01/30/2014 Erie Times-News, Feature story , 'Requiem for Oblivion plays CD release show Saturday'

Dave Richards (Erie Times-News)
Updated 2014-01-29 22:01:00

'Sometimes the best way to shed your inner demons is to eat right, rest up and exercise regularly.

Steve Jacobson knows. He took a break from music after quitting drugs when he lived in Sacramento in the late 1990s. After he moved to Erie, he started a one-man project that evolved into Requiem for Oblivion, a dark, atmospheric modern metal band that played a CD release party Saturday Feb 1st at Sherlock's in Erie, PA.

"The concept of the band, or the name of the band, was kind of an ode to my battle with drug addiction. I had been a drug and alcohol addict for years and finally cleaned up my life back in '97," Jacobson said. "Requiem for Oblivion was an ode to that -- kind of a funeral for futility."

Jacobson quit music for a time to pursue other paths.

"I did what I thought parents wanted. I went to college. I got a job as a private investigator, of all things," he said. "I got a fancy car and worked 50 hours a week, and I was miserable."

In 2002, his younger brother was killed at age 23 in a motorcycle accident.

"That was kind of a turning point for me. It really shook up my world," Jacobson said. "I was in limbo for a year or two. When I got out of that daze, I just made a recommitment to music because that's what makes me happy."

Jacobson moved to Erie in 2007; he had started an online relationship with an Erie woman. He found, after regularly visiting here, he liked it and relocated. They're no longer romantically involved but are best friends.

In Erie, Jacobson built a basement studio and began writing songs. Ironically, the first musician he found to play with him in Requiem For Oblivion was another West Coast native, drummer Mike Bryan.

"He had just moved here from Reno," Jacobson said. "So, we were only 60 miles apart back then. It's a really strange thing. Through my (then) girlfriend, I met him and his wife and we started jamming."

Requiem for Oblivion also includes guitarist Geoff Radziszewski, who joined in early 2012, and bassist Andrew Laughner, who came aboard several months ago. The band plays heavy, progressive metal with brooding texture and menacing vocals that can range from clean to tortured.

The influence of Rush looms; it's one of Jacobson's favorite bands. But he's also into Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Between the Buried and Me, and Opeth, as well as -- oddly enough -- adult-alternative tunesmith Duncan Sheik.

"I went to Broadway to see (his) 'Spring Awakening.' That's how big a fan I am," he said.

Now, after a stint with local heavyweights, Scarwork, he's celebrating his own musical awakening with Requiem for Oblivion. "Dark Journeys Through Forgotten Mindscapes," their first full-length CD, reflects on his struggle.

"Almost all the subject matter, give or take a couple songs, are about the struggle and the redemption and that kind of darkness," Jacobson said. "And then, some hope sprinkled in."

Cerebral Plane opened the CD release show, followed by Sacred 13 and Requiem for Oblivion. Kriadiaz, which features former Mushroomhead guitarist Dave "Gravy" Felton, will close the night.'

(Some spots edited for present context by Steve J. Digital release will be coming May 13, 2014)