INTERVIEW: Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt

Opeth Opeth unashamedly alienated some of their fan base with their 2011 album Heritage. While a large portion of their fans were drawn to the Swedesh masters for their progressive death metal leanings, Heritage was primarily inspired by 70s fusion in the style of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra – and there wasn’t a single death-growl to be heard anywhere. And now, with Pale Communion, Opeth has moved sideways again, a little away from some of the jazzier moments of Heritage and towards more of a 1970s progressive rock feel, while still a million miles removed from death metal. It’s an album which will challenge some fans while thrilling others, but the overall impression from a chat with frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt is that he’s driven solely by his artistry, and this is what he’s feeling right now.  Read More …

COOL GEAR ALERT: Way Huge Red Llama Overdrive

PRESS RELEASE
PRESENTING THE WAY HUGE RED LLAMA OVERDRIVE

The often imitated but never duplicated thunder of the Red Llama is back! This is not a reproduction, but a continuation of where the groundbreaking archetype left off in 1999. Every single feature that made the Red Llama so mighty is still in place, right where Mr. Huge left them.

 

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Check out my band’s reunion gig

This past Friday night my band The Upperhand reunited for a show at the Gershwin Room at the Espy here in Melbourne. We had a kickass time and guess what? We’re gonna do it again! The show went so well and the response was so good that we booked another show. The entire set is at the bottom of this post, but first, the good guitar-nerd stuff (with photos from Instagram).

For the show I used my Ibanez RG7620 7-string with DiMarzio Blaze humbuckers in place of the original DiMarzio New 7 pickups that came with the guitar. Here it is getting ready to hit the stage. Note the GHS Fast Fret and the Line 6 wireless.

And here’s my pedalboard, which includes a Line 6 Wireless, Planet Waves tuner, ISP Decimator G String noise reduction pedal, Dunlop Buddy Guy Crybaby, Boss OC-2 Octave, MXR EVH 90 phaser, Dunlop Crybaby KFK Q Zone (like a wah wah without an expression pedal), MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion, Way Huge Swollen Pickle II fuzz and an MXR/Custom Audio Electronics Boost/Overdrive. Power comes from a Gator G-Bus-8 and a Sanyo Pedal Juice. My amp is a Marshall DSL 50, and I use Planet Waves and DiMarzio cable. I kept the MXR/CAE’s boost side on all the time to give a little bit of extra kick to the Marshall’s crunch channel, and I stomped on either the ’78 Distortion, the Swollen Pickle, the Q Zone or the Overdrive side of the MXR/CAE as needed, either for leads or just to fatten everything up a bit.

And finally, the gig itself!

The setlist (and guitar solo times, because I know you’re into that kinda stuff or you wouldn’t be reading this site):

1. Hillside (guitar solo at 2:09)
2. Psycho
3. Shiraz
4. Something To Say (guitar solo at 12:35)
5. Heir In Line (guitar solo at 16:43)
6. Move On (guitar solo at 19:52)
7. Never Enough
8. MILF (guitar solos at 27:10 and 29:41).