(Andy Synn brings us another installment in his occasional series of favorite things that come in fives. Leave a comment and let us know what you think of Andy’s picks . . . and who you’d pick if you had your wish.)
So the last several years have seen some amazing ‘comebacks’, I think we can all agree? Everyone from Alice in Chains to Byzantine to The Crown have been lacing up their boots and getting back in the saddle to show the world just how much they’ve been missed in their absence.
Some of my personal favourites – bands I never thought I’d hear another record from, let alone get a chance to see live – have come back with a vengeance, with artists like Antestor, Vision of Disorder, and Extol all returning to justify their near-legendary status.
Still though, there’s a number of bands I just can’t let rest in peace. Bands who need to come back. Bands who have unfinished business. Bands I have to see live!
So here’s five of my favourites, each with a song from their very last album, to show you what we’re all missing.
So here’s the band that started me thinking about this column. I can’t remember what exactly prompted me to start listening to them again – but to be honest it doesn’t really take much to make me want to listen to Himsa at any time. Their particular blend of melodic death/thrash-core was pretty unique, and their back catalogue is full of absolutely ferocious tunes and killer riffs. And despite the fact that they went out on a high, with the one-two punch of Hail Horror and Summon in Thunder, I still feel like there’s more to be said.
Sample song: “Skinwalkers”
Burst are the sort of underground legends only spoken of in hushed, awed tones in dark, smoky bars, who left behind a lasting legacy of influence on the European hardcore and post-metal scene. Their name is often brought up in reference to bands like Mastodon, Cult of Luna, and The Ocean – bands who’ve gone on to bigger and brighter things while Burst never quite achieved the recognition they deserved. And I think it’s about time for a comeback. With so many of their peers and adherents finally getting some attention it seems only right that these pioneers claim their share of the credit!
Sample song: “Cripple God”
Previous recipients of a Synn Report, I consider Averse Sefira to have been one of the greatest – yet most uncelebrated – bands in the history of US Black Metal. With their contorted, inhuman take on Deathspell dynamics and potent Marduk muscle, they translated their vicious European influences through a prism of pure American malice. Their last two albums – Tetragrammatical Astygmata and Advent Parallax – were utterly phenomenal and criminally underrated, mixing vicious hooks with scalding, anti-cosmic blasphemy. And we all know that black metal never truly dies…
Sample song: “A Shower of Idols”
One of my all-time favourite death metal bands, God Dethroned stood out from the pack with their singular melding of haunting, black metal melody and grinding, armour-plated death metal riffage, capped off with Henri Sattler’s napalm-strength growls. Utterly devastating both on record and live (I was fortunate to see them play a small show here in Nottingham many year ago, which cemented my initial love of the band into a lifelong dedication to their cause), the group actually left behind some unfinished business when they dissolved in 2012, as their stellar last two albums Passiondale and Under The Sign of The Iron Cross were initially intended to be part of a trilogy… one that yet remains incomplete…
Sample song: “Storm of Steel”
FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES
Oh, how this one is going to piss off the purists (just be glad I didn’t pick Alexisonfire instead)…
That’s right. I was/am a big fan of FATA and their brand of heart-on-sleeve post-hardcore. It helps that they had a particularly diverse sound, a wealth of fantastic songs at their disposal, a plethora of badass, incredibly catchy riffs, and could definitely bring the heavy when they wanted to, but what really set them apart – and what still sets them apart from today’s crop of whiny emophiles and hollow-voiced djenthusiasts – was the incredible, vibrant honesty of their vocals and their writing. Obviously a lot of you are going to hate the clean vocals of Francis Mark, but it would be churlish to deny their passion and integrity.
Sample song: “Death Kult Social Club”