In August 1980, Michael Nicholaedes stumbled upon an ad post on Music Express Magazine about a band looking for a guitar and a bass player. But that turned out to be a punk band, not really up his street. It was through that band though that he would meet a bass player that was looking to start a heavy metal band…and that’s how Michael met George Giammonitis. In December that same year, drummer George Yarelike joined the band, making up the first Heaven & Hell outfit. The band’s main influence was Black Sabbath, and so Michael – who up till then was the frontman – started looking for a singer that would sound more like Ozzy. Until they find a singer, H&H play live mostly covering Gallagher, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and the likes. Over 50 singers came and went but none of them had the voice the band was looking for.
In 1981 Heaven & Hell played the Rock Dragon, a music venue in Piraeus that belonged to Takis Argyriou and Kostas Arniotis, who had just started their own recording studio, “111”. The band recorded their first, self-titled song at Triki Studios with Andreas Riganas on vocals – a great voice, but not the timbre Michael was looking for.
During a Heaven & Hell gig at the Rock Dragon in December 1981, a punter asks if he can go on stage and sing a Black Sabbath song. That was it. Michael had found the voice he had been looking for in Nikitas Koveos, who from that moment on became the singer of Heaven & Hell.
In May 1982 Heaven & Hell participated in the 1st National Rock Festival at Kytarro and were voted Most Popular Band by the festival punters – with the exception of Antonis Tourkogiorgis, the festival committee wasn’t as impressed by the band as the crowd was.
A month later, George Giammonitis left the band and was replaced by experienced rock bassist, Dimitris Dimitriades. Michael and Dimitris agree with each other both musically and on what they want to do with the band. The plan now was to find a drummer with a vivid imagination and a heavy metal style, to which Dimitris responded with Takis Liarmakopoulos. From the first rehearsal it was obvious that the sound of the band had taken off. Live performances were becoming all the more spectacular. The band was then joined by young dancer Cylia and actor Jimmy and the shows became super theatrical, incorporating candles, make-believe human sacrifice and chopper motorbikes on stage. The crowd went mad at every gig.
But soon after the rise came the fall. In 1983 Michael, the soul of Heaven & Hell will have to go off for his national service. That was essentially the end of the band’s short but intense story. The only surviving material now is a part of the gig against Apartheid that you can find on YouTube, and the record you are holding as you’re reading this… Enjoy!