Helloween

Formed in 1984 in Hamburg, Germany, from of the ashes of local bands Second Hell and Iron Fist, their original line-up comprised Kai Hansen (guitar/vocals), Michael Weikath (guitar), Markus Grosskopf (bass) and Ingo Schwichenburg (drums). After having two tracks included on the DEATH METAL compilation album released by Noise Records in 1984, the label issued their self-titled debut mini-album in 1985. This was soon followed by WALLS OF JERICHOAND an EP, JUDAS. The band gained a strong following with their unique blend of high speed power metal. Soon after its release, Helloween decided to add a vocalist/frontman, namely Michael Kiske, a charismatic 18-year-old. KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS PART I, released in 1987, showed the band to be taking a much more melodic approach and Kiske proved himself a worthy addition. Helloween then toured Europe relentlessly, building a sizeable following in the process. KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS PART II was released in 1988, together with a successful appearance at the Donnington Monsters Of Rock Festival that year. After which came an EP, DR. STEIN, but behind the scenes all was not well. The band had become increasingly unhappy with their record company and started to negotiate with several major labels who had previously shown an interest. As a stop-gap the band released LIVE IN THE UK, recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1989. Kai Hansen then left to form his own outfit, Gamma Ray. His temporary replacement was Roland Grapow. A protracted legal battle with their record company ensured that it was not until 1990 that the band was back in action. They finally signed to EMI Records and gained major management in the form of the Smallwood/Taylor organization. The band's debut for their new label, PINK BUBBLES GO APE,released in 1990, depicted Helloween as a shadow of their former selves, sadly missing Kai Hansen and his songwriting skills. Shortly after the dismissal of Kiske, Ingo Schwichenberg was also given his marching orders due to personal health problems and a clash with Weikath, who was now the main force behind the band. Their replacements were Andi Deris (vocals; ex- Pink Cream 69) and Ulli Kusch (drums), who were in place in time for their Castle/Raw Power debut, MASTER OF THE RINGS.


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