of Opeth, Chapter I" Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 12 February 2012
- "History of Opeth, Chapter II" Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 9 November 2013
- "Seminal Progressive Rock Pioneers Magma Confirmed For Mikael Åkerfeldt's Curated 2014 Roadburn Event – Roadburn". Roadburn Festival. Retrieved 17 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Floris van Bommel interviews Mikael Åkerfeldt at FortaRock XL 2013. YouTube
- "Opeth: 'The Band Will Continue For As Long As There's Good Material In Us'", interview by Duncan Geddes. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
- "OPETH Frontman To Record Acoustic Solo Album". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 27 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "There's no need for me to create some type of solo project in order to fulfill my dreams as a musician". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 28 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- PRS Artists. prsguitars.com
- "www.opeth.com" – various "Equipment" pages on the official Opeth website
- "Opeth's "Pale Communion" Coming June 17". Roadrunner Records. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Biographies of Unique Musical Figures on LEBmetal.com
- Mikael Åkerfeldt at the Internet Movie Database