Solace of Requiem is a technical blackened death metal band from the United States. The band plays music that is not only instrumentally technical but is also technical in composition. Blending together an array of haunting technical passages, classical movements, grim ambiance and relentless brutality, with a diverse assortment of highly intelligible extreme vocals. Making it is easy to hear the vast collection of influences that are incorporated within Solace Of Requiem’s music. The band’s lyrics are based in philosophy but are very dark in nature. Expressing hatred, hopelessness and brutality that is presented with alternating perspectives through poetry.
The original members of Solace of Requiem (Jeff Sumrell, Chris Young and Luke Downing) actually began playing together as teenagers in 1990 under the name Sarcophagus. After slowly drifting apart in 1993, the members were reunited in 2001 and began playing again under the name Solace of Requiem. SOR decided to record their first self-titled album in 2004 (featuring the cover song “I Need You” by Grave, courtesy of Century Media Records) at Master Sound Studio in Virginia Beach, VA. Shortly after, the CD was released on the internet and had gained international distribution after receiving some very encouraging responses. A video was eventually made for the song “Beyond Grace” and the band began to play shows and festivals more frequently, expanding their tour route to include other states on the U.S. east coast besides their home state of Virginia.
In 2005 SOR had new material they wanted to record, but had a very limited budget, so the band decided to send their first album to various record labels in the hopes of getting a contract offer. The band negotiated a contract to record their new material and eventually signed with Ruptured Silence Records in late 2005. However, the drummer (Luke, who had just finished college and started his own business) didn’t feel he could put his own life’s dreams on hold, so the band was forced to pursue a new drummer (Joe Walmer, PA) from the progressive death metal band Aletheian. Joe agreed to play with SOR as a session drummer during his band’s downtime, so Jeff, Chris and Joe began recording SOR’s second album “Utopia Reborn” (featuring guest vocalist Bret Hoffmann of Malevolent Creation) at Worlds End Studio in Kall, Germany in January of 2006.
Promptly after recording Utopia Reborn, SOR embarked on several tours in the United States and in Europe. Upon the album’s release under Ruptured Silence Records, the touring continued and the CD reviews began to pour in. The album was very well received by the public and was nominated as album of the year by 7 different magazines across the globe. As well as being featured in prominent U.S. magazines such as Metal Maniacs and Decibel.
While appreciative of the opportunity given to them in Europe by Ruptured Silence, SOR felt it was necessary to sever ties with the label in late 2006. After the band parted ways with Ruptured Silence, guitarist Chris Young had to make the difficult decision to leave Solace of Requiem due to personal turmoil in his life. Chris had lost both his parents (his mother passing while he was recording Utopia Reborn) and one of his sisters in the recent years SOR had been playing together. Not to mention the financial difficulties associated with three deaths in the family. Joe could also no longer play in SOR because Aletheian had recently signed with Iron Clad Recordings and he then had to put all of his efforts into his own band. So in late 2006, Jeff set out alone to make a video for the song “Red Sea”, acquire members to play a U.S. and European tour, as well as write the music for a new album.
A session drummer (Dave Tedesco, NJ) and session guitarist (Aaron Lott, MN) were selected for touring the United States and Europe at the end of 2006. Aaron only stayed in the band for the U.S. portion of the tour and could not come with the band to Europe, so a new guitarist (Jesse Bartlett, NY) joined SOR for the EU portion of the tour, as well as the filming of the Red Sea video. However, after making the video and touring Europe, Jesse left the band for personal reasons. So in the winter of 2007, original guitarist Chris Young returned so that the band would not have to cancel some of the festivals they had agreed to play inside the United States. Chris only returned to play the few venues SOR had remaining on their schedule, so in late 2007 all other band functions were ceased and Jeff immediately focused on writing new material and searching for a new guitarist.
SOR’s next guitarist (Chris Armijo, CA) joined the band in late 2007 to record the new material Jeff had written and tour Europe in support of the album, so in 2008 Solace of Requiem recorded their new material with German producer Andy Classen (Krisiun, Belphegor, Rotting Christ, and many more..) and toured EU for three weeks after their studio time was complete. After touring Europe, SOR decided to shop the new album that Andy Classen had produced to various record labels. Unfortunately, after nearly two years of trying to find a label (2008 – 2010) the album remained unsigned and unreleased. The band did acquire a second guitarist (George Arguello, CA) in 2009 to accompany Chris at their live shows, and SOR played a few small U.S. and European tours with their newly acquired second guitarist that same year, but since no label was willing to release the material, the band had remained fairly stagnant until 2010.
In 2010 Solace of Requiem decided to self-release the 2008 album they made with Andy Classen under the name “The Great Awakening”. The album received great reviews and was featured in prominent compilation CDs and magazines in the United States and Europe. SOR also toured for the album in 2010 with the great old-school death metal band Resurrection. However, even after the release of TGA, great reviews and a successful European tour with Resurrection. The band’s main goal of landing a legitimate record deal had still eluded them in 2010.
In October and November of 2011 the band embarked on their biggest tour to date as support for Vomitory and Prostitute Disfigurement, during the No End To Suffering Tour 2011 and Disbelief during the Believe In Nothing Tour 2011. The two tours were combined together to create a single tour that lasted thirty one straight days and spanned ten different countries in Europe. 2011 also marked the arrival of their current guitarist, Richard Gulczynski, and the departure of touring member, George Arguello. The band also spent the later part of that year writing new material in hopes of having a new album written sometime in 2012/2013.
While in the writing process of their fourth album (Casting Ruin) in 2012, the band realized that they had finally discovered the perfect musical direction they wanted to follow. Casting Ruin will be the first album that the band feels is the proper evolution of SOR’s brand of technical blackened death metal. So because of this reason, Solace of Requiem decided to treat their first three releases as if they were only practice for the band’s fourth album. SOR therefor decided to release their fourth and most brutal album with a new band logo. It’s never easy to change a logo, especially after so many years of using the one they had. But the band decided it was necessary, in order to more accurately portray the music that they create.
The band remained fairly stagnant in 2012, with the exception of only a few shows they played in the summer. The reason for this was because the band was concentrating solely on writing and recording their fourth album. Guitarist Chris Armijo also left the band this year. Giving Richard Gulczynski the opportunity to take over full guitar duties for the new album. The band felt it was important to remain active, although, recording the new album remained the priority. The album was ultimately recorded, mixed and mastered by Brian Elliot at Mana Recording Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida, in early 2013.
Soon after their 2013 studio appearance, SOR embarked on a small tour of Europe and acquired a second guitarist (Kevin Heiderich) to accompany them. In early 2014, Solace Of Requiem signed their second recording contract. This time with ViciSolum Productions, to release their fourth album, Casting Ruin. SOR also signed a management contract with The Flaming Arts Agency at around that same time, as well as began making plans to record an album trailer and a video for one of their new songs. While the band was hard at work making the video and album trailer, their management began arranging tours in support of their new album.
Later in 2014, Solace Of Requiem released their new album trailer for Casting Ruin, as well as their new video for the song Soiling The Fields Of Putridity. A tour through Europe with Ulcerate and Wormed was announced in support of their new album, which was ultimately released to the public on August 29th 2014. Lastly, a more long-term management contract was signed with Extreme Management Group to cap off the year..
Jeff Sumrell (Composer, Bass & Vocals) Virginia Beach, VA.
Dave Tedesco (Drums) Paramus, NJ.
Richard Gulczynski (Guitars) Oxford, PA.