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Opeth Guitarist Grateful For Lucky Break

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2009

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Frederik Akesson felt at loose ends when his two-year stint with the band Arch Enemy came to an end in 2007.

“We got back from a tour, and I was asked to leave because Chris (Amot), the guy I replaced, wanted to come back to the band,” recalls the Swedish guitarist. “So I was like, ‘... what am I gonna do now?’ ”

He didn’t have to wait long. A monthand-a-half later, Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth called with an offer to join the Swedish metal group, which Akesson, 36, considered a dream job.

“I was quite a big fan, so it was extracool to be asked,” he says. “I was overwhelmed.” But, he learned, there was also a great deal of work to put into his new position.

“I joined the band in the writing process for (its latest album) ‘Watershed,’ but first of all I had to learn the whole back catalog,” says Akesson, who also plays in the groups Talisman, Krux and Monsters of Metal. “I had to practice a lot and learn a lot of music, but it was fun. It was a lot of work, but it was fun and ... pretty easy, because I liked he material so much.”

Akesson also got to make his mark on “Watershed,” co-writing the track “Porcelain Heart.” The album debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 chart when it came out a year ago, Opeth’s best showing to date on these shores. And Akesson says the group can feel its popularity growing as it plays its live shows.

“We did the ‘Progressive Nation’ tour with Dream Theater before we released the album,” Akesson notes, “so that helped, too. We got to play bigger arenas, (for) bigger crowds. And we tour all the time, so more and more people find out about us. The crowds are definitely getting bigger, and they know more of the songs each time, so we’re headed in the right direction.”

Opeth and Enslaved perform at 7 p.m. Sunday (May 24) at Clutch Cargo’s, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18.50 in advance, $22 day of show. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit www.clutchcargos.com.

Web Site: www.clutchcargos.com

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