|Balance of Power was started in 1995 by keyboardist Ivan Gunn who put the band together with a handful of well-known London area rockers. Their first album, When the World Falls Down, was started in October of 1996. Upon it's completion it was quickly picked up by Pony Canyon for Japan. The album received major airplay on the 11 huge metal syndicated shows in Japan with famous radio personalities Captain Wada & Masa Itoh playing it in hot rotation. After the first album the band were put under pressure by their Japanese label "Pony Canyon" to create a follow-up.
About this time, Paul Curtis (guitar) was becoming fed up with life in London, and decided it was time for him to retire from music all together. Pete Southern was brought in to fill the vacant slot, and was the perfect fit. Tony Ritchie (vocals) and Lionel Hicks (drums) had both worked with Pete previously, and in fact the three of them had grown up together, so they knew Pete would be the perfect candidate.
After hearing the new direction of the new songs written with Pete, Pony Canyon pressured BoP about Tony's vocal style saying that BoP needed a vocalist with more dynamics and a higher range for the new sound. This was a huge blow to the band and after much discussion and soul searching they agreed to look around and see if they could find someone. Tony would continue to fulfill the role of songwriter within the band. This was a very hard decision to make for all concerned. The band held auditions for over 50 singers from the UK but were unsuccessful in finding the perfect person.
Ivan was working on some licensing deals with Lance King in the USA, at the time, and asked him if he knew of a suitable vocalist over there. Lance said he did, and that he might be interested as well. Ivan was familiar with all the singers that Lance referred him to, but was most interested in Lance. Lance was sent demo's that he recorded his idea on and sent back to England. After the first listen there was no decision to be made, he was perfect and he was in. Lance had formerly put out 2 releases with "Gemini" and one with "The Kings Machine", both based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Balance of Power's second release "Book of Secrets" is a thematic album, inspired by "The Bible Code", a book by Michael Drosnin. The album received rave reviews from all over Europe and Japan and was welcomed to the radio again with songs "Seven Days into Nevermore" & "Miracles and Dreams" getting heavy rotation on all syndicated metal shows. Bruce Dickinson highlighted the album on the European underground network in which he played the entire album and talked about how much he loved it.
Following up on the success of Book of Secrets, Balance Of Power returned to the studio and found inspiration for their next album "Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion". This album was again written by Pete and Tony despite the fact that at this stage Tony was not in the band, but he still had the passion and courage to keep writing for the band. The album was recorded and produced by Lionel in London at POD and Summit studios. This time the band decided to mix and master at OarFin Studios in Minneapolis with Todd Fitzgerald engineering.
This process turned out to be an ongoing successful thing, therefore, Ten More Tales, Perfect Balance and Heathen Machine were all recorded and mixed in the same way. More changes seemed imminent. Keyboardist Ivan had become increasingly busy with his label Anthem, so much so that he never ended up contributing anything to Ten More Tales. It was mutually agreed that Ivan would leave the group and endeavor to build his record company.
After which publishing, management and promotion deals were struck with Brainstorm in Germany for Europe. Nightmare Records signed the band for North America. And due to bad record keeping and communication the group decided to leave their European label "Point" and signed with "Massacre Records" in Germany for all of Europe. Leon Lawson was brought in as a guest replacement for Ivan, but this was not to be the end of the lineup changes.
Balance of Power began their first ever tour to back Ten More Tales later that year. They played 19 shows in 21 days; the band was finally able to put to rest rumors that they were just a studio band. Shortly before the tour began they parted company with Chris Dale, the bassist, and reinstated our continued lyricist, former vocalist Tony Ritchie to the ranks as the new bassist. The tour was deemed the most successful metal tour in the last 2-3 years in Germany. Venues across the country were sold out to capacity.
Work began immediately on the next album to be titled Perfect Balance. Recording again took place at Pod and mixing at Oarfin in Minneapolis with Todd Fitzgereld. Perfect Balance was released to rave reviews in 2001. BoP played their first ever US tour date in November at Prog Power 2 in Atlanta. They opened the 2 day festival along with other famous bands such as Ark, Evergrey, Kamelot, and Symphony X. In 2002 they also played for the first time at Bloodstock in England.
During this time the band began having disagreements with Lance, and in January of 2003 it was decided it would be in everyone's best interest for them to part company. Work had already begun on the follow-up to Perfect Balance, but now BoP was finding themselves without a lead vocalist for the first time in 5 years.
Work continued on the album, to be called "Heathen Machine", even though no replacement for Lance had been found. Once they got to recording the vocal tracks a few names were being tossed around as a suitable replacement. Time was scheduled for tryouts, even though they wouldn't be needed. Tony and Lionel had heard through a mutual friend that John K of the band Biomechanical was interested in the vacant slot. Time was scheduled for him to lay down his ideas, and actually recording started that day. As soon as John set in, all agreed he was the perfect candidate for the job. Heathen Machine was again recorded at POD studio's and produced by Lionel Hicks. Mixing took place at Oarfin records in Minneapolis during July 2003. Massacre Records will release Heathen Machine on 25 Sept in the UK, and Avalon Marquee will release again for Japan.
So far Heathen Machine and the new line up is looking like a success. The first pre-release review is out in Germany in Metal Hammer magazine and the album has received maximum points. And also Rock Hard magazine Germany awarded Heathen Machine albums of the month. So far so good.