Forgotten Gems: Mania-Changing Times
This Mania should not to be confused with the previous Forgotten Gems' Mania (who released the excellent No Lullabies Full-length album in 1986) or the numerous other bands who have taken that name. No, this Mania was formed in 1982 in Hamburg, Germany. A speed/power metal band, Mania released a hand-full of demos before releasing the Message/Deliverance single in 1987. The single would be followed by the excellent 1988 EP Wizard of the Lost Kingdom before Changing Times was released in 1989. Incidentally one of the tracks from Wizard of the Lost Kingdom ("Break Out") would also appear on 1989's "Doomsday News II" sampler album. One would have thought the extra exposure would have helped Mania's brand of speed/power metal catch on. That wasn't the case though and Changing Times would prove to be Mania's swan song. What a shame that is because Changing Times is a great mix of Kai Hansen's era Halloween (Walls Of Jericho-Keeper Of the Seven Keys) and early Metal Church. This is simply one inspired album. Vocalist Chris Klauke (who would go on to front the equally awesome power metal act Abraxas) sounds quite a bit like Michael Knoblich from Scanner on Changing Time while the rest of the band (Thies Bendixen and Frank Nottelmann-guitars, Didy Mackel-bass and Rainer Heubel- drums) could easily form the world's greatest Helloween tribute band. There are no real bad tracks to be found here as Changing Times is simply one of those great heavy metal albums. I don't really know why Mania got lost in the shuffle of German heavy metal acts. Being signed to Noise Records should have allowed them better exposure but as their title suggested those were changing times. The late 80's saw the arrival of grunge and despite the good it did by killing off some awful glam metal bands it also made the speed/power metal genre suffer. Mania just didn't stand a chance. Thankfully Changing Times was re-released with Wizard Of The Lost Kingdom EP tacked on as a bonus. The CD can be found if you have time to search and money to spare. Otherwise it is pretty easy to find online through various blog sites. The copy I have in my collection has their 1987 single tacked on. What I like about that is the fact that you get a wonderful overview of what made Mania tick. Fan's of Halloween, Scanner, Grave Digger and Rage would do well to check into Mania's potent brand of power metal.