Queensryche's Scott Rockenfield says parting with Geoff Tate was like shaking off a long-term "sickness".
The band settled a long-running legal dispute with former frontman Tate in April this year, with Tate's band now performing under the name Operation: Mindcrime.
And while much has been said of both parties' relief at the settlement, drummer Rockenfield says things were tense while Tate was still in the band. He was replaced by Todd La Torre in 2012, leading to a situation where two bands called Queensryche were touring and recording.
Rockenfield tells Pop Break: "The conflict started years ago, but prior to it when we were all still working together in the old band, we had been in a dark place for a long time. It wasn’t going well, the years were stacking up on us, we weren’t making the music we were passionate about and were being forced to do a lot of things we didn’t want to do.
"We weren’t being allowed to play all of the music we wanted to play live, and to give our fans what we thought was important. The darker the hole we kept falling into, the faster we wanted to get out of it. That’s what happens, you kind of hit the bottom of a hole, and there’s only one way to go – up and out of there."
Sacking Tate and bringing in La Torre had an instant positive impact on morale, Rockenfield adds, saying it felt like shaking off an illness.
He says: "It’s like being sick too long, you know? After a while, you finally feel like you’ve got your health back. We were able to kind of clean up the sickness that we had, and really needed to do it for ourselves, so we did.
"The second we transitioned and got Todd in the band, the morale just went through the roof for us. There was no weird dark clouds for us, and we just don’t have that anymore. We’re really close to each other.
"We have the same common interests, we’re energetic, and we’re happy. We’re all working together as a team, and it’s not just one person saying, 'You have to do it like this.' It’s all of us making the decisions together and making the music together."