Finnish melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA have parted ways with keyboardist Mikko Harkin.
"For personal reasons, a time has come in my life when I have to make a decision in order to be able to go on," Harkin explained in an official statement announcing his decision to leave the group. "I've been fortunate to share many unforgettable moments with these guys. We've traveled thousands and thousands of kilometers together, we've been to the edge of the world and back and seen things a young pianist wouldn't ever have imagined. I'm grateful for all the moments but at the same time, everything happened has made me re-evaluate my life. Extensive touring has made me re-think my priorities in life. Time and again I've had to reconsider what are the most important things in my life. Everything I've experienced, as magnificent as it has been, has created a vacuum in my personal life, which I have to admit, has steered me away from SONATA ARCTICA. I've noticed that I no longer can give the band my 100 per cent just to keep the ball rolling, and I have come to the conclusion that it is better for everyone that I call it quits and that the band acquires a new member who will give his full effort and enthusiasm, for no less than that is what SONATA ARCTICA deserves.
"I hereby want to thank the guys — Tony, Jani, Make and Tommy. Thank you for your friendship. A warm thank you also to the fans throughout the world. It has been a blast to meet you all. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this trip. Thanks to the loved ones — my family, friends and especially the most important person in my life, Reetta. Thank you for your love and understanding."