Mikael Åkerfeldt

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Mikael Åkerfeldt
14-06-08 RiP Opeth Mikael Akerfeldt 1.JPG
Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Rock im Park 2014
Background information
Born (1974-04-17) 17 April 1974 (age 46)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1988–present
Labels Roadrunner, Candlelight, Century Black, Music for Nations
Associated acts Opeth, Storm Corrosion, Bloodbath, Steel, Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Ayreon, Edge of Sanity
Website opeth.com

Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt (Swedish:  [ˈmîːkaɛl ˈôːkɛrˌfɛlt] ; [1] born 17 April 1974) [2] 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.


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 , [3] and #11 among "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists" on MetalSucks. [4]


Akerfeldt with Opeth at Wacken Open Air in 2006. MikaelAkerfeldtWOA2006.jpg
Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Wacken Open Air in 2006.

A native of Stockholm, Mikael Åkerfeldt was the vocalist for Eruption, a death metal band which he formed in 1988 at 14 years old. [5] 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. [6] 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 their EP Sounds of Decay .

Åkerfeldt revealed in September 2009 that he is contemplating recording a singer-songwriter acoustic solo album. [7] 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. [8]

In an interview on STIM magazine, he revealed that one of the highlights of his career was Opeth's performance at the Royal Albert Hall. [9]


Åkerfeldt is a collector of obscure 1970s rock and heavy metal albums. [10] [11] 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, [2] Magma and its founder Christian Vander, [12] and Hideki Ishima. [13]

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. [14] 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. [15]

Personal life

On 15 August 2003, Mikael Åkerfeldt married his longtime girlfriend, Anna. [16] In 2004 Anna gave birth to their first daughter, Melinda. [17] The couple had their second daughter, Mirjam, in 2007. [18] In 2016, in an interview with The Quietus, Åkerfeldt revealed he had gone through a divorce. [19]

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. [11] 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. [20] Åkerfeldt doesn't practice any religion and considers himself an atheist. [21]


Åkerfeldt has almost exclusively used PRS guitars since the Deliverance/Damnation era and has his own signature model. [22] He also occasionally uses guitars by a variety of other brands as well, including Gibson and Jackson. [23]

Electric guitars

Åkerfeldt uses the following electric guitars, according to the Opeth web site. [23]

  1. PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt Signature Guitar
  2. PRS P24 (Antique White)
  3. PRS Custom 24 (Tortoise shell flame top)
  4. PRS Custom 24 (Blue Flame Top)
  5. PRS Custom 24 (Black Quilt)
  6. PRS Custom 24 (Black)
  7. PRS SC 245 (Black Cherry)
  8. PRS 22 fret Modern Eagle (Grey Flame Top)
  9. PRS Modern Eagle Single Cut 24 Fret (Wine Flame Matte Top)
  10. PRS Custom 22 12-String (Black)
  11. PRS Singlecut (Black Quilt)
  12. PRS Starla (Vintage Cherry)
  13. Gibson Flying V ('67 Reissue)
  14. Gibson Les Paul Standard V.O.S. (Tobacco Sunburst)
  15. Gibson SG Standard 1961 Reissue
  16. Fender Stratocaster 1975 (Black)
  17. Fender Stratocaster 1972 Reissue (Natural)
  18. Jackson Guitars USA RR USA Model
  19. B.C. Rich Mockingbird (Black)

Acoustic guitars/Steel string

Åkerfeldt uses the following acoustic guitars, according to the Opeth web site. [23]

  1. CF Martin (with Fishman Pickup)
  2. CF Martin 00016GT
  3. Takamine 12 String
  4. Seagull (with Fishman Pickup)
  5. CF Martin 000-28

Acoustic guitars/Classical nylon

  1. Amalio Burguet 3am (cedar top) [ citation needed ]
  2. Landola CT/2/w


Åkerfeldt uses the following amps, according to the Opeth web site. [23]

  1. Marshall Vintage Modern 2466
  2. Laney GH100L with cabinet
  3. Laney VH100R
  4. Laney VC30
  5. Fender 1000 Rocpro
  6. Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra preamp / effects processor
  7. Marshall JCM900


With Opeth

With Katatonia

With Bloodbath

With Edge of Sanity

With Steel

With Storm Corrosion


Related Research Articles

Opeth Swedish progressive metal band

Opeth is a Swedish progressive metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1989. The group has been through several personnel changes, including the replacement of every single original member. Lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth's primary driving force since the departure of original vocalist David Isberg in 1992. Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works. Many songs include acoustic guitar passages and strong dynamic shifts, as well as demonic vocal characterization. Opeth is also well known for their incorporation of Mellotrons in their work. Opeth rarely made live appearances supporting their first four albums, but since conducting their first world tour after the 2001 release of Blackwater Park, they have led several major world tours.

Bloodbath Swedish death metal supergroup

Bloodbath is a Swedish death metal supergroup from Stockholm, formed in 1998. The band has released five full-length albums, two EPs and two DVDs depicting their performances at Wacken Open Air and Bloodstock Open Air. The group comprises Martin Axenrot (Opeth), Anders Nyström (Katatonia), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) and Nick Holmes.

<i>Blackwater Park</i> 2001 studio album by Opeth

Blackwater Park is the fifth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on March 12, 2001 in Europe and a day later in North America through Music for Nations and Koch Records. The album marks the first collaboration between Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson and the band, as Wilson had been brought in to produce the album, which led to a considerable shift in Opeth's musical style.

