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Female-fronted symphonic/goth metal band Xandria broke into the German music mainstream in 2004 with their second album, Ravenheart. Though many argue that the band isn't genuinely metal, Xandria garnered a sizable following in Germany and a growing following internationally; in particular, the band's flair for exotic themes and Middle Eastern motifs contributed to its appeal, as did its English-language lyrics. Founded in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1997, Xandria comprised Lisa Middelhauve (vocals, piano), Marco Heubaum (guitar), Philip Restemeier (guitar), Nils Middelhauve (bass), and Gerit Lamm (drums). The band's recording history began with a self-titled demo in 1997, followed by a second demo, Kill the Sun, in 2000. Subsequently signed to Drakkar Records, a German metal label affiliated with Sony BMG, Xandria made their album debut with Kill the Sun in 2003. Produced by Dirk Riegner and recorded during winter 2002-2003, the album cracked the German Top 100 album chart, reaching number 98.
Xandria's second album, Ravenheart (2004), proved their mainstream breakthrough. Produced by José Alvarez-Brill and recorded during winter 2003-2004, the album spawned a Top 100 hit single, "Eversleeping," and sold well enough to reach number 36 on the German album chart. Xandria's third album, India (2005), was also produced by José Alvarez-Brill and charted slightly better than its predecessor, peaking at number 30. Salomé -- The Seventh Veil (2006), Xandria's fourth album, marked a change in direction for the band. Produced by bandmember Marco Heubaum, the album was thematically based loosely upon Salomé, the seductive daughter of Herodias who is mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible in connection with the death of John the Baptist. Salomé was less successful than its two predecessors and somewhat polarizing because of the band's change in direction.
Vocalist Middelhauve left the group shortly after the album's release, and was replaced by Kerstin Bischof, who performed under the moniker Lakonia. Bischof would last just under a year, and in 2010 the band chose German soprano Manuela Kraller as the new frontwoman. Kraller made her studio debut on 2012's Neverworld's End, but she decided to leave the group and embark on a solo career the following year. Arriving in 2014, Sacrificium heralded the arrival of Dutch vocalist and Ex Libris frontwoman Dianne van Giersbergen, as well as new bass player Steven Wussow, who took over for Nils Middelhauve, who left the group in 2012. In 2017 the band issued its seventh studio long-player, Theater of Dimensions. ~ Jason Birchmeier
- Bielefeld, Germany
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