Friday, December 18, 2009

Helloween


With the two-part concept album Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Helloween became one of the most influential bands in the power metal genre. Helloween has spent over 20 years crafting albums that jumpstarted a new style of music, one that combined progressive, speed, and heavy metal. The band is still going strong, even with several line-up changes and a shift towards a harsher sound.

Helloween (originally called Iron Fist) was formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1984. In the beginning, Kai Hansen pulled double duty as both the guitarist and lead vocalist. His only contribution vocally was Helloween’s 1985 debut Walls Of Jericho. In 1986, after struggling to both sing and play guitar during live shows, Helloween recruited a young Michael Kiske to be the new vocalist.

Power Metal Pioneers:

Keeper Of The Seven Keys would be Helloween’s biggest success to date. Split into two separate parts, the concept album would be recognized by many as the beginning of the power metal genre. ock festival in 1988.

In late 1988, founding member Hansen left the band and was replaced by Roland Grapow. His first contribution to the band was 1991’s Pink Bubbles Go Ape. This album, along with 1993’s Chameleon, would show a drastic shift in the band’s sound, heading into a more pop-influenced direction. Critics reacted negatively to both albums and Helloween’s fan base began to dwindle.

Kiske Departs:

With the lackluster reaction to Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon came internal conflicts in the band. Helloween was dropped from EMI Records and the band fired singer Michael Kiske, who was the primary catalyst for the new direction the band was taking.

Andi Deris would come in to replace Kiske, and with a new vocalist came a return to form for the band throughout the ‘90s. Albums such as 1994’s Master Of The Rings, 1996’s concept album Time Of The Oath and 1998’s Better Than Raw brought back the fan base that they lost in the early ‘90s.

More Turmoil:

However, the band shifted their sound again, with a darker vibe and harsher vocals. 2000’s The Dark Ride was the first evidence of this changing sound, and the overall reaction to the album was quite negative, with the album becoming one of the worst selling of the band’s career. Helloween’s lineup changed again, with half of the band departing, including guitarist Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch. 2003’s Rabbit Don’t Come Easy was the first with new guitarist Sascha Gerstner. The band elected to use session drummers.

Revisiting The Past:

In 2005, Helloween returned to their early masterpiece with Keeper Of The Seven Keys-The Legacy. Fans and critics were positive towards it, as well as 2007’s Gambling With The Devil, which had the band return to the grittier sound of The Dark Ride.

If You Like Helloween, You Might Want To Check Out:

Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Iced Earth

Current Helloween Band Members:

Andi Deris - Vocals (Pink Cream 69)
Michael Weikath - Guitars
Sascha Gerstner - Guitars & Keyboards
Markus Grosskopf - Bass
Dani Löble - Drums

Former Band Members:

Michael Kiske - Vocals (1986-1993)
Kai Hansen - Guitar (1983-1988)
Roland Grapow - Guitar (1989-2001)
Ingo Schwichtenberg - Drums (1983-1993)
Uli Kusch - Drums (1994-2001)
Mark Cross - Drums (2002)
Mikkey Dee – Drums (2002)
Stefan Schwarzmann - Drums (2002-2005)
Jörn Ellerbrock - Keyboards (1991-2003)

Helloween Discography:

1985 Walls Of Jericho (Noise)
1987 Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I (Noise)
1988 Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II (Noise)
1991 Pink Bubbles Go Ape (EMI)
1993 Chameleon (EMI)
1994 Master Of The Rings (Castle)
1996 The Time Of The Oath (Castle)
1996 High Live (Castle)
1998 Better Than Raw (Castle)
1999 Metal Jukebox (Castle)
2000 The Dark Ride (Nuclear Blast)
2003 Rabbit Don’t Come Easy (Nuclear Blast)
2005 Keeper Of The Seven Keys-The Legacy (SPV)
2007 Live In Sao Paulo (SPV)
2007 Gambling With The Devil (SPV)

