Proving that South Florida is still home to thrash metal at its most aggressive, the Absence are a Tampa-based band whose furious guitar work, monstrous vocals, and pummeling rhythms have won them the approval of discerning fans of extreme hard rock. The Absence were formed in 2001 by vocalist Jamie Stewart and guitarist Patrick Pintavalle; both were veterans of the Tampa metal community but believed that the scene was growing stale and needed fresh blood. Both Stewart and Pintavalle were fans of the new breed of Scandinavian metal, which they embraced as a key inspiration as they assembled the first lineup of the Absence; they made their debut in 2002, playing an opening set for Mastodon. However, neither Stewart nor Pintavalle were happy with the new group's progress, and they began working up material with two likeminded friends, guitarist Peter Joseph and drummer Jeramie Kling. While they were all pleased with the results, Joseph and Kling were busy with another band and couldn't commit to the Absence full time. However, in time that changed, and in 2005 Stewart, Pintavalle, Joseph, Kling, and bassist Nick Calaci came together as the Absence and recorded a demo that impressed Metal Blade Records enough to sign the band.
In the fall of 2005, the Absence released their first album, From Your Grave, and the group toured extensively in support of the disc, both as a headliner and opening for the likes of Ion Dissonance, Entombed, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Dead to Fall, and Nuclear Assault. In 2007, the Absence returned to the studio to record their second album. Featuring guest appearances by James Murphy (guitarist with Death and Testament), Jonas Granvik (vocalist for Without Grief and Edge of Sanity), and Jonas Kjellgren (of Scar Symmetry and Carnal Forge, who also produced the sessions), the Absence's sophomore release, Riders of the Plague, was released in August 2007; in support, the group hit the road as part of the Metal Blade 25th anniversary tour with labelmates Cannibal Corpse, the Black Dahlia Murder, and the Red Chord. In 2008, Kling left the band and was replaced by Justin Reynolds. The following year the band went back into the studio, but was delayed after Reynolds was injured in a serious car accident. Jeramie Kling returned to the band to once again play the drums, and in 2010 the Absence released their third album, Enemy Unbound. ~ Mark Deming