Opeth Announce New Drummer as Replacement for Martin Axenrot

Music

There’s been a shakeup in the metal world over the past week and it involves a couple of veteran metal bands. Earlier this week, drummer Waltteri Väyrynen exited his longtime spot behind the kit in Paradise Lost, but he was only without a job publicly for a couple of days as Opeth have just announced him as their new drummer.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Väyrynen was exiting Paradise Lost, with Guido Montanarini from Strigoi prepared to take over the newly vacant drum seat. Väyrynen penned a letter of thanks to the band, management, crew and fans, adding that his exit came without bad blood or drama and that he still considers his bandmates friends and will continue to look forward to the direction they head musically.

His full statement can be read below:

Dear fans and friends,

I’m sad to announce that I’m leaving my position as the drummer of Paradise Lost. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m insanely proud to have been a part of this legendary band’s history, playing hundreds of shows across the globe and recording the last two studio albums.

It needs to be emphasized that my decisions involves absolutely no bad blood or drama whatsoever and I will forever consider the guys in the band my friends and I’m gonna miss them all dearly.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Nick, Greg, Steve, Aaron, the management and the crew for everything and making me feel like home for the past 7 and a half years. Last but not least; thanks to the fans around the world for your support over the years. It means everything to me!

I wish the band all the best in their future endeavors and I’m looking forward to hearing which direction they are heading next.

As for myself, I guess you’ll hear from me soon, so this is not a goodbye.

Cheers everyone!

But, as stated, Väyrynen wasn’t out of work for long as Friday (Sept. 9) he was announced as the new drummer for Opeth, taking over the vacancy left by Martin Axenrot. The drummer exited the group in November 2021, and Therion drummer Sami Karppinen had been filling the void in his absence, but Mikael Akerfeldt was seeking a more permanent replacement with Väyrynen now ready to step in.

Opeth’s statement on their new drummer addition can be read below:

We are pleased to announce that the new drummer in Opeth is no other than Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost, Bloodbath, Bodom after midnight). Walt will take on his duties effective immediately and will play his first show with the band in Tallinn/Estonia on September 14, 2022. He will replace stand-in drummer Sami Karppinen who has been the temporary replacement for Martin Axenrot since the fall of 2021.
The band are currently in rehearsals for the upcoming tour. Mikael comments:
”We just had our first rehearsal with Walt yesterday and it went incredibly well! We were all very nervous beforehand, but Waltteri completely killed it! Pure delivery! We went through 16 songs (!) from start to finish and didn’t have a single correctional comment. It’s quite remarkable! I was astounded, and so were the rest of the band. He has everything, really. From the required laid-back sensitivity an Opeth drummer needs, via the classic rock, prog rock, metal grooves and onwards to downright mega-intricate technical virtuosity. On top of that, he knows the songs extremely well (already) both from the recorded versions as well as the sometimes modified live versions. We were hearing drum rolls and beats that we hadn’t heard since the songs were recorded. The audience is certainly up for plenty of air-drum moments connected to their favourite Opeth songs. Walt has got it down, to put it mildly.
On top of everything, Waltteri is an awesome bloke. Genuine. Super nice. Funny. And young! He was born the same year we recorded our debut album, ”Orchid”. Imagine that!
We very much look forward to going on the road together with him. Create new music together. Play all over the world. And to provide a musical future together with us. This is no small feat for a band 32 years of age. I’m very, very excited about him joining us, and I hope that our audience will embrace him with open arms.
I’d also want to take this opportunity to thank Sami for saving our asses when we most needed saving. If it hadn’t been for his efforts, friendship and care we’d probably been ”on ice” as we speak. We’re furthermore happy to keep Sami as part of the Opeth family. His contribution to Opeth is beyond words, and he’ll continue to help make our performances as good as possible. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Sami!”
Mikael Åkerfeldt, September 2022

Opeth have two tour legs set for Europe and the U.K. this fall. See dates and get tickets for the run here.

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