Each year the music industry throws up a fresh batch of bands with ‘Next Big Thing’ tags attached. Some fly, others crash and burn with dreams and potential unfulfilled: hey, no-one ever said life was fair. Today we look back at ten bands tipped for greatness at the start of the millennium and ask ‘Where are they now?’
Then: Fronted by psychotic Furby Casey Chaos, and produced by Slipknot/Korn desk-jockey Ross Robinson, incendiary punk-metal LA quintet Amen arrived fully-formed with the release of their self-titled Roadrunner Records debut in September 1999: a move to Virgin Records for its intense follow-up We Have Come For Your Parents was supposed to push the band into metal’s premier league.
Now: Despite rave reviews and thrillingly combustible live shows, Amen never truly ‘happened’. Blame ‘The Man’, if you like. A new album (recorded with Dave Lombardo on drums) is still awaiting a release date. Casey Chaos has also suggested that three Amen albums he recorded with original drummer Shannon Larkin might appear online at some point in the near future too. Ballads are unlikely to feature.
AT THE DRIVE-IN
Then: Following two excellent underground releases (1996’s Acrobatic Tenement and 1998’s In/Casino/Out) At The Drive-In were propelled into the spotlight by their stunning third album, 2000’s Relationship Of Command (produced, again, by producer-du-jour Ross Robinson), released on the Beastie Boys’ super-hip Grand Royal imprint. On the back of some jaw-dropping live shows and a memorable appearance on Later…, the frothing UK music press instantly proclaimed the El Paso hardcore crew to be ‘The New Nirvana’. Within a year, they imploded.
Now: Since calling an indefinite hiatus on ATD-I in 2001, vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez have been pretty much inseparable (barring the odd squabble): the pair are currently playing together in the excellent Antemasque, their most accessible project since ATD-I. To everyone’s surprise, At The Drive-In actually reformed for shows in 2012, and again in 2016. Fans remain hopeful of new music.
Then: A Cork-based Irish/French/Italian quintet taking musical cues from Jane’s Addiction, Tool, Zeppelin and Soundgarden, Cyclefly became a ‘buzz’ band with the release of their Generation Sap debut in the summer of 1999. Fronted by the delightfully unhinged Declan O’Shea – an Iggy Pop/Perry Farrell hybrid prone to wearing red PVC suits – the band forged a close friendship with LA newbies Linkin Park, and were tipped for a big-time breakthrough with 2002’s Crave, which featured a guest appearance from Chester Bennington.
Now: Things kinda went south for Cyclefly from the moment former Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack pissed on Declan O’Shea’s PVC trousers at a London venue in 2002. After a break from the music business, the singer reunited with his guitarist brother Ciaran, and fellow Cyclefly man Christian Montagne to form MAKO in 2007. That band’s debut album, Living On Air, was released in 2011, and a follow-up is in the works. Their buddy Chester Bennington is doing just fine too, we hear…
Then: Tough nuts from Corby, Raging Speedhorn initially attracted press attention as much for their ‘tasty’ reputation as for their brutal, snub-nosed metallic roar. They were bracketed alongside peers Hundred Reasons, Lostprophets and earthtone9 as a new breed of British acts capable of taking on the world.
Now: Though the ‘horn toured relentlessly, released five fine albums and scored a minor chart success with 2001 single The Gush, they were never sufficiently house-trained to garner more than cult status. Following a six year break, the band unexpectedly returned in 2014, and a new album, Lost Ritual, appeared in 2016.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
Then: Ex-Kyuss men Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri had metalheads onside from the get-go, but with the release of their second album Rated R, and its killer first singles The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret and Feel Good Hit Of The Summer (featuring one R. Halford), the LA rockers became The One Rock Band It’s Cool To Like among mainstream music fans. The Ginger Elvis then basically proceeded to seduce the entire planet by being an utter bad-ass.
