Finnish melodic metallers ALTARIA have parted ways with guitarist Jani Liimatainen.

"During the preproduction sessions of the upcoming album it became obvious to everybody including himself that things had developed to the point where it was impossible for him to combine ALTARIA's increasing demand for attention with the busy schedule of SONATA ARCTICA," the band write in a statement.

"The difficult descision was made as friends when everybody involved realized there was no other possibility. This will not affect the work of the forthcoming ALTARIA album. Discussions with potential replacements have already started and the new guitarist will be announced shortly!

"Tony, Marko and Taage want to thank Jani for the years of fun, hard work and rock'n roll we've experienced together and would also like to wish him lots of success in his already so successful career."

As previously reported, the Japanese version of ALTARIA's sophomore album, "Divinity" (Marquee/Avalon Records), includes an exclusive bonus track, a cover of CACOPHONY's "Stranger". "The bonus track is not the same version as on the 'Warmth In The Wilderness Vol. II - A Tribute To Jason Becker' album, but a new one with [new singer] Taage [Laiho, ex-THERION, KILPI] on vocals, not to be found on anywhere else!" the band write on their web site.

"Divinity" was mixed at Tico Tico Studio (SONATA ARCTICA, SENTENCED, FOR MY PAIN…) and was initially made available as a limited-edition digipack, featuring one bonus track — a cover version of ACCEPT's classic "Balls To The Wall" (including a guest appearance by ex-LION'S SHARE singer Andy Engberg).


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