After an absence of almost three weeks, it’s time to go back to the lists and examples. This time around, the idea is to take a look at bands that didn’t actually end, but drifted into inactivity instead – thus no Khanate on this list, as much as we love them (and we have Gnaw, which is still awesome). These are essentially side-projects of active musicians that we would be really happy to either see live or hear new material from. Interestingly, at least one of them has mentioned their desire to do so, only increasing our yearning for that day to eventually.
Trinacria have a very particular story that could only happen in Scandinavia. One of the many facets of the Norwegian ministry of culture and church affairs is the so-called Rikskonsertene – “Concerts Norway”, which as the translated name hints at, is in charge of bringing live music to the population. Sometime during the last decade, they thought it would be a good idea to get a black metal musician, Enslaved‘s Ivar Bjørnson, to do a series of commissioned shows with two noise artists, Maja Ratkje and Hils Sofie Tafjord from Fe-Mail. They eventually became a full-fledged band, with Iver Sandøy joining on drums (since then, he’s been guesting, producing and engineering Enslaved records), Espen Lien on bass and Enslaved members Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal on guitars and Grutle on vocals. The result is called “Travel Now Journey Infinitely” and is quite simply one of the finest records released during the past decade. Somehow, the trade-off between noise and melodic black metal resulted in an organic beast exuding the kind of urgency you don’t often see this far away from Neurosis. Two years after releasing the album, they were invited by Tom G. Warrior (a man who definitely knows his shit) to play Roadburn. Their show in 2010 remains to this day one of the best in the festival history.
To hear Mike Williams scream his guts out to some crusty hardcore punk played by Phil Anselmo on guitars and Hank Williams III on drums still sounds fucking surreal. Joined by Collin Yeo on bass, they released a self-titled EP in 2008 and “Insecurity Notoriety” in 2010, both of which sound as deliciously furious as you’d expect. They pretty much disappeared after that and given the busy schedules of its members, a return is probably unlikely, though predictability was never exactly a big theme in their careers, so there’s that. It’s one of those cases where we’re just happy these dudes are active and doing their thing, but any more dosage of Arson Anthem would be highly welcome. Besides, there’s the potential for one of the most insane tour packages ever, just imagine a Down/Hank III/Eyehategod tour or festival appearance with Arson Anthem in tow. Incendiary to say the least.
Fenriz’ Red Planet
Three songs were recorded all the way back in 1993 and released sixteen years later thanks to some convincing work by Natterfrost. As to why we’d like to hear more of it: it’s Fenriz playing classic doom, no further justification needed with regards to its awesomeness.
Justin Broadrick stream of activity has been steadily high as fuck since the late 80’s. From his early days in Napalm Death, to the recently reactivated Godflesh, his 90’s work with Kevin Martin as Techno Animal to more recent outlets like Jesu or JK Flesh, there has been heavy shit for all possible tastes. With so many projects coming and going, picking one to see reactivated would be a hard choice, thus picking that which never actually ended seems like a good idea. Formed in 2006, Greymachine sees Broadrick team up Aaron turner for guitars, vocals and electronics, while recruiting the bass players of Jesu and Head Of David provide an infernal backdrop of low-end noise. The result is described on the band’s Bandcamp as “Disconnected, the album in question, sounds like a serious case of cyberbullying through the mind of an extremely autistic child living in an ever-shifting hadean landscape thronged with mindless militants, dilapidated cityscapes and ephemeral phantoms”, which is probably a lot more vivid that we’d ever go: think feedback and drones aplenty in a heavy as fuck industrial. It will drag your through dystopian nightmares. And because it’s funny to utter sentences that would be tantamount to blasphemy to some and we’re actually being honest: we’d consider this to be the very best thing Mr. Turner has ever done, up there with some of the Twilight and Jodis stuff.
Before Eagle Twin released “The Unkindness Of Crows” and immediately became one of the most fascinating and unfairly underrated bands in the doom/drone/sludge universe, 6-string master Gentry Densley teamed up with prolific genius Greg Anderson to form the entity known as Ascend. Their only release, 2008’s “Ample Fire Within”, lies somewhere in between Eagle Twin and Sunn O))), a sort of less groovy and head-pounding version of the former being injected by the grandiose tendencies of the latter. The guest list of the record is equally impressive, including Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Earth’s Bill Herzog, SubRosa’s Andy Patterson and the other half of Eagle Twin, Tyler Smith, along with frequent collaborators of Anderson like Attila, Randall Dunn and Steve Moore. When choosing which song to illustrate this little piece with, it was clear to go with “Divine” for a few reasons besides sounding great (pretty much every thing on that record does): it’s hard not to see the “In dreams there are two eagles / with wingspan over nine feet wide” as a reference / foreshadowing to Eagle Twin and for paying homage to one of the greatest drone songs in history, Earth‘s “Teeth Of Lion Rule The Divine”. Speaking of which, the band with the same name featuring Justin Greaves on drums, O’Malley on guitar, Anderson on bass and Lee Dorrian on vocals would also fit perfectly on this list.
It’s Dale Crover, Scott Kelly, Al Cisneros and Wino making music together. The only reason this doesn’t stop here is that I’ve already done the “it’s that dude” routine with Fenriz so allow me to waste your time a bit further. Back in 2009, there was considerable excitement to hear what would come out of this stellar lineup, unsurprisingly given we’re talking about four of the more influential guys in the history of heavy music. The resulting self-titled is an excellent debut, allowing the writing strengths of all four individuals to shine in a cohesive manner, with Wino‘s voice being perhaps the most surprisingly fitting piece of the puzzle. Sure, you’d probably get people way more excited with the news of a new Sleep or Neurosis record than with a Shrinebuilder return (or a new Melvins record for that matter, see below) but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be great news. Hell, if Dale and Al would feel like themselves jamming around we’d be over the moon with happiness. Besides, there’s some pretty good unreleased Shrinebuilder material, as can be attested by the first half of the video above, captured live in Belgium by Koen de Gussem.
P.S.: the only reason we can come up with for the baffling lack of attention around each Melvins announcement is that they’re always releasing (amazing) music and don’t like to smell their own farts – so none of that self-indulgence crap that seems to be the best way to sell stuff nowadays. As the shirt says: they rule, you do not (a list of six reasons why the previous sentence is almost a tautology wouldn’t be a bad idea).