SOLACE OF REQUIEM Interview (USA)


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 ambience 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 longterm management contract was signed with Extreme Management Group to cap off the year


Hi there guys, thanks for showing interest in answering this interview. How are you? Anything important to start with
?
Jeff Sumrell : Hello. This is Jeff Sumrell, Bass and Vocals for Solace Of Requiem. I’m doing well, thank you. Of course I’d just like to start by letting everyone know that we have a new album, CASTING RUIN, as well as a new album trailer, music video, tour dates, a free stream of our entire new album and much more. We welcome all of your readers to check us out.

" Casting Ruin " has initiated a new run of SOLACE OF REQUIEM I think. The bookings running good, right? How are you!
Jeff Sumrell : We are receiving very great reviews of the album and all who hear it have really liked it. We have had the occasional person that doesn’t understand our kind of music and it was too much for them, but I think most of our feedback has been very positive. Most people understand that we are making a new kind of music and trying to be innovative and pioneering with what we’re doing.

We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule promoting your new album and rehearsing for your tour to take some time out to answer some questions for your fans. What's going on in the SOLACE OF REQUIEM camp these days? Any "sensational and Nice" latest news?
Jeff Sumrell : Well, as I mentioned before, we have a new music video for our song, SOILING THE FIELDS OF PUTRIDITY, as well as a new album trailer. We have European tour dates with ULCERATE this November and December. We have announced a partnership to give money to 3 different children’s charities and we have more news coming in all the time. We hope your readers will check our website, facebook, youtube and all that.

Now tell us about the concept and story behind this masterpiece. The Cool story behind " Casting Ruin ". The story is cool and I mentioned several influences in my review.
Jeff Sumrell : I think the coolest story I can tell, is the story that tells why Solace Of Requiem is so different than other bands and other extreme music. What we do in SOR is create one song that we play on the left side of your speakers and another, completely different song, on the right side. Then we combine these 2 different songs, on the left and on the right, in such a way that we create a third song, in the middle, that is completely different than the other 2 songs. This binaural technique, as well as our neoclassical approach to song writing, is what makes SOR so intricate, unique and somewhat strange. I think this makes us have a sound like no other band.

I wonder how's the interest from the underground Metal media so far? How did the reviews turn out? How many interviews have you answered and how's the response for " Casting Ruin " from the media and the fans up to now? How long did you orgasm last when the new album was released?
Jeff Sumrell : Well, there’s been no unnecessary orgasms, but we are obviously very proud of our work. Not only for its originality, but also because we genuinely enjoy what we play. The media response has been very positive. There are always a few people that don’t understand our music, but that’s okay for us. The majority of our reviews have been very good. I’ve had many interviews. Perhaps 30 or more, I don’t really know. And of course other promotional stuff for the magazines and the radio. So I do a lot of writing and talking about the band. I enjoy doing it because it’s much better than no one caring about what I have to say.

Whether ViciSolum Productions has become the Last choice of the current band will release "Casting Ruin"?
Jeff Sumrell : ViciSolum has done a really great job to push the album and we appreciate the opportunity they have afforded us. However, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that VS was our “last choice”. We opted to release the album with VS because they were offering us the best deal at the time. We shopped our album to a lot of different labels and we had good responses from several of them. The thing that put VS on the top of our list was simply in the details of their contract. We felt that releasing Casting Ruin with VS would ultimately be the best thing we could do for our futures. So that’s what we did.

Epic Fucking Brutality! These are the only words that can accurately describe Solace of Requiem. If you really consider yourself metalhead, give this band a try. and how the process of making this new material? whether all members are involved in every writing music? Sometimes labeled as "Technical Blackened Death Metal", SOLACE OF REQUIEM music is not only instrumentally technical, but is also technical in composition. Blending together an array of haunting technical passages, classical movements, grim ambience 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.
Jeff Sumrell : The style and approach of each musician is always felt within compositions, no matter what the genre. So, to that degree, we are all involved in the writing process. However, the music is mainly composed by me, alone. I have very little help to complete the songs I write for SOR. However, I do have some help. I have had the occasion to write music totally alone, but I find it harder to keep focused and determined when there is no one around to keep you focused and determined. It’s also good to have someone else’s opinion on certain things. So having a partner to help me write my music is like having a partner in the gym. It’s not necessary to have a gym partner, but it makes it a lot less boring.

