According to Blabbermouth.net, Iced Earth guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer has issued the following update:
"Just wanted to write a thank you to all the fans on the last leg of the tour. You guys were amazing every single night, no matter where in the world we were. It was a truly special run, and one that will remain high in my memories for years to come.
"We will start songwriting in the fall this year and will continue that, and the subsequent production for the new album, in between and around upcoming tour plans for the remainder of 2012-2013. Busy, focused, and energizing times lie ahead, but we are stoked and ready! Count on it!
"I'm currently in South America, hanging with friends, and taking care of some personal business here. Home sweet home is just around the corner, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed! AHHHHH!!!!
"I'd also like to say good luck to [former Iced Earth bassist] Freddie Vidales. We had a lot of fun through the years and I wish him all the best for his future. We totally understand his decision and support it 100%. Best to you, brother!
"Until next time, thank you once again... take care, and I wish you all the very best life has to offer!"
Vidales left Iced Earth after the Chinese shows earlier this month. Due to the band's massive touring commitments, there was immediate need for a replacement, and Luke Appleton (of Fury UK, with whom Iced Earth toured in Europe last winter) has stepped up to the plate and will be joining the tour in time for the June 16 show in Bangalore, India.
Iced Earth's concert in Bangalore is a first visit to India for the band and the show on August 19 in Limassol marks a much-clamored return to Cyprus, only eight months after their last show there. The show is being filmed and recorded for an upcoming DVD/CD release.
Iced Earth's video for the song "Anthem" was filmed on December 7, 2011 at Essigfabrik in Cologne, Germany.
Produced and directed by Kosch Fabian Film, "Anthem" is the second music video from Iced Earth's new album, "Dystopia", which sold around 6,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 67 on The Billboard 200 chart.
Iced Earth's previous CD, "The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Part II)", opened with 6,700 units in September 2008 to debut at No. 79.
Iced Earth's 10th studio offering, "Dystopia", was released in Europe on October 17, 2011 and in the U.S. on October 18 via Century Media Records. Two bonus tracks were also recorded for inclusion on special editions of the album.