In the year 1985 a guitarist called Henk van der Laars decides to start a band. After working with several local musicians he finds a drummer called Gerry and a singer called Theo who he starts jamming with. After a while they decide to bring in a second guitarist and his name is Arno van Brussel. Pretty soon Henk and Arno figure out that Gerry and Theo aren’t able to meet the standards that they have in mind, and start looking for other drummers and singers. A guy called Bert Burgers is found to play drums and local hero Chris Terheijden becomes the singer in the band. The band without a name… until Chris Comes across a book called “The Legend of Elegy” which is about a Greek goddess. Since they’re in the middle of recording a demo (called “Matricide” in “86), they adopt the name Elegy. After working with several different bass players, most of which didn’t last more than a month, Arno asks his friend for many years if he would be interested in joining Elegy. This friend was a rhythm guitarist in Arno’s first band and his name is Martin Helmantel.
Martin’s first gig with the band is a very important one. In 1987 Elegy entered a band competition organized by Metal Hammer magazine and Polydor records. About 450 bands send in tapes and Elegy is chosen to play in the finals with 9 other bands. This event takes place in Bochum, Germany in April ’87. Elegy comes out on top and wins the contest ! Due to arguments among the organizers, Elegy was to never receive any of their prices (like equipment and a show in Hammersmith odeon in London but most important never got to sign a deal with Polydor records world wide).
In 1988 Elegy is starting to make a name for them selves opening up for bands like Angelwitch, Paul Di anno’s Battlezone, Hellion and King Diamond. Around this time drummer Bert is replaced by Ed Warby. And another demo is made called “Elegant solution” in 1989. After which Chris leaves the band and is replaced by Eduard Hovinga who was only a 17 year old kid when he auditioned in 1990 (it will take almost a year before he decides to join). A 2-song demo is made with Eduard called “Labyrinth of dreams” featuring the title track and “I’m no fool” which attracts interest from some record labels. One record label even financed a new demo with the songs “Guiding light”, “All systems go” and “The grand change”. After hearing the 3 songs the label decides not to sign Elegy…which later proofs to be a big mistake!
After several weeks the demo is brought to the attention of Metal Mike from Aardschok magazine who happens to be on the phone with the owner of Shark records who wants to sign the band after hearing the demo over the phone!
1992 is the year in which “Labyrinth of dreams” is recorded. The album is released in 1993 and is an instant success in Japan where it reaches the #8 spot in the album charts. By that time Ed Warby has left the band to play with Gorefest and Serge Meeuwsen is hired as a temporary replacement. Two weeks after the release in Japan, Henk, Arno, Eduard, Martin, Serge and keyboard player Ton van de Stroom are rushed over there for interviews and one live performance on Captain Wada’s show in Osaka. The band signs about 1200 autographs in 6 days while they are there.
After returning home from Japan Arno leaves the band because he’s not a 100% motivated anymore, and is replaced by Gilbert Pot a friend of Serge (who leaves the band also after the trip to Japan. A month later Elegy comes across a drummer called Dirk Bruinenberg. He happens to be a friend of Ed Warby and after hearing from Ed that Elegy is looking for a drummer, he gives Henk a call. A week later Dirk auditions and is hired on the spot. Only 1 week later Dirk does 2 shows with Elegy!
Around the time Dirk joins the band (end of 1993), the album “ Supremacy ” is already written and amazingly Dirk learns the songs within a 6 week period and enters the studio a week later. During the recordings Ton is fired from the band and Henk and Gilbert play most keyboard parts on the album. Henk also does most of the bass parts because Martin is called away when his girlfriend is having their baby. The album is released in May 1994. After not getting enough support from the record company only a few shows were done (with Annihilator, Phantom Blue, The Gathering and Gorefest) and the band is already writing songs for a new album.
In April 1995 Elegy starts recording “ Lost ”. Before the recordings new keyboard player Gerrit Hager joins the band. “ Lost ” is released in the summer of 1995 and around the world Elegy receives great reviews in the magazines. But shortly before going on tour with Yngwie Malmsteen, Eduard leaves the band to pursue a solo-career taking Gerrit with him. Gilbert also decides to quit after somebody offers him an interesting job.
The only ones left are Henk Martin & Dirk and much to their surprise Modern Music records offers them a very interesting deal although the band at that time are without a singer ! So a search for a new singer begins…
After listening to a few dozen demo-tapes and trying out a couple of vocalists Martin gets a phone call. On the other side of the telephone line is a guy called Ian Parry. Ian had heard from another vocalist, who had auditioned earlier, that Elegy was looking for a singer. He was invited to come over to audition and was hired on the spot !
Since Elegy had just scored a new recording contract, the band decided to re-record some old Elegy songs in an acoustic format to show everybody that the band had a new singer and was very much alive. The songs were released in 1996 under the title “Primal instinct”.
