(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”
Love Averse Sefira!!! Last album was smoking hot!!
Have to say that as much as I loved the first FATA full length, they lost me a bit thereafter, but now that I’m older and less of a prick I’ll have to give their later albums a spin.
What about these for a reform:
Vomit the Soul
Blasphemophager (cheating a bit, they’re on hold but are so fucking good)
How much did you struggle to whittle that list down to 5 btw? I certainly did.
And the second FATA album was… to be blunt… 90% dross.
The last two (particularly the very last album) were gold though.
Didn’t need much effort! These are bands I listen to weekly if not daily!!!
Another one, Grief!!! A band I now think are better than Eyehategod.
Ready to be shot!!!
I always felt Poison the Well were better than FATA, including their latter stuff. Will definitely check out FATA’s last few albums now.
Himsa and God Dethroned would be among my Top 5 picks, too. Others that randomly come to mind:
Strapping Young Lad
Gorgoroth (the original line-up)
Dissection and Bathory (if the dead could be raised)
A couple years ago I would have said Carcass, Autopsy, and Gorguts. 🙂
Okay, I didn’t work very hard on this.
Ha, I left out anyone who’s dead… and if you’re talking Gorgoroth I’d have the Gaahl-era line-up back tbh.
Emperor I considered, but they HAVE reformed for live shows, and honestly I don’t really want another album. I think they tied everything up nicely, and I’m happy having Ihsahn’s solo stuff and The Wretched End as my post-Emperor fix.
Did I mention that I saw Devin and Jed Simon perform a few SYL classics live? I’m sure I mentioned that somewhere…
When I said “original” I really meant the Gaahl-King-Infernus line-up. Should have said “classic” line-up.
I think you did mention seeing Devin and Jed playing those songs live. Dick.
Never underestimate the power of pedantry.
Gaahl and King ended up ruining the band, I’d have to go Under the Sign of Hell and back. Agree on God Dethroned, great band.
Unfortunately they were also on the best albums (UtSoH is, of course, awesome).
Mighty fine list Islander, can’t believe I forgot Demilich in mine 🙁
Well, Demilich were on my mind because they still have an official Facebook page and they posted this exciting bit of news just a few days ago:
“Let’s make this official; The Demilich demo compilation will not only be a demo compilation, but will also include Nespithe. Everything we’ve recorded, from 1991 to 2006, in one package, with old and new artwork, available this year as a 3-LP and 2-CD. Both through Svart Records.”
Himsa was damn cool, i still listen to Summon in Thunder.
Oh yes; I adored God Dethroned’s newest two albums… They really were on to something, sound-wise. Unfortunately, I felt like Under the Sign.. was a significant step down from Passiondale, and therefore it felt less like they went out with a bang. i would definitely like to see then come back with an album that tops Passiondale, so I can get a bit more peace with the fact tgat God Dethroned is no more. Oh and they may have been the greatest Dutch metal band of all time, period.
Iiiiiinteresting… y’see I definitely think Under The Sign… tops Passiondale. Though right now I couldn’t tell you why except for saying “it’s so cool”.
But I am with you on “greatest Dutch metal band of all time”.
It’s mostly ‘Poison Fog’ and ‘No Survivors’ that make me prefer Passiondale; the clean singy part just works SO well with God Dethroned; after a short, clean sung passage, the venom of God Dethroned at their loudest just kicks in even harder.
Not that they necessarily need it though (their older albums kick serious ass too, without the clean singing), it’s just that this is an area they’ve only recently started exploring and it sounded plain awesome.
But what the hell, Under the Sign.. was really awesome too, and I can see why one would prefer that one.
“Oh and they may have been the greatest Dutch metal band of all time, period.”
Not unless Asphyx suddenly changed their nationality
There are tons of bands I would love to see get back together…a lot of the bands I like put out one great album then disappear.
Dismember (one of the greatest Swedish death bands and I never got to see them play)
Dawn (cant say enough awesome things about this band…they picked up the ball after Dissection died and ran with it)
Slugathor (bar none one of my favorite bands ever, and one of the best to ever come out of the OSDM revival)
I do love that so many of these bands have gotten back together again though. I never thought Id see bands like Demigod or Convulse play together again. Hell, I didnt even know God Macabre was thinking about reuniting, and theyre coming to MDF next year
I would commit acts of genocide to see Dismember again.
