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Music / The Absence

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The Absence is an American melodic death metal band. While never a particularly big name, they have always had a devoted fanbase, and they have refused to quit even in spite of numerous major lineup changes.

Formed in Tampa, Florida in 2002 by Jamie Stewart (vocals), Patrick Pintavalle and Chris Tolan (guitars), Nick Calaci (bass), and Justin Grant (drums), the initial lineup didn't even last a year, as Tolan and Grant were out by 2003 and Peter Joseph and Jeramie Kling had taken their respective spots. A self-titled EP was out by 2004, and a deal was inked with Metal Blade Records shortly after; in September of 2005, From Your Grave was released on the label and the band slowly but surely started to become a name. Various tours followed, and by 2007, Calaci had departed; while Michael Leon filled his spot that year, it wasn't in time for recording. Riders of the Plague, their sophomore followup, was released in 2007 to great fanfare and was hailed as a modern classic in the melodic death metal genre. Kling, however, left that same year, and after a brief run with a fill-in, Justin Reynolds joined in 2008. This lineup remained stable (and so did the touring) for several years until it came time to record their third album around the end of 2009; right as they were finishing up the recording process, Reynolds was badly injured in a serious car accident and had to leave. Kling wound up rejoining in 2010, and Enemy Unbound dropped that September. After another few tours, the band dropped off the face of the earth. Nary a peep was heard from them in 2012, and 2013 brought news that was mundane (Leon joining Havok) and serious (Joseph leaving). Joseph, however, was replaced on a studio basis by longtime fan and onetime guest lead contributor Per Nilsson, and this collaboration resulted in the Oceans single. An independently-financed tour eventually materialized in early 2014, though Nilsson sat that one out due to location-related difficulties. After that tour came another extended period of silence aside from Pintavalle also leaving in 2015, which was also around the time when Leon officially left. While the band wasn't officially dead, there definitely wasn't much going on.


Enter 2016. Just when fans were beginning to wonder if the band wasn't pulling their leg about not being dead, a new lineup was announced; in addition to Stewart and Kling, Taylor Nordberg and Joey Concepcion had joined as the new guitar team. Septic Testament, a single featuring the new lineup, was released that summer, and while they have yet to tour with that lineup, their fourth full-length is on the way.



  • The Absence (2004) (EP)
  • From Your Grave (2005)
  • Riders of the Plague (2007)
  • Enemy Unbound (2010)
  • Oceans (2013) (single)
  • Septic Testament (2016) (single)
  • A Gift for the Obsessed (2018)
  • Walking Shadows (2019) (EP)
  • Coffinized (2021)

This band contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Ascended Extra: Taylor Nordberg.
  • Bald of Awesome: Jamie Stewart coupled with Badass Beard.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Averted with Reynolds, as he did eventually return to music. It was just the end of his run with The Absence.
  • Cover Version: "Into the Pit", "You Can't Bring Me Down", and "Do What You Want".
  • Epic Rocking: "Merciless" (6:44), "Seven Demons" (6:10), and "Misery Trophies" (6:02). Subverted with "Outro", "Triumph", and "Idle Thrones", as their length is mostly silence with hidden tracks at the end.
  • Filk Song: "Erased".
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  • Lead Drummer: Jeramie Kling is known throughout both the FLDM scene and the touring world in general for his wealth of projects, frequent fill-ins and ability to comprehensively learn whole sets extremely fast, and general status as a road warrior who can do whatever you need on tour.
  • Metal Scream: Stewart is a Type 3.
  • Melodic Death Metal: Generally pretty faithful to the Swedish canon, though more on the thrashy side of things and not without the occasional traditional Floridian death metal riff.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A solid 9 for most of their career, with a hard 9 for their heaviest ("The Murder") and hard 8 for their lightest ("Oceans").
  • Porn Stache: Jeramie Kling has quite the impressive one.
  • Revolving Door Band: Bassists have seen the worst of it, but literally every position except for Stewart's has changed at least once.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Jesse Jolly; while Mike Leon is still their official full-time bassist and makes the tours that he can make, his schedule with Soulfly means that his availability is inconsistent at best, and Jesse is their dedicated live bassist for the shows that Mike can't make, and would likely take his place if Mike ever quit again.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Cleans have appeared on "Seven Demons", "Oceans", and "Choirs of Sickness", but they generally avert this.
  • Special Guest: On the studio front, they have had guest leads from Per Nilsson (before he joined), Santiago Dobles (Aghora), James Murphy, Tom Englund (Evergrey), and Andy Wood, the last of whom was the winner of a guitar solo contest that the band held, as well as guest vocals from Bjorn Strid. On the live front, John Allen, Miles Neff, and Jesse Jolly (ex-Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky) have filled in on bass, while Chris Pistillo, Matt Solka, and Pete Webber have filled in on drums and Taylor Nordberg filled in on guitar before joining, and on their summer 2018 tour, Richie Brown (Mindscar, ex-Trivium) filled in for Joey on guitar.
  • Start My Own: Kling did this with the power metal act Necromancing the Stone, which also features John Williams, Justin Wood (both of Brimstone Coven), James Malone, and Ryan Williams.
  • Take That: "Misery Trophies" is a shot at bitter, miserable people who hate their lives and are incapable of being happy for the accomplishments of others and continually seek to sabotage people and ruin their good fortune.

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