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Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt Picks His 10 Favorite Metal Albums

KEVIN RC WILSON
KEVIN RC WILSON

In the past month, we’ve been learning the top ten favorite metal albums from some of our favorite musicians thanks to Rolling Stone. Up to this point, we’ve gotten perspectives from Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor, Slayer‘s Kerry King, Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows, and a lot more. Today, they’re bringing the top ten favorites of Opeth guitarist and vocalist Mikeael Akerfeldt.

Akerfeldt picks a diverse lineup of records, ranging from the obscure to the popular. He opens his list with the obscure Lucifer’s Friend’s Where The Groupies Killed the Blues. Of why he chose the album, he wrote, “This album is so complex. I still haven’t gotten my head around it, and I’ve owned it for 25 years. And I’ve played it a lot, and it’s still so complex to me, but it’s also a beautiful record. Very heavy record, and a very dark record, and completely ahead of its time. And I picked this record because the first [Lucifer’s Friend album] is much easier to get into. That’s like the German answer to the first Black Sabbath record, or the first couple of Led Zeppelin records. It’s a fantastic record, but I picked this because it’s so crazy. This deserves much more attention.”

He follows things up with Deep Purple‘s Stormbringer as well as Yngwie Malmsteen‘s masterful Rising Force. His pick in the No. 7 slot is Entombed‘s incredible Left Hand Path, an album by his Swedish countrymen. He points out how the album would really define the band, saying, “It’s just a phenomenal death-metal record. And touching upon what I said earlier, I’m looking for something unique and something like an identity of their own. They really had that, and it was just very inspirational and influential to find yet another band that had a sound that was completely their own type of sound. But like I said, there were so many bands that tried to copy what they did: They bought the same guitars, the same pedals, recorded in the same studio, they wrote their songs in similar ways. I think Entombed were basically kind of leading the way for Scandinavian death metal in those days, and for a few years on, actually. And that all started with this record.”

King Diamond‘s Them follows things up, inspiring Akerfeldt due to its complex story and vocal/instrumental work. He then brings up Morbid Angel‘s Altars of Madness as one of his stepping stones to extreme music, and his “first genuine love.” And while he doesn’t completely consider them a heavy metal band, he picks Led Zeppelin II for being a varied trip.

His top three records kick off with Rainbow‘s Rising, an album that showcased the power of Ronnie James Dio and the rest of the group. Akerfeldt said, “I’m a sucker for Ronnie Dio, so, the three Dio records and the live album that they did. But Rising, obviously, it’s got ‘Tarot Woman,’ it’s got ‘Stargazer,’ which is, like, the biggest masterpiece of hard rock, one of those. It’s up there with ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and those types of songs.”

His penultimate pick is Judas Priest‘s Sad Wings of Destiny for showing hints of progressiveness and Rob Halford‘s amazing vocal work. Akerfeldt’s number one pick is Black Sabbath‘s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath which he says, “It’s just a fantastic record. There’s not a weak second on it. All the songs, they put [them] in the perfect order. Great sound, great heaviness. It’s got the acoustic things. … It’s just a timeless piece of music that I will listen to till I die basically. It will still sound new then.”

You can read Akerfeldt’s full explanations at Rolling Stone, and see his full top ten below.

Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt’s Top 10 Metal Records of All Time

10. Lucifer’s Friend, Where the Groupies Killed the Blues (1972)
9. Deep Purple, Stormbringer (1974)
8. Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Rising Force (1984)
7. Entombed, Left Hand Path (1990)
6. King Diamond, Them (1988)
5. Morbid Angel, Altars of Madness (1989)
4. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II (1969)
3. Rainbow, Rising (1976)
2. Judas Priest, Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
1. Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

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