Epidemia - Biography



The history of the group Epidemia can be attributed to the distant 1991. When a fragile young man, known later as Yuri Melisov, was seen at the Tushino airfield for the concert of Metallica and AC/DC on September 28th of the same year. After this experience, Yuri decided to form his own band. During the winter, he got his first electric guitar.

During the spring of 1992, Yuri was offered to play in band that at the time did not have name or certain style. The leader of that band was Vadim Zaitsev, whom perfectly expressed his spiritual experiences in the lyrics though. Yuri immediately imbued lyrics and even managed to write the music for the three songs by Vadim which became known as "Strangler On Gloomy Soul", "Round Dance Dead" and "Crazed Maniac". It should be noted that, Yuri's musical ideas were fully consistent with Vadim's verses. Thus, the future founder of the Epidemia continued to improve his skills before the summer of 1993, when the project stalled.

Turning point in life for Yuri, was the meeting with Aram Oganesian, 35-year-old guitarist immigrant from Armenia. Aram whom was fan of Deep Purple and Santana. opened the door to rock music of the 1970s. After a few rehearsals, the song "Phoenix" was born - the first real hit of the then-untitled group. Aram was the author of the song and the Yuri invented a fun ending for and wrote new text for the song.
After a while, two new members joined the group who were bassist Dmitry Scherbakov and drummer Mikhail Yeltsov. By February 1994, four songs were written: "Phoenix", "Devils Dreams", "New Day" and the slower song "Return". The group then consisted of: Yuri Melisov - guitars, vocals; Aram Hovhannisyan - guitars ; Dmitry Scherbakov - bass; Mikhail Eltsov - drums. After a while guitarist Aram broke his arm and to provide for his family, was forced to sell his guitar. Rehearsal ended and musicians dispersed.

Yuri remembered drummer Andrey Laptev, whom he met in the fall of 1993, and the new guitarist became Andrey Manko. Yuri Melisov, Andrey Manko and Andrei Laptev started further work at the beginning of 1995 to the four songs written before, added another one - "Меньше нас." In April and May of that year, the first demo was recorded under the name "Bullets". Due to lack of bass guitar player, thus the bass role was prescribed to Yuri. In August of that year, Yuri coined the name for the group - "Epidemia". In October of that year, new bassist - Artem Smirnov, was found. Rehearsals were frequent, and by December of that year, Epidemia was ripe for the first concert, which took place on December 20, 1995.

The concert included there own songs as well as covers of groups Metallica's "Fade To Black", Helloween's "I Want Out", and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The group at that time was:
Yuri Melisov - guitars, vocals
Andrey Manko - guitars, backing vocals
Artem Smirnov - bass
Andrey Laptev - drums

During the winter of 1996, Yuri wrote two songs: "Will to Live" and "The Shadow of Love". In February and March of 1996, the band played couple of concerts. In the spring of 1996, the band recorded two songs in the studio - accelrated verison of "New Day" in an accelerated and the ballad "N.A.S.T.Y.A.", which was written in the summer of 1995. Unfortunately, the records were not kept. Also another composition was written - "Be With You Again". Winter of 1996, marked the beginning of the band's activities. At one concert, Yuri met future frontman of Epidemia - Pavel Okunev, and after some time came and a new bassist - Nikolay Turunov.

In August of 1997, Yuri wrote the song "One Ring" and then the guys got into the studio to record their debut EP, "Will For Life." At this point, guitarist Andrey Manko decided to leave the group and was replaced successfully by Roman Zakharov.

In October of 1997, Epidemia played a concert with featured there new lineup:
Pavel Okunev - vocals
Yuri Melisov - guitars
Roman Zakharov - guitars
Nikolay Turunov- bass
Andrey Laptev - drums

In parallel with the concert activities, the band still continued to work on the EP album "Will For Life," with work eventually being completed in November of 1997 and the release of the EP took place in Feburary 1998. It needs to be stated that the band wasnt ready for this record in terms of technically and spiritually. Not very competent information only highlighted the disadvantages of the recored material, while some sounded less full. Also as it turned out, patriotic film was replicated of the album and thus contributed to the rise of emotions in listners. However, the subtleties of the recording could not influence the nature of the songs and the material as a whole. Qualitative russian heavy-speed-metal, in principle, was a rare phenomenon in Russia; lyrical texts, melodies - all won the hearts of many people. In six months the whole edition of the album was sold. Then the two-sided t-shirts have been released, as well as, organized fan club and open web-site was created.

