Anno Domini: A Decibel Guide to Bands so Extreme they Became Two Bands

Pretty much nothing tarnishes a band’s legacy as quickly as a public and bitter split followed by the absurdly passive-aggressive formation of a new band with “A.D.” tacked on to the end of the name. Seriously, bands, you’re killing us here, and killing your reputations, too. Granted, some bands get a bit more unique with the naming (shout-outs to Venom and, especially, Saxon on that front), but the song remains the same and it all becomes pretty hard to swallow, even when the bands still legitimately rock.

With Batushka gracing the cover of our September issue (and those dudes get serious points for just going for it and being two bands with the same name), and Entombed A.D. about to drop a new album tomorrow, it got us thinking about bands who are currently active and doing the “mom during the week/dad during the weekend” kinda thing. So, Grief/Come to Grief, Nocturnus/Nocturnus A.D. (granted, kinda different situation but still worth a mention), Carnivore/Carnivore A.D., and Phil Lewis’ L.A. Guns/Tracii Guns’ L.A. Guns (dying here) are disqualified as one or both of the bands in each situation aren’t active. Morbid Angel/I Am Morbid, I’ll just let band members’ moms handle the online mocking on that one. Any others not mentioned here, man, this was upsetting enough, I had to stop at some point.

Now, look, we get it: if you’re in a band that you’ve put years of your life—hell, basically your whole life—into, and grown up with your brothers and sisters of metal in, and things go sour, it’s not easy to let go. This is your identity, your life: this is you. And it’s also the identity and life of your bandmate, who also wants to keep the name. That’s a bad situation. For all our jesting and feeling like we the fans are on the short end of the stick, this is all much worse for those involved. If your band feels like a part of our identity, it must feel like it’s your identity, full stop.

Still, we gotta deal with this, and we’ve got a lot of bands to deal with here, because Entombed, Terrorizer, The Accüsed, Saxon, Venom and Tank aren’t gonna tarnish their own reputations by playing this lame name game. Oh, wait… Well, we’re still gonna do this, and I gotta say we’re doing it in the spirit of good fun, because we actually think these bands still, more or less, rock. But do both versions of all these bands rock?

Entombed vs. Entombed A.D.

I’ve gone on before about how confusing, haphazard, and generally puzzling every decision Entombed has ever made has been, and I say this even though they’re one of the greatest death metal bands of all time. But good god, to try to figure out the basics of any given album is just a logistical nightmare; now that both Entombed and Entombed A.D. exist at the same time, things have only gotten worse.

This situation is really messy because Entombed (with the guys you recognize but not LG Petrov) haven’t put out a record since 2007, whereas Entombed A.D. (LG Petrov and the guys you don’t recognize) have already put out three since 2014, and they’re pretty damn good, even if the whole thing is basically a middle finger to how dear we all hold this death metal institution to our hearts.

Pros: If LG is behind a mic—any mic—I’m happy.

Cons: Entombed are so traumatized by all this they keep putting out the same live record with a ballet company, or something.

Terrorizer vs. Terrorizer L.A.

Ugh, this one is particularly disheartening, grind legends Terrorizer putting out one classic album then kinda limping along through a couple albums that were actually better than you remember but still ain’t no World Downfall while splintering off into Terrorizer and Terrorizer L.A. Terrorizer L.A. are keeping a super low profile and feel more like a party band, whereas Terrorizer are giving it their all with new material now and again. It goes without saying that neither contain the magic that made World Downfall so great. For some reason I have to check online once every six months or so to see whether both these bands are still active, as I just constantly forget. Which is clearly a form of denial because god damn it, man: World Downfall.

Pros: I kinda liked when Terrorizer almost turned into an anarcho-crust-punk band for an album there.

Cons: The band who gave us World Downfall can’t get along, which, in all honesty, bums me out.

The Accüsed vs. The Accüsed A.D.

Our recent Hall of Fame inductees The Accüsed always had not just killer riffs and a rock-solid rhythm section; they had some of the greatest vocals in crossover, courtesy of Blaine Cook. Today, there’s the original and an A.D. version; I tend to just stick my head in the sand and live in the past with this one, because I’ll never stop holding this band’s name in extremely high esteem even though they try to get me to by dragging fans through this crap. Both groups are still putting out music of varying quality; the A.D. version gets the win for having Cook’s great pipes, but the bitter feeling of bickering parents just kinda hovers over everything here, the band once guiding me through my teen years by screaming at the world now essentially just screaming at each other while I crank up Grinning Like an Undertaker one more time to drown out the noise because man it sucks to hear parents fight.

Pros: Neither band is incredible, but both are serviceable, so it kinda adds up to something.

Cons: I’m depressed just writing all this.

Saxon vs. Oliver/Dawson Saxon

Man, I love Saxon but (or maybe “that’s why”) I’ve never explored this one in depth, again, this idea of these bands that meant so much to me divorcing and bickering and fighting and bringing their fans along to be witnesses in case something really bad happens just being so damn heartbreaking sometimes, all kidding around aside. I don’t know what the fuck is going on with “Oliver/Dawson Saxon” except that they put out records that no one I know has ever heard and that no human beings should have ever named a band that. And a Saxon without Biff behind the mic? Forget about it.

Pros: Saxon seem totally oblivious to Oliver/Dawson Saxon’s existence and just keep putting out good records.

Cons: Oliver/Dawson Saxon is just such a painful band name. It’s less a band name than an aggressive-aggressive attack on Saxon.

Venom vs. Venom Inc.

Hmm, this is getting difficult, mainly because I can’t seem to separate these two bands in my head too successfully. Reason being for that is 1) I don’t want any of this to be happening and 2) they’re both putting out great records that sound like modern Venom. Maybe more than any other band here, the two Venoms represent a win-win for fans, who get lots of good new material. I dunno, I kinda don’t mind that both Venom and Venom Inc. exist.

Pros: You get two pretty good bands outta the deal, and “Inc.” is the best suffix of all these and is actually pretty subversively (unintentionally, probably) funny.

Cons: The band who created Black Metal don’t get along enough to play music together anymore. One of the former Venom guys is no longer in Venom Inc., which is a bit alarming and somehow kinda reminds me of how Quiet Riot recently played a one-off show with no members from the classic lineup.

Tank vs. Tank 

How drunk are you right now? I’m two beers in, which helps the fact that I’m about to type this bullshit: There’s Tank, there’s The Original Tank (same band), there’s Algy Ward’s Tank, and there’s Tucker/Evans’ Tank, which means there’s a new winner for stupidest band name yet out of all this. Doesn’t matter though, because only those last two formations currently exist and they both just go by Tank anyway, so, yeah, fuck all you.

Pros: No idea.

Cons: No idea.