ACCEPT's founding bassist Peter Baltes has announced his exit from the band. He said in a statement:
"To all ACCEPT fans: I hereby like to announce my departure as bass player from ACCEPT. I have been with the band from the very beginning. Many of you have been there as well. I like to thank you all for the great years we shared together. Keep it metal."
ACCEPT's founding guitarist Wolf Hoffmann commented: "We spent four decades together and went through thick and thin, ups and downs and I remember some incredible moments on stage. There was a blind understanding between us, personally and musically, that is very rare in this business!
"Looking back, I will forever cherish the carefree early years, the countless hours we spent writing songs, goofing around or roaming the cities together on tour — just having a good ol’time!
"Especially these last 10 years, after the revival of ACCEPT being so much fun and so successful that I thought we would continue forever and sail into the proverbial sunset together — maybe until one of us would drop dead on stage. But I guess I was wrong; it wasn’t meant to be.
"To see Peter leave ACCEPT now saddens me immensely, but there's nothing I can do but to wish him well — hoping that this is the right decision for him and that he will find whatever he is looking for ...
"I will certainly miss my musical brother! One thing is certain, however: ACCEPT will continue full steam ahead!"
The group added in a separate statement: "We are all heartbroken! Peter needed a change in his life and we wish him all the best. He will always be part of the ACCEPT family and to honor his tribute to music history, we should all wish him well... Indeed, ACCEPT WILL KEEP IT METAL!"
In a 2016 interview with Antihero Magazine, Hoffmann stated about his relationship with Baltes: "We've been working together for 40 years and hanging together and we haven't killed each other yet. It's quite amazing. We get along really well for the most part, even on tour, personally. We hang all the time. We go wander the streets when we're on tour. We have breakfast together and all that kind stuff. We meet for dinners even if we don't have to."
He added: "Peter and I really have something like a bond, or whatever you want to call it, that's lasted all these years. That doesn't mean we always get along on every level. There's days when we don't see each other and keep the distance for a little while, but for the most part, it's been working really, really well and we write together really well. That's a rare thing, I know."
ACCEPT has just released a live set, "Symphonic Terror - Live At Wacken 2017", via Nuclear Blast. It features a unique ACCEPT show, shot on August 3, 2017 at the legendary Wacken Open Air festival, where the band played the biggest and most extraordinary show of its career in front of 80,000, on top of thousands more fans watching via a live stream.