MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT Reflects On OPETH Classic Blackwater Park - "A Cross Between Death Metal, Black Metal And Jazz Chords"

July 8, 2021, 3 weeks ago

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MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT Reflects On OPETH Classic Blackwater Park - "A Cross Between Death Metal, Black Metal And Jazz Chords"

Swedish legends Opeth are celebrating two decades of Blackwater Park. The 20th Anniversary Edition of the album launches on July 16 via Music For Nations.

Frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt spoke with MusicRadar about the upcoming release, and you can read an excerpt from the chat below...

MusicRadar: The way you make them flow aligned with the idea you were writing a lot of this music in your head is going to be mind blowing to a lot of people. And though Blackwater Park is a natural evolution from Still Life in a lot of ways, did you still feel you were hitting a purple patch as a writer with this record?

Åkerfeldt: “It was [an evolution]. On the first two records I’d been doing single string riffs where I’d come up with a melody and then I had Peter [Lindgren, guitarist] play a counter single string riff to play these harmonies like Iron Maiden or Thin Lizzy, and Wishbone Ash we’d listen to a lot at the time. We’d been doing that for some time and got fed up with it. Also the Swedish scene at the time had kind of exploded with twin guitars. I felt like it’s a bit old hat so I wanted to move away. It became more chord-based riffs, which kind of brings out more a natural aggressive sound when you play six string chords, basically.

“So it was a bit of a cross between death metal, black metal and jazz chords. I was always fascinated by jazz chords but I couldn’t read sheet music and there was no YouTube where I could learn how Wes Montgomery played guitar and that kind of stuff. So I had to make up my own chords basically. And that’s what I did.    

“I’ve been thinking about my own musicality a lot. Because I get that question, ‘Why did you write that stuff? How did you come up with that stuff?’ And the simple answer is I don’t really know how I write. If I’m working for something for a TV series, for instance, and I play a chord progression on the guitar or on the piano, I hear a melody and I try it out. Most of the time it kind of works and I don’t really know where that comes from. It’s certainly not musical education because I don’t have any. It must be a combination of my musical interests and my hate for musical barriers.

"I consume so many different types of music and I hear things in so many kinds of music that I like that I must store them somewhere. So it’s a combination of that and my own sound I guess. In short, I don’t know how I come up with riffs, good or bad.”

Read the complete interview at MusicRadar.

Special edition Blackwater Park double vinyl, t-shirts, merchandise and bundles are available for pre-order via the band's official webshop and at Music For Nations.

Music For Nations: "The reissue comes lovingly pressed onto heavyweight, audiophile approved vinyl, with a variety of deluxe finishes, and housed in a gatefold artwork sleeve, with updated liner notes and acknowledgements. The deluxe variants, including a hardcase CD, come furnished with an updated artwork booklet complete with new liner notes, never seen before memories from the band, and exclusive content provided by the Opeth fanbase. It remains a must for Opeth enthusiasts, completists and casual listeners alike."

Blackwater Park is Opeth's fifth studio album , released on March 12th, 2001. 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. This contributed to a shift in Opeth's musical style. The songs "The Drapery Falls" and "Still Day Beneath the Sun" were released as singles. Although Blackwater Park did not chart in North America or the UK, it was a commercial breakthrough for the band and is often considered their masterpiece.


"Leper Affinity"
"The Drapery Falls"
"Dirge for November"
"The Funeral Portrait"
"Patterns In The Ivy"
"Blackwater Park"

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