UPDATE: A rep for Metal Blade Records tells Rolling Stone that the statement posted on As I Lay Dying's website was not official and did not represent the band members who have formed a new group without Tim Lambesis. They will release an official statement on Monday. In the meantime, guitarist Nick Hipa has released a statement that places blame for the unofficial statement – the content of which he did not dispute – on Lambesis.
As I Lay Dying have released a statement about the future of the band following frontman Tim Lambesis' guilty plea on charges of hiring an undercover policeman to murder his wife in February. As the singer awaits sentencing, the group's two official members—Lambesis and drummer Jordan Mancino—are putting the group on hold. Both musicians have begun work on other projects and intend to release new music in the foreseeable future. "As I Lay Dying is sleeping rather than dead, and there are two separate projects to hold you over whether or not it is awakened again," the statement said.
Lambesis has also been reevaluating his values. A good portion of the statement clarifies that the group is not a "Christian metal" band, but that Lambesis has been questioning "what originally convinced him to abandon belief in God." Moreover, it says, "after much brokenness and repentance, he sees things differently, considers himself a follower of Jesus, someone submitted to the will of God, or whatever you want to call it."
Neither official band member wants to move forward with As I Lay Dying currently, regardless of Lambesis' eventual sentence. "Tim has acknowledged his guilt and clearly made some bad decisions in a period of time where he acted contrary to the person he's been most of his life," the statement said. "He believes As I Lay Dying should only pick back up if it's in a form restored to its roots. For Tim, the potential of pursuing As I Lay Dying again means working on a lot of other more important things in his personal life first."
But that does not mean Lambesis has abandoned music. Over the past six months, he has been recording music for a new project, whose name will soon be revealed, and intends to always release new music. Earlier this month, Lambesis issued Triple Brutal—the third album from his Arnold Schwarzenegger–themed metal side project Austrian Death Machine, and even offered to do interviews about it as long as questions were focused on his music. He does not, however, want to return to touring full-time, regardless of his sentence, because hitting the road "doesn't seem healthy or practical given his new outlook and goals."
Mancino, however, has recorded new music with three members of the most recent As I Lay Dying lineup for a new project. The drummer is embracing "the chance" to be "more involved in the songwriting process and enjoy other styles he'd rather play." The group, whose name has not yet been released, has already recorded its debut album with "former Christian" vocalist Shane Blay, who plays guitar with Oh Sleeper. The LP is due out "relatively soon" and will reflect a more "radio friendly" sound.
Undercover police arrested Lambesis last May after he had begun asking around his gym in hopes to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife, Meggan, with whom he had adopted three children. He gave an undercover detective $1,000 cash and instructions on how to carry out the murder. He initially pleaded not guilty but entered his guilty plea in February. While reports have suggested Lambesis faces a maximum of nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine, the band said in the statement that his possible sentence has yet to be determined.