Disclaimer: I’m kind of not writing this for anyone but myself, and the bands I’ll be blabbing on about you most likely haven’t heard of/ don’t care about/ think suck, and that’s fine, because again, I’m really doing this for me.
When I first thought about doing this article, I had only a couple bands in mind, which turned into half a dozen because I’m constantly being reminded of all the bands I was super into seven years ago that fizzled out that most people have forgotten (but I shaved the last two off to keep it at a reasonable length). I mean, let’s be honest here- I listen to about maybe two dozen bands and I rarely venture outside of them unless I stumble onto something completely worth me blowing money on the discography I didn’t know even existed. But that’s rare these days since I’ve found my comfort zone.
Oh, and yes, I still pay for music. You should too.
Recently, one of my older favourites, Circle of Contempt made a solid comeback, releasing Structures for Creation– their first album in 4 years, and their first full-length in 7. Though I’m not a huge fan of their new vocalist, their new material is everything I had hoped it would be, and then some. Their sound hasn’t changed one bit, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. In this world where I have lost complete faith in Sumerian bands, Circle of Contempt is that small ray of light in the darkness.
I’ve found myself currently listening to bands that haven’t disbanded, but haven’t done anything in X years for whatever reasons, and shit like that just bums me out. So, I’m gonna briefly tangent about a few bands very relevant to me that I think should just get their shit together and poop out at least one new LP, and then I guess just call it quits (or really get their acts together and be full time bands again).
- The |HAARP| Machine: One of the more original acts brought to you by Sumerian Records, The |HAARP| Machine raised issues about government conspiracy theories and political corruption with their one and only full length, Disclosure, released back in.. 2012? Let’s be real here, kotos and sitars are sweet as hell, and the way they’re incorporated into the weedley-deedleys and breakdowns is fucking incredible.
There was never even a single rumor about a sophomore release. Less than a year after that debut release, everyone that wasn’t founder and lead guitarist Al Mu’min jumped ship. Mu’min was accused of being incredibly difficult to get along with, and worst of all, not being able to actually play his guitar parts live, relying on backtracks and studio magic. Since then, there has been one quick snippit of “new material”, but that was last year, and I very much doubt there will be any further material coming out of this project. Of course, I can only imagine how difficult it’d be to replace almost an entire band, especially if you have a reputation of being a dick. Though, not to fret, I suppose.
If by chance you’re interested in the sultry cleans and deep lows ex-|HAARP|-vocalist Mike Semesky has to offer, you can find him at any given time with Raunchy and Ordinance, and that one Intervals album that actually had lyrics. Ex-drummer Alex Rudinger has also moved on; after leaving |HAARP| and the Faceless, he landed a spot in Conquering Dystopia (a Jeff Loomis project) , Ordinance (with Semesky), but his main project is Good Tiger. Ex-bassist Oliver Rooney hasn’t done shit since.
I guess the shittiest part about these guys is that they’re the only one this list that I’ve never gotten to see, even just once. It’s stuff like this that should make me get my ass off the sofa and out to shows more, but here I am..
Check out to my favourite |HAARP| track, “Machine Over”.
- The Human Abstract: I wasn’t going to put them on this list at first, but 19-year-old me insisted. THA was one of the first not-mainstream metal bands I got into, and they were super important in shaping my late teenage music tastes. When everyone I knew was listening to shit like Asking Alexandria and Bring Me the Horizon, I was jamming to The Human Abstract. Their first LP, Nocturne, was fucking amazing. What am I walking, was? It still is. There is absolutely no doubt that everyone in this band is an incredible musician. Like Semesky, (former, I’ll get to that) Nate Ells does both cleans and screams, and though I’m not huge on cleans anymore, I can definitely admire someone who can do both exceptionally well like the both of them. And you can’t get around the sick guitarwork courtesy of Dean Herrera and AJ Minette (and later Andrew Tapley) and the solidness of Henry Selva and Brett Powell, rounding out the rhythm section.
Probably one of the lowest blows I’ve ever recieved was when I got to chat with bassist Selva while he was stage managing Protest the Hero a few years ago. Basically he said that everyone else in the band started doing other stuff with their lives- other musical projects or other careers (Herrera is a lawyer now or some shit?) and that a The Human Abstract reunion was essentially out of the question. I almost saw it coming after they kicked out Ells. Something about his ego and pompousness and control freak issues. Their public announcement said that they would no longer be working with Ells and they wish him the best in his future endeavors, but later I received a message from him directly saying that he was ousted, and that never would he ever have abandoned his brainchild like that. Ells later formed Sunlit Ether, a band not good enough for me to even look up and link you to. He ended up being replaced by Travis Richter of From First to Last fame, who actually killed it on their last release, Digital Veil, and that was in 2011.
You definitely need to listen to “Vela, Together We Await the Storm”. Fun fact: my Myspace name for a loooong time was “Vicki, Together We Await the Storm” HAHA!
- Beneath the Massacre: I think Beneath the Massacre was the first ultra-techy band I ever listened to, nonetheless ever gave multiple shits about. Needless to say, these guys also made a huge impact on my musical tastes when I was in my late teens. I saw recently that they were starting to come back and play a few shows here and there, but that to me is a far cry from getting together and expanding their discography (especially when all of their shows are in Canada). There’s no drama that I’m aware of going on with these guys; noone’s been kicked out and there isn’t just one member standing. Everyone seems like they’re just preoccupied with other shit for time time being, and Beneath the Massacre has just taken a seat on the back burner.
Their discography boasts three full lengths, but none of those top both of their EPs, Maree Noire and Evidence of Inequity. Well, maybe Mechanics of Dysfunction.
You need more techdeath in your life. Here, have this: “Regurgitated Lullaby for the Born Dead”
- The Faceless: Just like The |HAARP| Machine, The Faceless hit a huge roadblock in the band members department. The only difference is the possibility of a legitimate comeback that just keeps getting delayed. Guitarist Wes Hauch left early in 2014 to join another project full time. By December, only founder and lead guitarist Michael Keene remained. In October, bassist Evan Brewer quit so he could do his solo project and be open to any possible new projects that might swing his way. Drummer Alex Rudinger also left in October, for the same reasons. As the beginning of December rolled around, frontman Geoffrey Ficco was out of the picture. His departure leaving Keene as the lone member, rumors arose as to what really made everyone jump ship all of a sudden.
Last fall, there were teasers about a new The Faceless album dropping by October. By the end of the month, they released a new single (featuring their original vocalist, Derek Rydquist, but alas, it’s now mid-July and there is still no new album. They even had a solid tour announced with After the Burial, Rings of Saturn and Toothgrinder, with a full five weeks of dates, assumed to be an album release tour. And then.. nothing. And then.. they got confirmed to be on tour with Between the Buried and Me, but dropped off because some replacement vocalist in some other band backed out last minute.
According to The Metal Archives, there is no whole lineup, but Keene has been joined by Justin McKinney from The Zenith Passage, whoever the fuck they are.
I know I didn’t talk about anything musically, I don’t think I have to since they’re the most well known off this list, but I will just leave “Planetary Duality: I & II” here. Definitely worth your time. Don’t ask, just do.
I was originally going to round off this piece by picking on two of my favourite locals, but I figured this is long as fuck enough, and I’d much rather just make separate articles about them (as if we haven’t already) and give them the proper exposure they rightfully deserve. Who are they, you ask? Sorry boys and gals, my lips are sealed until that next article. Of course, you’re more than welcome to speculate, either here or on our Facebook, as per usual. Thanks for giving this a looksie, and maybe I’ll be back with that part two sooner than three or four months from now.