Opeth's Axenrot named top prog drummer

Opeth’s Martin Axenrot has been named the best prog drummer of the year.

Readers of Rhythm magazine voted the Swedish sticksman tops in 2014, ahead of multi-act player Mike Portnoy, Devin Townsend Project’s Ryan Van Poederooyen and Neil Peart of Rush.

Axenrot has been acclaimed for his work on Opeth’s eleventh album Pale Communion, launched this year. The band followed the released with an appearance at Download and a UK tour.

Rhythm say: “Swedish powerhouse Martin put in another outstanding performance on Pale Communion. His jazz touch within such heavy music help make him a master at his art.”

Runner-up Portnoy appeared five albums this year including titles by Transatlantic, Bigelf, Paul Gilbert, Flying Colors and Haken.

Third-place finisher Van Poederooyen played on Townsend’s double-album Z2. The group will play three UK dates in March before returning to perform the project in its entirety next April at the Royal Albert Hall. Pear and Rush have just confirmed a run of re-releases to mark their 40th anniversary, with new work planned for next year.

Rhythm readers’ top prog drummers

1. Martin Axenrot, Opeth

2. Mike Portnoy, Big Elf, Flying Colors, Winery Dogs, Haken

3. Ryan Van Poederooyen, Devin Townsend Project

4. Neil Peart, Rush

5. Matt Halpern, Periphery

6. Danny Carey, Tool

7. Matt Garstka, Animals As Leaders

8. Gavin Harrison, Porcupine Tree

9. Jay Postones, Tesseract

10. Steve Judd, Karnivool