Minnesota-based vocalist Melissa Ferlaak and guitarist Wolfgang "Wops" Koch have officially left the Austrian symphonic metal band VISIONS OF ATLANTIS.
Commented the group in a statement: "Yes, you read right, Melissa, as well as her boyfriend Wolfgang are not in VISIONS OF ATLANTIS anymore. We were as much shocked about that as you must be, but it is the sad truth. Some people just don't know what the word 'commitment' means...
"We (the remaining rest of VISIONS OF ATLANTIS) want to appologize to all fans out there who believed in us and supported us, we hope you stay loyal with VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. Of course we are trying to find a substitute for Melissa; we already have one for Wolfgang (to be announced soon). The show must go on...
"At this point we do not know what happens regarding the KAMELOT tour... It is surely not as easy as Melissa [makes it seem in her statement announcing her departure from the group]."
Melissa Ferlaak and Wolfgang Koch's statements regarding their decisions to leave VISIONS OF ATLANTIS follow.
Melissa: "This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make because it's not something I necessarily want to do, but it is something I feel I have to do. I have decided to leave VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. There are a few reasons why, but primarily it has to do with where my priorities are at the present time. This doesn't mean that I will stop making metal, but my preferences, needs, desires have shifted now. And honestly, I don't want to write music with a group that Wolfgang isn't a part of.
"I want to also apologize for those who were excited for the KAMELOT tour. But it sounds like the guys are going to find another singer to fill the slot. I feel most bad about this because I was looking forward to meeting so many of you and seeing our friends/fans again.
"I want to thank everyone for supporting VISIONS OF ATLANTIS over the last few years and thank the guys for everything! It's been a blast! To all the friends/fans, it has been great getting to know you. Thanks for everything!!"
Wolfgang: "After months of thinking about the pros and cons, I finally have decided to leave VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. I wanna express that I leave VISIONS OF ATLANTIS without any hard feelings or any fights involved; it's a personal decision, not really dealing with the relation to anybody else in the group. I know I owe VISIONS OF ATLANTIS a lot; it has given me great tours, a great possibility, perfect support from Napalm, I saw places I'd never seen in my life and I've played crowds bigger than any crowd I'll ever play again. And I've met a ton of great people, and had a blast drinking with the guys. I especially feel bad for Mario [Plank, male vocalist], who was already eager to start the songwriting for the next album, and has been my main partner for what turned out to be my songs on 'Trinity'. Needless to mention all the improvements he brought for the Harbi tracks.
"I don't feel creative in a VISIONS OF ATLANTIS context anymore. All the stuff I've written since 'Trinity' doesn't fit to VISIONS OF ATLANTIS at all, as naturally, I cannot go less heavy than let's say 'Wing Shaped Heart' and I've found myself happier with heavier music. And I know that there's a certain limit to where you can push VISIONS OF ATLANTIS music without being too far off from what was created by the previous line-ups. I analyzed 'Cast Away' pretty well, and tried to discover the core of the music, without the production and arrangements AND add my own style to forge my 'Trinity' songs, which turned out well, and I'm still happy with them. But on the other hand, I cannot stand behind certain other parts of the VISIONS OF ATLANTIS legacy or present with all I got, and with the labelling it brought with it. I guess even if we had written a death metal album, everybody still would label VISIONS OF ATLANTIS a 'version II' of some Finnish band I highly dislike, just because of the music composed on the first album and the promotion done on the second one. 'Trinity' has no influence except our own, and certainly is no 'version II' of something, but too many people are either deaf or still associate the current lineup with previous VISIONS OF ATLANTIS recordings automatically, therefore I think that VISIONS OF ATLANTIS might never get the attention/credibility it earned with great parts of 'Trinity'.
"So yeah, good luck to the guys and thanks to everybody cool I've met or the VISIONS OF ATLANTIS fans around the globe I've met."
Melissa added in a separate posting: "Well, as it seems many of you have heard by now, that I have decided to leave VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, as has Wolfgang. I'm a bit disappointed in the way VISIONS OF ATLANTIS put it online, but well, I guess they have reason to be upset.
"The last two years have been great, really. I thank the guys in VISIONS OF ATLANTIS so so much for all the great memories and friendships. The decision to leave has nothing to do with personal feelings or hardships at all because it doesnt exist.
"But if we want to talk reasons, real reasons, then fine. To put it in a nutshell, my life has changed over the last six months and with that, comes a change in what I have decided gives me more longevity and security. Sorry, a girl has to eat.
"Additionally, I'm doing more with the classical world right now and besides that, have started writing music that just doesnt fit at all to what VISIONS OF ATLANTIS's sound should be.
"I also stated that, no, I will not be in a band that Wolfgang isn't in. It has nothing to do with our relationship, and in fact, even if we weren't together, I would still quit if he quit. Wolfgang is the reason why 'Trinity' sounds the way it does. Something that we are all really proud of. I fear the direction the band would go back to if he wasn't a part of it with his signature sound. I need to work with him on music. I cannot work with anyone else.
"I don't know if that clarifies things any more than they were. I guess I just don't want people to think the only reason why I left is because of my boyfriend as so eloquently insinuated on the VISIONS OF ATLANTIS sites."
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS's latest album, "Trinity", was released in May via Napalm Records. The CD was recorded at Dreamscape Studios and was mastered at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland. The CD's cover artwork was created by Anthony Clarkson, who has previously worked with BLIND GUARDIAN, HYPOCRISY and EXODUS, among others.
Watch fan-filmed video footage of VISIONS OF ATLANTIS' September 28, 2007 performance at The Clubhouse in Tempe, Arizona:
(Thanks: Neil Young's Cocaine Booger)