Closterkeller is a Polish gothic rock band from Warsaw. It was formed in 1988 by Przemysław Guryń, Jacek Skirucha, and the vocalist Anja Orthodox. Despite many changes in the band's line-up it has created a characteristic sound. Orthodox is the only member of the original line-up, performing continuously for over 30 years. The band is called one of the forerunners of gothic and atmospheric rock in Poland, they are also under the influence of music styles such as new and cold wave or even heavy metal. Many other groups like Delight, Moonlight or Artrosis said they took their inspirations from Closterkeller.
HistoryClosterkeller came to life in January of 1988, founded by Przemysław Guryn (keyboards), Jacek Skirucha (guitar), Tomasz Grochowalski (bass) and Anja Orthodox (vocals). They were soon joined by Piotr "Peterek" Bieńkowski on drums, known from bands Madame and Maanam. That is when Closterkeller won their first festival, Ochota '88 and began working on their first, strongly cold wave - and gothic rock - influenced studio album, Purple.
In 1989 Closterkeller was already gaining a lot of attention and has grown in popularity by winning the biggest Polish rock festivals: "Mokotowska Jesień", "Rock Pokoju" at Hala Gwardii in Warsaw, "Rock Pod Chełmcem", "Odjazdy" and "Jarocin" - the most prestigious Polish festival in the 80s and 90s.
Shortly after (1990) came the release of Purple, being one of the first albums in Poland sold in CD form. Big success of the band caused tension within the group which resulted in several changes in the band. Piotr "Posejdon" Pawłowski (from Mech, Virgin, DADA, Zgoda, Swat and more) became the new drummer, and Michał Rollinger (Wilki, Detonator BN, Tubylcy Betonu) replaced Przemysław Guryn as the new keyboardist.
New Closterkeller line-up began working on their next album. In spite of the need to redo the recording and make changes to arrangements, in 1992 came out Blue, band's second LP, under the label SPV Poland. However, due to the label's mistake, Blue CD came out only in English language version, with the Polish one being released exclusively on cassettes.
After the release, there were two new changes to the line-up. Krzysztof Najman (Charon, Blitzkrieg, Jezabel Jazz, Virgin, Mech) became the new bassist, and Jacek Skirucha was replaced by Paweł Pieczyński on guitar. 1993 was the birthdate of "Agnieszka" minialbum - compilation of Polish versions from Blue alongside new compositions. The music video for the title song "Agnieszka", written by Anja Orthodox, was awarded 1st place at "Festiwal Polskich Wideoklipów" in Sopot. Anja and Krzysztof Najman got married later the same year.
Closterkeller's third LP Violet came out next year, in 1994, under PolyGram Polska label.
1995 brought the premiere of Scarlet, band's heaviest album so far. Scarlet was certified a Gold Album with over 100 thousand copies sold. After the release there was again a slight change in line-up with Tomasz "Mechu" Wojciechowski replacing Michał Rollinger as the new keyboardist.
Cyan was released in April 1996, being fairly different stylistically from previous releases due to some electronic music influences. The song "Władza" from this LP is, became a hit nationally and is still considered to be the most renowned song by Closterkeller. Cyan was also the first album in Poland that included additional multimedia content - music videos, interviews, bios, etc.
In 1997 Closterkeller recorded Koncert '97, the release including live performances from Rzeszów and Lublin. Michał Rollinger returned as the keyboardist, and Pawłowski was replaced at the drums by Gerard Klawe (Rezerwat, Hedone). In 1998 the band took part in the Castle Party festival in Bolków, the biggest Gothic Rock festival in Eastern Europe and played celebrating its 10th anniversary. Since then, Closterkeller has been one of the headliners of Castle Party each year. In that time the band also worked on their sixth LP Graphite which came out on 26 April 1999 under Metal Mind Productions.
1999 and 2000 brought several changes to the line-up: Krzysztof Najman was replaced by Peter Guellard, then Andrzej Kaczyński and finally by Marcin "Pucek" Płuciennik on the bass guitar, and Marcin Mentel became the new guitarist. Metal Mind released remastered versions of all six studio albums, and Fin de Siècle - newly recorded unplugged performance. Later in 2000 came out Pastel, the first Closterkeller's greatest hits compilation.
In 2002 Closterkeller took part in two big Gothic Rock festivals - Dark Nation Day and Gothic Night in Vienna and Budapest respectively. On 10 February Orthodox recorded English versions of tunes from Graphite. In 2003 Closterkeller put out their first live DVD album called Act III - live 2003. In July the band went played at Wave Gotik Treffen festival in Lipsk, Germany.
In September 2003 Closterkeller put out their seventh studio album Nero, under Metal Mind Records, in two forms: a jewel box and a Digipack. The release was promoted on their Autumn Tour and at Dark Stars Festival. 2005 brought the English version of Nero, mixed once again, with translation by Krystian Aparta.
In 2003 and 2004 Closterkeller headlined two editions of the biggest Metal Festival Tour in Poland, Dark Stars Festival organized by Metal Mind. In October 2004 second minialbum Reghina was released. In 2005 the group initiated their own annual tour Abracadabra Gothic Tour. The tour takes place in October each year and consists of over 20 concerts throughout the largest cities of Poland.
2006 brought more changes to the personnel. Krzysztof Najman returned as the band's bassist, Mariusz Kumala (Psychotropic Transcendental, Brain Story) became the new guitarist, and Janusz Jastrzębowski (Carnal, Neolithic, Space Avenue) sat behind the drums.
November 2008 was the time of another live DVD release Act IV featuring the band's performance at Przystanek Woodstock 2008. In 2009 Closterkeller signed a contract again with Universal Music Polska, and recorded another studio album, Aurum, which came out in October 2009 and was promoted during Abracadabra 2009.
In July 2011 Closterkeller recorded another studio album which was released later in September that year under the title Bordeaux. In 2013 Janusz Jastrzębowski was replaced by Robert Kubajek on drums. Later that year Mariusz Kumala (guitar) and Krzysztof Najman (bass) were replaced by respectively Zuzanna "ZuZa" Jaśkowiak (MAHEENA) and Aleksander "Olo" Gruszka.
In the years 2014-2015 the band suffered numerous turbulences in the line-up In January 2014 the new line-up of Closterkeller played alongside Fields of Nephilim in Cracow and Warsaw. Towards the end of the year Robert Kubajek was replaced on drums by Adam Najman (Poligon #4, Venflon), Anja Orthodox's and Krzysztof Najman's son. Mariusz Kumala rejoined the band as the guitarist for one year, and then was replaced in 2016 by Michał Jarominek.
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