STRATOVARIUS guitarist/mainman Timo Tolkki has posted the following message on the band's official web site:
"I just got back from IRON MAIDEN concert in Helsinki and I must tell you that it was really, really cool gig. It felt good to see that MAIDEN still rules.
"I just heard their new record for the first time and it really sounded fresh and great!
"[Bassist] Jari [Kainulainen], [keyboardist] Jens [Johansson] and me want to wish you Merry Xmas and happy, joyous and prosperous year of 2004.
"I think it is time to calm down a little bit now and try to accept the changes. I know it is painful and it is not easy for us remaining three either. We are still surprised about the amount of hate this whole split has generated. We understand the frustration of you fans and we want you all know that we are thinking of you.
"It's been a great road but as we all know life brings sometimes changes, even painful ones. We want to thank everyone who has supported STRATOVARIUS in our long career. Humble thank you for all of you. May we meet again somewhere…
"I am sure that Timo Kotipelto, being one of the best vocalists of this planet, will do a great solo album and fulfill all his dreams. He has enough talent for that easily. We also wish our buddy Jörg [Michael] great future in whatever he chooses to do. He also has enough talent to be a very successful in whatever he decides to do with his life.
"As for the rest of us, we will try to manage somehow this difficult situation and find worthy replacements. We cannot promise you that there will not be any changes in the musical style of the future STRATOVARIUS, but what we can promise is that we will be true to ourselves, such as we have always been.
"Sometimes things are easy to accept, sometimes it takes time. Have great holidays, try to relax and may the Force be with you all."