10 metal bands with obscenely long gaps between albums

Various metal albums
(Image credit: Mercury, Hell’s Headbangers, A&M)

Think Tool and Guns N' Roses made us wait ages for new material? As Bachman-Turner Overdrive said, you ain’t seen nothing yet (appropriately, BTO are currently writing their first LP since 1984). Axl’s a whizz-kid compared to the seasoned lazybones responsible for these, the ten most epic dawdles in heavy music.

Metal Hammer line break

White Spirit - 42 years (1980-2022)

Janick Gers’ original apprenticeship, these Hartlepool rascals released one superb LP of Purple-rinsed New Wave Of British Heavy Metal at the movement’s zenith. After hotshot axe-slinger Janick was swiftly headhunted for Ian Gillan’s solo band, White Spirit collapsed in 1981. Original organist Malcolm Pearson masterminded an unexpected follow-up 42 years later, recording the pomp-tastic Right Or Wrong with multiple guest musicians (though not, alas, Janick).

Heavy Load - 40 years (1983-2023)

Viking metal’s OG instigators, these shaggy Swedes threw everything into their shot at metal glory; Thin Lizzy legend Phil Lynott even guested on 1983’s Stronger Than Evil. Sadly, with international attention still eluding them, the LP would be their last... Until 40 years later, when three-quarters of their 1983 line-up returned with monstrous comeback Riders Of The Ancient Storm, timelessly suffused in their melancholic heroism.

Coven - 39 years (1974-2013)

Jinx Dawson is the real deal. From an ancient family line of occultists, she was fronting this 60s Satanic psych troupe aged 18, recording black masses, yelling ‘Hail Satan’ and flinging devil horns before anyone else. Restrained by wary record labels, Coven limped to an end in the mid-70s; Jinx made amends after 39 years with doomily orgiastic eponymous LP Jinx, an eccentric belated return-to-form.

Savage Grace - 37 years (1986-2023)

Founding guitarist Christian Logue kept busy during his 80s LA speed/power metal band’s colossal hiatus. He was arrested in 2005 for practising quack medicine with a false licence, and tried his hand at porn production (at one point even advertising for women via Savage Grace’s website). He might be an amoral sleazebag, but annoyingly, 2023’s Sign Of The Cross was a damn fine comeback effort.

Leaf Hound 36 years (1971-2007)

Thanked by Cathedral, covered by Orange Goblin and Nebula, these OG prog-blues hippies proved disproportionately influential on 90s stoner/doom; their beguiling debut Growers Of Mushroom remains a holy grail of the proto-metal collector’s market, recently selling for £11,000. With a new generation’s curiosity piqued, vocalist Pete French (also of Atomic Rooster and Cactus) assembled a new line-up, recording a solid follow-up, Unleashed, after 36 years.

Thunderstick - 33 years (1984-2017)

Drumming in a cage wearing a glittery gimp mask, ex-Iron Maiden/Samson drummer Thunderstick (Barry Purkis to his mum) was a NWOBHM icon. The world wasn’t ready for his solo career, which collapsed after one fascinating but ridiculous LP, Beauty And The Beasts. They recorded a still-unreleased follow-up, but after singer Jodee Valentine’s death in 2016, Barry was moved to revive Thunderstick for two new albums.

Rock Goddess - 32 years (1987-2019) 

The Turner sisters, singer/guitarist Jody and drummer Julie, were frighteningly young when NWOBHM ignited; Julie was just nine when the band formed, and barely 20 when they abruptly split after 1987’s high-gloss Young And Free LP. Unfinished business reunited the original trio after 32 years, spunky comeback This Time blaring with righteous heft and attitude. Sadly Rock Goddess had to retire post-covid, but their legacy’s assured.

Possessed - 32 years (1987-2019)

Singer Jeff Becerra and guitarist Larry Lalonde were still teenagers when these much-loved Bay Area thrash/death pioneers split after three seismic records. Lalonde joined funk rock loons Primus in 1989, but that same year, Becerra was paralysed after being shot during an armed robbery. 30 years later, screaming from his wheelchair, the formidable frontman engineered Possessed’s return to glory on visceral comeback Revelations Of Oblivion.

Black Death - 31 years (1984-2015) 

The self-proclaimed “first ever all-African American heavy metal band”, these Cleveland crazies dropped a raucously low-budget debut of delirious, eccentric metal mania in 1984. They split in 1988, leaving a wealth of follow-up material gathering dust. 31 years later, stalwart singer/guitarist Siki Spacek was back - under the name Black Death Resurrected – cranking more manic bangers old and new on Return Of The Iron Messiah.

Acid Reign - 29 years (1990-2019)

These Harrogate hellions carved out a good chunk of the UK thrash scene, but their marauding riffs were slightly undermined by their low-rent British flippancy. Finally bowing to popular demand as the only 80s thrashers who hadn’t reformed yet, vocalist H oversaw a “reboot” in 2015, taking aim at the modern world on estimable comeback The Age Of Entitlement, easily besting 1990’s unsatisfactory endpoint Obnoxious.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.