During the recording of “Primal instinct” Elegy had already started working on new material with Ian and soon entered the studio to record “State of mind”.
“State of mind” was released in the summer of 1997. Not only did the band receive raving reviews about their new song writing style with Ian, but everything from the production to the artwork of the album was positively commended. Their fans were also in agreement because sales worldwide were in excess of 40.000 copies. One of the main reasons for this was due to Elegy’s very successful European tour as guests of Stratovarius. More than 30.000 people covering 10 countries came enthusiastically to the shows and left ecstatically wanting more ! Elegy continued their success in Japan with 2 additional shows in Osaka and Tokyo where their fans came out in abundance to experience Elegy’s raw “in the face” exciting live show ! Later that year Elegy is asked back to Italy to headline the “Psycho” festival in Milan.
In 1998 Elegy takes the success story one giant step further by recording at Area 51 studio’s in Germany, a new concept album ”Manifestation of fear”. The lyrical concept written by Ian has been masterfully crafted in music form by Henk for the most with contributions from Dirk and new keyboard player Chris Allister. The album is released in the summer of 1998 and is called by some critics “the concept album of the 90’s”. In September 1998 a co-headlining tour of Europe is done together with American metal suppremo’s Kamelot.
Returning home after the tour with Kamelot, Elegy decides to take some time off to “recharge the batteries”. In this period Ian writes, records and releases his Consortium project with Dirk playing the drums (and Martin playing on 1 song).
Early in the year 1999 Henk’s mother passes away which has a great impact on his personal life and a few weeks later Henk decides to leave Elegy !!! After getting together a few weeks later with the rest of the guys he rejoins the band to work on the new album. In the following months the band starts working on songs and decide to bring in a second guitar player, French guitar virtuoso Patrick Rondat. Right before Elegy starts recording the new album entitled “Forbidden fruit”, Henk decides to leave the band after all………… and Patrick is now the main guitarist in the band. He records all the guitar parts on the new album and proves himself to be a more than capable replacement for original guitarist Henk. “ Forbidden Fruit ” is released in September 2000 !!!
Receiving raving reviews about the “ Forbidden Fruit ” album from around the world, the band, who are now without record company after finishing the three album deal with Modern Music, tries to get the show on the road to promote the new album. Being without a record label also means no tour support and the search for a new record label begins. In the mean time Dirk plays on the new Consortium album and is asked to record an album with Stefan Forte for his “Adagio” project. Patrick keeps himself busy playing “masterclasses” all over France and is asked by Jean Michel Jarre, who he played with before, to do a small tour in arena’s in Greece.
While Ian is searching for a company to release the new Consortium album, he gets in touch with Locomotive music from Spain. No only do they offer to release the Consortium project, they are also very interested in signing up Elegy!!! Marquee records in Japan are found as partners for the release in Asia. Around this time the songwriting for the new Elegy album “Principles of Pain” is in full progress. Ian, Patrick, Martin and Dirk are now working on an album together as songwriters for the first time in the Elegy history and the songmaterial is stronger than ever!!!
Locomotive now are as determined as Elegy to bring the band to the next level and touring plans are made for the summer of 2002. The label persuades the band to record the new album in Madrid which is the labels homebase. The recordings will start in January 2002 with an April release in Asia and early May in the rest of the world. A videoclip was filmed on locations in Den Bosch in Holland (where the bands rehearsed at that time) and Aruba! This was for the title track “Principles of pain”.
After the release in Europe sales go up to 20.000 copies in Europe alone and Elegy is invited to play the Rock Machina festival in Spain. This will be the first time that the band will perform on stage with Patrick Rondat! Also the band will introduce new keyboard wizard Joshua Dutrieux who already plays on the new album!
On July the 26th the Rock Machina takes place in Moncofa. Elegy delivers a blistering performance in front of 8000 people, receiving raving reviews from the Spanish and international press.
This show also means the last show for drummer and longtime friend Dirk. After almost 10 years in the band he retires from the band unable to motivate himself for more hectic touring.
After auditioning several candidates for the new drummers position Martin meets photographer Edwin van Hoof who informs him about a great new drummer that he saw perform several nights earlier. He said this guy, a drumteacher of only 25 years old, would be able to follow in Dirk’s footsteps! A few phonecalls were made and an audition was scheduled the same week. After only a few days to rehearse the material, Bart Bisseling auditioned and made a lasting impression on Martin who informed the rest of the band that this was “the right man for the job”!
Live dates were scheduled for 2003 and a amall try-out was done in a club in Zeist which meant the debut voor new drummer Bart Bisseling!
After that the band went on to do festivals throughout the summer playing in France (Hirson festival), Holland (Bakel Streetrock festival) and making their U.S. debut on the first edition of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Six-pack weekend in Cleveland! Later that year Elegy was invited to play the prestigious Progpower festival in Baarlo, Holland to co-headline the 2003 event!