ICED EARTH Parts Ways With Guitarist TIM MILLS

ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer has sent the following update to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

"I regret to inform you that Tim Mills [guitar] will not be able to continue working with the band. As you may know, Tim is the founder of Bare Knuckle Pickups and that is his main business. He's had recent employee problems and has now found that his main worker, his right-hand man as it were, is terminally ill with cancer. So, he will not be able to do the record and tours that we had planned on. I knew it was risky bringing someone in that had an established business, I know exactly how hard it can be to be involved in multiple businesses, but we both felt that we'd be able to pull it off. Of course him living in the U.K. and the band living in the States makes things more challenging as well, but these events were completely unforeseen. I really feel for him and his employee and wish them the best through this difficult time.

"I know this lineup situation has become a familiar issue with ICED EARTH but please realize that it will have little or no effect at all on our plans, recording, touring and otherwise. The core is solid, focused and ready to kick some serious ass.

"As has been the case since the first ICED EARTH CD I have played every rhythm and lead, every clean and acoustic guitar track that you've heard, with exception of the solos, and I even did a few of those in the old days. This will not cause any delay of the recording or any shows to be canceled so don't worry about a thing, we're right on track as planned.

"Tim played the guitar solos on the re-recording of the 'Something Wicked' trilogy, that appears on the upcoming 'Overture of the Wicked' four-song single that's due to be released in early June. Unfortunately, this news just came up and he's really sorry, as am I, that he won't be able to continue on with us. Also, I think there is some confusion as to what 'Overture of the Wicked' consists of. First, the song 'Ten Thousand Strong' is the single track, and it will appear on 'Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Part 1)', albeit a bit different than the single version. Second, the 'Something Wicked' trilogy that is comprised of the songs 'Prophecy', 'Birth of the Wicked', and 'The Coming Curse' has been completely rerecorded. From the ground up this is a more vicious and more atmospheric version of the epic piece. I played all of the guitar tracks with a baritone guitar and Brent [Smedley, drums] and I are locked up like a machine gun with the double kicks following many of the detailed picking patterns. This makes for a more intense- and wicked-sounding rhythm section. All of the vocals have been redone, obviously by Tim Owens, who did a masterful job at retaining the passion and honesty of the original, and still put his stamp on it and made it his own. We also put in some teaser atmospheric things that will give you a hint of things to come on Part 1. But just a hint... we don't want to spoil any surprises.

"For those of you that aren't familiar with the old version or the 'Something Wicked' story at all, you should check it out. The original trilogy is just an overview of the story that begins 12,000 years ago and leads us to modern day. You should look at the trilogy as an introduction to this whole epic. What is coming next in the two parts is a far more in depth look into this very tragic, heavy and apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy story.

"I can't give anymore away at the moment, but keep checking the IE site for more updates.

"Further announcements will be made in regard to the guitar player spot in the very near future."

As previously reported, ICED EARTH wil support HEAVEN AND HELL on their U.K. tour in November. Also appearing on the bill are LAMB OF GOD.

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