UPDATE (Jan. 10): Andy Sneap has since released a statement regarding his departure to Blabbermouth. He was informed his services are no longer required as Priest transition to a four-piece, a move he called "incredibly disappointing" but a decision he said he ultimately respected. See it in full at the bottom of the page.

Judas Priest will look a bit different the next time you see them as the band has released a statement which confirms they will tour as a four-piece this year, meaning they will have just one guitarist, Richie Faulkner, onstage at all times. Andy Sneap, meanwhile, has departed from the lineup with continued focus on his job as a producer.

“Hello maniacs! We are chomping at the British Steel bit to return to world touring… celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest as an an even more powerful, relentless four piece heavy metal band - with Glenn coming out onstage with us here and there as before," said Judas Priest in a statement released to Loudwire.

They expressed their gratitude for Sneap filling in on guitar since 2018 and continued, "Big thanks to Andy for all you’ve done and continuing to be in the production team for our new album… See you all soon headbangers!”

This marks the first time in the band's historic career that they will be without their genre-defining twin guitar attack, though Glenn Tipton, who stepped back from his every day live role amid complications from Parkinson's Disease, will still make occasional appearances when able.

Faulkner, who suffered a ruptured aorta onstage last year while perfectly playing "Painkiller" and all its solos, now stands as the only guitarist in Judas Priest after originally joining as Tipton's counterpart in 2011 after the legendary K.K. Downing announced he had left the band.

It's quite the shocking announcement as Priest's sound is heavily reliant on guitar harmonies, but Faulkner has capably held things down since arriving a decade ago and will have the opportunity to shine even more as the group's lone axeman as the metal veterans hit the road later this year on a headlining tour with support from Queensryche. See those upcoming dates here.

Statement From Andy Sneap on His Release From Judas Priest

Rob called me last Monday and said they wanted to move on as a four-piece, which I find incredibly disappointing after this amount of time but I respect his decision as they obviously have a vision how they want this to play out. This always was a temporary situation, and like I've said before, I'll always help the band any way I can, and that applies going forward also.

I've been a huge fan of the band since the early '80s and it was mind-blowing to play onstage with the guys and quite frankly terrifying in the beginning at such short notice.

We are moving forward with the new album next month and look forward to making a killer follow-up to 'Firepower.'

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