Mikael Åkerfeldt

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Mikael Åkerfeldt
Mikael Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Leipzig – November 2012
Background information
Born (1974-04-17) 17 April 1974 (age 42)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboard
Years active 1988–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
Notable instruments
PRS Guitars

Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt (born 17 April 1974)[1] 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,[2] and #11 among "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists" on MetalSucks.[3]


Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Wacken Open Air in 2006.

Mikael Åkerfeldt revealed in September 2009 that he is contemplating recording a singer-songwriter acoustic solo album.[4] 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.[5] In an interview on STIM magazine he reveals that one of the highlights of his career was the performance in Royal Albert Hall.[6]

Early life[edit]

A native of Stockholm, Mikael Åkerfeldt was the vocalist for Eruption, a death metal band which he formed in 1988 at 14 years old.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9][10] 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[1] as well as Magma and its founder Christian Vander.[11]

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.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Based upon lyrical content and comments he has made it is widely speculated that Mikael Akerfeldt is an atheist.[9] 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.[9] In 2016, in an interview with The Quietus, Akerfeldt revealed he had gone through a divorce.[13]

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.[10] 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.[14]

Mikael Åkerfeldt with Opeth at Ruisrock 2008 in Turku, Finland.


He has almost exclusively used PRS guitars since the Deliverance/Damnation era and has his own signature model.[15]

Electric guitars[edit]

Åkerfeldt uses the following electric guitars, according to the Opeth web site.[16]

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

Acoustic guitars/Steel string[edit]

Åkerfeldt uses the following acoustic guitars, according to the Opeth web site.[16]

  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[edit]

  1. Amalio Burguet 3am (cedar top)
  2. Landola CT/2/w


Åkerfeldt uses the following amps, according to the Opeth web site.[16]

  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[edit]

with Katatonia[edit]

with Bloodbath[edit]

with Edge of Sanity[edit]

with Steel[edit]

with Storm Corrosion[edit]



  1. ^ a b Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth – Official Website, Retrieved 3 June 2012
  2. ^ "GUITAR WORLD's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". Blabbermouth.net. 23 January 2004. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists: The Entire List in One Place". MetalSucks. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "OPETH Frontman To Record Acoustic Solo Album". Blabbermouth.net. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mikael Akerfeldt: 'This Record Is More Melodic, Slightly Heavier and a Bit More Schizophrenic'". Ultimate Guitar. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Post Metal". www.stim.se. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "History of Opeth, Chapter I" Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 12 February 2012
  8. ^ "History of Opeth, Chapter II" Opeth Official Website, Retrieved 9 November 2013
  9. ^ a b c Blake, Mark (13 August 2014). "Heavy Load: Mikael Akerfeldt". TeamRock. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Hearts Are Falling – An Interview With Katatonia's Jonas Renkse". Metalblast.net. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "Floris van Bommel interviews Mikael Åkerfeldt at FortaRock XL 2013". YouTube. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Geddes, Duncan (8 November 2007). "Opeth: 'The Band Will Continue For As Long As There's Good Material In Us'". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  15. ^ "Opeth - Mikael Åkerfeldt & Fredrik Åkesson". prsguitars.com. PRS Artists. 
  16. ^ a b c "www.opeth.com" – various "Equipment" pages on the official Opeth website
  17. ^ "Opeth's "Pale Communion" Coming June 17". Roadrunner Records. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  18. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "The Human Equation". 
  19. ^ "CANDLEMASS: '20 Year Anniversary Party' DVD Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  20. ^ Gricourt, Nicolas (2011-03-31). "DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: DECONSTRUCTION DISSECTED". radiometal.com. Retrieved 2016-03-29. 

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