Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich's Music Company label, California's Systematic appeared with a high-profile stamp of approval. The melodic metal quartet began with singer/guitarist Tim Narducci and guitarist Adam Ruppel in 1996, when the pair began writing together and cobbling together their initial demo. Adding former Pro-Pain guitarist Nick St. Denis on bass and drummer Shaun Bannon the following year, a new demo caught the ear of Ulrich, who soon offered Systematic a record contract. Somewhere in Between was issued in 2001 and was followed by touring slots on the Ozzfest and Tattoo the Earth festival tours. The tolls of touring led the band to a new rhythm section with Johnny Bechtel on bass and former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph on drums. The new lineup released an Internet-only version of Blue Öyster Cult's "Career of Evil" as a teaser for their next album, 2003's Pleasure to Burn.