Opeth have parted ways with longtime drummer Martin ‘Axe’ Axenrot. In a Facebook post (seen below), Opeth revealed that a “conflict of interests” is the reason Axe will no longer work with the group.

Axenrot was the longest serving drummer of Opeth’s career, playing on every album from 2008’s Watershed to 2019’s In Cauda Venenum. Altogether, Axe anchored Opeth from 2005 to 2021, being promoted from a touring member to a full-time member in 2006.

“Due to a conflict of interests, Martin Axenrot is no longer part of the Opeth collective,” an official statement reads. “His replacement for the North American tour with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor will be powerhouse drummer Sami Karppinen. His first show will take place today (November 16) at Harrah’s Cherokee center in Asheville, NC.”

Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt adds, “However sad it is to not 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 soldier on. Needless to say, we’re incredibly thankful that Sami is helping us out, making this tour possible and 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 endeavors. 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…”

Opeth’s tour with Mastodon and Zeal & Ardor is currently traveling through North America. For the full list of dates, click here.

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