Opeth split with drummer Martin Axenrot at start of US tour

Martin Axenrot onstage
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Opeth have parted company with longstanding drummer Martin 'Axe' Axenrot. The surprise announcement comes on the day the band begin their US tour along with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor. Full dates below.

Axenrot's replacement for the tour has been named as fellow Swede Sami Karppinen, who is also the drummer with prog metal band Therion.

The Opeth statement reads: "Due to conflict interests, Martin Axenrot is no longer part of the Opeth collective. His replacement for the North American tour with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor will be powerhouse drummer Sami Karppinen. His first show will be today (November 16) at Harrah's Cherokee Center in Asheville NC."

Mikael Akerfedt added: "However sad it is not to have Axe in the band anymore, we're not in a position to linger on anything that is going to hold us back. We need to solider on. Needless to say, we're incredibly thankful that Sami is helping us out, making this tour possible at all. On top of that, he's quite outstanding, really!

"All of us wish the best for Axe in all and any of his future endeavours. He has been an incredibly important part of the band for many years now and we're all heartbroken it didn't work out in the end. But that's life, I guess..."

Axenrot joined Opeth in 2006, replacing then-drummer Martin Lopez. he featured on the albums Watershed, Heritage, Pale Communion, Sorceress and In Caude Venenum.

Mastodon and Opeth 2021 tour with Zeal & Ardor

Nov 16: Asheville ExploreAsheville.com Arena, NC
Nov 18: Boston Wang Theater, MA
Nov 19: Albany Palace Theatre, NY
Nov 20: New York City Hammerstein Ballroom, NY
Nov 21: Washington Anthem, DC
Nov 23: Nashville The Ryman Auditorium, TN
Nov 24: Atlanta The Eastern, GA
Nov 26: Austin ACL Live, TX
Nov 27: Dallas Southside Music Hall, TX
Nov 28: Houston Smart Financial Centre at Sugarland, TX
Nov 30: Mesa Mesa Amphitheater, AZ
Dec 01: Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium, CA
Dec 02: Oakland Fox Theater, CA
Dec 04: Salt Lake City Union, UT
Dec 05: Denver Mission Ballroom, CO 

Tickets are on sale now. 

Mastodon/Opeth tour poster

(Image credit: Live Nation)
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.