SUSPERIA vocalist Athera (real name: Pal Mathieson) remains under close observation at Akershus Universitetssykehus Hospital in Lørenskog, Norway following his heart attack last week. The singer has been diagnosed with a previously undetected genetic disorder that will require the replacement of three narrowed arteries and three heart valves. He will undergo a triple heart bypass operation through open heart surgery on Monday, March 16. Meanwhile, he is being kept on heavy doses of medication to keep his blood thin and his heart rate down.
Though in a serious, but stable condition, a highly spirited and medicated Athera, speaking from his hospital bed, sent the following message: "Hey everyone out there in the metal universe — friends and strangers. Thanks for all your messages of support. I'm lying here in the hospital reading them all and it's really nice to see that so many of you have taken the time to send them — it's overwhelming. I've had a big shock and it's not something I would want anyone to experience. You know, I always wanted to hit the headlines — but not in this way!!! Looks like the SUSPERIA curse has hit again, a new album and tour on the way and one of us complicates it all. But damn it we will never let anything stop us — ever!! Even if death itself comes knocking and believe me it did. I am undergoing open heart surgery this Monday to replace some broken valves and veins, and then this metal heart will beat once again. The doc(tor) says I'll be back stronger than ever. I will have to spend a long time in the hospital, but it's not that bad. You should see the nurses taking care of me. Could be worse. Looking forward to getting back up and on the road again. Sorry for the shows that I'm not going to be able to do. I will make it up to you guys. You all make me stronger, I am truly grateful."
Future plans for SUSPERIA remain mixed. However, the band has confirmed the postponement of Norwegian dates, which were set for April. Their U.K. tour in May with BREED 77 will go ahead at the insistence of Athera himself. He has urged the band not to let their U.K. fans down and to look at finding a replacement vocalist.
The release of SUSPERIA's next studio album is still set for early summer, as planned, through the band's new label, Candlelight Records. Full details will be announced shortly.