Bassist Michael "Skip" Cromer of reunited West Virginia metallers BYZANTINE has released the following statement:
"I am writing this post to inform you that as of after the Sound Factory show this Friday, I will no longer be playing in BYZANTINE.
"I have in recent months become a Christian and I feel at this point in my life that I have another direction that I must go in.
"I would like to thank my brothers in BYZANTINE for the opportunity to play in (my not-so-humble opinion) the best heavy metal band in the world. Through choosing me to fill the bass spot, I have seen more of the world than I ever thought I would. I have also had the privilege to be around some of the best musicians that have constantly pushed me to improve not only my skills as a musician but also as a businessman and friend. I love you, OJ, Tony, and Wolfe. You supporting in my decision means more to me than any song, any album, or any tour that we have worked on. I look forward to hearing what you crazy rednecks come up with next. I was a fan before I joined BYZ, and I am a fan still.
"Next, I would like to thank all the friends I have made during my time in BYZANTINE. There are so many of you that to write all of you down here would take more room than I think Facebook will allow. You all have made such a impact on my life that to not recognize you in some way would be a disservice. I will, however, point to some key people. They are Aaron Fisher, Daniel Johnson (Logan County as a whole, really), Anthony Lewis, Rod Lanham, Xack Padin, Jamie Rakes, Roadblock, and the Ojeda, Rohrbough, and Wolfe families as a whole. You all have stood out to me as supporters of this band in good times and bad. Much love to you as well.
'Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the fans. When I joined BYZANTINE, I was welcomed with open arms in the way that only West Virginia knows how. I felt as though I became a 'honorary redneck.' Without your continued support, BYZANTINE, or any other band for that matter, would not be possible. I will remember the crazy nights and conversations that I have had with some of you and it is my hope that I will run into you in the future.
"Please join me this Friday in celebrating the Sound Factory. I think it a very fitting finale to my time with BYZANTINE that my last night with them will be in my favorite club in Charleston. It will be a great time and there will be a couple of surprises.