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Xandria - Biography





Xandria's roots are in the mid-nineties. In 1994, inspired by bands like Tiamat, Therion and Paradise Lost, the band's later founder Marco Heubaum and a drummer friend set their first musical steps in the fascinating cross-over between metal and atmospheric soundscapes. Soon, they formed a band, with Marco sharing vocals with a female singer. However, artistic differences caused the band to break up after their first gigs in the summer of 1997. Marco continued to pursue his clearly defined musical ideas and went in search of new musicians to record demo versions of his songs.

In Bielefeld, Marco rehearses new songs with bass player Roland Krueger and members of Roland's former metal band. Among these are songs like "Kill The Sun", "Mermaids" and "So You Disappear," the latter having been the very first song of this musical journey back in 1994.

2000 is the year in which Xandria becomes more than a mere studio project. With a female singer from their hometown, five songs are recorded at a small studio and presented to the public on the internet for the very first time. The songs become the underground hits of the year, providing the band with a rapidly growing fan base that also includes fans in North America. Following this success, Roland Krueger and Gerit Lamm join Marco to form a real band that could play these songs live, but the singer who sang on the demo recordings pursues other plans. Female vocals having gradually taken over the lead role, the band find their new singer in Lisa Middelhauve.

Xandria's success continues and Udo Zimmer from Drakkar Records becomes their manager. In 2002, the band signs with Drakkar Records. Philip Restemeier joins the band as their new lead guitarist and the band play their first gigs in and near their hometown. In this crucial period, the band write new songs, ultimately leading to the recording of their debut album, Kill The Sun, in the winter of 2002.

Kill The Sun hits the stores in the spring and reaches the German Album Top 100 charts - a remarkable achievement for a debut album. After playing at a few shows with Schandmaul and Subway To Sally, Xandria go on their first major three-week tour of Germany with Tanzwut. Later that year, they play at festivals such as Méra Luna and tour with gothic band ASP. A very eventful year results in a much extended fan base as well as many ideas for new songs, and in December Xandria head to the Belgian studio of producer José Alvarez-Brill.

After the recordings for the new album, Ravenheart, bassist Roland leaves because he is no longer able to combine playing in the band with his day job, and Nils Middelhauve becomes Xandria's new bass player. The album is a great success. It reaches position 36 in the German album charts, where it remains for seven weeks. Xandria's first music video, for the track "Ravenheart" - highly atmospheric and with fantasy influences - is received with much enthusiasm and stands out favorably among the many run-of-the mill clips of its day. Xandria's fame reaches the far east and the band performs as a co-headliner at the Busan International Rock Festival in South Korea, the biggest open-air festival in Asia. A second music video, to the track "Eversleeping", is shot at an old castle in Berlin, and immediately enters the German charts. In November, Xandria embarks on their first headlining tour, with the Finnish bands Entwine and Lab as support.

While, before, new ideas had always come easy, Xandria now is put under much pressure for their upcoming album by their record label. After the success of Ravenheart Marco wants to take the next musical step and create something even bigger, more epic and more ambitious, but he is not able to do so, due to lack of time, pressure from the label and differences even within the band. As a result, the new album only in parts fulfils Marco's original idea. India is released on August 22nd and, despite all the difficulties, the album is again a success. Real Celtic instruments are used for the first time and the cooperation with the Deutsches Film Orchester Babelsberg is a great new experience for the band. In the summer, Nils and Lisa get married.

2006 is dominated by major concerts, with Xandria playing for the first time in countries like Russia, England and Mexico. A new album, Salomé - The Seventh Veil, is recorded at Principal Studios. As a consequence of the differences during the recordings of the previous album a lot of musical compromises are being made, so the new album lacks a coherent vision. It is less symphonic than its predecessors and it moves in different directions, without really arriving anywhere. Although Salomé - The Seventh Veil does enter the charts, it is Xandria's least successful album and the subsequent tours are not really going well either.

The band is at a crossroads, and due to serious artistic differences and conflicting opinions on which way the band should go, this might well have been the end of the road. In this situation singer Lisa Middelhauve decides to leave the band at the end of the last Salomé - The Seventh Veil tour.

Seeing the chance for a fresh start, the band begins a search for a new singer, found in former Axxis singer Kerstin Bischof. Meanwhile, Marco composes new songs to lead the band to new horizons and to achieve a goal that had to be abandoned for the two previous albums: to create an ambitious, symphonic metal album that would start a totally new chapter for Xandria.

But first: more ups and downs for Xandria. The band tours in South America for the first time and has many successful shows with their new singer. But, after only one year, Kerstin leaves the band for personal reasons. More than one hundred candidates respond when the band advertises for a new singer. In December 2010, final preparations are started for a new album with new singer Manuela Kraller.

During Manuela's debut performance as the new singer, Xandria plays Ravenheart at an event in their hometown Bielefeld, accompanied by a full orchestra. Urs Middelhauve, very experienced in the music business and brother of Nils, becomes Xandria's new manager and the band signs with Napalm Records. Recordings for the new album, Neverworld's End, start in summer and last until November, interrupted for several weeks by the Out Of The Dark European tour. For the orchestral arrangements, the band engages the talents of Dutchman Joost van den Broek.

Neverworld's End is released at the end of February and is received with great enthusiasm. A great comeback! In April and May, Xandria tour Europe as support act for Epica, playing in many countries the band had never visited before, followed by another European tour with Kamelot in November.

In the band's new era, Xandria win many new fans. Steven Wussow joins the band as their new bass player. Despite the huge success of Neverworld's End, Manuela decides to leave the band, and Xandria have to look for a singer once again! But, in October 2013, the perfect replacement is found in Dianne van Giersbergen, kick-starting work on the upcoming album Sacrificium, scheduled for release in 2014 - their most epic, heavy and bombastic album to date.

With Sacrificium, released in May, Xandria take another big musical step. Once again, the orchestrations are arranged by Joost van den Broek, who now also acts as a co-producer. In addition to the real string instruments and authentic Celtic whistles and pipes, the band works with a full classical choir - the renowned Dutch "Pa'dam" choir - which they have never done before. Another milestone for Xandria's sound.

Sacrificium makes the band's highest chart ratings to date, reaching no. 25 in the German album charts, as well as entering the charts in other countries, including - for the first time - the UK and the USA.

(Source: Official website, 22.1.2015)