Recommended Helloween Album

Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I and II
The two-part concept album Keeper Of The Seven Keys was highly influential in the creation of power metal, with many future bands in the genre taking cues from the speed/heavy metal hybrid that Helloween played. While individually solid, together the two parts combine to make an epic masterpiece, even with the occasional cheesy and overwrought moments. With the 13-minute “Halloween” on the first part and the title track clocking in at the same length on the second part, along with emotional ballads like “A Tale That Wasn’t Right,” Keeper Of The Seven Keys is one of the greatest power metal albums of all time

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Rush (Canadian Art Rock)


Rush biography

RUSH is a pioneering line-up of the Seventies Progressive rock, who influenced most hard-rock and even heavy-metal power trios. This brilliant band is composed of bassist-singer Geddy LEE, guitarist Alex LIFESON and famous drummer Neil PEART. In 1974 John RUTSEY was replaced by Neil PEART who also assumed the role of the band's primary songwriter. Their instrumental virtuosity is mind-blowing, their lyrics are some of the best I've ever read, and every album they've released contains a shattering classic. Through their 20+ year career, they've proved to be the masters of their respective instrument while creating incredible music.

Now, a brief summary of the band's career ...
Through the history of RUSH, they have passed through many distinct phases. Every one of these phases represents a triumph in music, allowing the band to move on. As at the end of all of RUSH's phases, a live LP was released. This tradition began with "All The World's A Stage", recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. Since then, the group has released three additional live albums: the best selling "Exit... Stage Left" (1981), "A Show of Hands" (1989), and the three-disc set "Different Stages" (1998), which encompasses three decades of the group's music.

FIRST PHASE (1974-1976):
In the beginning, they started off as hard rock blues outfit with John-boy before he left and Neil came in, bringing his sci-fi mind into the works. The music seems to be a transition between straight-ahead rock tunes and more complex progressive tracks. "Caress of Steel" is a landmark album in the history of RUSH. Lyrically and musically, "2112" was a masterpiece. This multi-platinum release remains one of RUSH's best-selling albums.

SECOND PHASE (1977-1981):
They moved headlong into progressive rock in the later part of the decade, starting with the album previous and right on to their massive breakthrough, 1981's "Moving Pictures". Synthesizers were now employed by the band, played in the studio and on stage by Geddy. This was the end of transition from long epic pieces to shorter, more concise, and intricate songs. "Permanent Waves" is widely considered to be second only to "Moving Pictures" as RUSH's finest achievement.

THIRD PHASE (1982-1989):
RUSH embraced the 1980s sound with "Signals", making heavy use of synthesizers and keyboards for the first time in the band's history. Keyboards have become a very large part of the music, and the interplay of guitar...RUSH is a pioneering line-up of the Seventies Progressive rock, who influenced most hard-rock and even heavy-metal power trios. This brilliant band is composed of bassist-singer Geddy LEE, guitarist Alex LIFESON and famous drummer Neil PEART. In 1974 John RUTSEY was replaced by Neil PEART who also assumed the role of the band's primary songwriter. Their instrumental virtuosity is mind-blowing, their lyrics are some of the best I've ever read, and every album they've released contains a shattering classic. Through their 20+ year career, they've proved to be the masters of their respective instrument while creating incredible music.

Now, a brief summary of the band's career ...
Through the history of RUSH, they have passed through many distinct phases. Every one of these phases represents a triumph in music, allowing the band to move on. As at the end of all of RUSH's phases, a live LP was released. This tradition began with "All The World's A Stage", recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. Since then, the group has released three additional live albums: the best selling "Exit... Stage Left" (1981), "A Show of Hands" (1989), and the three-disc set "Different Stages" (1998), which encompasses three decades of the group's music.

FIRST PHASE (1974-1976):
In the beginning, they started off as hard rock blues outfit with John-boy before he left and Neil came in, bringing his sci-fi mind into the works. The music seems to be a transition between straight-ahead rock tunes and more complex progressive tracks. "Caress of Steel" is a landmark album in the history of RUSH. Lyrically and musically, "2112" was a masterpiece. This multi-platinum release remains one of RUSH's best-selling albums.

