We missed out on a Rearview Mirror post last Sunday, so I thought I’d double-up for this Sunday’s edition. As usual, we’re looking back at metal from past years, and in this case providing a bit of music from two bands that no longer exist (though one of them still officially seems to be “on hold”). The careers of both bands overlapped, and both were favorites of mine while they lasted.
Himsa were founded in Seattle in 1998, taking as their name a Sanskrit word that means “harm” or “violence”. In June 2008 they announced their demise, and in August 2008 they played their last show. In between the beginning and the end, the band released four albums and two EPs on such labels as Revelation Records, Prosthetic Records, and Century Media.
Himsa had a number of line-up changes over their career, with bassist Derek Harn being the only constant since the band started. But vocalist John Pettibone (who now fronts the band Heiress) and guitarist Kirby Charles Johnson were in place for the last 8 years, and guitarist Sammi Curr and Chad Davis were in the line-up for the last two albums, which are the ones I’ve picked songs from.
My comrade Andy Synn and I are big-time Himsa fans. I probably should have consulted him before picking these songs from the Himsa discography, but he seems to be off in Vegas shooting hi-caliber semiautomatic weapons. But I know he likes the first song I chose, because he included the video you’re about to see in an essay about metal music videos. And I know he likes the second song because he included it in a feature that named Himsa one of five bands he wishes would re-form, with these words:
“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.”
I wish they’d re-form, too, though I’m not holding my breath. Enjoy “Big Timber” and “Skinwalkers” from Summon In Thunder (2007), and “Sleezevil” from Hail Horror (2006) (which comes with another great video):
Himsa chose a Sanskrit name, and Dååth chose a Hebrew one. Dååth was started by Eyal Levi, Mike Kameron, and Sean Farber, all of whom were old friends and classmates at the Berklee College of Music in Boston — though they left school to pursue music in the project that would become known as Dååth. They were soon joined by guitar whiz Emil Werstler and bass-player Jeremy Creamer. By 2006 Kevin Talley had joined on drums, and in 2008 Sean Zatorsky replaced Farber as vocalist.
While the band were active — they are now listed on Metal-Archives as “on hold” — they released four albums between 2004 and 2010, plus an EP. Their 2009 album The Concealers was home to a song (“Wilting On the Vine”) that I included (here) on my list of that year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, and of course I’m including it below because I still love it. I wrote then:
“Someone is going to have to come up with a new sub-genre category for Daath. None of the existing labels really fit to a tee. Their 2009 release, The Concealers, is recognizably death metal, but though it’s heavy as shit, it’s groove-oriented, packed with pyrotechnical guitar work from Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler, melodic in just the right places, and feverishly infectious from start to finish.”
In addition to “Wilting On the Vine”, I’m including below the official music videos for two songs from the band’s 2007 album, The Hinderers — “Subterfuge” and “Festival Mass Soulform” — plus a track called “The Decider” from their last album (self-titled) in 2010: