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, below.
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 – https://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)