What is the special thing with SOLACE OF REQUIEM? The guitar must be always Fastest? Bass guitar and drums are allowed to be more progressive? Or is it much more? How much guitar overdubbing and harmonization do you do in the studio? Is layering a necessity for the SOLACE OF REQUIEM formula to work properly?
Jeff Sumrell : We do take a lot of pride in how technical we are and how dynamic we can be. After all, that’s where the talent is! However, I feel that songwriting is about much more than only speed or technicality. Songwriting is an art form, just like any other. Sometimes people can be really great songwriters, without being very technical on their instruments. The opposite also occurs. However, I believe that a truly great songwriter can find a way to incorporate both of those aspects, and more, into their work. Having said that, the short answer to your question is that we simply don’t try to make it sound like anything. Not technical, not black metal, not death metal, not progressive….. NOTHING! My only concern is writing good music. I have no set guideline or criteria that my music must fall under. We sound technical because we are technical, not because we tried to sound technical. Trying to be something is being fake. We are not fake. We only try to be ourselves. As for the mixing of the album, there isn’t as much overdubbing as one might suspect. Our producer (Brian Elliot, Mana Stdios Florida) made sure we played it perfectly and we also wanted to be able to play our music live, the same way our album sounds. So we were very careful in the production to make certain our music could be performed well live. So, although there is a reasonably normal amount of overdubbing, where you’d assume we had to in order to create the song, but no more so than any other band in the world.

The musical approach is certainly ever-changing and pleasingly different. However, I hope you don't mind me saying, your Concept approach on this album is little or Changed than before. aren't always exactly what you'd expect. What was the motivation behind approaching the Changed in such an unusual manner? is comprised of well-rounded musicians, who strive for technical proficiency on an individual level, so as to best perform music that requires a high level of instrumental prowess to execute. However, meticulously composing their material to properly express their aesthetic vision.
Jeff Sumrell : We are always adapting our styles to fit what we want to produce as a band. I’ve heard many people comment on the fact that we have a drastically different sound on each of our albums, but that was never our goal. Again, I must admit that it is only because that was the way it sounded when we were done. There was never a “plan” to make the albums different, nor alike. We simply sound like we sound. We’re not trying to sound like anyone but ourselves. I think that is something that people can hear when they listen to SOR. So the total truth behind our motivation for this album is that we had no motivation. I simply wrote the best music I could write in that moment, just as I have done in previous moments, in previous years. Of course I did want to introduce the binaural element into this new album, but that technique is something we’ve done on prior albums, so even that isn’t completely new. I’ve always written lyrics as a triple innuendo, we’ve always had a somewhat binaural sound, we’ve always been technical, we’ve always been somewhat blackened death metal. So the truth is that we haven’t really changed that much. The reason the music sounds so different from album to album is mainly due to my ever-expanding database of influences. Every day that I’m alive, I learn something I did not know the day before. This is just normal evolution. Just as our musical growth from album to album is nothing more than normal evolution.

Sound Production for this album, what Is this already a Trademark for SOLACE OF REQUIEM established itself from the beginning? and how SOLACE OF REQUIEM still able to maintain all of this until now? If How Compare With last CD " The Great Awakening " and Maybe CD " Utopia Reborn ", This is a significant advance in the form of musicality the band More Dark and Evil Taste?
Jeff Sumrell : Having a good sound is done for 2 reasons. The first reason is that it allows people to clearly hear our music. The next reason is that it allows us to clearly hear our music! Recording an album is something that’s not only for the fans, it’s also for us! So when we record our albums, we like to have a recording that everyone, including ourselves, can be proud of for years to come. Although our first (self-titled) album was of poor quality, we have tried to maintain a high production quality for our studio albums. Regarding the comparison to our last albums, there is no comparison. As I said before, we are very diverse and so we have a vast library of influences to draw from, which allows us to create music that is vastly different from album to album. On those same grounds, I would also hesitate to say that our new album is more “dark” and/or “evil”. However, I must admit that I feel there is no question that Casting Ruin is our finest work.

