Guitarist Merel Bechtold has decided to leave Dutch heavy rockers DELAIN and focus on different musical ambitions. Her final performance with DELAIN will take place on June 23 at the Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium.
Says the band: "We are aware this is very short notice, and this we regret for those of you who wanted to catch a last show with her as a part of the team. However, this is a friendly departure, and we are respecting Merel's wishes in doing so.
"We had an amazing ride sharing the stage with this fireball and we are excited to see the results of her new endeavors.
"Although we will miss Merel on the road with us, we realize that our busy schedules require loads of time and commitment, and we understand and respect her decision to focus on her own path.
"We will continue performing live as a five-piece as before, and look forward to finishing the work for our upcoming studio album, the upcoming festival season, our U.S. tour with AMORPHIS and Anneke Van Giersbergen and our European 'Masters Of Destiny' tour. We hope to see you all soon!
"Thank you, Merel. We wish you nothing but the best!"
Added Merel: "Dear all, I am sorry to inform you that on Graspop I will play my last show with DELAIN.
"After almost five amazing years, the time has come for me to focus on my own dreams.
"Because of my previous band commitments, my attention diverged from my own music and the path I want to follow, and I feel I need to give myself the time and opportunity to explore my musical ambitions.
"This is probably the hardest decision of my life, but in the end it's important to follow your heart and be happy.
"I want to thank my bandmates and crew. I will miss you dearly! Also huge thanks to all the amazing people I've met on the road. And most importantly, I want to thank YOU for all those amazing and warm memories! It's been a pleasure."
DELAIN released "Hunter's Moon" in February via Napalm Records. The effort consists of new studio tracks accompanied by a live Blu-ray from the band's sold-out "Danse Macabre" 2017 European tour.
"Hunter's Moon" is the final in the trilogy, and follows on from DELAIN's EP "Lunar Prelude" and the full-length album "Moonbathers".