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Biography

In the summer of 2003, Tobias Buck, who at that time played the lead guitar in the Münster death metal formation MALZAN, decided to start a metal side project that should take a different musical direction and lay more emphasis soundwise on power metal and hardcore influences. To carry out his plans, Toby teamed up with drummer Sebastian Heldt, whom he had already played together with in the 1998 Münster talent competition winning new metal band SPOUT, and with singer Benny Hilleke, who had no band experience whatsoever. The three of them started writing songs and rehearsing together but soon realised that with only a guitar and a drum, they would not be able to develop the amount of pressure necessary to create the aggressive overall metal sound they were aiming for.Toby consquently called up former MALZAN rhythm guitarist Benjamin Donath, who had left the band due to musical differences, and asked if he would be interested in taking over the part of bass player in this new group. Donath instantly agreed, and after one or two rehearsals, it was certain that this was going to be the band´s basic lineup. However, the quartet still did not have a name. Shortly before the first concert, Toby came up with the proposition to call the band THE NINTH GATE. In November 2003, THE NINTH GATE played their first concert in Münster´s Luna Bar. Even though the band received nothing but positive feedback from their audience, they knew that there was still a piece missing in the puzzle, a piece that would soon have to be added to take their song writing and sound diversity to a new level. The band agreed that the engagement of a second guitarist would be the right measure in order to open new musical doors and add new melodies and harmonies to round up the metal riffs and to add an extra punch to the hardcore parts. MALZAN had disbanded in the meantime, so their former bass player Stefan Keller was asked by Toby to play guitar in THE NINTH GATE. Stefan at that time played guitar in the progressive thrash metal band IKONOKL AST, but since he also had many hardcore riffs and song patterns and ideas in mind, he said yes, and thus the final lineup of THE NINTH GATE was completed. The band continued to play concerts and write songs, and in February of 2004, they hit the DOCMA-KLANG STUDIO in Osnabrück to record a 7-track-plus-outro demo CD. The product the band came up with was considered a good effort by everyone who heard it, also because of the very fat overall sound that DOGMA-KLANG-STUDIO producer Matze had managed to create.The demo´s opening track Broken Spine was even played in several clubs, for example Münster´s No.1 underground location, the Sputnikhalle, a fact which made the band extremely proud. On April 2, 2004, not even a year after the band´s actual foundation, something finally happened that the band would never even have dared to hope for: They were offered a record contract by METAL BLADE RECORDS. The band was very enthusiastic about this, but there was still something they had to do, and that was to chang e their name. The band agreed that this had to be done mainly because everyone felt that the name simply was not that fitting to their music. So, after two weeks of intense research and negotiationamong each other, the band finally found a name that they thought would fit their idea of metal best and that was also adequate considering the message that the band want to get across to their listeners. The new name was Neaera