Encephalitic Punishment is an American death metal band formed in Tampa, Florida in 1988 by vocalist/bassist Rob Ravager and drummer Jayson Nielmar. The band have released eleven studio albums, four EPS, two live releases and two compilation since their first album Beyond The Grave in 1989. The band is notable for its deeply guttural vocals, downtuned guitars, and rapid drumming, and later taking a more technical approach and influencing the techical death metal scene.
They are also known with two notable incarnations: the first being Rob Ravager on vocals/bass, Jeff Wagner on lead guitar, Ivan Witowski on rhythm and Jayson Nielmar on drums, existing from 1988-1993 when Rob Ravager left the band in 1993 to pursue a degree in music, being replaced for the duration by Omar Ezpanso on vocals. Ezpanso, along with bassist Greg Marks and rhythm guitarist Kirk Newman became the second incarnation, alongside original members Jeff Wagner and Jayson Nielmar. Original rhythm guitarist Ivan Witowski had also departed in 1993 for in disclosed reasons. The Omar Ezpanso-lead line-up lasted until 1998, when the band reunited with Rob Ravager and Ivan Witowski. Bassist Greg Marks remained with the band, Rob Ravager focusing entirely on vocals instead of his original vocals/bass combination. Witowski left again in 2003 and was replaced by current rhythm guitarist David Roener, Rob Ravager's younger brother.
Rob "Ravager" Roener (b. 1969) grew up in San Francisco with his younger brother David, both of them learning instruments, with David taking up guitar and Rob bass. Their older brother Derrick listened to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest growing up, and introduced his brothers to the music, which they both took a liking too. In their teen years David took the more hardcore punk path by listening to the likes of Black Flag, DOA, and the Misfits, while Rob took to the heavier music, like thrash and proto-black and death (Metallica, Slayer, Venom). Despite this they both shared records and enjoyed both genres. Rob and David joined their first band in 1983, when Rob was seventeen and David was sixteen. The band also consisted of their brother Derrick on lead vocals. The band were known as Die Rock Die, taken from the first initials of their names. The band played covers by Slayer and Venom, until breaking up when Rob and David finished high school, and Derrick went to college.
Rob and David moved to Florida in 1986, and began searching for fellow metalheads to jam with. Rob encountered drummer Jayson Nielmar at a Morbid Angel concert, and after practicing with him he was wowed by his precision and skill, asking him to join the Roeners' band. David also found another guitarist in Jeff Wagner, who joined on by 1987. In early 1988 David was forced to quit the band due to a service requirement in the United States military, and Jeff Wagner was brought up to lead guitar, with another guitarist, Ivan Witowski joining as rhythm guitarist. The band decided on the name Encephalitic Punishment when Rob was browsing through a medical book and thought Encephalitic sounded "suitably brutal".
First line-up (1988-1993)
In 1989 Encephalitic Punishment entered a downtrodden Tampa, Florida studio with producer Kurt Moryn to record their first record, after garnering attention and a loyal fanbase in their formative years.
The band, particularly in their second tenure with Rob Ravager, are known for the album titles from various diseases and conditions, beginning notably with Thymos Carcinoma in (1999). Rob has said the reason is because they sound interesting, and that he wants to bring awareness to many diseases people suffer from, having suffered from diseases also.
- Current line-up
- Robert "Ravager" Roener - vocals, bass (1988-1993), vocals (1998-present)
- Jeff Wagner - lead guitar (1988-present)
- David Roener - rhythm guitar (2003-present)
- Greg Marks - bass gutiar (1993-present)
- Jayson Nielmar - drums (1988-present)
- Former members
- Omar Ezpanso - vocals (1993-1998)
- Kirk Newman - rhythm guitar (1993-1998)
- Ivan Witowski - rhythm guitar (1988-1993, 1998-2003)
- Beyond The Grave (1989)
- Xenophyllic (1990)
- Kindred In Blood (1992)
- A New Era of Death (1994)
- H.A.T.E (1996)
- Thymos Carcinoma (1999)
- Pseudocystic (2002)
- Hyperplasia (2004)
- Dysphagial (2006)
- Hypochondriasis (2008)
- Ischemia (2010)
- Karyorrhexis (2013)
- Unreleased Brutality (1990)
- Sufferer (1993)
- Open Chest Surgery" (1997)
- Ischemia: Unreleased Material From Blood Loss (2010)
- Encephalitic Punishment: Live In Tampa, Home Grown Death (1992)
- Dysphagial In Live (2007)
- The Spanish Interrogation: The Omar Ezpanso Years 1993-1998 (1999)
- A List of Diseases: Encephalitic Punishment 1999-2009 (2010)