Sear Bliss (2007)
|Genres||Atmospheric black metal|
|Years active||1993 – present|
|Labels||Candlelight Records, Nephilim Records, Red Stream, Mascot Records, Vic Records|
|Associated acts||Forest Silence, Cavum|
|Members||András Nagy |
|Past members||See below|
Sear Bliss is an atmospheric black metal band from Szombathely, Hungary, formed in 1993 by bassist, vocalist and now also keyboardist András Nagy. Apart from the usual heavy metal instruments they adopted synthesizer and wind instruments (like trumpet and trombone sometimes flute) in their songs. The Netherlands' leading metal magazine, Aardschok awarded Sear Bliss debut album Phantoms the title of "CD Of The Month". It was the first (and only) time in the magazine's history that the award went to a black metal album.
Sear Bliss has earned a reputation in the European metal underground with their unique black metal albums released by independent record labels like Mascot Records, Red Stream and recently Candlelight Records. Sear Bliss shared the stage with bands Marduk, Tsatthoggua, Mortiis, Tormentor, Skyforger, Immolation and Malevolent Creation.
After four months of studio work, the longest session ever in their career, the sixth Sear Bliss album was released on September 24, 2007. Critically acclaimed The Arcane Odyssey was awarded "Album of the Month" by some magazines (i.e. Zero Tolerance) and was also high ranked by Kerrang, Terrorizer, Heavy Oder Was and Rock Hard magazines in Europe. The album was elected for "Album of the Year" on Hungarian Metal Awards in 2007.
Sear Bliss was formed in the autumn of 1993 by the then 15-year-old András Nagy and the former bass guitarist of a Hungarian death metal band called Extreme Deformity, Csaba Tóth. The first line-up featured guitarist János Barbarics and drummer Norbert Keibinger from another Hungarian death metal band called Animosity. Tóth left the band soon and Nagy got the bass. Sear Bliss added new members at the same time. At first, vocalist Zoltán Csejtei and guitarist Csaba Csejtei of Extreme Deformity joined them, and soon the line-up was enriched with a synthesizer by Winter and trumpet by Gergely Szűcs creating a unique sound for the band.
Keibinger left Sear Bliss in April 1995 when they were working on their first demo. Since there was only a short time until recording, Balázs Bertalan (Extreme Deformity) helped them out as a session drummer. The first demo named The Pagan Winter was released in May and the atmospheric black metal music of Sear Bliss got to European extreme metal record labels. And finally, Mascot Records from Netherlands offered a three-album deal to this Eastern European band. After that Winter was replaced by trumpeter Szűcs on synthesizer when Winter started to work on his own musical ideas, but after a while he returned to the band. In the meantime other changes had happened. Zoltán Csejtei got the drums, Nagy became vocalist again but also held bass. In August Sear Bliss played their first gig. During 1995 and 1996 they played only four shows (two in each year). This made the band a little mysterious for the fans. Meanwhile, recordings of their debut album started in the beginning of 1996 in LMS Studio, Szombathely, Hungary.
The first Sear Bliss album, Phantoms, hit the streets in August 1996. The Netherlands' leading metal magazine, Aardschok awarded it the title of "CD Of The Month". It was the first (and only) time in the magazine's history that the award went to a black metal album. Moreover, the album gained positive reactions in German and British metal magazines, and interviews with the band were published in Terrorizer and Rock Hard. The song called "Aeons Of Desolation" appeared on the compilation CD of the Dutch progressive rock magazine IO Pages. Due to the critically acclaimed first album, Mascot decided that The Pagan Winter demo would be released on CD featuring a 12-minute bonus song called "In The Shadow of Another World".
Sear Bliss played their first European tour supporting Marduk in February–March 1997. After finishing the tour the Csejtei brothers left the band and Winter also got out soon afterwards. Recruited new members were Zoltán Schönberger on drums and Viktor "Max" Scheer on guitar, furthermore keyboards were taken over by trumpeter Szűcs. The next album had been recorded at Beaufort Studio, Netherlands, but the band was disappointed with the first version of the mix and it had to be remixed.
