German power metallers GRAVE DIGGER have issued the following update:

“An eventful year 2009 lies behind us. It started with the release of the ‘Ballads Of A Hangman’ album together with the successful European tour. Then the split with Thilo [Herrmann, guitar]… Another successful trip to Russia. The festival season in summer with the Rock Harz festival and the Wacken Rocks South. Our first shows in Mexico and then finally Manni [Schmidt, guitar] leaving the band, that was a real big shock to us all.

“We had already booked some concerts [before] the end of the year and we didn’t want to cancel them. So we decided to play the shows with a substitute guitarist.

“An old friend stepped in: Axel Ritt [DOMAIN]. So we had the chance to finish the year in a peaceful way with these concerts.

“We are glad to announce Axel as the new guitar player of GRAVE DIGGER. His playing and his behaviour on and off stage totally convinced us that he is the right man for the job.

“We are already in the middle of the songwriting for the new album. In May we will enter the Principal Studios again to record the new material.”

“Ballads Of A Hangman” was released on January 9, 2009 via Austria’s Napalm Records.