Before & Apace has existed for a long time in the mind of Devin Martyniuk. He originally started gathering ideas about this project back in high school, when he first read a phrase in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. It caught his attention and became the name of what is now his heavy prog endeavour.
Nearly two decades in the making, Before & Apace is presenting the debut album “The Denisovan”, a collection of epiphanies that have altered Martyniuk’s worldview and have been translated into musical expression. It is a sequence of existential discoveries in odd time signatures and a merger of thinking and feeling.
“The Denisovan” only has four tracks, but they encompass nearly a full hour in total. Although theheavy influences are undeniable, Martyniuk also borrows many compositional facets from the world of symphony orchestras: from variations of a theme, programmatic writing, and movement-based pieces that evoke a concept. “Simultanagnosia”, for example, the album’s final song and its capstone, was to be written as a “trilogy in 4 parts”, where the first 3 would tap into a disjointed version of each of three facets of life: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Each movement was meant to be jarring, disharmonious, or incomplete in some way on its own – incomplete or imbalanced. The fourth movement was intended to incorporate a component of each of the first 3 movements such that when integrated together, the disparate parts would only now make sense. Martyniuk explains more:
“I’ve always loved the idea of using music to share ideas with others. Things seem so much more profound this way. So in the same vein as Tool writes about Carl Jung, or how System of a Down scream for prison reform, I always wanted Before & Apace to be something constructive. So I use Before & Apace basically like a compendium of epiphanies and life lessons that have come my way every once in a while – kind of like my recipe book for living a good life. I would love nothing more than to present the Before & Apace discography to my kids or grandkids someday and say, ‘Here it is. This is what Daddy’s all about. This is how I think we should coexist with everyone around us on this one lonely rock in the sky.’ And I’m extremely proud to be able to say that I’ve now made the first volume.”
Martyniuk acknowledges that his music is not for everyone, but he imagines there will be people who resonate with it. He has already begun working on the follow-up. “The Denisovan” is recommended for fans of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and The Mars Volta.
“The Denisovan” will be available as of Tursday, May 11, 2021, but can be heard in full now via its premiere here:
Album order – BeforeAndApace.Bandcamp.com
Digital (Spotify, Apple Music) – https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/beforeandapace/the-denisovan
Single Stream – Ontogeny – https://youtu.be/6YlSSjU43rs
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)
For more info:
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.