Founded by guitarist Kaleb Daniels with bassist Adam Costello, Pontifex is a black metal band with heavy symphonic influences. Pontifex plays tribute to the originators of the style while expanding it past traditional limitations, incorporating elements of Classical, Black Metal, and Thrash Metal into an unholy trinity.
Musically, Pontifex was inspired by bands such as Burzum, Immortal, Possessed, Venom, and Horna to create an ambient and symphonic sound blended with thrash & black metal riffing, intense drum playing, and non-conventional brutal vocals. Pontifex brings black metal to a different spectrum of darkness, exploring the grim arts of melancholy through melodic and harmonic progressions relying on the resolution of dissonance to achieve an ethereal sound, with lyrics that express the darker side of human consciousness.
Adam and Kaleb are classically trained multi-instrumentalists who met in high school in 2013, and decided to collaborate on a black metal project that eventually became Pontifex. The band lacked a second guitarist and vocalist, and in early 2016, Pontifex found vocalist/guitarist Haniel Adhar, of the brass-death metal band Markradonn, through an ad posted on the internet. Upon receiving the demo Sepulcher of Eternal Darkness he immediately agreed to work with the band as the vocalist and lead guitarist. And in 2017, Pontifex recruited Death Metal legend and founding member of pioneering technical death metal band Suffocation, Mike Smith, to play drums on their debut album. In June of 2017, Adam left the band to pursue other interests.
With a completed line-up, Pontifex has laid the foundation of future success, which includes a recent endorsement from Sinister Guitar Picks and international radio play on many radio stations and receiving critical acclaim. In 2020, Erik Martin from Chasing Sanity joined the fold to mix, master, and play fretless bass on the band's debut album.
In the Spring of 2017, Pontifex inked a deal with Bluntface Records to release their debut full length, …From the Pale Mist in the Winter will be released in the fall of 2020
Kaleb: Guitars, flute
Haniel: Vocals/guitars, lead guitar
Mike Smith: Drums (recording)
Tim Carter: Drums (live)
Erik Martin: Fretless Bass
Adam: symphonic and additional music compositions
Austin Kinard: Guest keyboards "Twilight of Melancholic Winter"
Tim Carter: Guest Drums "Devoured By Oblivion"
Location: Central Florida
Single “Sepulcher of Eternal Darkness”, May 2016
Single "Devoured By Oblivion" featuring Tim Carter on drums, April 2017
CD “…From The Pale Mist”, 2020
Affiliations: Sinister Guitar Picks, Markradonn, Bluntface Records, SmithBlast Productions, Fryette Amplification, Chasing sanity
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