Aug 062014

(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn’s irregular series devoted to his favorite things that come in fives. As always when he does these things, please feel free to share your own list in the Comments — in this case, your favorite bands you’ve never seen live.)

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these random little columns. I bet you were beginning to think I’d forgotten about them, hadn’t you?

Well, my strange predilection for numerical lists of my favourite things has reared its ugly head again, and this time we’re dealing with the mournful issue of bands I’ve never (for a variety of reasons) managed to see live!


Let’s start with a big one, shall we? I love Extol. They are one, if not the biggest, of my favourite bands. Their dissolution back in 2007 seemingly put paid to my chance of ever seeing them live, but now they’re back with an amazing new album and are playing a few select live shows… well, let’s just say that there are few things I wouldn’t do for a chance to see and hear them perform!

And, fyi, if they ever play the UK I will quite literally move heaven and earth to get Beyond Grace [editor’s intrusionBeyond Grace are one of Andy’s bands] to open for them. You have been warned.





That’s right, I’ve never seen Cynic live. And you know whose fault that is? Carcass. No joke. I originally had tickets to see Opeth/Cynic play together here in the UK, but when Carcass announced a special “one-off reunion show” at Damnation Festival… well, it seemed the only reasonable thing to do was to go see Carcass – who of course, I would never get the chance to see again – and just make sure to catch Cynic another time, right?


We all know what happened then… Carcass stuck around, milking the nostalgia cow for all it was worth, and I still haven’t had a chance to see Cynic again since! On the plus side though, we did eventually get Surgical Steel out of the whole debacle, so I suppose that’s something!

Cross your fingers that I’ll get the chance to see Paul, Sean, and Sean live sometime soon.





Another band I would give my left testicle to play a show with (don’t worry, I have two… and they grow back, right?), what sort of person doesn’t love Misery Index? Massive growls, humongous riffs, gigantoid drumming… they absolutely epitomise the meteoric devastation of modern Death Metal to me. I just want to see them destroy.

I’ve actually been able to see most of my favourite Death Metal bands at least once so far in my lifetime, but these guys are an aggravating exception!





Undeniably a huge influence on Beyond Grace, particularly for their tightly welded, crushing riff patterns, Living Sacrifice were also one of the earliest adopters of the same sort of angular sense of mechanical rhythm that Meshuggah have been instrumental in popularising… only LS did so without simply aping the Swedish mentalists wholesale, or dumbing it down for mass appeal.

Of course it helps that they already had a well-defined sound of their own before they started to bring in more of that angular rhythmic element, but they still remain masters of the sort of taut, weaponised riffage and bone-rattling drum work that really deserves more attention.

Unfortunately it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to see them live, but still, a man can dream surely?





We started big, so let’s finish big, too. This one really is a huge deal. Emperor truly are legendary, and I never, ever, thought I’d get a chance to see them live. I had tickets to see them play in London on their last-ever UK tour, and the night before… well… let’s just skip the details and say that illness prevented me from going. Horrendous, disgusting, “oh god I think I’m dying” illness. Something only compounded by my utter devastation at missing the band’s last show.

I’ve even spoken to Ihsahn in person since then and purposefully didn’t bring up Emperor, out of both courtesy and general speechless awe.

But this Saturday… I get to see them live, playing In The Nightside Eclipse in its entirety. I cannot stress how amazing that is going to be.



And, as a bonus feature, here’s five bands I’ve only seen live ONCE… but would love to see live again!

Vision of Disorder
God Dethroned
Life of Agony
Abigail Williams


  1. Saw Emperor both times they played wacken, and i gotta say first time was better, but thats only cos i have a massive metal-on for “Anthems”, and i was dead tired when they played this year. This year i really really enjoyed the bathory cover.

    God dehtroned just reunited to play live, so there is still hope!
    In 2014 they take the world by storm!

    For me it would have to be
    1.Woods of Ypres – not happening.
    2.Thin Lizzy – not happening, but i saw Black Star Riders at wacken this year which was pretty freaking good!
    3.Bathroy – not happening.

    And two that might actually happen
    Novembers Doom.
    Ne Obliviscaris – Hurra for crowdfunding!

    • Oh, Woods of Ypres… Try being an Upstate New Yorker who always thought he’d drive up to Toronto next time he heard they had a show booked. Eventually I ran out of next times… FML

    • GD reuniting really made my day when it was announced, so I definitely have my fingers crossed for a chance to see them again!

    • Pumped as hell for NeO to be making it out to the states. I live close to some major concert towns, so surely they’ll have something in the state, but I’m willing to drive up to 3.5 hours to see them if they come within range.

  2. Fun topic; great idea.

    My never-seen/saw list:
    original lineup Sepultura
    Ohio Sky
    Faith No More
    Fiona Apple

    Only seen once:
    Zappa Plays Zappa
    Atlas Moth
    Alice In Chains
    The Ocean

    • Both Burst and The Ocean were in contention for my “never seen” list. But I still hope to see the latter… and it just makes me sad to think I never saw the former.

    • Holy crap, *shels. Great choice.

      I’ve also seen The Ocean once, and it was before I became a huge fan of the band (I’d never heard their music, in fact.) So I’m eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to see them as a proper fan.

  3. VISION OF DISORDER!!! No way.
    I used to see them ALLL the time.
    I was a ratty hardcore kid throughout the 90s.
    VOD always killed it. Such intense shows.