SECOND PHASE (1977-1981):
They moved headlong into progressive rock in the later part of the decade, starting with the album previous and right on to their massive breakthrough, 1981's "Moving Pictures". Synthesizers were now employed by the band, played in the studio and on stage by Geddy. This was the end of transition from long epic pieces to shorter, more concise, and intricate songs. "Permanent Waves" is widely considered to be second only to "Moving Pictures" as RUSH's finest achievement.

THIRD PHASE (1982-1989):
RUSH embraced the 1980s sound with "Signals", making heavy use of synthesizers and keyboards for the first time in the band's history. Keyboards have become a very large part of the music, and the interplay of guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards became technically almost impossible to play live. The two LPs that followed, "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows", also followed nearly the same mold. They reached the zenith of its keyboard experimentation with "Hold Your Fire".

PRESENT PHASE (1990 to today):
Moving to a new label, RUSH embarked on their present phase with "Presto". So, after mercifully ending their synth period, RUSH went into a sort of pop/rock phase for this stage in their career. They sought to remove the dominance of keyboards in the music, and go back to a bass-drum-guitar sound. But after their tour for their 1996 record "Test For Echo", the band took six years off before returning in 2002 with the release of their new album "Vapor Trails". In 2004 they released a covers album, "Feedback" to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary in the current lineup. A tribute to Rush's early influences it contains covers of such luminaries as "Cream", "The Who" and "Blue Cheer".

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Discography :

Date ALBUMS / Singles
1973 Not Fade Away
1974 Finding My Way
1974 July RUSH
1974 In The Mood
1975 February FLY BY NIGHT
1975 May Fly By Night
1975 October CARESS OF STEEL
1975 November Bastille Day
1976 April 2112
1976 June Lessons
1976 September ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE
1976 December Fly By Night (Live)
1977 February The Temples of Syrinx
1977 September A FAREWELL TO KINGS
1977 November Closer To The Heart
1978 April ARCHIVES
1978 November HEMISPHERES
1979 January Circumstances
1980 January PERMANENT WAVES
1980 February The Spirit of Radio
1980 April Entre Nous
1981 February Limelight
1981 February MOVING PICTURES
1981 March Vital Signs
1981 May Tom Sawyer
1981 RUSH THROUGH TIME
1981 October Freewill (Live)
1981 October EXIT... STAGE LEFT
1981 October Tom Sawyer (Live)
1981 December Closer To The Heart (Live)
1982 August New World Man
1982 September SIGNALS
1982 October Subdivisions
1983 April Countdown
1984 April GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
1984 Distant Early Warning
1984 May The Body Electric
1984 Red Sector A
1985 October The Big Money
1985 October POWER WINDOWS
1985 Mystic Rhythms
1987 September HOLD YOUR FIRE
1987 October Time Stand Still
1987 Force Ten
1988 March Prime Mover
1988 Marathon (live)
1989 January 2 A SHOW OF HANDS
1989 November 17 PRESTO
1990 January Show Don't Tell
1990 September 4 CHRONICLES
1990 PROFILED!
1991 September 3 ROLL THE BONES
1992 February Roll The Bones
1992 March 19 Ghost of a Chance
1992 THE STORY OF KINGS (INTERVIEW)
1993 October 19 COUNTERPARTS
1994 March 24 Nobody's Hero
1994 Stick It Out
1995 October 3 THE RUSH INTERVIEWS VOLUME 2: GEDDY LEE
1996 Test For Echo
1996 Half The World
1996 September 9 TEST FOR ECHO
1996 Driven
1997 May 5/6 RETROSPECTIVE, VOLUME 1 (1974-1980)
1997 June 3 RETROSPECTIVE, VOLUME 2 (1981-1987)
1998 November 10 DIFFERENT STAGES
1998 The Spirit of Radio (Live)
2002 May 14 VAPOR TRAILS
2002 PROFILED
2002 One Little Victory
2002 Secret Touch
2002 Sweet Miracle
2003 May 21 SPIRIT OF RADIO: GREATEST HITS
2003 October 21 RUSH IN RIO
2004 July 6 FEEDBACK



