Through the mid-'90s and into the new millennium, the German darkwave outfit Flowing Tears built a solid reputation with their well-polished recordings of metallic goth. Formed in the southeastern German town of Saarbrücken in 1994, the group was originally called Flowing Tears & the Withered Flower. It wasn't too long before the group attracted the attention of Italian indie label Seven Art Music, and in 1996 the group released their debut on the label. The ironically titled Swansong featured an early band lineup of Manfred Bersin on lead vocals, Benjamin Buss handling both guitar and keyboard/programming duties, Frederic Lesny on bass, and Christian Zimmer on drums. The debut did not receive the warmest response and it was decided that the group needed a new vocalist to realize the hard-edged melodrama they were shooting for. Vocalist Stefanie Duchêne was brought into the fold and, along with another addition of Eric Hilt replacing Zimmer on drums, Flowing Tears returned to the studio to create their Seven Arts follow-up with Bersin handling second guitar duties. 1997's Joy Parade and Duchêne were much more of a hit then their respective predecessors. The sullen, but well-articulated stylings of the teenaged Duchêne (who sounded something like a heavily medicated, alto Tori Amos) caused many goth fans to take notice, and the group was invited on their first tour of the continent in support of Norway's the 3rd & the Mortal. It was during this tour and subsequent performances in support of Joy Parade in Germany that the group became one of the biggest up-and-coming names in the Euro darkwave underground.