|Beltaine was formed in 1996 by Vasek Kudlic (vocals), Honza Strunc (bassguitar) and Karel Suchy (drums) in Plzen, Czech Republic. As they were influenced by pagan culture and mystique, they chose a name of a Celtic feast bringing the bright summer half of the year - Beltaine - translated as "bright fire" or "fire of Bellenos".
First steady line-up Vasek Kudlic (vocals), Pepan Kaspar (guitar), Honza Strunc (bassguitar), Ondra Franek (guitar) and Jirka Kaspar (drums) wrote during the following months a set of songs and presented it on their first show on November 15th, 1996. Later in 1997, Beltaine prepared their first demo which was recorded during November in Avik studio Plzen and then released in March 1998, being entitled First Scream Of Bohemian Winter. The record was acclaimed by fans as well as critics and due to more intensive touring and after winning an amateur bands competition "Muse", Beltaine became a known band within metal scene. In 1999, a famous Czech guitarist and composer Petr Janda (Olympic) offered the band to participate in a sampler Czech Rock Selection '99, where the song Cry of Insanity was released.
At that times, when everything ran smoothly, unexpected personal problems appeared and the band fell into a temporary state of inactivity. Jirka Kaspar (drums) left the band and Ondra Franek (guitar) departed for a few months to work in England. These events initiated a long crisis inside Beltaine and a following period of stagnation. The band partly revived in 2000 and played a few gigs with a drum machine.
A change came in April 2001, when Pavel Cirnfus (drums) joined in and the band started again rehearsing and touring. But the personal changes were not definitive and in Autumn 2001 after an unfinished mini-tour alongside the bands F.O.B. and Immortal Tears, one of the founding members Honza Strunc (bass guitar) parted ways with the band. A new bass guitarist Jaromir Vlach completed the line-up in March 2002.
All participating musicians were then ready to record Beltaine's debut album which was proposed to comprise most of the demo songs with current arrangements and professional production. The recording took place during Spring 2002 in Hostivar studio Prague and then in Beltaine home studio, where all the songs were finalized and mixed. The debut album Bohemian Winter was released on May 5th, 2003 via Nemethon Production, a new label established to that purpose by vocalist and band leader Vasek Kudlic.
Complimentary reviews in all rock and metal media as well as growing popularity proved that it was a breaking record for the band. Beltaine played more club shows and appeared on stage of some open air festivals. The first headliner tour "Voice Of Carnyx" across Czech Republic followed in Autumn with support of the bands Return To Innocence, Mortifilia, Cruel and Euthanasia.
In the early 2004, a staggering news reached the band's camp: Beltaine were nominated with Bohemian Winter for the "Czech Grammy award 2003" in hard'n'heavy genre category. It was a huge success to get a nomination for just the debut album. Vasek and Pepan were then guests on a Czech music television "Ocko" and introduced there a preview of the Eclipse video. In addition another success followed shortly afterwards. Beltaine won two prizes in Czech metal and rock journalists' awards "Britva 2003/The Razor 2003" for a 1st place in category "Debut album of the year" and a 2nd place in category "Album of the year" and thus became the most successful band of that awards.
In Spring 2004, the second part of Voice Of Carnyx Tour hit the stages across Czech Republic, this time with assistance of the bands Ebola Joy, From Beyond, Sacrist and Livores Mortis. Then the time was right for a long planned Lone video which was proposed to appear on a new EP. The shooting took place in a beautiful scenery of a former kaolin quarry with assistance of professional filmmakers from KFKF company.
Before the festival season started, the band had recorded in their home studio bonus songs for the EP, an old song Celestial Bodies and an acoustic version of the song Lake Of Brine with guest appearance of related Vishnu Tattva members. In Summer 2004, Beltaine focused on open-air festivals and played for instance at Trutnov Open Air and at the renowned Brutal Assault festival. Their song Lone was also released on a festival sampler Brutal Assault vol.9.
The Lone Video EP, which comprises Lone and Eclipse videos, three audio bonus tracks and a large photo gallery, was released via Nemethon Production by the winter solstice 2004 and is available as a DVD-R or a CD extra.
In May 2005, they were on the road again, this time on tour with the band Equirhodont, the new epic project of legendary Root member - Big Boss. Guys from Equirhodont were great and the tour was full of fun, drinking and good music, simply amazing. Then they started writing a new stuff and in 2006, the band played also at two open-air festivals - Lipnice Rock Fest and Basinfire Fest again.
Beltaine is currently in the process of recording demo versions of songs for their second full-length album, which is tentatively scheduled for release in 2007.
Taken from the official site www.beltaine.net