Since drummer Paul Bostaph was unable to play drums for Testament during the recording of their upcoming album 'The Dark Roots of the Earth,' the band recruited Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory, Dethklok, ex-Strapping Young Lad) to play on the record. Hoglan also filled in for a number of dates on Testament's recent tour with Anthrax. Now, Testament frontman Chuck Billy has confirmed that Bostaph has left the band to play with the new group BlackGates.

"I, Eric, Alex, and Greg want to congratulate our brother, forever, Paul Bostaph on his new band, BlackGates," said Billy in a statement. "While ‘The Hands of Mayhem’ will be sorely missed from our band, we wish him the ultimate success in everything that he does in his future.”

Testament are currently seeking a full time replacement for Bostaph, who joined the band in 2007 and played on the well-received album 'The Formation of Damnation.' Bostaph has previously drummed for Slayer, Exodus, Forbidden and Systematic.

In a recent interview with UK magazine Terrorizer, Billy expressed surprise that Bostaph chose to leave Testament. "We just found our last week Paul Bostaph is not coming back to the band," he said. "He's starting his own new project and doing some things on his own. We're actually going to be holding a couple of auditions with probably small group of drummers that we chose — we don't want to have a revolving drum stool, we have a new record, we want a permanent drummer."

Billy says the split was amicable and that Bostaph left to have more artistic say in his career. "He wants to be a little more in control of the artistic creation of the songs," Billy said. "With our group, [guitarist] Eric [Peterson] is pretty much the main songwriter and that's just the way it's been with us for 25 years."

Bostaph's new band BlackGates also features ex-Anthrax singer Dan Nelson, the Venting Machine guitarist Jeremy Epp and Whitesnake's Uriah Duffy. The band is currently involved in pre-production for its debut album.