North American power metallers ICED EARTH have parted ways with drummer Brent Smedley (pictured below) for "personal family reasons." His replacement, Raphael Saini (CHAOSWAVE), will join the group on the road starting this summer."I have family members that are elderly and frail and need my help here in Jacksonville," Smedley says in a statement. "It's been one of the hardest decisions of my life but I simply cannot commit to the kind of schedule the band deserves and requires so I decided to ask permission to step down from my post." Add the remaning members of ICED EARTH: "Brent has been a valued member of the group for a long time. We thank him for his contributions, friendship and energy and wish him all the best for the future. We want to welcome Raphael with open arms and are expecting for our fans to give him the welcome he deserves." As previously reported, ICED EARTH has set "Plagues Of Babylon" as the title of its new album, tentatively due in October via Century Media Records. The CD will be recorded and mixed in between a string of European festival appearances this summer. Songtitles set to appear on the CD (among others): * Plagues of Babylon
* Among The Living Dead
* The Resistance
* If I Could See You
* Parasite The first part of ICED EARTH's 2014-2015 world tour will kick off on January 9, 2014 in Saarbrücken, Germany. ICED EARTH has been hitting it relentlessly, with the recent studio album, "Dystopia", being the most toured album in the band's illustrious history. One of the many highlights of the "World Dystopia Tour", a headline show at the historic Kourion Amphitheatre in Cyprus, was recently released on Blu-ray, DVD and in many other formats under the title "Live In Ancient Kourion". "Dystopia" was released in October 2011 via Century Media Records. The CD marked the band's recording debut with singer Stu Block (INTO ETERNITY), who joined ICED EARTH in March 2011 following the departure of Matt Barlow.