Balance Of Power
he story of Balance Of Power begins in 1995 when keyboardist Ivan Gunn put together a band of London Rockers, but before long line-up changes were in the offering with original members Paul Curtis (guitar) and Tony Ritchie (vocals) departing. Ritchie left at the Japanese record label's request when the act began style changes that didn't fit his style and the label demanded a vocalist with more range, while Curtis had become tired of his lot in life in London and decided to leave town and subsequently quit the music business. Lionel Hicks by this time had joined on drums. So after the completion of their first album,When The World Falls Down (1997), that became popular in Japan, American vocalist Lance King and British guitarist Pete Southem were the replacements. Southem had known Hicks since childhood, while King was plucked from the US after over 50 auditions for UK singers failed to yield the results they wanted, King had previously recorded albums with Gemini and the Kings Machine in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was selected when Gunn was with him conducting some music licensing business.
The Japanese record company pressured them for a follow-up. Their second effort, Book Of Secrets (1998), was based on Michael Drosnin's The Bible Code and received acclaim for the tracks Seven Days To Nevermore and Miracles And Dreams that received heavy rotation on radio, not to mention Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden) getting involved by playing the entire album on his European Underground network radio show. Although this album was completed in America, the follow-up Ten More Tales Of Grand Illusion (2000) would receive the bulk of its production in Hicks' own "POD" studios with only the final mixing completed in America. Southem and Ritchie again wrote this album despite the fact that at this stage Ritchie was not in the band but he had maintained a friendly relationship. A tour ensued whereby bassist Chris Dale would leave and former vocalist Tony Ritchie would return to assume the bass role, while founding member Gunn left keyboard and indeed, the band altogether as his 'Anthem' record label needed his attention; Leon Lawson was brought in as a guest performer to replace Gunn for a time. The album continued their uprising in popularity and was their first for new label 'Massacre' after leaving their former European label over bad book keeping issues before releasing their Perfect Balance release internationally in 2001 with the membership of Lance King (vocalist), Pete Southern (guitar/vocals), Bill Yates (guitar), the returning Tony Ritchie (now on bass) and Lionel Hicks (drums).
After the completion of Perfect Balance, King and the band were having a falling out causing him to leave and no replacement was found before the start of the follow-up, Heathen Machine. With little time for playing with vocal demos it was discovered the John K. (ex-Biomechanical) was interested and he was recruited to record on the album almost on "day 1" and quickly became a part of the act. The album is due in September of 2004, produced by Hicks in his POD studios.
'Massacre' Records released Heathen Machine on 25 Sept 2003 in Europe and the UK, 'Avalon Marquee' released it in Japan and 'DCA Records' in the USA. Heathen Machine turned out to be the best selling album that Balance of Power had produced to date. Their next obvious response was to go and play live which the new line up. The high points were some shows in Germany and London, UK and an appearance at the Bloodstock 04 festival in Derby UK
Their 6th album, Heathenology, arrived in 2005, as well as a live DVD also entitled, Heathenology. Also a live audio CD recorded in Germany and a compilation CD of the archives of songs that have been re-mastered from the past five Balance of Power albums followed.
Footnote: Hicks would be involved with several side projects including those of Glen McGuire of Snake Eyes.