This week’s featured Mikael Åkerfeldt! Born Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt on April 17th 1974, he is a Swedish musician best know as the lead vocalist, guitarist, primary songwriter, and only continuous member of progressive metal band Opeth.

Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical, and jazz influences into its usually lengthy compositions, as well as strong influences from death metal, especially in their early works. Many songs include acoustic guitar passages and strong dynamic shifts, as well as extreme vocal characterization. Opeth is also well known for their incorporation of Mellotrons in their work.

Åkerfeldt is notorious for being a completely self-taught guitarist, to this day never having learned proper note, scale, chord, or modal theory. He has developed his own particular style of playing which has perhaps influenced some of Opeth’s distinctive sound qaulitities. (We of course still recommend you learn things properly – Mikael is one in a million!)

Åkerfeldt has almost exclusively used PRS guitars since 2002 and has his own signature model. He was ranked #42 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World, and #11 among “The Top 25 Modern Metal Guitarists” on the website MetalSucks. 

Check out this live version of Opeth’s rainy-day song Windowpane from their 2003 acoustic album Damnation! We’ve also included a tab of how to play it – please note it’s in 3/4 timing with a capo on the second fret.

What’s your favourite Opeth song? Do you prefer their death metal days or are you happier with their journey into progressive metal? We’re currently offering Video Conference Lessons if you want to chat with a professional about famous artists!

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