The band's lyrics are based in philosophy and are very poetic in nature. Often times showing alternating perspectives of themes such as science, psychology and secular thought. Painting bleak landscapes of the torment and oppression caused by religion and the rise of science over fantasy. Intelligently putting the disturbing images of these landscapes deep in your mind and challenging you to strive for the hidden wisdom within each passage. These lyrics are not blatant in any direction. All interpretations are left to the beholder. Yet, the emotional interpretation of the words are targeted toward the grief and misery caused by a nonsecular view and highlighting the empowerment of having secular thought. How About With " Casting Ruin " Now ?
Jeff Sumrell : As I had mentioned before, my style of writing actually has 3 meanings inside of each song text. We have 3 songs within each of our songs. One song on the left, one song on the right and one song in the middle. We have 3 members in our band. We also represent that number mathematically within our compositions. The number 3 is very important to SOR. The lyrics are also very important to us because we have a scientific, logical and secular message for our audience. We are openly secular and speak often about the global oppression caused by organized religion. 10% of our merchandise sales goes to children’s charities…. SECULAR children’s charities….. That teach secular values, as well as educate children in science, art and music. So one of our meanings within our lyrics is obviously a secular one. Another meaning is based in our music. Specifically, its meaning is meant to be an explanation of the music you are hearing at the moment the lyrics are being sung. The last meaning is the literal one. A person could always interpret my lyrics at face value. This meaning is where my style is most apparent. I write a form of Jabberwocky, that has a triple meaning and you can see that style more clearly from the literal perspective. However, the other meanings are a bit more cleverly hidden.

A question I like to ask a lot on musicians that follow the underground, is the question on downloading. What would your reaction be if someone told you that he downloaded both your albums and thought they were awesome, and what to someone that told you he bought the albums and thought they were shit?
Jeff Sumrell : My honest opinion is that it doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then too bad for me, because this is normal in 2014! Bands need to think more outside of the box and be more innovative at bringing in money. There is no question that the downloading of music has caused very negative effects on musician’s album sales. However, there are many other ways to make money. It is true that hundreds of thousands of people download free underground music. However, the exposure that bands get from downloading is far greater than the exposure the same band would have received without downloading. For example,, a band might have their album downloaded 50,000 times. The band then says if they would only have received one dollar from all of the downloads of their album, they would have 50,000 dollars. Now, this math is correct, but the problem is that if the band charged one dollar for their download, then there would have only been 500 downloads, not 50,000. So this door, unfortunately, swings both ways.

Overall, it's time to come to an end now. Hope you enjoyed this interview? Thanks for answering my questions and the time you spend on them. I hope I didn't forget anything? If there's something left to say at the end feel free to use this opportunity now. The last words are yours!
Jeff Sumrell : Thank you for your time and I appreciate you allowing me to communicate to your audience. I will include all of our band’s links below. I ask everyone to please visit our website to see our videos, trailers, tour dates and more. We have a drum-video from SickDrummer Magazine, coming soon for one of our new songs. On our website we have plenty of photos, MP3s, merchandise and all kinds of news about the band. Please LIKE and SHARE us on facebook if you like what you hear. And always support your local scene and the mighty underground \\m// Most importantly, if you’re reading this, please take the time to do whatever you can to prevent the indoctrination and corruption of our youth. We cannot sit idly by while the world and its inhabitants are systematically eradicated by those with power and control. The main tool of their oppression is the use of religion. We must stop our future generations from being corrupted and enslaved by the stifling grasp of religion. Our children deserve a better world and in order to give it to them, we have to eradicate the poisonous dogma that has historically caused great decreases in technological advancement. Our new video for Soiling The Fields Of Putridity is an artistic expression of that exact historical fact. It wasn’t called the dark ages for nothing! We all have a voice, you should always use it when in the company of those that may listen. You have your own voice, thank you for hearing mine. Hail Science!

Official Band Information


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