Now: Though bass berserker Oliveri has long since departed, Queens have retained their last gang in town outlaw swagger even as they’ve swapped club-land for arenas and festival headline slots. 2013’s …Like Clockwork album is a masterpiece, and marriage to Brody Dalle has only strengthened Homme’s standing as modern rock’s premier alpha male. A new album is expected in 2017.
Then: Glassjaw’s 2000 debut album Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence (produced by that man Ross Robinson again, on a mission to “destroy” the nu-metal scene he’d helped birth) was a post-hardcore masterpiece: 2002’s Worship And Tribute was ever better. Health issues affecting singer Daryl Palumbo (who has Crohn’s Disease) meant that the Long Island quartet could never quite gain sufficient momentum however.
Now: The 13 year wait for a follow-up to Worship And Tribute continues. With Palumbo also fronting Head Automatica and Color Film, this might take a while, but given how good post-WaT releases You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon and All Good Junkies Go To Heaven are, the faithful are keeping the, er faith.
- The 13 best cameos in The Simpsons
- Nick Jonas' crap guitar solo is the gift that keeps on giving
- Research reveals the most ‘metal’ word in the world
- Every Iron Maiden Album Ranked From Worst To Best
A PERFECT CIRCLE
Then: An alt. rock ‘supergroup’ of sorts, assembled by Smashing Pumpkins’ guitar tech Billy Howerdel, A Perfect Circle’s pedigree (Tool/Failure/The Vandals) gave them an obvious headstart on other fledgling acts. Mer De Noms was a compelling debut, but with Maynard James Keenan never likely to leave Tool there were always doubts as to just how committed APC could be.
Now: Last seen on active service in 2013 (with former Pumpkins man James Iha on guitar), APC are still a ‘thing’, but it’s highly unlikely there’ll be any hint of a new album until the next Tool album is recorded and toured. Chances are that Howerdel will release a new album with his other project Ashes Divide before that too. ‘Don’t hold your breath’ is what we’re saying here.
Then: Formed from the ashes of quirky indie noiseniks Daisy Chainsaw, and fronted by the bewitching, enigmatic and… let’s say ‘kooky’… Katie Jane Garside, London alt. rockers Queenadreena were an intriguing bunch, splicing art-rock, gothic rock, post-punk and alt. metal into a dark sonic melange which frankly was always going to be a hard sell.
Now: Queenadreena, you may not be surprised to learn, never became household names, though Pretty Like Drugs, their single from 2002’s fine Drink Me album, remains A Tune. Guitarist Crispin can now be found on the London gig circuit with The Dogbones, while a fourth album from Ms Garside’s Ruby Throat project may well emerge later this year.
Then: There was time when David Draiman’s simian ‘Oh wahahaha!’ shriek seemed inescapable, as the Chicago quartet transcended their nu-metal origins to become one of the most successful US metal bands of the past twenty years, with no fewer than four US number one albums. When The Sickness was released in 2000 David ‘Mad Davey’ Draiman inspired much sniggering, not least for the cheesy electric chair stage prop his band used onstage, but the big man surely had the last laugh.
Now: Back from a temporary ‘hiatus’, the Chicago band scored their fifth consecutive US number 1 album last summer with Immortalized, while a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound Of Silence has been a huge radio hit.
Then: Much like Disturbed, Illinois quartet Mudvayne didn’t get the easiest ride in the snarky UK metal press, largely because of their undeniably foolish pseudonyms and a er, ‘bold’ and colourful face-painted image, but their 2000 album L.D. 50, which occupied a niche somewhere between early mentors Slipknot and Tool, struck a chord with fans. Intelligent, inventive and idiosyncratic, their cult appeal broadened with 2002’s more sophisticated The End Of All Things To Come.
Now: Yep, you’ve guessed it, ‘on hiatus’ (since 2010). Frontman Kud – sorry, Chad Gray – now fronts Hellyeah, who also featured guitarist Gurrg – sorry, Greg Tribbett (aka ‘The Humbug’) – until last year. They’ll be back. Probably. Maybe. Possibly.