Guitarist Richard Ebisch has left Dutch thrashers LEGION OF THE DAMNED. He says in a statement, "I am very grateful for having achieved so much with LEGION OF THE DAMNED, but after having played in bands for so many years and having toured numerous times, I decided to leave the band after careful deliberation. Because of health issues, it was no longer possible for me to continue at this pace.

"I would like to say thank you to the fans and the LEGION OF THE DAMNED guys and wish them, and their new guitarist, all the best for the future."

Vocalist Maurice Swinkels, who has played in LEGION OF THE DAMNED with Richard for more than 16 years, comments: "We recently successfully ended Sweden Rock Cruise and have a lot of other great festivals planned ahead such as Graspop Metal Meeting, Nummirock in Finland, Metalcamp, Bang Your Head!!! and With Full Force. We didn't really notice anything or felt like this is going to end somewhere for Richard. During Kettersach Festival last weekend Richard announced that he would still do Paaspop this upcoming weekend, but call it an end after that. It will be a great lost for us, but we accept his decision, of course."

He continues, "Even though this came out of blue for us, we have no intention on cancel any of the planned festivals. Who is going to replace Richard Ebisch is still a question unanswered, but hopefully we will have this answered as soon as possible as well. One thing is for sure: after Paaspop, Finnish metal fest Nummirock is next in line and we will be there stronger than ever!"

Bassist Harold Gielen states: "It's really sad that Richard decided to leave the band, but it's his decision to end his carrier as a musician and we have to accept it as it is. I am really happy to be part of the LEGION family, and shared the stage with Richard for five years. I have to thank him as well for all the fun and musical influences we shared. Richard is a great guitar player with an own style, and I wish him all the best with his future plans."

Drummer Erik Fleuren, who has also played in LEGION OF THE DAMNED with Richard for more than 16 years, comments: "Bandmembers leaving the band was always something that happened in other bands, not with LEGION OF THE DAMNED. We are like brothers, shared joy and happiness as well as disappointment and sadness together. It was always the four of us, but that's also part of being in a band that it might end somewhere or that someone leaves at a certain point, we have to accept it. We will miss Richard and I wish him all the best in the future."

LEGION OF THE DAMNED's new album, "Descent Into Chaos", was released on January 7 via Massacre Records. The CD was recorded at Abyss Studios in Pärlby, Sweden with producer and PAIN/HYPOCRISY mainman Peter Tägtgren, who also makes a guest appearance on the limited-edition bonus track "Legion Of The Damned".


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