The Haunting (1998) became a more atmospheric and varied album in contrast to the fast black metal tracks of the Phantoms album. The Haunting disappointed some old fans, but it appealed to new enquirers. The opportunity to tour for three weeks with the Norwegian melodic black metal band Ancient and promote the new album in Europe had come to nothing because of the private activities of Sear Bliss members in school and job. However, they celebrate their 5th anniversary with a birthday party in Budapest.
By releasing The Haunted album Sear Bliss fulfilled the Mascot contract, so a new label needed to be found. To support the search they recorded a 4-song promo cd in March 1999. But other member changes followed. Previously they parted with guitarist Viktor Scheer, then founding member/guitarist Barbarics and long-time trumpeter/keyboardist Szűcs quit due to personal conflicts within the band. In that time Sear Bliss played live with fill-in musicians, and only founding member Andras Nagy and drummer Schönberger were officially in the band. A new guitarist Andras Horváth P. would join Sear Bliss soon.
New era (2000–2005)
In the beginning of the year 2000 Sear Bliss recorded two brand new songs in their hometown Szombathely, but the studio work of the third full-length album started only at the end of the year. Of course, featuring new members like István Neubrandt on guitar and Zoltán Pál on trombone. The album Grand Destiny (2001) was released by a new Hungarian metal label called Nephilim. Before the release, Horvath P. had left the band and former Sear Bliss guitarist Csaba Csejtei got back. Later Olivér Ziskó from Cavum became the new keyboardist.
Thanks to the warm welcome that Grand Destiny received abroad, Sear Bliss started negotiations concerning a new contract with foreign recording companies again. Eventually Red Stream, the overseas distributor of previous Sear Bliss albums, offered a three-album record deal to the band. Firstly, they released Grand Destiny in the States (one year later than the original release), but the band was already working on new songs. After a spring recording session the fourth Sear Bliss album, Forsaken Symphony, with which the band returned to a rawer and more intense black metal, got released in October 2002. The new album was made available for the first time outside the US and Western Europe, and reached new audiences in Russia and the Baltic states.
The band played on Brutal Assault festival again and did a club tour in Europe accompanied by Skyforger. Sear Bliss toured in Benelux as a headliner for the first time in March 2003. They supported Marduk, Immolation and Malevolent Creation in Budapest in April. Following the concert season the band started to work on the next album at HSB studio with former Sear Bliss guitarist Viktor "Max" Scheer as producer/engineer.
On February 22, 2004, Sear Bliss celebrated their 10th anniversary in Budapest where former members joined the band on stage for a one-off show. A video was shot of the event and appeared on the Decade of Perdition DVD along with a documentary of the 10 years of Sear Bliss story.
In August the new album, Glory and Perdition was released, featuring Mayhem and Tormentor vocalist Attila Csihar in two songs ("Birth of Eternity" and "Shores of Death"). Sear Bliss shot the first promo video in their career for the song "Two Worlds Collide" from their critically acclaimed fifth full-length.
Recent years (2006–present)
Despite the success of the latest album, Csejtei left the band again and was replaced by Péter Kovács. However, the greatest news of the year 2006 was that Sear Bliss signed to Candlelight Records, the home of bands such as Emperor and 1349. Another contract was signed with Dutch Vic Records for releasing remastered editions of the first three Sear Bliss albums (The Pagan Winter, Phantoms, The Haunting) with bonus tracks. Additionally, certain parts of The Haunting album were re-recorded.
Supervised by producer Viktor Scheer the band, for the first time as a Candlelight artist, had been working on the sixth full-length since March 2007. After four months of studio work, the longest session ever in their career, the latest Sear Bliss album was released on September 24, 2007. Critically acclaimed The Arcane Odyssey was awarded "Album of the Month" by some magazines (i.e. Zero Tolerance) and was also high ranked by Kerrang, Terrorizer, Heavy Oder Was and Rock Hard magazines in Europe. The album was elected for "Album of the Year" on Hungarian Metal Awards in 2007.
