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Guitarist Igor Gianola Leaves U.D.O., Replacement Announced

German metal act U.D.O., featuring legendary former Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, announced that longtime guitarist Igor Gianola (Ex-Jorn) has departed the band due to personal and scheduling reasons. The band also simultaneously announced that the follow, yet untitled, LP to 2011's "Rev-Raptor" will be released on May 24, 2013.

The band posted the following on its Facebook page:

"Hello everybody,

"We have to inform you that Igor has left U.D.O. due to conflicts between band appointments and his private life and business. Since the business of U.D.O. develops and the band tours more and more all over the world Igor simply wasn´t available for so many different long periods. The band respects his decision and wishes him all the best for the future. Igor was with the band since nearly 15 years now and became a very important and highly respected bandmember.

"Thank you very much Igor!!!!!!!"

The band went on to announce that his replacement will be Ex-Amberian Dawn guitarist Kasperi
Heikkinen (Conquest/Merging Flare):

"Thanks to our metal god the band already found a new bandmate: finnish guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen. Well we can write now that together with our other new guitarist Andrey Smirnov they are one of the best guitar teams in metal but we don´t want to do that because every other band does like this. We´re sure you will find out by yourself and than you will write exactly that fact!

The band is very happy to have found Kasperi and now the metal machine will go ahead better than ever. Watch out for the Steelhammer!!!!!!!

"Some personal facts about Kasperi: Kasperi Heikkinen (born August 4th 1980) is a Finnish rock musician, a guitar player and a guitar teacher. He's also the founding member and the songwriter of the Finnish heavy metal band MERGING FLARE. The debut album of MERGING FLARE, "Reverence", was released in 2011 and was highly praised among the critics. His past activities include 4 studio albums and international touring with symphonic metal band AMBERIAN DAWN, 2 studio albums with the progressive death metal outfit ELENIUM (Fin), 1 studio album with traditional hard rock/heavy metal line-up CONQUEST, and various smaller releases such as EPs and singles. Besides that Kasperi has worked with some tribute bands, such as GUARDIANS OF MANKIND (Gamma Ray), VICARS OF HELL (Judas Priest) and MACDETH (Megadeth). He has also done some live session touring in Europe and Russia
with German power metallers GAMMA RAY."

Gianola had the following message for fans: "It was a great time and I want to warmly thank everybody who shared it with me, band members, crew guys, and everyone who supported and worked with us to make it happen! A really big and special thank goes to our fans for their incredible support, you were great !!! Wish you all the best! Igor"

U.D.O. recently announced a North American tour for April.

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