By late spring of 1998, concert attendance has increased dramatically, and for the summer, the band went on full alert to gain strength for the new album. Soon, bassist Nikolay Turunov left the band and was replaced by invited Ilya Knyazev. With an updated lineup of the band, they held series of percussion concerts in Moscow clubs, performing on par with such bands as Master. Also, to improve the perception of music in concerts, they decided to use keyboards - from September to December that were played by Lyubov Nazarova, from January - Ekaterina Usanova, and from March - Ekaterina Gladkova. In February 2000, the group has found a permanent new keyboard player, Oleg Pokhvalin.

Finally, in late August 1999, the band released there debut album titled as "On the Edge of Time." The album became the second creation, considering there EP as the first, of the band which was released by the company Moroz Records. The album consisted of 14 tracks that were written so nobody will get bored during the 74 minutes while listening to the album, as well it features "sixteenths barrels", original guitar riffs, and contemporary sound in the tradition of power metal.

In summer of 2000, Pavel took up his new musical project and left the group. After a long search, the band found a new vocalist, Maxim Samosvat. His concert debut was October 6 of the samein the "R-Club", where he was admitted to "cheers" as fans and journalists from various mater rock publications.

In the summer of 2001, the band completed work on a new album, "Mystery of the Magic Country," which was another step in the development team. The album received the highest marks in the Russian music press. After recording of the album, guitarist Roman Zakharov left the group - he was replaced by Yuri's friend, Pavel Bushuev (ex-Stonehenge), and a new keyboard player joined the band, he was Roman Valeryev. For the presentation of the new album "Mystery of the Magic Country" which was on December 15, 2001, the band was able to gather large number of listeners.

Also in the summer of 2001, the band made a video for the song "I Prayed For You", which later appeared in rotation on TV channel MTV, and the band earned a nomination to participate in the prestigious awards ceremony MTV Europe Music Awards 2002, and then in the top five nominees for an award. The band started to be often mentioned by the press, while MTV invited them for various television shows. In one of the shows, the band has been involved with legendary Alice Cooper.

In November 2002, guitarist Pavel Bushuev and General Director of Moroz Records, Sergei Morzov, went to Barcelona for the awards ceremony of MTV Europe Music Awards 2002. The ceremony involved many world stars such as Robbie Williams, Moby, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Eminem, Royksopp, Coldplay, Wyclef Jean, and Foo Fighters. Epidemia earned fourth place among the Russian artists and became the first Russian metal band, who were in the nominees EMA. This has opened new opportunities and great prospects. Soon, a collection album called "High Grade" was released and it contained the songs of the best Russian bands as well as included a track of Epidemia's "I Prayed For You". In late 2002, drummer Andrey Laptev left the band. Eventually, he was replaced by new drummer, Evgeny Laikov.

Eventually, the band decided to record metal opera - which is something unprecendented for Russian metal scene. The author of the lyrics and music became Yuri. The project caught the attention of Vladimir Holstinin whom was group leader of Aria, he also offered Epidemia to the record label, Aria Records. From July to November, hard work was put into the metal opera "Elven Maunscript." In addition to Epidemia's vocalist Maxim Samosvat, who sang the major role in the recording; vocalists from other bands joined in on the project and they included vocalists of Aria, Master, Black Obelisk, and also very known show-man, Cyril Nemolyaev. The drums' role was prescribed to the new drummer, Dmitry Krivenkov. The album was released on February 13, 2004, it's presentation was held at the festival "Friday the 13th" at Luzhniki sports center, which also includes the bands Aria, Alice and The King and the Clown. 6000 spectators saw the performance of Epidemia, singers, dressed according to their characters and a team of knights, famously fought with swords and axes. In the background of the stage, there was giant screen which showed changing landscape of "Elf Manuscripts." The performance of the group and the album received the highest marks from critics and ordinary listeners, that even music stores didn't expect so much demand from listeners and fans wanting to buy Russian mteal opera.

At that moment, the band consisted of:
Maxim Samosvat - vocals
Yuri Melisov - guitars
Pavel Bushuev - guitars
Ilya Knyazev - bass
Dmitry Krivenkov - drums
Roman Valeryev - keyboards

Then, the festival of "Elven Manuscript" in St. Petersburg at the sports complex "Jubilee," The audience took to "cheer" Epidemia's speech, which included the change of guitarist. Pavel Bushuev was replaced by Ilya Mamontov, named Lars. At the same time, the song, Go on your Way, occupied first for month in the charts of Nashe Radio "Chart Dozen." Epidemia was invited to perform at the largest Russian festivals, Wings and Invasion. Epidemia wasn't scared of the seas of crowds of people that showed up for the shows. In autumn, the band began recording a new album "Life In Twilight," which included the re-recorded songs from old albums. The list of songs determined by fans voting on the Epidemia's band site. The album was released on April 7, 2005, both new and old fans met it with approval. Heavier sound, confident and powerful vocals of Maxim Samosvat and significantly updated guitar solos performed by new guitarist Lars (Ilya Mamontov) showed that the band wasn't standing still.

