At the beginning of the 1980s, there were two home grown acts dominating the German Metal scene. The Scorpions had just released their heaviest album ever: »Blackout« in 1982. The same year the mighty Accept had issued their own masterpiece »Restless And Wild«. However, there was a third band with huge expectations. They were all over the German rock press, destined to become the next big thing in Teutonic Metal. Of course, we are talking about the legendary Trance here.
Trance were originally formed in 1978 under the name of Age (with vocalist Lothar Antoni having been active since 1974). With the classic line-up of Lothar Antoni (vocals), Markus Berger (guitar), Thomas Klein (bass) and Jürgen Baum (drums) Trance recorded their first 7″ single entitled »A hard Way to go« (with “Haze in the Twilight” on the flipside) in Stuttgart’s Zuckerfabrik. “ Age was the forerunner to Trance,” says Lothar Antoni. “It was not the same band but some of the musicians involved were the same. Age did play different material than Trance later on. Musically, it was also quite different stuff. I’d say it was a mixture of Krautrock and hard rock. There was no heavy metal in Germany at this point in time. It was us, with Trance a bit later on, who defined heavy metal in Germany. No Age songs turned up on the first two Trance albums. »Break Out« and »Power Infusion« were written in a relatively short time span. Both albums included brand new material.”
As early as 1981, the band from Edenkoben in Southern Germany was a very active live act (playing up to 150 gigs a year!), winning several local rock competitions in the process (for example in Rüsselsheim, and becoming runners-up in Ludwigshafen). “Yeah, we were indeed a very active live band. It’s true to say that our biggest following was in the South of Germany but we did make it to the North and to the Ruhrpott area as well. And we played in Berlin three or four times. This was when the wall was still up. You basically needed a passport to travel through the German Democratic Republic. It was virtually foreign territory for us Southerners.”
In June 1982, Rockport issued one of the best debut albums in the history of German Metal. »Break out« was a true masterpiece and sold in more than respectable quantities all over Europe and on import in the States (Rockport was just a small German independent label). The first German edition of Aardschok magazine was full of praise: “’Loser’ is one of the best rock songs ever composed.” Who would disagree? But there was even more to discover: the uptempo opener “Break out” for example or “Burn the Ice” with its Scorpions-like guitar riff. Even the closing ballad “Baby Child” had a certain appeal although being the weakest of nine outstanding tracks. “Well, what can I say?,” asks Lothar when asked about the sheer brilliance of a song such as “Loser”. “When composing songs for Trance we always took great care in not repeating ourselves. Each and every song had to be different. Trance took influences from stuff other rock bands were not daring to touch upon. We never copied any ideas from other bands per se – becoming sort of a cover act was never our aim. This made us such a unique band.”
Although signed to the smallish indie label Rockport, Trance was one of the leading metal bands of the early 1980s. “That’s what people tend to forget,” knows Lothar Antoni. “It was a totally different time. But it was Accept, the Scorpions and us representing German Metal in 1982 and 1983. That’s 30 years in the past now. But Trance was indeed a huge band back in the day. If you take a look at the magazines of the time, there was Trance, the Scorpions and Accept all over. We were flying the flag for German Metal. And this also was the case when talking about foreign countries. In England, for example, our record was available on import and sold in respectable quantities. We also reached the independent charts in the UK.”