Iron Maiden Forefront of New Wave British Heavy Metal


Iron Maiden was formed by bassist Steve Harris in 1976. They released their first album in 1980. The band's first two albums did reasonably well, but with the 1982 replacement of vocalist Paul Di'Anno with Bruce Dickinson, their success skyrocketed. 1982's The Number Of The Beast is a classic heavy metal record. Maiden were at the forefront of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Throughout the '80s and early '90s Iron Maiden released a string of highly successful albums. In 1990 they even had a number one single in the UK, "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter."

Lineup Changes:

After 1992's Fear In The Dark debuted at number one the UK album chart, vocalist Bruce Dickinson left the band and was replaced by Blaze Bayley. Two studio albums recorded with Bayley were commercial and critical disappointments.

Reunion:

In 1999, Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith, who had also departed the group in the early '90s, rejoined Iron Maiden. They continue to tour and record new material.

Current Iron Maiden Members:

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals (Samson, Shots, Skunkworks, Speed)
Dave Murray - Guitar (Evil Ways, Psycho Motel, Urchin)
Janick Gers - Guitar (Di'Anno, Fish, Gillan, Gogmagog, White Spirit)
Adrian Smith - Guitar (A.S.A.P., Broadway Brats, Evil Ways, Psycho Motel, Skunkworks, Untouchables, Urchin)
Steve Harris - Bass (Gypsy's Kiss, Smiler)
Michael "Nicko" McBrain - Drums (The 18th Fairfield Walk, The Blossom Toes, McKitty, Streetwalkers, Trauma, Pat Travers, Trust)

Former Members:

Paul Mario Day - Vocals (1975-1976)
Dennis Wilcock - Vocals (1976-1977)
Paul Di'Anno - Vocals (1977-1981)
Blaze Bayley - Vocals (1993-1999)
Terry Rance - Guitar (1975-1976)
Paul Sullivan - Guitar (1975-1976)
Ron "Rebel" Matthews - Drums (1975-1976)
Bob D'Angelo - Guitar (1976)
Terry Wapram - Guitar (1976)

Tony Moore - Keyboards (1976)
Barry "Thunderstick" Purkis - Drums (1976)
Doug Sampson - Drums (1977-1980)
Tony Parsons - Guitar (1979)
Clive Burr - Drums (1980-1982)
Dennis Stratton - Guitar (1980)

Iron Maiden Discography:

1981 Iron Maiden (EMI)
1981 Killers (EMI)
1981 Maiden Japan (live EP) (EMI)
1982 The Number Of The Beast (EMI)
1983 Piece Of Mind (EMI)
1984 Powerslave (EMI)
1985 Live After Death (live) (EMI)
1986 Somewhere In Time (EMI)
1988 Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (EMI)
1990 No Prayer For The Dying (EMI)
1992 Fear Of The Dark (EMI)
1993 A Real Live One (live) (EMI)
1993 A Real Dead One (live) (EMI)
1995 The X-Factor (EMI)
1998 Virtual XI (EMI)
1998 Live At Donnington (live) (Raw Power)
2000 Brave New World (EMI)
2003 Dance Of Death (EMI)
2005 Death On The Road (live) (Sanctuary)
2006 A Matter Of Life And Death (Sanctuary)

Essential Iron Maiden Album:

The Number Of The Beast
The addition of vocalist Bruce Dickinson for their third studio album in 1982 put them over the top. His powerful voice and charisma were exactly what Iron Maiden needed. This is a great album from start to finish and a heavy metal classic.


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