<i>Orchid</i> (album) 1995 studio album by Opeth

Orchid is the debut studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth, released on 15 May 1995 in Europe by Candlelight Records, and on 24 June 1997 in the United States by Century Black. It was reissued in 2000 with one bonus track called "Into the Frost of Winter", an early unproduced rehearsal recording by the band. The recording sessions occurred at the old Unisound studio, in Finspång with production by Opeth alongside Dan Swanö. The band did not record a demo to get signed to a record label. Lee Barrett, the founder of Candlelight Records, enjoyed an Opeth rehearsal tape, and decided to sign the band. The album received critical acclaim.

<i>Morningrise</i> 1996 studio album by Opeth

Morningrise is the second studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on 24 June 1996 in Europe by Candlelight Records and on 24 June 1997 in the United States by Century Black. The recording sessions took place at Unisound studio, in Örebro, during March and April 1996, and once more the band used producer Dan Swanö. Morningrise was the last Opeth album produced by Swanö. It was also the last Opeth release with drummer Anders Nordin and bassist Johan De Farfalla.

Katatonia Swedish metal band

Katatonia are a Swedish metal band formed in Stockholm in 1991 by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström. The band started as a studio-only project for the duo, as an outlet for the band's love of death metal. Increasing popularity led them to add more band members for live performances, though outside of the band's founders, the lineup was a constantly changing, revolving door of musicians throughout the 1990s, notably including Mikael Åkerfeldt of the band Opeth for a period. After two death/doom albums, Dance of December Souls (1993) and Brave Murder Day (1996), problems with Renkse's vocal cords coupled with new musical influences led the band away from the screamed vocals of death metal to a more traditional, melodic form of heavy metal music.

Peter Lindgren (musician)

Peter Lindgren is a Swedish musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former guitarist of Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth.

Martín Méndez

Martín Méndez is an Uruguayan Swedish Bassist of progressive death metal band Opeth and second longest serving member of the band, behind lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt.

<i>Ghost Reveries</i> 2005 studio album by Opeth

Ghost Reveries is the eighth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on August 29, 2005. It was their first album after signing with Roadrunner Records, and first album since Still Life (1999) to not be produced by Steven Wilson.

Johan De Farfalla is a Swedish bass player. He is the former bassist of seminal Swedish metal band Opeth.

Jonas Renkse

Jonas Petter Renkse is a founding member, songwriter, lead vocalist and ex-drummer of the band Katatonia, founding member, songwriter, bassist, backing vocalist, ex-guitarist (2004) of the band Bloodbath. He was also the founding member, drummer, vocalist, guitarist & songwriter of the band October Tide.

<i>Brave Murder Day</i> 1996 studio album by Katatonia

Brave Murder Day is Katatonia's second full-length album, released in 1996 by Avantgarde Music.

<i>Sounds of Decay</i> 1997 EP by Katatonia

Sounds of Decay is a three-song EP released by Katatonia in 1997. The front cover is a screenshot of a decrepit god, taken from the movie Begotten.

Martin Axenrot Swedish death metal drummer

Erik Martin "Axe" Axenrot is a Swedish death metal drummer. Known for his intricate playing style, Axenrot is currently the drummer for the bands Opeth and Bloodbath. His drumming has been highly praised by Opeth members and fans, with Mikael Akerfeldt calling him "a joy to play with." Axenrot has also been jokingly referred to as The Lord of the Rings character Legolas by band members and fans.

Fredrik Åkesson

Karl Fredrik Henrik Åkesson is a Swedish heavy metal guitarist. He is a current member of Opeth. He is also active in Krux, Monsters of Metal and Talisman.

Opeth discography

The discography of Opeth, a Stockholm, Sweden-based progressive metal band, consists of thirteen studio albums, four live albums, three box sets, three video albums and seventeen singles.

<i>Watershed</i> (Opeth album) 2008 studio album by Opeth

Watershed is the ninth full-length studio album by the Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. Released by Roadrunner Records, Watershed is the first studio album by Opeth to feature guitarist Fredrik Åkesson and drummer Martin Axenrot, who replaced longtime guitarist Peter Lindgren and drummer Martin Lopez. The artwork for the album was made by Travis Smith in collaboration with Mikael Åkerfeldt. The album is currently the band's last studio album to contain death growls or any death metal elements.

Storm Corrosion was a musical collaboration between Mikael Åkerfeldt of Swedish progressive metal band Opeth and Steven Wilson, an English solo artist and frontman of the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. Åkerfeldt and Wilson began a longstanding musical partnership in 2001 when Wilson produced Opeth's fifth studio album Blackwater Park. The two began writing together for a new project in 2010, releasing their self-titled only studio album on May 8, 2012 through Roadrunner Records.

<i>Heritage</i> (Opeth album) 2011 studio album by Opeth

Heritage is the tenth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on 14 September 2011 through Roadrunner Records. The album was recorded in early 2011 at Atlantis Studios in Stockholm and produced by Mikael Åkerfeldt, engineered by Janne Hansson, and mixed by Steven Wilson. It takes on a full-fledged progressive rock sound, something the band had wanted to do for some time. It is a stark contrast to the progressive metal and death metal sounds of their past albums.


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