Among The Missing – Disorder of the Templar (2005) and Cease To Exist (2007)   Leave a comment

I’m still new in this cathedral of heavy music, so I’ll exploit this state of mine for introducing my new post.

I like music in general but I adore heavy, very heavy music. I think I’m in good company here.

I like heavy rock and extreme metal, from fast to unbearably slow, and with rather dirty sounds. I like wild tunes, so I also like punk, d-beat crust and some hardcore. I like when there are some leading melodies (chaotic music is not my cup of tea), but I love when the groove comes out of a series of powerful riffs, from an acrobatic bass and from a terroristic drumming. I find clean, deep, nicely manly vocals absolutely charming, but the expression of rage or evil sometimes call for wild and abrasive vocals, so I like it deeply growled, and even screamed (but no squealing pig, thanks). I’m always impressed when metal vocalists can shift across a broad range of vocal tones. And metal vocalists are serious people, they don’t sing in playback …

These being the premises on this post, I’m quite a happy kid when I come across a band like Among The Missing, from UK. I came to know this band only recently and I got hold of their available albums out on the UK label Withered Hands.

What do they do? They were/are able to produce some explosive, aggressive and abrasive sound, they play a heavy heavy heavy, filthy blend of psyched-out doom metal seriously infected by Eyehategoddish sludge ruvid density but revitalized by a crusty/ thrashy hardcore aggression, a style that reminds me of, say, band Charger, Raging Speedhorn (like, for example, in album How the Great Have Fallen) or Dead Existence.

The current line-up includes Tim Holehouse on “vokills”, guitarists Donny Hopkins and Kevin Gardner, drummer Pat Daintith and bassist Craig Knaggs.

There are several relationships and tricky cross-references between Among The Missing and  some cool heavy underground UK bands that help describing how the Among The Missing guys play. A direct Pombagira connection is linked to Donny Hopkins, who was in Pombagira when the duo was a trio. Presently Donny is militating in the wild hardcore-shaken doom-sludge ensemble Koresh, sharing the UK stages and the sweat with Morrell, drummer of the UK doom Witchsorrow. Moreover there have been several cool guest musicians collaborating with Among The Missing in their massive releases, like, for example, Bloody Kev (from Raging Speedhorn, among others), or Harry Armstrong (Hangnail, End of Level Boss, Firebird), just to mention two of a list.

The band was born in 2001 as The Missing, and started with some intense live and demo activity in 2003. There were four splits between 2004 and 2005, with Red Stars Parade, the substantial one with Bloood Island Raiders and eventually Bumsnogger, plus contributions to various compilations and to the Terrorizer’s “fear candy” collections. The band released two fat albums, Disorder of the Templar in 2005 and Cease To Exist in 2007. These two plus the Blood Island Raiders split are found on Withered Hand Records.

Here I’m writing about the two full-length albums.

The net doesn’t host much about this band, which I think is remarkably underrated in spite of the fact that it is devastating. However by searching the net I realized that I’m not the only one thinking like that, eh eh.

The two Among The Missing albums from 2005 and 2007 have got a common doom-drenched sludge imprint but they are slightly different, the latter being a bit more “metallic” than the previous one.

All the releases by Among The Missing in general are an overflow of “brutal doom”, with an endless succession of groove-laden, heavy hammering riffs à-la-Iommi developing over a tight rhythm section. The pace is moderately slow, proper for dense doom and sludge sounds, however some fast paced intervals keep you awaken, as do a few very fast, pure crust punk tracks alternating with the doomy-sludgy ones.

A reviewer in Cosmic Lava defined tracks “Spider Web” and “Ten Pounds of Fuck” in the 2005 album “Disorder of the Templar” as “among the best brutal songs heard in awhile”. This may sound a bit excessive even for a doom-sludge album. However the result of such mixture of alternating filthy doomy-sludgy and savage thrashy crusty rhythms is quite dynamic and, some reviewers wrote, “refreshing” and “mind-pulverizing”. I agree.

The 2007 album Cease To Exist is heavier and more “metallic” than the previous one and is the fruit of a peculiar evolution of the band.

As a matter of fact, in spite of bigger doses of hardcore rage, in the 2007 album  the musicians like to astonish you with even more unexpected sounds like those in the closing instrumental psych folkish rock title track, or in the long Finsbury Park track which is introduced and lead by clear female vocals (by singer Christina Lange from Fantaplastic) reminding of Jex Thoth and of vintage rock atmospheres. Surprises never end with these guys, and the retro-dream becomes a wild nightmare through the punk aggression and rather brutal guitar sounds.

This oscillatory attitude between psych folkish, retro atmospheres and  brutal load of heavy riffs introducing to the darker doomy-sludgy parts is the leading trend of the second album which ends with the 11 minutes-long “tsunami of guitar overload” of the title track.

The main point of all this is that these guys know how to make their guitars howl and roar.

Vocals are the other tasty side of this band, of course for those who like the style. Tim Holehouse’s vocals have been described as blistering, pissed off and vitriolic. Tim’s vocals are more hardcore than death metal but they don’t sound “plastic” and monotonous like most of modern metalcore around. It’s like old-school, raging basement hardcore borderline with powerviolence, very much involving and sounding quite filthy. A similarity with Raging Speedhorn comes also for the double vocal parts where Tim and the guest vocalists make up some wild duets.

I’ve never seen Among The Missing playing live, but I’ve seen one of the side groups of the band’s members, Koresh, and, oh, that was an experience … 

Among The Missing is presently on hold as the band’s members have been and are busy with other projects (Pombagira, Hygiene, Crumbling Ghost, The Ophelian, & Koresh), but I do hope that they will soon be back to activity.

However their full length albums, as well as the substantial split with Blood Island Raiders, can still be found for a ridiculous price, 5 pounds including postal handling, through Withered Hands Records, the same label as with Pombagira, a small underground label that is able to make some fine and well cured releases sound- and package-wise.

Excellent value for those who like their doomy sludge done with a snotty thrash-crust punk attitude.

Cumulative vote: 9/10
Review Written By Mari
Among The Missing Myspace
Withered Hand Records

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Posted October 21, 2010 by doommantia in Among The Missing

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