So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society.

Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.

This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.

You hungry? Or recently dead? Oh lawd: Funeral Diner.

I know I have a penchant for melodic hardcore bands, but damn, so many good ones have broken up over the past few years it’s untrue. Funeral Diner, from Half Moon Bay CA were active from 1998 until about two years ago.

Apparently Half Moon Bay is a gloomy place. Half the people are affluent and privately educated, and the other half are washed out hippies. It’s a town with a split personality, and it shows in the music of this incredible band. One half passionate screamo, one half morose atmospheric soundscape (at least in their later years), Funeral Diner were ever a mirror of their upbringing – even the track titles of their 2005 LP The Underdark.

01. Decline
02. Collapsing
03.We Become Buried
04. It Is Good That We Never 05. Met
06. Two Houses
07. What Was Said
08. Regardless We Fall
09. We All Have Blood On Our Hands

The artwork might immediately scream ‘black metal’ to some – all hooded figures and occult goings-on. Expressive to the nines, The Underdark is one of those albums that is more one long track than a collection of songs – but that’s probably where the similarities stop.

It’s easy to liken them to their contemporaries like Circle Takes The Square or City of Caterpillar, but they had their own thing going on – apart from anything I find them to be considerably darker.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgR5Z9Fx1is]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4skR6rqwCuI]

It’s an album of superlative maturity; somewhat out of sorts with a lot of screamo/’emo’, which is often marked by crappy production quality amongst other things. It’s meant to be like that, so big deal, but that The Underdark bucks the trend makes it all the more interesting.

Interestingly for a band with such a dichotomous sound, they produced a lot of splits with other bands, including Ampere, Raein, Dead City, Nexus Six, Staircase, The Shivering, Zann, Welcome the Plague Year, and Evylock. And that’s just for starters.

I’m not party to the reason for the split, but ten years is a pretty good run, especially for putting out nineteen records.

As for follow-up acts, we’ve got the likes of Stirling Says…Who Calls So Loud and Lemonade. Any good? I dunno, I wrote this at work. Go forth and research yourself, if you like what you’ve heard here!

– CG

If you have any suggestions for this column, please send them my way to: chris(at)heavyblogisheavy(dot)com or leave a message in the comments section!
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