Mikael Åkerfeldt

BIOGRAPHY – Mikael Åkerfeldt

Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt a native of Stockholm, Sweden, was born on April 17, 1974. He is best known for being the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth. As well as the lead singer of death metal band Bloodbath.

At a young age Åkerfeldt had a undoubted love for music. Around age 7 his grandmother gave him his first guitar, a classical acoustic “Levin”, Along with a couple of chord books. First songs learned were, House of the Rising Sun, and some Beatles songs. In his teen years he worked at an acoustic guitar shop, where he spent time learning various instruments. It was here that he began to develop his unique finger picking style.

In 1988 he became the vocalist for Eruption, a death metal band he formed. After Eruption came to an end in 1990, Mikael joined Opeth, originally as a bassist. Then eventually taking over as lead singer two years later after David Isberg left the band.

Coming to prominence with Opeth and assuming all creative roles, Mikael had new members join, and they signed with Candle Light Records, giving them a three year album deal. They then began to record their debut album “Orchid” in ’94, followed by, “Morningrise” 1996, “My Arms your Hearse” ’98, “Still Life” ’99, “Blackwater Park” 01, “Deliverance” ’02, “Damnation” ’03, “Ghost Reveries” ’05, and “Watershed” in ’08. Early in 2011, Opeth hit the studio to start recording a new album, due out this fall with Road Runner Records.

Mikael is an expert and a huge collector owning over 4,000 of obscure progressive and psychedelic rock and heavy metal albums which influence his style and making reference to them in Opeth album titles such as, “Blackwater park”, “Still Life”, and “My Arms your Hearse”.

Åkerfeldt style of song writing and playing, beautifully demonstrates brilliant songs that manifest into lengthy and elaborate master pieces, with elements of dark melodic passages and progressive death metal creating their distinct sound. Combining styles of heavy metal, symphonic/psychedelic rock, blues, and jazz, which a lot of comes from his influences; Morbid Angel, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Death, Entombed, Ritchie Blackmore of (Deep Purple), Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Michael Schenker, Ingwie Malmsteen, The Beatles, The Zombies, King Crimson, Scorpions, Carlos Santana,  and his “Idol” David Coverdale of Whitesnake, along with countless others.

Opeth has been said to be our generations “Pink Floyd”, but it is unquestionable they are a sound entirely of their own.

Mikael also plays guitar on many different albums with many different artist, including; Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, Ihsahn, Sorskogen, Steel, Road Runner Records 25th anniversary album ” Road Runner United: The All Star Session”, as well as appearing on Devin Townsend’s upcoming album “Deconstruction” on the song “Stand”, as well as many others.

Mikael and Peter Lindgren were ranked #42 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarist of All Time by GuitarWorld. As well as ranking 9th place in the book “Top 100 Heavy Metal Guitarist”.

He is also known for being the basis character Toki Wartooth from the popular heavy metal cartoon Metalocalypse.

Mikael Åkerfeldt’s Gear consists of:

Electric Guitars:
1. PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt Signature Guitar
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)

Acoustic Guitars/Steel Strings:
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)
2. Landola CT/2/w

1. Laney GH100L with cabinet
2. Laney VH100R
3. Laney VC30
4. Fender 1000 Rocpro
5. Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra preamp / effects processor