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Origin Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Alternative metal
Hard rock
Progressive rock
Years active Sept. 2005–Aug. 2007
Labels Unsigned
Associated acts Farewell Fix
Natoma Breathes
Silent Glory
Orion Nine
Website http://www.myspace.com/zielmusic
Past members Juan Pablo Lopez
Anthony Lojeski
Jordon Popp
Steve Floro
Mike Przwosnik
Kyle Lemerand
John Schiller

Ziel is a regional American alternative metal/hard rock group based in Chicago, Illinois.[1] Over the short 2 years of the group's existence, the group managed to have a significant impact on the local Chicago music scene and the outlying region.[2]


The beginning[edit]

Ziel was formed in the wake of a tragedy on August 27, 2005, after the passing of Juan Pablo Lopez. Lopez was a key member of Natoma Breathes, the original name of the four-piece Hard rock band, including Jordon Popp, Anthony Lojeski and Mike Przwosnik. On August 27, the band went on a small vacation to the Warren Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan, in order to celebrate the hiring of Kyle Lemerand as the new rhythm guitarist, completing the lineup. Reports state that during the time the band was in the water, the sand bar beneath the group gave way, causing a rip current. Two of the members were pulled several hundred yards off shore in a matter of minutes, before realizing the situation. Popp came close to drowning, and was pulled to shore with the help of Lemerand and Przwosnik. Lopez was nowhere to be found. The Coast Guard was able to recover Lopez, barely clinging to life. He died shortly thereafter in the ambulance en route to the hospital.

While at the hospital, the four remaining members made the decision to carry on in Juan's memory, renaming the band "Ziel," short for Raziel, the "Angel of Secrets," and also Lopez's nickname. Natoma Breathes would play one last show on September 11, 2005. Originally intended as the "breakout show" for the newly reconfigured band, it was performed acoustically by the four members as a benefit to Lopez and his family. Of note is the performance of "Angel's Son" by Sevendust, written for Lynn Strait of Snot after his death. This song, placed at the end of the 45-minute set, marked the official beginning of Ziel with the lighting of hundreds of candles.[3]

Remain EP-era[edit]

Auditions began in late September for a replacement drummer, with little luck. In mid October, Steve Floro was hired as the new drummer after an audition that left the other members speechless. The band began rehearsal immediately, with plans to record a new EP in early December after a small string of shows. Five shows were booked through the end of November, but due to a knee injury suffered by Anthony Lojeski at one of the early shows, only three were played. Realizing Lojeski would be out of commission for several months, and hoping to make the best of their down-time, Ziel headed into the studio in mid November. Working with local producer Dave Kohut, five songs were cut for what would be titled Remain. Finished in January 2006, Remain was given as a free "sampler" at shows, and distributed throughout the country by the band. The EP was well received, although some felt it was indicative of a band "struggling to finding its way, as if all five members are tugging in different directions." This is in response to all five songs portraying five different styles, and not "complement[ing] each other properly." There were two singles released from the five-track EP, both enjoying limited radio airplay. The most notable of the singles, "Vestigial", was a constant crowd favorite, and remained in the band's live set from the moment the EP was released, until the band's dissolve in August 2007. Usually placed towards the middle-end of the set, audiences were known to sing the song louder than the band.

February - October 2006[edit]

With the release of Remain on February 9, 2006, Ziel began booking for the upcoming year. They started off the year opening for Sevendust, Nonpoint and Wicked Wisdom at The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 12, several small "hometown" dates around Chicago, and 3 day stint with Allele in March. April was mainly dedicated to writing new material in preparation for an upcoming EP release scheduled later that year. Throughout May and June, the focus was shifted to local shows in hopes of building a solid hometown fan base. On July 7, after barely 10 months together, Ziel was offered a show at Chicago's Metro. Having the second-largest draw that night, this was a milestone for the band. The day after the Metro show, Ziel packed up, and headed to Hazard, Kentucky to co-headline one of the county's largest music festivals. On August 31, 2006, Ziel appeared on Fearless Radio, a worldwide internet radio station, to promote for their upcoming EP and for shows taking place at Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago. They performed three never-before-heard songs in an exclusive acoustic format. These songs were briefly available for download on the band's website, and handed out at shows as a "teaser".[4] Jordon Popp also took a one-month hiatus between September and October citing internal conflicts within the band structure.[5]