    River Runs Red is also one of my favorite hardcore records of all time.

    I would love to see Immortal. And if time travel werent an issue, Slayer in the late 80s.

    • oh jeez, how could I forget.
      ELECTRIC WIZARD. Always wanted to see them.

    • Yeah, VOD were always a huge favourite in my hardcore days. Finally got to see them after they reformed though. Killer show.

      They’re going to feature more prominently in another list in the near future too…

      Life of Agony are one of my all-time favourite bands, and I really wish I could make it to their Euro shows this month.

      Immortal are awesome live.

  4. Heh, I’ve not seen any of my favorite bands live.
    · Gojira
    · Cynic
    · Strapping Young Lad
    · Fantomas
    · Faith No More
    · Ulver
    · Beyond Creation
    · Ne Obliviscaris
    · Messhugah
    · Iron Maiden
    … This list could go on for a while before getting to the handful of lodal bands whose shows I’ve seen

    • I saw SYL about ten years ago at El Corazon, back when it was the Graceland. They were pretty great, but the thing that stands out most in my mind was when Devin Townsend took someone’s disposable camera, stuck it down the front of his pants and took a picture. He told the owner of the camera to tell everyone they had visited a mushroom farm.

  5. Emperor was on the top of my list too but I also saw them in Wacken this year. I was also fortunate enough to attend the Meet & Greet to shake hands. So: check!

    I really, really would like to have seen Queen with Freddy Mercury. It´s a shame that my parents didn´t take me to a show in the late 80s. 🙂

    Other bands in no particular order (not necessarily my favorite bands):
    * Bathory
    * Metallica with Cliff Burton
    * Death with Chuck
    * Dissection
    * Eldkraft
    * Gorefest
    * Iskald

  6. Off the top of my head:


  7. Misery index…definitely one of the best bands to see live!

  8. I think my big one is not seeing SYL. What with Devy enjoying quite a successful career at the moment I can only see SYL as being a cash grab when things get a bit quieter. Which could be ages because when does he not have something in the works?

    Listened to Deconstruction again the other day and I think it’s getting better with age. On first listen those lyrics and goofy structures felt too unbalanced but now they’ve settled on me. Up there.

  9. Considering a) my youth and b) my San Diego location, I can count on one hand the bands I’ve seen multiple times. So pretty much the entirety of my music taste fits under “never seen ’em live” or “only once”. It’d be a waste of time to even start this such a list for me.

  10. Top 5 off the top of my head:
    1. Immortal.
    2. Gorgoroth (with Gaahl would be awesome, but obviously not gonna happen)
    3. God Seed (since I cant see Gaahl with Gorgoroth)
    4. Tsjuder
    5. Anaal Nathrakh
    A few more I came up with after a quick browse through my iPod (most are interchangeable with numbers 3 and 4 above): Mephorash, Novembers Doom, Cnoc An Tursa, Belphegor (will likely be seeing them in October, along with the next band on the list), Rotting Christ, Hate, Aeon.

    As far as bands I’ve seen only once and want to see again, Morbid Angel, Nile, and Vader come to mind. I’m sure there are a number of others in both this list and especially the haven’t yet seen list that I haven’t thought of.

    • I’m going to be that guy and say that not only have I seen Immortal and Tsjuder live, and Anaal Nathrakh several times… but I also saw Gorgoroth in the Gaahl-era supported by 1349.

      • Yeah, you’ve got a bit of a geographical advantage with a number of bands I’d like to see. I have seen 1349 a couple of times… but not with Frost.

        • By the same token there are a number of American bands I will probably never get chance to see live. My recent discoveries Ion are playing Seattle on Monday and I have given Islander his marching orders to go see them at my behest and on my behalf.

  11. obituary

  12. Mine would have to be…
    -Austerity Program
    -Patti Smith

  13. I just saw Cynic a month ago and holy shit it was one of the best shows I have ever seen!

    My list would have to be

    1 Blind Guardian
    2 Haken
    3 Fen
    4 Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree
    5 Sombres Forets

    and honourable mentions to Rotting Christ, Forteresse, Pain of Salvation, Psychonaut 4, Orphaned Land, and Leprous

    • Funnily enough Rotting Christ were also almost on my list… I’ve had several chances to see them and still never quite managed it… I WILL see them one day though.

  14. I’ve been very lucky I think. I was in metal college radio in the early 90s. I saw many of the ‘missed’ that people are putting up, a lot that no longer exist. I only wish I hadn’t gone through a phase where I stopped buying tour Ts!

    Cynic (Focus tour)
    Death (with Chuck)
    Obituary (classic lineup)
    Entombed (classic lineup)
    Kyuss (classic lineup)
    Pantera (classic lineup)
    Sepultura (classic lineup)
    Iron Maiden (Somewhere in Time/Seventh Son era)
    Metallica (Justice era)
    Alice in Chains (classic lineup)
    Morbid Angel, Paradise Lost & Kreator (together, in a little club)

    oh, and Tori Amos. Just her and a piano, awesome

    I didn’t get into black metal until the 2000s though, I haven’t seen (and some likely I never will):
    Anaal Nathrakh (I know, they are more blackened grind)

    Type O Negative 🙁

    also haven’t seen Nile but they come here somewhat often so hopefully next time

  15. Bucket list:

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Panopticon (does Lunn even tour as Panopticon?)
    Secrets of the Sky

    I will most likely be knocking these off the bucket list over the next two months:

    Falls of Rauros

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