Drummer Paul Wandtke has confirmed that he is no longer a touring member of the Florida-based metal band TRIVIUM.
On December 22, BLABBERMOUTH.NET exclusively reported the rumor that TRIVIUM had parted ways with Wandtke and welcomed Alex Bent, a member of BATTLECROSS and DECREPIT BIRTH who has previously played with TESTAMENT as the fill-in for that band's longtime drummer Gene Hoglan.
After TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy stated in a Metal Insider interview that the band's last three drummers were merely "session" musicians, Wandtke posted a message on his web site in which he said: "I guess the rumors are true, so check out my new band called BEDLEM that I'm starting in Chicago." Paul went on to refer to himself as "TRIVIUM's former 'touring powerhouse,'" and revealed that BEDLEM's debut single, "Triumph", will be released in February.
Meanwhile, Heafy has continued to downplay the fact that TRIVIUM has undergone yet another drummer change, tweeting yesterday that fans should "read beyond the headlines" and "go into the substance," apparently referring to his comment in the Metal Insider interview that "the last three [TRIVIUM drummers] were session players [who] aren't the people in the band." He also tweeted out a "list of ex-drummers of TRIVIUM you didn't know about (various studio gigs, live gigs, extensive tour fill-ins, etc.)"
Heafy's current stance is a far cry from the picture he painted less than a year ago when he heaped praise on Wandtke, saying that it felt as if Paul had been part of the group for years.
"For the first time in our careers, everything we're playing sounds like the record," he said at the time. "And I'm not putting that as a fault upon any of the previous drummers, but I'm putting that as a fault of the previous three lineups.
"The four of us, at each point in time when we had to make a drummer change, because our band wasn't able to either perform well or create good music or really be functional as a unit anymore… So, thankfully, with someone like Paul, who comes to the table with a full set of a musical pedigree, it allows us to play anything. And we're playing music from records two through seven right now. I finally retrained myself how to scream again, so everything is exactly as it was."
Heafy added that finding the right drummer to fill the drum position was vital, as TRIVIUM didn't have the time to being someone up to speed.
"[Paul's] an amazing drummer," Matt told Full Metal Jackie in early 2016. "He's what we've always been missing. We've been missing someone who can keep up with us musically and creatively and someone who already has stage presence. So he comes to the table completely prepared; it's as if he's been with us the whole time."
Wandtke made his live debut with TRIVIUM on December 5, 2015 at Knotfest in Mexico. A short time later, he appeared in an official promotional photo with the three core members of the band.
Paul previously drummed for the hit musical "Rock Of Ages" and sat behind the kit for KILL HANNAH during the band's main-support run with the SMASHING PUMPKINS.
Wandtke joined the Florida outfit on the recommendation of DREAM THEATER's Mike Mangini and replaced Mat Madiro, who departed due to reasons of "creativity."
In addition to Wandtke, BEDLEM includes the drummer's "good old best friends from high school," Joe Brassal, Mike Petrasek and Brian Acorn.
Bent is also a member of TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson's DRAGONLORD project, whose long-awaited third album, "Dominion", is expected to arrive later this year.
Madiro was the featured drummer on TRIVIUM's latest album, "Silence In The Snow", which was released in October 2015 via Roadrunner.