I Digress-era[edit]

Originally slated for a November 2006 release as a seven song EP, it was decided by the band and their management that a full-length album would better showcase the refined sound the band had developed over the past year. Sitting on a stockpile of close to 20 completed songs, a tentative release date of January 15, 2007 was set for the as-yet untitled album. Ziel entered the studio of local producer/musician Matt Mercado (Mindbomb, Daisy Chain, Super Mercado) to cut a 2-song sampler to promote the upcoming album. The tracks "Messiah's Anthem" and "By the Way" were tracked in early November, and released to the public for free at shows and on the band website. "Messiah's Anthem", never intended to be released as a single, garnered a fair amount of air play on Chicago's alternative rock station WKQX 101.1FM (Q101 locally) by way of James VanOsdol.[6] Other stations across the country also played "Messiah's Anthem" and "By the Way", although the latter did not fare as well as the former.

Due to financial setbacks, and scheduling issues with the recording studio originally booked to produce the album, I Digress suffered more setbacks. After shopping around for the ideal studio and producer, Ziel and management decided on Gunpoint Studios and Bob Popp (of no relation to guitarist Jordon Popp). In February, 2007, Ziel & Co. entered Gunpoint to start pre-production for I Digress. In addition to "Messiah's Anthem" and "By the Way", ten other songs were tracked, with 3 more in consideration. Two of the songs, "Chinchilla Butter" and "Would You Say?", were fully tracked and added to the existing teaser demo released in November of the previous year. This four track sampler was again handed out at shows, now with the title I Digress Sampler.


"Honestly, in my eyes, the decline of Ziel started when we tried to force an album out of ourselves that wasn't there to begin with," stated Jordon in a conversation on his personal MySpace site. "When we fired Steve, things just got hollow for me, personally." Auditions began for Steve's replacement, but they were haphazard at best. After more than a month of searching, John Schiller, formerly of Dearborn, was hired to replace Steve on drums on May 30, 2007. On July 9, 2007, citing personal conflicts within the band, Anthony Lojeski left on a permanent basis. One week later, Jordon left, expressing a need to pursue other interests and to remove himself from an "unhealthy" environment. Mike, Kyle and John decided to carry on as Ziel, auditioning bassist and drummers, but after a dispute with the former members, agreed to change the name of the band.

The future[edit]

Seven Day Sonnet[edit]

Anthony, Jordon and Steve have re-convened to start a new music project. Joining them on vocals is Ben VanBuskirk of local Chicago fame; and on guitar, Rick Tauber also of Breaking Through.[7] As of December 23, 2007, Seven Day Sonnet had released a "teaser" demo consisting of the two songs "Sold Your Soul" and "New Shoes." A 7 song EP is due out in late spring 2008, with production beginning mid February of that year.

Along the Parallel[edit]

Mike, Kyle and John changed the name of the band to Along the Parallel,[8] in agreement with Anthony and Jordon to leave Ziel as a memorial to Juan Lopez. The reason given by both sides: "Ziel will never be the same without all of the original members. Ziel is only Ziel when the right pieces are there, and no one but the people who started it will ever make up Ziel."

Band members[edit]



Studio albums[edit]

Album Information
  • Released: February 9, 2006 (U.S.)
  • Label: Self-Released
  • Chart Positions: N/A
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: Vestigial, Remain
2-Song Teaser
  • Released: November 2007 (U.S.)
  • Label: Self-Released
  • Chart Positions: N/A
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: Messiah's Anthem
I Digress Sampler
  • Released: March 2007 (U.S.)
  • Label: Self-Released
  • Chart Positions: N/A
  • RIAA Certification: N/A
  • Singles: Messiah's Anthem, Would You Say
I Digress
  • Released: Unreleased (Album aborted)

Miscellaneous Tracks[edit]

  • Messiah's Anthem (acoustic live)
  • By the Way (acoustic live)
  • Chinchilla Butter (acoustic live)
  • Clarify (acoustic live)
  • Last Forever (acoustic live)
  • Would You Say (live at Logan Square Auditorium)

Cover Songs[edit]

  • Angel's Son (acoustic live)
  • Angel's Son (live at The Metro)



External links[edit]