U.S.M. (1997-present): a Progressive Metal band from Brighton, UK.
n the beginning... The world had thrust upon it a new melodic AOR rock outfit under the name of Balance Of Power, and their debut When The World Falls Down, took them to the forefront of the melodic rock genre.
The story of USM is almost similar to the history of Balance Of Power. Singer and bassist Tony Ritchie and drummer Lionel Hicks (a.k.a. Kid Wicked) were part of the first line-up of BOP and also guitarist Pete Southern who joined shortly after the band's founding in 1997. Ritchie did the vocals on the BOP debut When The World Falls Down and afterwards featured as the sixth band member by writing most of the songs for that band, although the American Lance King took over the vocals in Balance Of Power. When bassist Chris Dale was not available for the BOP-tour with Axxis and Pink Cream 69 the new bassist, Tony Ritchie, was found; the existing members were waiting with open arms. Tony Ritchie started as a bassist in Huntingdon, UK but by the time the current project emerged his bassing days were over when he decided to project melody as a singer/songwriter. Previously he had written songs for bands like Rhinehart, Gyspsy, Lady Luck, Kid Wicked, Stigma, Praying Mantis and Vandamme.
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Encapsulating a more personal approach, USM (United States Of Mind)'s Silver Step Child follow-up would emerge in 2001 featuring excellent stereo effects and a '80's feel with a '90's crunch. Hicks, for his part, would engage in side projects, most noted with guitarist Glenn McGuire (of Snake Eyes).
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