Wasn’t Dawn supposed to release a new album at some point in the last year or two? Whatever happened to that?
Yeah..technically theyre back together again and working on a new album, but everything seems to indicate this is even less likely to happen than Necrophagist’s new album.
paraphrased from a recent interview from a couple months back
“…Henke Forss (vocalist) says that the actual recording of the new album started about three years ago, and that the guitars are finished.The guitarist has apparently recruited a new bassplayer (drummer Tomas Asklund is also still in the band) and calls every now an than saying that the vocals are almost ready to be recorded, but then nothing happens.
The vocalist himself has very little hope.”
Lykathea Aflame. One great album then…poof!! Gone. Metal Archives says they’re still together under a different name, but any news on them seems to have stopped about 4 years ago. I would have loved to see what they could have done after another few albums.
One never noticed the lack of updates. Maybe they’re doing something like what Tool are doing?
Averse Sefira is great, hadn’t heard them before. Definitely agreed on Burst.
My list is mostly chasing a sound that’s been lost:
Burnt By The Sun
And a dozen more I miss, but I’d love to hear what these bands would do next.
Burnt By The Sun AND Beecher could/should have been on the list too.
Yeah, they’re both such singular bands that you can’t get your fix anywhere else.
– Acid Bath (RIP Audie Pitre)
– Strapping Young Lad
– Iron Thrones
– Thorr’s Hammer
…and that’s it. Can’t think of any others that One likes enough to want to see their possible future.
I would say Necrophagist, but honestly, they have as much of a chance of coming back as Dave Mustaine’s sanity.
Anyway Necrophagist don’t count as they haven’t ACTUALLY broken up… they’re just “pulling a Wintersun”.
I think that termed should actually be redefined as “pulling a Necrophagist”. Wintersun finally cured themselves and put out something.
Absolutely. Wintersun finally recorded not one, but two albums, even though the second one is still vapor at this point.
Fuck! I came so close to putting Necrophagist on my half-assed list, but even though I included bands whose members were dead, I pulled up short. I need to trust my instincts more.
hmm.. this is a tough list.
Bal Sagoth (technically still together, I think, but I haven’t heard news from them in quite some time)
and if we include those with dead members:
Heaven and Hell/Dio
Savatage (with Criss)
Lifelover. That is all.
I’ve never been a fan, to be honest. I’ve tried, but haven’t been able to get into them.
Also, I think I want to add Austere to the list. I can’t imagine where they could go from To Lay Like Old Ashes, and Woods of Desolation’s Torn Beyond Reason is a more than worthy follow up, but I would like more under the Austere name.
I’ll probably get some shit for these suggestions, but you know, I’m not here to please anyone 😉 … and I guess that by being a list of now split bands, it also means they’re reflective of past tastes in many ways:
Threat Signal – Under Reprisal-era line-up: Kyle McKnight where are you?! And George Parfitt slays on the drums on this album.
Static-X: yes I’m a fan, but more so when Koichi Fukuda is on the bill.
Kidneythieves: I had some time for this semi-alternative nu-metal ish early 2000s band. Just loved the massive guitar tone.
The Human Abstract: come on, I know you guys wanna reform.
Cynic – Traced in Air line-up. In fact, if they even just pulled an AC/DC and put out a ‘this sounds just like Traced In Air’ album, I wouldn’t complain one little bit.
Rage Against the Machine: just because 🙂
And in the ‘band who already have rejoined’ section: I’m amped for Synthetic Breed’s new album, hopefully out by the end of the year having rejoined with Callan Hughes. Their last album still blows my mind.
I totally agree with you on The Human Abstract and Rage Against The Machine. Digital Veil is a great listen every once in a while, and RATM keeps on teasing us with those damn LA Rising concerts (there’s rumors of another one happening next year).
I like Midheaven and Digital Veil. That’s right. Both of them. I’m eclectic.