DEAD SERENADE is a doom/death metal band based out of Chicago, Illinois and Northwest Indiana. They are regarded in the metal underground as one of the forerunners of the U.S doom/death metal style, and featured in it's ranks current and former members of long established underground metal acts such as Novembers Doom, Avernus, and Skullview.
Dead Serenade was a death/doom metal band based out of the Chicago/N.W. Indiana area scene in the first half of the 1990s.
Started circa 1991, the band was the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jerry Koziol, who at the time was known for fronting the Indiana based death/thrash outfit Lethal Injection, and as of 1991 had joined the ranks of Chicago's Contagion as lead guitarist. Together with longtime friend, guitarist Randy White (ex- Estranged Havoc), they devised a plan to create a project that would draw influence and inspiration from the slow heavy bands that were popping up in the underground such as Paradise Lost, Autopsy, and Cathedral, while also incorporating aspects of other various bands like Bolt Thrower, Trouble, St. Vitus, and Winter. Shortly after the intiial conception and a couple of nebulous songs being written, they recruited lead guitarist Larry Roberts (ex-Neurotoxin, currently in Novembers Doom) and drummer John Kocon (ex-Diabolicy). This lineup proceeded to rehearse and write songs for the next two years, during which time they released a five song rehearsal demo done on a 4-track recorder. Thanks to Jerry's tireless promotion in the worldwide underground metal scene, the tape managed to reach places far and wide, and many favorable reviews started to come in. In 1993, finally a suitable bassist was added to the fold with the inclusion of Barry Garrison (ex-Diabolicy, Lethal Injection) and the band entered a proper recording studio (Sold Sound Studios in Elgin, IL.) to record a 3-song EP entitled "Sorrow Breeds". This release featured three songs previously released on the rehearsal demo, "Tears Of Pain", "Ever Growing Sorrow" and "In My Misery". The release of this EP garnered even more favorable reviews in the underground, and Dead Serenade started to receive accolades and acknowledgement as being one of the few true doom/death bands to emerge from the U.S. metal scene at that point, along with other notable bands such as Novembers Doom, Eve Of Mourning, etc.
Though reviews were favorable, this lineup of the band was not to last, as the pressures of personal home life needs forced the departure of drummer Kocon and bassist Garrison, along with the temporary departure of guitarist Roberts because of a lack of time due to involvement in (perhaps too many) other projects. Koziol and White were left with having to recruit 2/3rds of a whole new band at that point. Luckily, a suitable bassist was right under their noses the whole time, as bassist Brian Whited (Avernus, ex-Novembers Doom) was playing with the band Eve Of Mourning at the time and was available due to said band going on hiatus. Being a more than competent bassist and also having songwriting abilities helped keep Dead Serenade on track. Shortly thereafter, they were able to locate a new guitarist in newcomer Jason Armelius. Though keyboards were featured on both the rehearsal demo and the "Sorrow Breeds" release, the band never had a proper keyboardist, with studio keys having been previously done by Roberts. Fortunately this was solved with the inclusion of another newcomer to the scene, Jay Garcia, on keyboards. Finally, a suitable drummer was found by going back to another old bandmate of White's, Jerry Rocozi (ex- Estranged Havoc, Skullview). With this lineup, the band entered the recording studio in 1994 to record a new demo entitled "A Passion We Once Knew". Again this 4 song demo, much like the previous releases, was distributed quickly throughout the underground and garned many favorable reviews and praise. But once again, change was on the horizon, as Randy White decided to leave the band to focus on his homelife and career, and Larry Roberts was quicly brought back into the fold.
1995 saw the band setting their sights on acheiving two main goals- performing more on the live circuit, and securing a proper record deal. While preparing for live shows, drummer Rocozi departed the band due to personal and musical differences. After a brief search, new blood was found in drummer Emmet Hall (a relative newcomer to the scene who'd recently performed with bands like ILLBRED and PSORIASIS). It was with this lineup of Koziol, Roberts, Whited, Armelius, Garcia and Hall, that they believed to have finally found the "proper" lineup of Dead Serenade, and set out to perform live. Shows were booked, with their first live appearance being in Cincinatti as direct support to Incantation, in May 1995, along with other notable bands from the scene like Thorns Of The Carrion, Estuary Of Calamity, etc. The show was a success, excepting the mutliple power outages in the venue! At this show the band also performed their sole new composition with the "new" lineup entitled "Twilight Burns The Sky". Up to this point, Jerry (Koziol) had been working hard behind the scenes to secure the band a recording deal, and things were looking bright for the future of this band.....
Unfortunately, fate struck a mighty blow when vocalist and band creator Jerry Koziol was killed in a car wreck merely a week after they appeared at the Cincinatti show, during early morning hours in early June 1995. The band were due to perform their first proper Chicago-area show that evening, and they later found out that Koziol was planning on surprising the band with the news that a recording deal had been secured with a reputable overseas metal label. Jerry was considered by the band members to be the true leader and creative center of the band, and it became clear very quickly that the band couldn't carry on the same without his presence. So in a quick turn of fate, Dead Serenade went from being a promising death/doom band with a recording contract on the table, to being a defunct band due to the sad loss of their leader and good friend. Along with his bands and his musical creations, he also left behind a beautiful young daughter named Tori, and many other loving family members and friends who would miss him dearly.
After the band's split in the summer of '95, members Armelius, Hall and Whited all found themselves eventually becoming part of the ever-revolving lineup of Chicago's Novembers Doom, thus keeping on the death/doom path musically. Roberts, along with keyboardist Garcia, temporarily carried on with the prog-thrash outfit Neurotoxin, but that band became defunct shortly thereafter in summer of 1996. Larry Roberts departed the scene for a few years, eventually being lured back into the scene and also joining Novembers Doom, with whom he still currently resides. As of 2009, only Roberts remains in Novembers Doom from the old Dead Serenade lineup. Bassist Brian Whited now currently writes and performs with Chicago's dark/doom act Avernus. The other ex-members of Dead Serenade have continued to perform here and there at various times while balancing that with their personal lives and families.
During the 1995-1996 era of Novembers Doom, the band occasionally performed the song "Tears Of Pain" from the "Sorrow Breeds" demo as a tribute to the memory of Jerry Koziol.
Most recent Line-Up
*Jerry "Gore" Koziol - Vocals(1991-1995)
*Larry Roberts - guitar (1991-1993, 1993-1995)
*Emmett Hall - Drums (1995)
*Jason Armelius- guitar (1994-1995)
*Jay Garcia- keyboards (1994-1995)
*Brian Whited- bass (1994-1995)
*Randy White -Guitar (1991-1994)
*Barry Garrison - Bass (1993)
*John Kocon - Drums (1991-1993)
*Jerry Ricozi - Drums (1994-1995)
*self-titled (self-released 1992)
*Sorrow Breeds (self-released 1993)
*A Passion We Once Knew (self-released 1994)