Guitarist Ralph Santolla has officially left ICED EARTH and joined SEBASTIAN BACH's solo band. "There are several reasons for this decision, and for the moment I will keep them to myself," Santolla writes in a statement sent to BLABBERMOUTH.NET. "The other guys [in ICED EARTH] know my reasons, and hopefully this won't turn into a public pissing match. On the other hand, if it does, at least execution by musketry has gone out of style. I made some great friends, played some great, albeit difficult (!) metal tunes, and learned a lot from the experience. Whatever anyone else says about [ICED EARTH mainman] Jon [Schaffer], he IS a phenomenal rhythm guitarist.
"On a different note, I am the new lead guitarist for Sebastian Bach. We start playing July 22nd, and I can't wait. We'll do a new album later this year, so look for that, and I hope to see some of the cool people I met on tour with [ICED EARTH] at some of these gigs. I am also in talks with Steve DiGiorgio [TESTAMENT, SADUS, ex-DEATH, CONTROL DENIED], Gene Hoglan [STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DARK ANGEL, ex-DEATH], and Tom Englund from EVERGREY about making an epic, orchestral metal album called 'ex Cathedra'. More on this later."