The main event for the band in 2008 was their 15th birthday show in November in Avalon Club, Budapest, where the original Sear Bliss line-up including Csejtei brothers, Winter and Gergely Szűcs played together again after 11 years. A few weeks before the concert guitarist Péter Kovács had left Sear Bliss and Attila Kovács joined from Hungarian experimental death metal band Watch My Dying.
In 2009 Vic Records has re-released Glory and Perdition and Forsaken Symphony for Europe because the original Red Stream releases were hardly available there. Forsaken Symphony is remastered by Swedish death metal fame Dan Swanö.
At the end of August Andras Nagy left alone in the band. The other four members had decided that they would form a new band called I Divine. Nagy recruited a new line-up from former Sear Bliss musicians. Guitarists Csaba Csejtei and János Barbarics joined again the band as well as Oliver Zisko on drums. In December they found a trumpeter, Balázs Bruszel.
Recordings of the seventh Sear Bliss album began on July 21, 2011. After two months the works on the new album has completed. Eternal Recurrence contains progressive, experimental black metal and will be released by Candlelight Records in 2012 January.
- András Nagy – vocals, bass, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, frentless bass (1993–present)
- Zoltán Vigh – guitars (2013–present)
- Gyula Csejtei – drums (2013–present)
- Zoltán Pál – trombone (2000–2009, 2013–present)
- Attila Kovács – Guitars, 8-string bass, add. keyboards (2008–2009, 2016–present)
- Csaba Tóth – bass (1993)
- Norbert Keibinger – drums (1993–1994)
- Zoltán Csejtei – vocals (1994–1995), drums (1995–1997)
- Winter – keyboards (1994–1995, 1995–1997)
- Gergely Szücs – trumpet (1994–1999), keyboards (1995, 1997–1999)
- Viktor "Max" Scheer – guitars (1997–1999)
- András Horváth P. – guitars (1999–2000)
- Péter Kovács – guitars (2006–2008)
- István Neubrandt – guitars (2000–2009)
- Zoltán Schönberger – drums (1997–2009)
- Balázs Bruszel – trumpet, keyboards (2009–2013)
- Csaba Csejtei – guitars (1994–1997, 2001–2006, 2009–2013)
- Olivér Ziskó – drums (2009–2013), keyboards (2001–2002)
- János Barbarics - guitars (1993-1999, 2009-2016)
- Balázs Bertalan (Extreme Deformity) – drums on The Pagan Winter demo (1995)
- Attila Török (Amon Hen) – keyboards on stage (1999)
- Péter Bokros – keyboards on stage (1999)
- Róbert Pintér – trumpet on stage (1999)
- Krisztián Varga – guitars on stage (2001)
- Attila Csihar – guest vocals on album Glory and Perdition (2004)
|Title||Type||Date of release||Label|
|The Pagan Winter||demo||May, 1995||self-released|
|Phantoms||album||August, 1996||Mascot/Two Moons|
|The Pagan Winter
+ In The Shadow of Another World
|re-release||February, 1997||Mascot/Two Moons|
|The Haunting||album||February, 1998||Mascot/Two Moons|
|Grand Destiny||album||April, 2001||Nephilim Records|
|Grand Destiny||re-release||April, 2002||Red Stream|
|Forsaken Symphony||album||October, 2002||Red Stream|
|Glory and Perdition||album||August, 2004||Red Stream|
|Decade of Perdition||live DVD||May, 2005||Red Stream|
|The Arcane Odyssey||album||September 24, 2007||Candlelight Records|
|Glory and Perdition||re-release||February, 2009||Vic Records|
|Forsaken Symphony||remastered||April, 2009||Vic Records|
|Eternal Recurrence||album||January 23, 2012||Candlelight Records|
|Letters from the Edge||album||June, 2018||Hammerheart Records|