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.
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 respeptable quantities all over Europe and on import in the States. German Aardschok magazine called “Loser” (7:31 minutes long) “one of the best rock songs ever composed”.
Trance recorded the follow-up album to »Break out« in December 1982/January 1983. »Power Infusion« was every tiny bit as good as the debut. The album was once again issued on the German Rockport label staying in the Top 10 of the UK HM charts for weeks and even ending up Top 3 of Sounds magazine's import charts. “Children of Illusion” was the equivalent to “Loser” from the debut album, a mighty fine rock/metal ballad. “Burn your Lies” and “Shock Power” were more uptempo and rock solid. The brightest star of all, however, was opener “Heavy Metal Queen” with a guitar hook only written every 50 years. “Heayv Metal Queen” was also issued as a neat 12" picture disc. “Yes, 'Heavy Metal Queen' was a very catchy number indeed,” says Lothar Antoni. “Sure, it was way shorter than 'Loser' but it was not planned in that way at all, it just happened. I vaguely remember that we shot some scenes for a possible video clip in a discotheque. But that is all lost in the mists of time. I have no idea if the video was ever released. It was definitely not shown on MTV or stations like that.“
As a result of two fantastic albums under their belts, Trance opened proceedings at the inaugural edition of the famous Aardschok festival in Den Bosch, playing alongside Mercyful Fate and Raven (amongst others) in front of 7,000 crazy headbangers. Surely a highlight in the band's early career. “I reckon it was even more than 7,000 punters at the gig but let's no talk about numbers here,” laughs Lothar. “It was our biggest gig by far to that day. We had terrible nerves before the set. And when we went out on stage there was a sea of arms up in the air. The most incredible feeling in my life. We opened the set with 'Sensation' from the »Power Infusion« album and the fans knew every word. I won't ever forget this.”
It's no exaggeration to say that Trance was the best-selling band on Rockport – by far. “It's fair to say that,” agrees Lothar. “It's been a while but back in the day there was a number circulating. The number of record sales on Rockport for the first two albums combined, »Break Out« and »Power Infusion«, and that number was 140,000 copies sold.” Not a small amount of records for an independent company based near Frankfurt am Main. It seemed as if the big breakthrough was right around the corner. But it wasn't to be. So what were the reasons for Trance not making it as big as Accept and the Scorpions after all? Maybe a tour with a band like Iron Maiden would have helped things? “That's always hard to tell”, reckons Lothar. “I don't think playing support to Iron Maiden would have made a big difference. We definitely had our audience and live gigs were never a problem. Trance somehow lost momentum. We trusted in bad business decisions by our management. There were a lot of mistakes made. We were in contact with some major labels and they definitely showed interest but I think our management was looking for a huge advance. It was a case of too much too soon. The first two albums went too well, so some people involved with the band lost all sense of reality. And I'm not talking about the musicians themselves here. In the end the whole thing went to court. And no record company in the world invests in a band being in court with their manager. Somehow, this was the beginning of the end.”
Trance changed their name to Trancemission in 1989. The band is still active today (featuring original singer Lothar Antoni).