Iced Earth have parted ways with longtime guitarist Troy Seele after the shredder chose to focus on his family responsibilities. Seele’s departure has left a vacancy in Iced Earth, so the band has opted to accept video auditions from fans in the pursuit of finding a new axeman.

Troy Seele joined Iced Earth in 2007 and would contribute on four full-length albums from 2007’s Framing Armageddon to 2014’s Plagues of Babylon. Seele made his decision to leave Iced Earth as he no longer felt the demanding lifestyle could coexist with his family responsibilities, which include taking care of a child with autism.

Seele writes:

After close to ten years as a guitarist in Iced Earth, the time has come for me to step away. Some of you know, but many do not, that I have a child with Autism. In the past I had a great support system that has allowed me to pursue a career in music. That is no longer the case and it has forced me to make a difficult decision. I’ve always believed that family comes first, and now it is time for me to focus on that. The demanding life style of being in a professional heavy metal band is no longer an option for me. Knowing the band is focused on a new album and touring cycle, and given my circumstances, this is the best time for me to step down.
Playing in Iced Earth has been a great experience. It’s taken me around the world many times and given me the chance to meet many of my heroes, as well as play in front of crowds larger than I ever dreamed of.
I personally want to thank Jon and the guys for the music and the amazing times through the years. Thank you to the fans for understanding and for your support.

Iced Earth singer Stu Block offered some kind words to the departing Seele, “It’s very sad that Troy is leaving. He will be missed and will always be considered family to us. I wish him the best of luck in everything he does.”

Iced Earth founding member Jon Schaffer adds, “Troy was a good friend before he became a part of the team, and always will be. I understand and respect his decision. We shared some of the most amazing times of our lives together. We laughed hard, and we laughed often. Be well brother. We all wish you the very best.”

Seele’s final gig with Iced Earth will be at Mexico City’s Knotfest on Oct. 16.

As for fans who think they’ve got what it takes to be Iced Earth’s next guitarist, the band is accepting audition videos via Dropbox. Make sure to send contact info along with your audition!

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