The Bloodstock team are proud to announce that German power metal pioneers HELLOWEEN have been confirmed for Bloodstock Open Air 2008.
Helloweenâ€™s legendary history stretches right back to 1978 when vocalist/guitarist Kai Hansen formed a band called Gentry. Six years and several name changes later, Helloween â€“ by then also featuring drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, bassist Markus GroÃŸkopf and lead guitarist Michael Weikath - got their first exposure recording two tracks for Noise Recordsâ€™ â€˜Death Metalâ€™ compilation album. In early 1985, the band entered the studio with producer Harris Johns to cut a self-titled five track EP which was followed in October by their spectacular debut full-length â€˜Walls Of Jerichoâ€™. The albumâ€™s dynamic blend of melodic thrash and traditional metal garnered rave reviews across the board and the band soon found themselves touring worldwide. As their new material grew increasingly complex, Kai Hansen began to experience difficulties singing and playing guitar at the same time and so at the conclusion of their 1986 tour, the decision was taken to search for a new singer. A young vocalist named Michael Kiske was duly recruited and the band began work on what would become their magnum opus.
1987â€™s â€˜Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1â€™ and â€˜Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part IIâ€™ â€“ released the following year â€“ catapulted Helloween into the mainstream and formed the template for what many fans and media alike would later dub â€˜power metalâ€™. A major world tour ensued, including a trek around the US and a slot at the 1988 Donington â€˜Monsters Of Rockâ€™ festival with KISS and Iron Maiden in front of over 100,000 people. Growing dissatisfaction with touring led Hansen to quit the band at the end of â€™88. He was replaced the following year by Roland Grapow and the touring continued unabated.
Legal wrangles with their former label tied the band up until 1991 when their next album, the lightweight â€˜Pink Bubbles Go Apeâ€™, was finally released on EMI. A commercial and critical failure, it marked the beginning of tensions within the band which would affect their future for several years to come. 1993â€™s â€˜Chameleonâ€™ was even slicker but this stab at pop-rock acceptability merely weakened the band further leading to the sacking of Michael Kiske and an abrupt end to their contract with EMI.
â€œThe idea of 'Chameleon' was to make a Beatles record and we failed,â€ said Michael Weikath later.
Following this period of creative and personal upheaval, the band refocused and went back to basics, employing ex-Pink Cream 69 singer Andi Deris and ex-Gamma Ray drummer Uli Kusch for 1994â€™s comeback effort â€˜Master Of The Ringsâ€™ which began a new phase for the classic Helloween sound, continuing with 1996â€™s â€˜The Time Of The Oathâ€™ and 1998â€™s â€˜Better Than Rawâ€™. 2000â€™s â€˜The Dark Rideâ€™ sparked fresh controversy as the band took a darker and more contemporary approach which ultimately failed and led to the departure of both Grapow and Kusch. Believing in the need for Helloween to be both positive and entertaining, Weikath quickly returned the band to the straight and narrow, cutting the more successful â€˜Rabbit Donâ€™t Come Easyâ€™ in 2003, and in 2005, the follow-up to their legendary â€˜Keeperâ€¦â€™ albums entitled â€˜Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacyâ€™. This latest â€˜Keeperâ€¦â€™ instalment was so well received that a double live CD and DVD were culled from the subsequent tour and it was from this high point that the band once again returned to the studio to lay down their current album â€˜Gambling With The Devilâ€™, a scintillating set of classic power metal in the grand Helloween tradition.
From HammerFall to DragonForce and from Sonata Arctica to Blind Guardian, Helloween helped spawn an entire genre and their debut Bloodstock show will be a feast for fans of melodic metal the way it was meant to be.
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HELLOWEEN â€“ Heavy Metal Is The Law â€“ BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2008.