Benjamin Hilleke: Vocals
Sebastian Heldt: Drums
Benjamin Donath: Bass
Stefan Keller: Guitar
Tobias Buck: Guitar
Münster, Westphalia, summer of 2003: Tobias Buck, guitarist of the death/grind band MALZAN, forms a side project in order to pursue his interest in hardcore and Swedish death metal. The original line-up, consisting of Buck, Sebastian Heldt (d), Benny Hilleke (v), and Benjamin Donath (b), is quickly assembled, and, just before the debut show, THE NINTH GATE is chosen as the band’s name. Soon after this show the band is joined by guitarist Stefan Keller, whose death metal heavy riff ideas further enrich the creative output of the young group.
2nd, April 2004 – less than a year after the band’s inception and only a few months into the band’s existence in its present line-up – THE NINTH GATE are offered a recording contract by Metal Blade Records, literally making the five youngsters’ dreams come true. Understanding that a new name is needed to replace the old moniker, which had been born more out of necessity than anything else, the quintet starts brainstorming, soon emerging with a name that represents the band’s philosophy as a whole. The name is that of a character from Greek mythology, a woman who was sold into sexual slavery, being proscribed, oppressed and exploited all her life. This woman was called NEAERA.
A contract is signed between Metal Blade Records and the newly named NEAERA, who enter Stage One Studio with veteran producer Andy Classen in November 2004 in order to record their debut album. “The Rising Tide Of Oblivion” is released on March 21, 2005, being met almost exclusively with positive reviews. Following the album release, the band plays numerous shows and tours in Germany and abroad, including a European tour with As I Lay Dying and Heaven Shall Burn.
Musically speaking, the band doesn’t rest on their laurels either. A studio date for January 2006 at Denmark’s Hansen studios with producer Jacob Hansen (FEAR MY THOUGHTS, MAROON, COMMUNIC, SOUL DEMISE) is already booked in June 2005. The songwriting process takes up the best part of the year, with Tobias Buck, Stefan Keller and Sebastian Heldt writing roughly one song a month. The studio sessions with Jacob Hansen turn out to be extremely gratifying, more than living up to the band’s expectations. The band’s sophomore album, “Let The Tempest Come”is released by Metal Blade Records on April 7, 2006.
Album number two proves that the band is not only able to cope with the immense pressure generated by their successful debut, but also that they have matured as musicians. The new songs are met with enthusiastic reactions both by fans and press. Among other remarkable achievements, “Let The Tempest Come” gets a perfect 7 out of 7 score in the German edition of Metal Hammer – just like “The Rising Tide Of Oblivion” did before. Following the album release the band embarks on a real marathon of tours and festivals, including tours with the likes of Kataklysm and Caliban, as well as large festivals like Summer Breeze, With Full Force and Donauinselfest.
In late May 2007, Tobias Buck and Sebastian Heldt make their way to the familiar Hansen Studios again to begin recording the third NEAERA album, titled “Armamentarium”. For the first time, the band works simultaneously at Hansen Studios and Rape of Harmonies Studio in the Eastern German town of Triptis, where all vocals are tracked under the supervision of Alexander Dietz and Ralf Müller. “Armamentarium” was launched on August 24, 2007. The album even makes it into the official German album charts on position 65! Several festivals (Wacken, etc/) and tours throughout Europe follow, pushing the total number of shows played by the band up to 300 in over 20 countries including Russia, Estonia and Greece.
In January 2009, the band entered the Rape of Harmonies Studio to record their fourth album, “Omnicide – Creation Unleashed”, with producer Alexander Dietz at the helm. Mix and mastering is taken over by world-famous metal doctor Zeuss, who gives this aural tank his usual seal of excellence.
Festivals were destroyed by NEAERA where the band shared stages with bands like Rammstein. Alongside Earth Crisis and Sworn Enemy, NEAERA toured Europe for one month.
After having finished songwriting for a new record on tour, the guys didn’t waste any time. The recording session for their fifth album was planned immediately. ‘Forging The Eclipse’ was produced by Alexander Dietz, NEAERA‘s man of trust, with German producing legend Andy Classen handling the drums in his Stage One Studio. The mix was done by Tue Madsen in his Antfarm Studio.
Cover artwork once again was created by NEAERA‘s longtime graphic designer Terje Johnsen. He managed to turn the album title into a simple and concise concept.
‘Forging The Eclipse’ was released October 22nd/25th by Metal Blade Records.
NEAERA quickly followed up the release with an extensive European tour together with Caliban, All That Remains, Soilwork and Bleed From Within, and a co-headlining tour alongside Callejon, both in December 2010.
2011 was another very busy year for NEAERA. They shared the stage with renowned bands like Iron Maiden, Motörhead, System Of A Down, In Flames, Parkway Drive and Boysetsfire over the course of the open air festival season. Performances at Nova Rock, Vainstream, Metalfest Austria, Rock Harz and a memorable show at Summer Breeze Festival helped NEAERA further expand their fanbase. They were honored to be chosen by German Metal Hammer magazine to contribute a cover version of Metallica’s “Through The Never” to the bonus CD of the magazines “Black Album 20 year anniversary” edition. The band concluded the year by playing a an anniversary concert of their own for “The Rising Tide of Oblivion” in front of a packed Bastard Club in Osnabrück.
NEAERA kept the momentum going in 2012, this time taking quarters at Alexander Dietz’ newly founded CHEMICAL BURN STUDIOS in Bed Kösen, Germany, to lay down the tracks for their sixth full length. When the studio work was done, they went right back to the stage work. Several headline shows and a tour of Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia were only the prologue for what was next, namely the IMPERICON PROGRESSION TOUR. Here, NEAERA once again joined forces with their long time friends Heaven Shall Burn. Unearth and Suffokate completed the lineup of what was to be a very successful tour for every band in the bill. The PROGRESSION TOUR laid the groundwork for what was to be the busiest festival season in the band’s history. With Full Force, Greenfield, Devil Side, Serengeti, Area 4 and Mair1 are just about half of the NEAERA 2012 festival calendar. The band continued by playing more club shows and then focusing on talks with their record label which finally resulted in an extension of the recording agreement, reinforcing the solid connection between NEAERA and METAL BLADE RECORDS.