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The brutally heavy death metal of Through the Eyes of the Dead first appeared in June 2003, with the original band lineup of Anthony Gunnels (vocals), Justin Longshore (guitar), Richard Turbeville (guitar), Jeff Springs (bass), and Dayton Cantley (drums). Based in Florence, SC, the guys looked up to acts like At the Gates, Morbid Angel, and Cannibal Corpse, influences that could be heard on their debut five-song EP, The Scars of Ages, recorded with Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me). Making quick of things, TTEOTD signed to Lovelost Records by the fall of 2003; the label released their EP the following January, which promptly started a buzz around the metal scene. Shortly after its release, Turbeville exited the band and was replaced within months by guitarist Chris Anderson, who quickly learned the necessary material so the band could head out on dates with labelmates One Dead Three Wounded. TTEOTD inked a deal with Prosthetic in early summer 2005, though soon after the announcement, Springs and Cantley jumped ship; drummer Josh Kulick and eventually bassist (and former Arsis member) Jake Ososkie joined on in their places. A split album with the Knife Trade appeared that July before their first proper full-length, Bloodlust, was issued in October. TTEOTD stayed on the road for the next year, including spending summer 2006 on the popular Sounds of the Underground tour alongside bands like In Flames and Trivium. Gunnels departed in early 2007 while the guys were in the studio recording their follow-up, and he was soon replaced by Nate Johnson (ex-Premonitions of War).