BLAZE manager Neil Marklew has confirmed the group's new lineup and recording plans via a posting on the band's official web site. His message reads as follows:
"It gives me great pleasure to make the following announcement as I believe it has been long overdue. As you may be aware, we have not had a 'permanent' band line-up for some time now but I believe we have always had good quality musicians in the line-ups at past BLAZE shows and would like to thank Phil Greenhouse, Wayne Banks, Jason Bowld, Dave Knight, Nick Douglas, Dani Loeble and the original four members for all their hard work during their time in the band.
"Since the departure of the last two original members (Steve Wray and
John Slater) in September 2004, we always knew that 2005 was going to be the year to start to put things 'back on track,' and, we wanted to put together a 'band' again… Now, I believe we have, although, due to the commitments that each of 'the new guys' have, we can not be certain that we will not have to use 'stand-ins' again as they are all in demand. However, every effort will be made to ensure that this is not the case, but you can be sure that in the event we do a good quality stand-in will be used. So, without further delay, please welcome Oli Palotai (guitars), Luca Princiotta (guitars), Christian Ammann (bass) and Daniel Schild (drums).
"Oli joined us in April 2004 as 'stand-in' for John Slater originally and was always going to be our first choice to replace John when he decided to leave. He is an all-around great musician and he brings grit and a determination to succeed to the band.
"Luca is the baby in the band at only 23 years of age and was bought in as a replacement for Steve Wray. He is a great guitarist with huge potential and is keen and eager to get on with the job in hand.
"Christian and Dani joined us earlier this year and performed their first show with BLAZE in Slovenia at the Born to be Wild Festival in April. Both are gifted musicians and have worked extremely hard since then and are keen to show BLAZE fans around the world what they are capable of.
"Looking to the future, I can confirm that I am in negotiations with several record companies and hope to make an announcement about this later this year. In the meantime, I can confirm that the band are finalising the writing of the NEW album (which is planned for an April/May release next year) and will be doing some dates in December (details to follow shortly) in addition to working on the DVD which is planned for release in August/September next year.
"Thank you for your continuing support. The future's bright, the future's BLAZE!"
BLAZE are continuing to tour in support of their third album, "Blood & Belief", which was released in Europe in April 2004. The follow-up to 2002's "Tenth Dimension" was recorded at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, England with producer Andy Sneap.