Due to "family concerns," EXODUS guitarist Lee Altus will be unable to join his bandmates on their European tour this summer. Filling in for him will be Brandon Ellis of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER.
Earlier today, EXODUS released the following statement via social media: "EXODUS regretfully announce that Lee Altus will not be joining us on our upcoming European tour. Family concerns dictate he remain close to home and being so far away from home is not possible. EXODUS stand strong with Lee and will destroy in his behalf, and he will rejoin us for the upcoming tours such as the fall leg of 'The Bay Strikes Back'. We stand behind our brother in everything and he will be back! Joining us on this trek is none other than Brandon Ellis of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER so let’s welcome him like one of the EXODUS family! Brandon is one of the sickest guitarists alive and he is going to kill it for certain! See you soon in Europe and the UK!"
Brandon added: "I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to get on stage with the legendary dudes of EXODUS and crush some open air fests and clubs this July and August. I wish Lee the best and will cover his stage right post with honor and respect!"
EXODUS is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Persona Non Grata", which came out last November via Nuclear Blast Records.
"Persona Non Grata" was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap. For the third time in the band's history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
"Persona Non Grata" is the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
Last July, EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach. He rejoined his bandmates on stage in October at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California.
EXODUS tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada in August and at Full Terror Assault in Cave In Rock, Illinois in September while Hunting was recovering from surgery. Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band's albums "Impact Is Imminent" (1990) and "Force Of Habit" (1992).
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $114,000 — including $5,000 from Tom's former EXODUS bandmate, current METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett, and $1,500 from FOZZY singer and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho.