Finnish folk-influenced melodic death metal band ENSIFERUM have parted ways with singer/guitarist Jari Mäenpää. According to a posting on the band's official web site, "the reason why this happened is that Jari's solo project (WINTERSUN) is a priority in Jari's musical interests. If Jari had stayed in the band, ENSIFERUM [would have] had to cancel their most important (European) tour with FINNTROLL which starts in April, soon after the release of the second album. Also the other touring would have been decreased to minimal which would lead to the boredom and eventual break-up in the band."
Jari's official statement on the matter is as follows:
"I'm out of ENSIFERUM. The thing is that my and ENSIFERUM's schedules got fucked up and I couldn't be in two places at the same time.
"Here's my side of the story: I have made my own music aside of ENSIFERUM and even before I joined the band in '96. And it has always been more important thing for me. Since I am not the main songwriter in ENSIFERUM and ENSIFERUM has this one 'style' of music, I couldn't satisfy my musical needs and dreams. I'm very creative person and it was just matter of time, before I had to get my own material out inside of me.
"Last year I signed a deal with Nuclear Blast. I booked the studios last summer for March-April 2004 to record my album. I told the guys and our record company Spinefarm that I needed a break from ENSIFERUM to do my thing. (I would have probably needed a break anyway, 'cause I was very sick for months and stressed out in the ENSIFERUM's 'Iron' recordings.) Then Spinefarm booked a tour in April on top of my studio time and told me that I would have to move or cancel my studios. That wasn't possible and I wouldn't have done it anyway, [even] if it would have been possible. Because I felt in my heart that I couldn't do anything, before I would have recorded my album, it had been boiling under for too long.
"So the rest of the guys and me had to make some difficult choices. The guys thought they wouldn't wait for me and they had to go on this tour, even without me. So they decided to try to find a replacement and kick me out of the band. I can understand their decision and I hold no grudge. I'm just sad that things had to go this way. I would have chosen both ENSIFERUM and my music, but since that wasn't possible, my choice was clear.
"I'm sure that there's lots of disappointed people. I hope that everyone understand my point of view and that I had to follow my heart. But I assure you that you're not gonna be disappointed anymore, when my album WINTERSUN is out! I'm very excited about it. It's going to be an amazing album! I'm hoping that everything goes well and I don't get sick again or anything.
"I hope that everyone will enjoy the 'Iron' album. I did my best in those circumstances. I want the ENSIFERUM guys and a girl :) to know, that if I'm available and they need my help for anything, I would be happy to help out! I had very good times and great experiences in ENSIFERUM and I want to thank everyone that supported/supports us and me!"
ENSIFERUM's "Iron" is scheduled for release on April 5 through Spinefarm Records. The follow-up to 2001's "Ensiferum" was recorded last summer at Sweet Silence studios in Copenhagen, Denmark with producer Flemming Rasmussen (METALLICA, ARTILLERY).