Mikael Akerfeldt on 20 years of Opeth's Blackwater Park: "I was bitter and beaten down – I didn’t have much hope for us. All I knew was I liked the music I’d written"

Photo of Mikael AKERFELDT and OPETH
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Widely regarded as one of the greatest progressive metal records of all-time, 2001’s Blackwater Park was the album that saw Opeth step out of the underground and into the limelight, establishing themselves as one of the most exciting prospects in heavy music.

More stylistically diverse than the four albums preceding it, with a crisper sonic clarity courtesy of Steven Wilson’s production treatment, its eight sprawling tracks showcased the wild breadth of singer, guitarist and leader Mikael Åkerfeldt’s imagination – then just 26 years old.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).