Judas Priest will continue touring as a quintet when they resume their 50 Heavy Metal Years trek in March.

The band recently announced that it would hit the road as a quartet for the first time since 1974, with touring guitarist and producer Andy Sneap sitting out the upcoming tour leg. But in a new update, Priest announced that Sneap would remain in the fold alongside singer Rob Halford, guitarist Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis, with occasional appearances from guitarist Glenn Tipton.

"Hello metal maniacs… given all that has recently evolved and transpired, we have decided unanimously as a band to continue our live shows unchanged with Rob, Ian, Richie, Scott, Andy and Glenn joining us whenever he’s able,” the band said in a statement. “So see you all soon as we forge ahead celebrating 50 massive heavy metal years of Judas Priest together!”

Sneap recently expressed his displeasure with the group’s decision to tour as a quartet. “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,” he told Blabbermouth in a statement.

Judas Priest originally booked their 50th anniversary tour for fall 2020 but had to postpone the trek due to the coronavirus pandemic. They hit the road last August but once again had to postpone in September after Faulkner ruptured his aorta onstage during a Sept. 26 performance at the Louder Than Life festival. The band will now resume touring on March 4 with occasional appearances from Tipton, who bowed out of touring in 2018 following a Parkinson's diagnosis but remains "actively involved" with the group.

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