Sad, beautiful music with vocals that engage the angels and haunt the soul… A brooding mix of emotion and power that leave the heart wanting more… Music for those who are caught between Heaven and Hell… for Earth Below.”
– Jimmy P Brown II (Fearful Symmetry/Deliverance)
Rick Mester had left his first band, Grievance Honor (a metal band), to pursue a more melancholy, dark sounding music. Initially, the new band name name was to be Black Sombrance and the sound was to be gothic but the band felt that the gothic genre was too limiting. Rick dropped ‘Black’ from the name and went with the simplified name Sombrance. The original Sombrance lineup featured former Grievance Honor bandmates Dan Needham (Keyboards) and Lael Clark (Guitars) along with Jon Cheatwood (Bass) and Rick Mester (Vocals, Guitars).
In 1998, Rick recorded the demo EP CD called “The Cold Awakening” on a Tascam 488 eight track recorder. “The Cold Awakening” featured several of Rick’s friends including Wade Baird (Since Hector Was a Pup, Saturn Vs. Jupiter), Lael Clark (Deliverance, Harkonin), Jason Sarino (A Group Called) and Jon Cheatwood.
In 2000, Rick signed with Indie Dream Records. Indie Dream had recently also signed Deliverance. Deliverance frontman, Jimmy P Brown II, would mix and help produce Sombrance’s full length CD, “Dark Days and Afternoon Sleep”. The record was completed using session musicians from Indie Dream records including Justin DeTie (Jambi’s Revenge, Sanctified Sister), Jim Calvert (Jambi’s Revenge, Sanctified Sister) and Chuck Cummings (Sanctified Sister).
After completion of “Dark Days…”, Rick assembled a band to support the record. Wade Baird (guitar), Todd Hurt (drums), and Rob Williams (bass) began playing shows in anticipation of “Dark Days…” release. Unfortunately, disputes with management and Indie Dream resulted in “Dark Days…” getting shelved. Following legal action, Sombrance was granted a release from their contract with Indie Dream. The album was never released after the dispute as the terms of the settlement required Indie Dream to seek permission of Rick to use the band’s name (Sombrance) in any marketing.
Over time, the band began to ebb and flow with the individual influences of band members and a sound began to emerge. Wade Baird took over the responsibilities of directing personnel. Wade made his first move by replacing Rob Williams with David Jay. It was this lineup that went into the studio in 2003 to record the “Eli” EP. Jimmy P Brown II mixed the EP, played bass, and sang background vocals on “Eli”.
David Jay was replaced by Jensen Church. Todd Hurt moved to Texas and was replaced with Miq Smith (Since Hector Was a Pup) for a brief time then Bob Stahlheber (Sanctified Sister, Since Hector Was a Pup).
During this time, Rick and Wade formed their own record label and publishing group called Zophim Records. Zophim Records was the vehicle that the band members would release their band and side projects through.
Wade Baird left Sombrance and Zophim Records in 2005 to pursue his solo project. Rick called former bass player Rob Williams who came back on board, this time as a guitarist.
In 2005, Sombrance signed with PsychoAcoustix Records out of Florida. The band recorded two Christmas songs for a future dark Christmas compilation. Sombrance prepared material for a new album, but tragedy struck when Carl Crandell (founder and owner of PsychoAcoustix) was found dead in his study. The record label passed with him. The band would suffer more personnel changes over the next few years. Rick and Rob took this time to work on side projects.
In 2009, the band finally solidified its lineup with the additions of Thomas Kinder (bass) and Kevin Reese (drums). Thomas and Kevin also play for the band Floodwater.
In 2010, Sombrance re-released the “Eli” CD with three new tracks and a special remix of Wasting Away calling it “Eli 2010”.
In 2012, Sombrance announced the addition of Synth/Piano player Mike Kushins. With Mike’s input, the band has been reworking their material as well as working on new songs.
In 2017, Sombrance went out to Arjuna Sound to record Through Waterless Places with Ian Baird. The EP was released in the summer of 2017 and is widely available.
It is now the beginning of 2021 and Rick has been working on some new Sombrance music as well as other projects. Stay tuned to sombrance.com for details when they surface!
Sombrance would like to recognize our former and current members and contributors (in no particular order):
Jon Cheatwood – Bass
Dan Needham – Keyboards
Jimmy P Brown II – Bass, Vocals
Lael Clark – Guitars
Wade Baird – Guitars
Todd Hurt – Drums
Chuck Cummings – Bass
Justin DeTie – Guitars
Jim Calvert – Drums
David Jay – Bass
Jensen Church – Bass
Miq Smith – Drums
Bob Stahlheber – Drums
Adam Thacker – Drums
Eric Wellington – Drums
Thomas Kinder – Bass
Kevin Reese – Drums
Rick Mester – Vocals
Mike Kushins – Keyboards
Rob Williams – Guitars