At this point, the lineup consisted of:
Maxim Samosvat - vocals
Yuri Melisov - guitars
Ilya Mamontov - guitars
Ilya Knyazev - bass
Dmitry Krivenkov - drums
Roman Valeryev - keyboards

Year 2005 marked a jubilee year for Epidemia - the band turned 10 years old. In December, they played a big concert at DK Gorbunova. The show was fully sold out, and the band played for three hours performing there best songs, playing an acoustic set, and completed the action formulation metal opera "Elven Manuscript" with all the vocalists. The concert was recorded on video. In 2006, the band released debut DVD set under the title Twilight Chronicles (Part One -10 Years' Path, Part Two - "The Elven Manuscript"). At the jubliee concert, they had a new keyboard player, Dmitry Ivanov. At the end of 2005, the band bassist, Ilya Knyazev, left the band and was replaced by Ivan Izotoff.
Year 2006 was good year for the band, in terms, they had many performed at concerts in Russia, Ukraine, and Invasion Festival, where the band played for an hour, performing an accoustic show in addition there unique program which they perpared for those shows. In the same year, they released there debut DVD set and rehearsed new songs.

During the spring of 2007, the band at the request of many of there fans began to record the second part of the metal opera "The Elven Manuscript", called "The Legend For All Times". For the recording of the opera, many more of the best Russian rock vocalists attended the sessions, including the legendary Michael Seryshev, iconic folk musician of Troll and rock vocal teacher, who also taught Maxim Samosvat and Catherine Belobrova. The cover work was drawn by renowned Finnish graphic designer Jan Iruland, who worked previously with groups such as Manowar and Korpiklaani. Yuri has created an interesting continuation of the plot, which was successfully realized in the form of literary writer Kirill Benediktov. Band members performed the material to such high quality and standards in terms of technically and harmonically that they surpassed the quality and standards of previous albums. Maxim Samosvat and sound engineer Artem Tokmakov on modern studio, Dreamport, worked on developing the great sound. The completion phase was done in Finland at the famous studio Finnvox, where Minerva Pappy implemented the mastering and final touches on the record of the opera. And so, in November of 2007, the metal opera album "The Elven Manuscript: The Legend For All Times" was released. The work effort of the musicians has became the most successful, and this was confirmed by the concert in Luzhniki, where in spite of the weekday, a crowd of about 5000 spectators showed up. Spectators were able to enjoy a great show - full stage production of both parts of the "Elvish Manuscripts." All singers have appeared in stage costumes, the show also included battle scenes, knights, ballet, fireworks, show's torchbearers, screens with animation and lot of other beautifiul details. Furthermore, the band decided to start work on new DVD which will feature this performance, so that everyone can appericate the grand fairy-metal performance.

In April 2010, the band released a new album, which was a qualitative step forward for the creation development of the band. The album featured 13 tracks totaling about 73 minutes, immersed in a very special world of beautiful melodies and heavy guitar riffs. "The Road Home," was the most profound album the band released to this point, in terms of the best traditions of metal music. The album tells the story of eternal themes that include the search of oneself, of love and endless fighting. During the recording sessions, many famous European and Russian musicians gladly responded to the offer of cooperation; the list includes Mikko Kosonen (Ari Koivunen, Maija Vilkkumaa), Jukka Karinen and Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone). The album includes bonus tracks "Phoenix" and "Return", which Yuri wrote back in 1994. The track Return, repeated the success of the song "Walk Your Way" and won charts in Nashe Radio "Chart Dozen" and has held on the first place for 3 weeks, and stayed in the charts for months. The group has headlined the alternative scene of the Festival Invasion with concerts devoted to 15th anniversary of the group. During this time, the group has parted with Maxim Samosvat, who has been with the group for past decade. Maxim began to look at his own career, while promisng that he would help his former band members in the studio as a sound engineer. The new vocalist became Eugeny Egorov, previously known to fans whom performed one of the roles in the metal opera "The Elven Manuscript." Another change was the shift in the composition of Lars, Ilya Mamontov, to bass guitar. The vacant place was filled by Dmitry Protsko, who was known for his work in the group of Arda.

The current lineup of the band:
Eugeny Egorov - vocals
Yuri Melisov - guitars
Dmitry Protsko- guitars
Ilya Mamontov- bass
Dmitry Krivenkov- drums
Dmitry Ivanov - keyboards

There musical works prove that the revival of heavy metal, both in Russia and around the world is not a utopia. And Epidemia plays there role in this revival.

Translated from Russian via their Official site