OPETH main songwriter and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt recently spoke to MetalReview.com about the drummer Martin Lopez's anxiety attacks, which caused him to miss a few dates on the band's recent North American tour. "We had to cancel a few shows and we feel very bad about that so we decided we were going to be very open with it," Mikael said. "[Martin] basically suffered panic attacks and anxiety attacks and severe depression from working too hard and touring so much. It got to the point where he called me up the day before the first scheduled Jordan gig saying that he couldn't go and he was just a wreck. So we took some rest before this gig and then the same thing happened when we went to Frankfurt where we had a connecting flight to Canada and he said he couldn't go, he had to go home and we had to support him with that. He went back home, we missed 3 gigs. Well, he missed them, we did the gigs anyway with our drum tech and Gene Hoglan [STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DARK ANGEL]. He went to a psychologist and they did tests on him and it's actually some stuff in his blood that makes his heart beat faster and that's the reason why he's been depressed. Now he's getting medication and I think the biggest breakthrough for him was knowing what it was because he was literally going insane. And he was seriously thinking that maybe he'd have to leave the band and he was scared that we would fire him. But from Seattle, which was the first gig on this tour, he was back and I think he's happier now because he knows we've been doing this for such a long time and it's like a rejuvenation for him in a way to be back."
Mikael also commented on the recent online controversy surrounding DEVILDRIVER's addition to the OPETH North American tour over KATAKLYSM, who many people — including KATAKLYSM themselves — thought were a far better fit. "I like them," he said of DEVILDRIVER. "I've never heard them before, but like everybody I kind of had my mind made up about them before, but they were nothing like that. They're more of, I would say, a death metal band, and all the shit they're getting I think is pretty much uncalled for. People just slag them off because of Dez Fafara's past in COAL CHAMBER, and it's a shame and it's hard for them. At some gigs people are like 'Fuck Off' and 'You Guys Suck', and regardless if you don't like a band you just don't do that stuff at shows. I think they're great people and a tight, brutal band. KATAKLYSM, that thing I never got the offer for them to tour with us so I didn't know. All of sudden there are fights and stuff but I didn't know they were supposed to tour with us."
Read Mikael's entire interview with MetalReview.com at this location.