Black stage wear, acid-gargling vocal histrionics and guitars strapped to nipple-height are coming back in a big way. Of course, death metal never really left Tampa (or Central Europe´s colder climes, for that matter). But a new breed of young band, raised on both death metal and all-ages hardcore without the boundaries that once existed between them, is showing the genre´s old guard new love. Some of the acts are more hardcore-influenced and some are more metal-referential, but they seem to be playing to the same group of equally omnivorous fans. Tight, technical and thrashy area outfit The Absence hails conspicuously from the metal side of the street. While the group uses the melodic-versus-guttural dual-vocal interplay that´s become a staple of the punk subgenre screamo, its dynamic musical shifts, shredding guitars, polyrhythmic drumming and shadowy lyrical subjects all pay homage to a hard-music tradition stretching back to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Ignoring recent mainstream trends, The Absence takes a look back in order to move metal forward, and plays challenging, lead-heavy music that´s far more focused and visceral than the majority of its ilk.