Solace Of RequiemThe 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 early 2007 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.
At the beginning of 2007, a session drummer (Dave Tedesco, NJ) and session guitarist (Aaron Lott, MN) were selected for touring the United States and Europe. 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 current 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.
So now in 2011, the band is preparing for more touring on behalf of TGA as well as writing new material. The focus of SOR in 2011 will be to write their best album and have their most successful tour in their 10 year history as a band. And, of course, find a record label to release their newest album once it is ready to be recorded. Only time will tell.. To Be Continued....
Solace Of Requiem Website
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