In 1987, Andy Pester and Jon Hoare formed their first metal band. 'UNDERTAKER'. Influenced by bands of the day such as Onslaught and 'puppets' era Metallica, they set their stall out as a 'technical thrash' outfit. One moderately successful demo 'Dulce et Decorum est' saw them headlining local venues such as the Bristol Bierkeller and the Fleece & Firkin. Constantly disappointed by the lack of a Bristol metal scene, and unable to find a replacement vocalist for Chris Lewis, The band drifted apart in late 1989.
Undetered by the Undertaker split, Jon & Andy went on to recruit for 'CRISIS'. Tim Henley was a lucky find, becoming the main guitarist & songwriter, (Tim also wrote the Lyrics for 'Incubus' and ' Where Angels Fear ' on the Mercury Rain EP ' Where Angels Fear ) and Phil Hey joined on Vocals. More of a live act than a recording band, they played extensively throughout the local area, with a few lineup changes here and there. Kier Flower became a permanent feature on second guitar, and things were going well. The style however, had changed to a more 'Skid Row' sound and, a style nicknamed 'Brat metal' by the local press. As the direction of the band got heavier and more complex though, Phil decided that enough was enough. The Band supported Mama's Boys in July 1992, and Phil quit soon after. A replacement for Phil was found in Lee McCrory. A Sebastian Bach sound a like with an attitude to match. The band thought that finally things were going their way. In reality, it was the beginning of the end. The band recorded the demo 'Nothing up our sleeves' in 1993 which earned them second place in a final of Radio One's Friday Rock Show 'Rock War', and they supported Adrian Smith's (ex-Iron Maiden) solo band in March 1993. Unfortunately, The live image of the band was not working, and beneath the surface, tensions between Lee and the rest of Crisis began to create problems. This contributed to the band's demise in early 1994.
After the breakup of Crisis, Andy and Jon went their separate ways for a while. Andy joined Indie bands 'Barking Spider' and then 'Percy Toplis' who both split for various reasons. Jon went on to start writing new material with a new guitarist Dion Smith with the aim of forming a power metal band. At this time of course, metal music was hardly headline news, and with no singer and no drummer, progress was slow. In 1998, after about a year off from doing anything, Jon decided that a project band with the sole purpose of producing a CD was in order (a swansong maybe...). Andy had become available for drum duties again, and Dion completed the lineup on guitar. 'MERCURY RAIN' was born. The band wrote about ten songs over about six months, and drafted in a local singer, Dave Moores to handle the vocals on a track 'Nowhere left to run'. The track was never released, but finally things were moving.
The real breakthrough came in September 1999 When Sonia Porzier joined from the French band 'Tears of Ea'. Sonia's voice and vocal style gave the band a definite direction, drawing comparisons from the media with 'Lacuna Coil' 'The Gathering' and early 'Nightwish'. This is when the band began to look to the future rather than concentrating on producing just one CD. ' Where Angels Fear ' was released in November 2000. The 5 track EP showcased a band with lots of potential, and hinted at heavier things to come. In 2001, Dion decided to quit MR, and Tim Henley took on guitar duties. The foundation of CRISIS was back together. Tim stayed with the band until May 2002, when he left after he and Jon fell out, and the lineup was once again in question. After auditioning several promising replacement guitarists, Dion was back in the band. After a year off from the band to pursue his own musical aspirations, Dion returned to the fold. It is fair to say that Dion was back with a renewed enthusiasm, and made a welcome return after a period of uncertainty for the band. With a renewed attitude and direction, and adding Rich Shillitoe on guitar, Mercury Rain returned in 2003 with a brand new full-length album ' Dark Waters ' and a sound they termed 'Gothic Power metal'. The album was self-released, and was good enough for the band to earn the opening slot at the UK's 'Bloodstock' festival, playing the same stage as Nightwish and Paradise Lost. August also saw the band play their first live shows, touring the UK with 'Power Quest' and 'Intense' & 'DragonForce' amongst others.
Another lineup change soon after Bloodstock saw Rich relinquishing guitar duties as the band settled down to plan and write the new album. Writing & enthusiasm for 'St Matthieu' was escalating to such an extent amongst band members that the disc had gone from being an EP to being a full album, destined to see the light of day June/July 2004.
The band took time out from writing and recording to film a promotional video for 'Shadow's Scent' in January 2004. An ambitious venture which involved Jon in a microlight aerial filming in early January on location at the world famous Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. 'St Matthieu' will include a limited edition bonus DVD featuring three live songs from the 2003 tour, plus the 'Shadow's Scent' promo video.'St. Matthieu' has been received extremely well by the few people who heard promo mixes, and has been scored 9/10 in 'Rock Hard' and 6/6 in Metallian magazines in France. A promotional campaign in the UK is already underway, with full page adverts running on the back covers of 'Terrorizer'(August) and 'PowerPlay' (September) magazines, plus adverts in MetalHammer and other relevant media. ' Dark Waters ' sales continue to mount up, in France especially, and this has seen the band secure a slot on the 'Therion/Tristania/Orphaned Land' tour in November, covering some eight shows across France and playing cities such as Paris, Lyon, Rennes and Lille.
After declining offers from smaller labels, Mercury Rain have decided that they wish to remain an independent band for the time being. They have a strong work ethic, and with virtually everything being done by the band themselves, from recording and production to graphic design, promotion, and the website, they have managed to retain control and deliver the albums that they want to, to their own agenda with no compromises. With strong support in France from 'Underclass' and in the UK from 'Shadowflame' the future for the band looks excellent. The band hopes to secure more promotional and distribution deals worldwide for 'St. Matthieu' following the positive feedback they have had so far.
The last, and latest bit of news is as soon as the album was finished, Andy quit the band due to personal commitments outside of music. Dion, Jon & Sonia are sad to see him go, but the four of them felt that this was the right and necessary decision at this point in time. Andy's replacement is Rodrigo Oliveira from Brazilian thrash monsters 'Korzus' looking to branch out and broaden his horizons. He will be playing on the forthcoming tour in November. The release date for 'St. Matthieu'is 9th August 2004.
Taken from the official site of the band