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Female-fronted symphonic/goth metal band Xandria broke into the German music mainstream in 2004 with their second album, Ravenheart. Though many argue that the band isn't genuinely metal, Xandria garnered a sizable following in Germany and a growing following internationally; in particular, the band's flair for exotic themes and Middle Eastern motifs contributed to its appeal, as did its English-language lyrics. Founded in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1997, Xandria are comprised of Lisa Middelhauve (vocals, piano), Marco Heubaum (guitar), Philip Restemeier (guitar), Nils Middelhauve (bass), and Gerit Lamm (drums). The band's recording history began with a self-titled demo in 1997, followed by a second demo, Kill the Sun, in 2000. Subsequently signed to Drakkar Records, a German metal label affiliated with Sony BMG, Xandria made their album debut with Kill the Sun in 2003. Produced by Dirk Riegner and recorded during winter 2002-2003, the album cracked the German Top 100 album chart, reaching number 98. Xandria's second album, Ravenheart (2004), proved their mainstream breakthrough. Produced by José Alvarez-Brill and recorded during winter 2003-2004, the album spawned a Top 100 hit single, "Eversleeping," and sold well enough to reach number 36 on the German album chart. Xandria's third album, India (2005), was also produced by José Alvarez-Brill and charted slightly better than its predecessor, peaking at number 30. Salomé -- The Seventh Veil (2006), Xandria's fourth album, marked a change in direction for the band. Produced by bandmember Marco Heubaum, the album was thematically based loosely upon Salomé, the seductive daughter of Herodias who is mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible in connection with the death of John the Baptist. Salomé was less successful than its two predecessors -- just barely breaking into the Top 50, at number 49, and spawning no charting hits, though a video was filmed for the single "Save My Life" -- and somewhat polarizing because of the band's change in direction. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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1997 in Bielefeld, Germany

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