Interview With Opeth's Peter Lindgren
Interview by Keith McDonald
Death metal pioneers Opeth have returned with a more aggressive, brutal offering of
epic proportions, Deliverance, via Koch Records. Their second release, and sixth overall,
through the Koch/Music For Nations venture, finds the Swedish thrashers expanding their
horizons musically. After the more commercially acceptable Blackwater
Park, Opeth return
to their death metal roots. The band has made a name for themselves since emerging from
the metal scene in Stockholm in 1990. I had the opportunity to speak with Peter Lindgren
while he was in New York City, who filled me in on the band and its newest metal
Do you find it harder for European metal acts like yourself to break in North
America where fans are so fickle?
Were not sure whats going on in N. America because its so far away.
N. America is bigger than all of Europe. Its probably harder, I guess.
How would you compare European metal bands to that of N. American bands? Is there
much of a difference?
Music-wise there is a difference. In the U.S. its more of people having one
direction, wider perspective and range. A different approach than in Europe, I think.
Nu-metal is really big in the U.S. while in Europe its one of several things to do
Speaking of the two scenes, how would you compare the two?
I think for us we have a good fanbase in N. America. Its a bit separated in
Europe, good in some countries and not so good in certain countries. I think for us we
have an equal fanbase. I think weve been just breaking ground in N. America where as
in Europe its been building up for some time.
How would you describe your music?
Considering we have screaming vocals, I would say its pretty extreme. Its
like heavy metal but its still progressive, diverse and dynamic. You can call it
several types of genres, I think. Id say its really diverse, extreme metal.
I think a lot of people feel that death metal is all the same with fast beats and
screaming vocals. What would you say to this stereotype?
Death metal, its a genre. But still it could be more. Were not just a death
metal band - were more than that. I think if youre into death metal its
more than screaming vocals and double kick drums. If youre really into extreme metal
than death metal is extreme.
After listening to the new album I noticed that even though the material is fast and
extreme, it does have tastes of some type of commercialism, especially with the guitars.
Was that the idea or something that came naturally?
I think this material is heavier than Blackwater Park but I think there are commercial
aspects or parts. I havent done it from a commercial point of view, its just
we like the music and like to incorporate certain genres into our music. I would say
Deliverance is a non-commercial album and more aggressive.
That leads me to my next question. What is the major difference between Blackwater
Park and Deliverance?
Blackwater Park, production and songwriting-wise, was easier to get into, more like a
hit record from our point of view. This Deliverance album is heavier and more aggressive
and darker, music-wise and production-wise.
How much creative control did you have on this album, and how did it help?
We booked the studio and had to do everything ourselves. The only thing we didnt
do was put the microphones on the equipment. This is the album where we has the most
input, but that wasnt our intention. We didnt mean to or want to do it on our
own. We had to trust ourselves. Its not a good thing because its a risk we had
to take. It could have turned out bad at the end of the day.
Do you think that death metal has a ceiling as to how high it can go, and a band can
only sell a certain amount of records? Or could a band from your genre break like
If you asked me five years ago I would have said no. Metallica is a good example.
Nobody thought they would break as they did. But death metal has been around for so many
years. People have trouble with the screaming vocals and I think thats the main
problem besides the heaviness. If you look at nu-metal its breaking everywhere
because they dont scream.
You are songs are of epic proportions. You pretty much guarantee yourselves little
or no airplay from radio. Was that the idea?
I think we made the decision when we started the band. We chose the artistic freedom to
do what we want. Long songs are what we are paying for now. If we wrote pop songs
wed sell five times as many records. This is all about being in a band that we enjoy
doing music we really love. I think weve lost something commercially but weve
also gained something on the other side.
With the Internet, are there more outlets for death metal?
A couple of years ago there were no college radio stations that played our music.
Its getting bigger. Its expanding all over the States.
How has the Music For Nations label change from Candlelight affected the band? I see
youve gained some momentum since leaving. Do you agree?
Candlelight was an underground label that was good for us to start with. They really
took care of us, but they were limited. Once Music For Nations took over, things started
happening. It was good for us to change at that time. We had been around for awhile and
have a fanbase already. Has we been still on Candlelight we wouldnt be here today,
still be in Sweden playing small clubs. I think Music For Nations is the perfect label for
Would you ever consider moving to a major label the way Cradle of Filth did?
I dont know. We still have our contract with Music For Nations. Unless somebody
comes in and buys out the contract. I cant see it happening unless we sell a
shit-load of records.
What are the tour plans and will you hits S. America?
The tour plans are being drawn. Were gonna do a world tour that will include S.
America for the first time. Not sure when, portably next year. Weve been offered
shows from every country in S. America including Equador and Bolivia. I cant promise
anything because Im not sure.
Band Website: www.opeth.com
Label Website: www.music-for-nations.com