Norway's ENSLAVED have parted ways with guitarist R. Kronheim following the band's UK tour in March, according to an official statement from the group.
"Upon returning from their UK tour in March 02, all four members agreed that the situation within the band needed serious evaluation," mainman Ivar Bjoernson said. "As a result, all four members agreed that R. Kronheim should leave. It is important to stress the fact that R. Kronheim was part of the vote in favor of his own departure. No particular reason for this can or needs to be pointed out, as everything else this sudden and surprising action came as an end to a chain of more or less significant events. True to ENSLAVED's own agenda and philosophy, remaining members of the collective Dirge Rep, Grutle Kjellson and I. Bjoernson chose to see it as a necessary change rather than a loss. And changes give birth to new ideas and new worlds."
ENSLAVED will reportedly not seek a permanent replacement for Kornheim at this time, and will instead utilize session members Arve (guitars) and Oyvind (keyboards) for all future live performances.
In other news, ENSLAVED have commenced work on the follow-up to last year's Monumension, and will enter Grieghallen studios in September to record the album for an early 2003 release. Among the cuts set to be included on the as-yet-untitled CD are "Queen of Night" and "Horns".