As the Judgment Hour Nears
Semper Tyrannis was originally formed in the Spring of 2002 by guitarists Greg Bueno and Alex Tomaszewski in Northern New Jersey. Both had the intention of playing metal without definite classifications or boundaries and quickly took to writing their first songs. By the end of the year (after many musicians came and went), the lineup was rounded out by bass player Eric Koppel, drummer Mike Gardner, and vocalist Kyle Kolich. In early 2003, Gardner was ejected and replaced by Alex Zetelski. With this lineup, the band settled on the name Semper Tyrannis and began playing whatever shows became available to them. The band's original sound could be described as unique, if somewhat unrefined progressive metal with predominantly clean vocals. As time went by, Kyle began utilizing death growls/screams as the music gradually became more aggressive. Word of Semper Tyrannis was slow to spread, so a demo was recorded in December 2003. Simply titled 'Semper Tyrannis', this particular effort was never completed due to various circumstances; only incomplete versions were released (in very limited quantities) to the public. Nonetheless, the band scored it's first high-profile gig with the March Metal Meltdown in 2004, sharing the stage with such bands as Testament, Vital Remains, and Symphony X. This show proved to be the last for vocalist Kyle Kolich, as many months of creative and personal distancing came to a head in April of 2004. After a brief search for a new vocalist, Greg and Alex decided on taking over this position, with both alternating between growls and clean vocals. With Semper Tyrannis's creative differences now behind them, the band focused on the writing and recording of their first EP, 'Casting Dark in Morning Light'. Recorded in 3 days at Stained Glass Studios in Paramus, NJ During August 2004, it showcased the band's varied songwriting and aggressive, death metal based sound. It quickly gained positive reviews and earned the band more shows in a wider variety of places (everything from hole-in-the-wall bars to empty football fields). Semper Tyrannis spent most of 2005 sporadically playing shows and preparing for their next recorded output. Throughout November and December, painstaking work and care was put into the creation of 'As the Judgment Hour Nears', as over 30 hours of recording were put into the EP's 4 songs. Both rough and final mixes were posted on various internet mediums (Myspace, PureVolume, message boards) and received universal praise. It was released in May of 2006.