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ARGENTINA, Buenos Aires

Categories: Heavy Metal


A revered name on the South American Metal circuit. RATA BLANCA, led by former V8 guitarist Wálter Giardino, established a reputation that inspired countless other bands in their wake. RATA BLANCA was borne in Buenos Aires out of a 1985 demo commissioned by Giardino in 1985, originally intended as a vehicle to establish ties with the UK market. The tape was recorded utilising vocalist Rodolfo Cava, bass player Yulie Ruth and drummer Gustavo Rowek. However, Giardino was so inspired by the final result the planned relocation to Great Britain was put on hold. Some two years after inception, RATA BLANCA made their live debut at the Buenos Aires Luz y Fuerza theatre on August 15th 1987.

RATA BLANCA was convened as a full band unit for an eponymous debut album in 1988. Joining Giardino would be lead vocalist Saúl Blanch, second guitarist Sergio Berdichevsky, bassist Guillermo Sánchez and drummer Gustavo Rowek. The album, released through major label Polygram Discos and which included spin off singles 'El Sueño De La Gitana' and 'Chico Callejero', proved a huge success. Despite this huge leap forward Blanch bowed out and RATA BLANCA entered its second stage with the induction of singer Adrián Barilari and keyboard player Hugo Bistolfi.

RATA BLANCA's second album, 1990's 'Magos, Espadas Y Rosas' ("Wizards, Swords and Roses"), was promoted by support slots to IAN GILLAN. The album generated huge praise, surpassing the million sales mark globally. The band's third album 'Guerrero del Arco Iris' issued in 1991, titled in honour of the Greenpeace 'Rainbow Warrior' ship, was debuted live in front of over 30,000 fans at a single concert in Velez Sarsfield Stadium, still holding the record today as the biggest ever gig for a local band.

The group would undertake live work across all of South America and into Mexico and even Los Angeles, performing at the famous Whiskey A Go Go club. Back in Buenos Aires, RATA BLANCA cut a groundbreaking live album recorded over three nights at the Opera Theatre with a full chamber orchestra. Live dates further afield had the band trekking across Portugal and Spain, the first Argentine band to do so, recording their fourth album 'El Libro Oculto' ("The Secret Book") there.

With the close of the world tour both Bistolfi and Barilari decided to leave. The erstwhile RATA BLANCA duo duly founded ALIANZA issuing three albums, 'Suenos Del Mundo' in 1993, 'Alianza' in 1994 and 'Huellas' in 1999. RATA BLANCA meantime pulled in Mario Ian, previously with HELLION and ALAKRAN, on vocals with Javier Retamozo on keyboards and persevered.

A fifth album, the exceptionally heavy 'Entre El Cielo Y El Infierno' ('Between Heaven And Hell'), was recorded in the midst of a 1994 world tour. RATA BLANCA performed at the Brazilian 'Monsters Of Rock' festival in Sao Paolo sharing the stage with international heavyweights OZZY OSBOURNE, ALICE COOPER and MEGADETH before an audience of 100,000. In Argentina the live album recorded earlier in 1992 'En Vivo En Buenos Aires' was finally issued.

With popularity waning in their homeland, Mario Ian made his exit in 1996. RATA BLANCA appointed Gabriel Marian to the frontman position for the 'Rata Blanca VII' album. The band was in a fractious state, it becoming public knowledge that other band members were keen to decamp but had been persuaded to stay on for the sessions. The album received little promotion and in April of 1998 Giardino signalled the end of the band.

Gustavo Rowek and Sergio Berdichevsky assembled a fresh Heavy Metal act NATIVO, going on to publish two albums 'Consumo' in 1999 and 'Futuro' in 2001. Giardino too founded a new endeavour billed as TEMPLE. He would tour Argentina during 1999 then put together a new band which found former RATA BLANCA singer Adrián Barilari as guest singer. Eventually Guillermo Sánchez came in on bass and re-titling the band RATA BLANCA gigs were held in Bolivia. Returning to Argentina Hugo Bistolfi returned to the fold too. A 2000 compilation, 'Grandes Canciones' was backed by further gigs, including shows in Spain.

In 2001 a gathering of South American Metal talent paid homage with the tribute album 'La Leyenda Continúa'. Included would be artists such as AZEROTH, BETO VASQUEZ INFINITY, HUMANIMAL and ROSACRUZ. Both Adrián Barilari and Walter Giardino made a special appearance uniting with members of premier league Finnish bands NIGHTWISH and STRATOVARIUS, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, bassist Sami Vänskä, keyboard player Jens Johansson and drummer Jukka Nevalainen on the track 'La Leyenda Del Hada Y El Mago'.

The new RATA BLANCA, with Fernando Scacella on drums, toured South America and Mexico to enthusiastic response. A new studio album 'El Camino del Fuego' was delivered in June of 2002. Singer Adrián Barilari, billed simply as BARILARI, released a debut solo album in mid 2003.

Marking the return of BLACK SABBATH to the live stage for the Summer 2004 'Ozzfest' shows the Argentine label Blackstar Records issued a tribute album 'Sabbath Crosses: Tribute To Black Sabbath', this collection being noted for a take on 'No Stranger To Love' from RATA BLANCA featuring a guesting ex-BLACK SABBATH vocalist GLENN HUGHES on vocals and BARILARI donating a Spanish language version of 'Heaven And Hell'.

Promoting the 2005 album 'La Llave De La Puerta Secreta' ("The key to the secret door"), RATA BLANCA put in another high profile hometown gig in September, opening for WHITESNAKE and JUDAS PRIEST. Argentinean first editions of 'La Llave De La Puerta Secreta' came highly prized, as they were encased in a custom built box with a metal key to unlock the CD.

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