OPETH’S AKERFELDT On Opening for MORBID ANGEL in 1996 ‘They Blasted Us Away In a Couple of Seconds.’

Mikael Akerfeldt

I could enroll thousands of stories about opening acts versus main bands. Some of them would be nice, others would be a shame. This one with Opeth was a shame, and it is Opeth’s frontman Mikael Akerfeldt who says it. He told Total Guitar how was it to open for Morbid Angel in 1996. Read it here:

“We supported Morbid Angel on this tour, on this show[that ended up being released as ‘Entangled in Chaos’], if I remember correctly.”

“We had put out our second album ‘Morningrise’ [in 1996] and it was our second overseas run, so we were very green but also a little bit cocky. In those days, we thought we were on to something unique – and yeah, in hindsight I think we were because we didn’t sound like other bands.”

“We were playing with, yes, my favorite death metal band of all time, but we thought they were old f*cks because we were younger and had this new sound.”

“It was like Iron Maiden opening for KISS in 1980. KISS were on the way down and Maiden just had their debut come out. That’s how we felt… we would crush them. I’m ashamed and blushing to admit it, but that’s how we felt.”

“And they blasted us away in a couple of seconds. We had ‘Morningrise,’ which sounded like distorted medieval minstrel music, and they started with ‘Dawn of the Angry’ *hums riff*.”

“We couldn’t believe it and felt embarrassed… how could we think we were any kind of competition for them?! David Vincent’s vocals were on top form. Trey Azagthoth was like a spider bending over his guitar doing these weird riffs. Pete Sandoval had to take pauses during their brief intros in order to stretch and get ready for the next blast beat.”

“It put us back in our place, which was very good in retrospect. That recording summarizes them that their peak – the end of that string of four amazing records [MA’s first four albums: 1989’s ‘Altars of Madness,’ 1991’s ‘Blessed Are the Sick,’ 1993’s ‘Covenant,’ and 1995’s ‘Domination’] before David Vincent left the band [in 1996] and, as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t the same after.”

“It was a swansong, to a certain extent… and what a swansong! The mixing of it was totally wild, too; the records were tighter and compressed with everything in order, this was like a cross between that control and their early demo tapes. It was glorious. I still put it on every now and then.”