The Absence

Florida’s THE ABSENCE came onto the scene in 2005 with their crushing, Erik Rutan-produced Metal Blade Records debut, “From Your Grave.” The album and its two follow-ups, 2007’s “Riders of the Plague” and 2010’s “Enemy Unbound,” showcased the perfect mixture of heart-wrenching melodies and skull-pounding aggression, truly making them one of the premiere bands of the melodic death metal scene. THE ABSENCE further ensconced their reputation via several tours supporting some of the biggest names in metal, including Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Goatwhore, Kataklysm, Destruction and Entombed.

And then they seemingly disappeared.

Despite some setbacks in personnel coupled with a desire by some band members to explore new terrain recording/performing with additional groups or working in related fields producing or handling live sound/tour managing for others, THE ABSENCE was merely put on hold until the time was right to return. Last year, the regrouped outfit of singer Jamie Stewart, drummer Jeramie Kling (Infernaeon, Necromancing The Stone) and bassist Mike Leon (Soulfly, ex-Havok, ex-Arsis), along with the addition of celebrated guitar duo Joey Concepcion (Jasta, Armageddon) and Taylor Nordberg (Soilwork, Ribspreader), teased fans with the face- melting “Septic Testament.” The reaction was phenomenal and motivated the band to continue writing and recording their epic return, and be absent from the scene no more.

THE ABSENCE's new album, “A Gift For The Obsessed,” further proves why All Music Guide called the group “the greatest Swedish melodic death metal band ever to emerge from Florida.” Mixed at Sweden's Panic Room (Watain, Scar Symmetry) and mastered at the country's Ghost Ward Studios (Katatonia, Opeth), and featuring a striking layout by HKB Design (Sepultura), the album deftly mixes melodic death and thrash with incendiary guitar playing, pyrotechnic drumming and a sense of renewed hunger. Over its 10 blistering tracks – including a cover of Suicidal Tendencies' “You Can't Bring Me Down” featuring guest vocals by Soilwork / The Night Flight Orchestra front man Bjorn “Speed” Strid – the group not only shows no signs of rust whatsoever, but also sounds more potent than ever.

THE ABSENCE is now managed by the legendary Jon “Jonny Z” Zazula and his partner Marsha, who founded Megaforce Records (which helped to launch the careers of Metallica, Anthrax, Testament and other seminal acts), for CraZed Management.

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Daniel DeFonce

(dan@continental-concerts.us)