“The Denisovan” Out May 11, 2021
Saskatoon’s Before & Apace was created by Devin Martyniuk who felt that there was an opportunity to blend the technical and programmatic aspects of music with the emotional. In lead up to the release of the heavy prog project’s debut album “The Denisovan” on May 11, 2021, the first single “Ontogeny” is streaming now at the following links:
The single “Ontogeny” was named after Ernst Haeckel’s biological theory that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” – that the development of a person (from embryo to adult) mimics the evolution of our species (from simple, cellular beings to complex ones). Martyniuk explores this concept thematically and musically to illustrate how we are interconnected on many scales (the micro-and the macro) with our environment and with each other. He then incorporated these themes into the music by creating a main theme – the first riff of the song, repeated throughout – which was to be a microcosm of the song’s overall structure. Writing a song with this parameter wasn’t an easy feat. He explains the process in further detail:
“We couldn’t quite figure out a good drum part for the main riff of Ontogeny. We jammed it over and over and nothing quite felt right. Eventually, I asked (drummer) Arlan Kopp if he could do steady kicks, but with a quick 32nd note during each accent, and then I tapped it out with my hands. He just started laughing. Because just before the jam, we had been talking about the Meshuggah album that had just come out that same week, which Arlan had already heard, but I hadn’t. The album was Obzen (yeah, this is a while ago now, I know) and one of the most prominent songs on that album, Bleed, uses the exact same double-kick technique as I had just suggested to Arlan, without ever having heard it myself. Nonetheless, at the risk of using someone else’s idea (even though it was thought of independently) and despite it being a ridiculously difficult thing to pull off, Arlan just said, ‘ya, that’ll sound cool. Let’s do it.”
The writing process for “The Denisovan” has been long and arduous. Martyniuk has wanted to make this album for over 20 years. Some of the actual songs on the record began over 15 years ago. As drawn out as the process has been, the result is an immersive one. This music isn’t intended to be consumed casually. Like many of Martyniuk’s influences, he thinks it will require some amount of investment on behalf of the listener before they can fully engage and appreciate it – that there will be an evolution of one’s relationship with this material. There are some deliberate thematic elements that the music and lyrics both evoke together that may only reveal themselves after repeated listens.
Martyniuk, who is the main composer, plays guitars and contributes backing vocals for Before & Apace. On “The Denisovan”, he is joined by Kaylon Disiewich (bass, Taurus pedals), Bryce Holcomb (vocals, guitar), and Arlan Kopp (drums, percussion). Before & Apace is heavy and progressive, but sans meedly-meedly. It is recommended for fans of Tool, Meshuggah, and Devin Townsend.
“The Denisovan” will be available as of May 11, 2021.
Album pre-order – BeforeAndApace.Bandcamp.com
Digital Pre-save – distrokid.com/hyperfollow/beforeandapace/the-denisovan
1. Zeno (11:14)
2. Limbics (9:43)
3. Ontogeny (11:16)
4. Simultanagnosia (19:49)
Album Length: 52:04
Album Recording Band Line Up:
Permanent/Ongoing Member: Devin Martyniuk (guitar, vocals)
Additional Members for The Denisovan:
Kaylon Disiewich (bass, Taurus pedals)
Bryce Holcomb (vocals, guitar)
Arlan Kopp (drums, percussion)
BEFORE & APACE is a heavy progressive rock project from the creative mind of Saskatoon, Canada’s Devin Martyniuk. The project draws from the same well as Tool, The Mars Volta, and Meshuggah. Over a span of multiple years starting in the mid-2000s, while splitting time as a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist between Western Canada’s goth-punk/metal misfits, The New Jacobin Club, and eclectic folk-rock band, Old Joe and the Truth Hurts, Martyniuk began to craft the songs that would ultimately comprise the debut album THE DENISOVAN by BEFORE & APACE.
It was during this time that Devin Martyniuk met drummer Arlan Kopp (also of The Department Heads) as both were percussionists in the University of Saskatchewan’s Wind Orchestra. They bonded instantly over common musical interests and an amicable fondness for Heroes of Might and Magic III. After Devin shared some of his music with Kopp they began composing drum parts together, often beginning by sequencing the intricate parts using Drumkit from Hell (a set of drum samples created by the band Meshuggah).
Bryce Holcomb, one of Martyniuk’s closest friends and musical snob-kin since early adolescence, joined the project shortly thereafter as the vocalist and sometimes-guitarist. Holcomb’s band at the time, Moksha, were just finishing their run and both Martyniuk and Holcomb were excited at the opportunity to collaborate together musically again; they had previously been part of an acoustic guitar trio called Polysorbate-80, but with BEFORE & APACE, they would be able to explore a completely different span of the musical spectrum.
Now with just a bass player needed to round out the band, Jesse Selkirk joined BEFORE & APACE. While Selkirk would ultimately only stay with the project for a short time, he was integral in bringing focus to the final stages of composition. He would also bring in a few riffs that ended up being the first section of the opening track ‘Zeno’. Selkirk eventually stepped away from the project as he would go on to pursue his own creations: The Depth and, more currently, Sleepwreck.
Shortly after Selkirk’s departure, Kaylon Disiewich of Abscission and The Divided would step in and assume the role. In addition to his undeniably monstrous playing, Kaylon most importantly brought a sense of completeness to the band. After making the monumental task of learning the newly-finished and arduous songs, Kaylon added an unmistakable dimension to the band’s sound and would even define some of the most iconic moments (the post-intro drum-and-bass beginning of Simultanagnosia comes to mind).
With the lineup now complete and the songs finished, the band would now share the music in two ways: the stage and the recording. While BEFORE & APACE would go on to play a number of shows, nearly all in the Saskatoon area, their crowning achievement on the stage would be opening for Devin Townsend in Regina, SK. During this same period, the band would begin recording in Martyniuk’s home studio the songs that would comprise the debut album from BEFORE & APACE, THE DENISOVAN.
“The Denisovan” is due out May 11, 2021.