If it wasn’t for guitar player Fredrik Åkesson, I might never have given Opeth a fair chance. See, I always thought that Opeth were a full-blown death metal band and I don’t really do death metal, it’s one of the few subgenres in hard rock that I really can’t stand. Since I have known Åkesson for many years now, even before he joined Talisman back in 1993, and since I only knew Opeth by name, I was, of course, interested in the band he had just joined. Åkesson had just been outed from Arch Enemy when band leader Michael Amott decided that he wanted to bring back his brother Christopher Amott who Åkesson had replaced not that long before. So, in 2007, Opeth guitarist Peter Lindgren decided to jump the ship and Åkesson was chosen as his replacement. I must admit that my first reaction was: “oh no, a death metal band…” but I decided to see what Opeth were all about and downloaded their 2005 album Ghost Reveries – and boy, was I floored. Sure, there were death metal in there, growling and all the works, but there was also a more progressive side and a softer and more melodic one to the band – and the mix really spoke to me. Yes, Opeth were special, with a sound that was their own and song writing skills beyond most bands in the more extreme genres. Today I’m a proud owner of every Opeth album – except for their debut Orchid (1995) that I still find too much death metal for my taste – and I’m a big fan of that band. So thank you Fredrik for joining that band and giving me yet another musical challenge to beat. Since their 2008 masterpiece Watershed, Opeth has changed their style pretty big. Gone are all the death metal and growling, making the band a real prog outfit. Heritage (2011) and Pale Communion (2014) are both albums that digs back into the 70’s and the prog rock from that era. This is a change that has been causing a lot of debate around Opeth fans – some loves it and some hates it – and even though they might lost some fans, my belief is that they have gained even more out of it. Personally, I’m a bit divided – I really love their later albums but at times I do miss the heavy and aggressive parts, I mean, as I said, it was the mix of the two that got me into the band in the first place.