Thrash metal pioneers Exodus have announced the return of their longtime vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza, confirming they are also parting ways with singer Rob Dukes.
Souza fronted the band from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004, appearing on a total of five studio records.
"As a band, we all had to make a very difficult choice to part ways with Rob Dukes," guitarist Gary Holt noted in the official statement. "We have nothing but love and admiration for him and the deepest gratitude for the hard work he has put in and the great work on some killer records. But at this time, Tom, Lee, Jack and myself thought a change was necessary and the unanimous choice going forward was to welcome back Steve Souza to the fold!"
Further praising Dukes, Holt added, "I have had the honor of watching Rob go from unknown guitar tech to awesome singer and frontman and could not be prouder, and his future is bright as f--k, that's for sure. It doesn't end here. The world will see plenty more from Rob, this much I will bank on. But as for the new Exodus record, it is still in full swing."
Focusing on Zetro's involvement in the studio, the guitarist continued, "Steve will start recording vocals on Wednesday and the small sampling I have of him on the new songs is f--king amazing. His best s--t ever is coming. Be prepared, it's going to kill."
As for Dukes, the singer has issued an official statement via Blabbermouth, expressing both sadness and gratitude, as well as noting that he will focus on his band Generation Kill and riding motorcycles.
"I'm grateful for the last nine years," he said. "I've had the experience of touring the world playing music. I was just a regular guy, a fan, and I got the chance to front a legendary band while [having had] no prior experience of being a singer. I had no idea what I was doing and made it up as I was going along.
"I had the experience of making records. It was a great chapter of my life. I'm bummed it ended with Exodus, but I have another band, Generation Kill. So I will concentrate on that right now and continue to build hotrods and build a car to race in the Baja 1000. I will be riding my motorcycle all over this beautiful country every chance I get. That's the next chapter of my life."
As far as the Exodus album goes, no specific release details have been revealed, although the band did previously stress that they will "find a way to make it happen in 2014."