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A wise man once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” We’re used to waiting three, four, even five or six years for a new album from our favorite bands… but what about those acts who left their fans in the dark for decades?!

Tool fans like to boast that they waited 13 years for Fear Inoculum, but the Coven faithful waited three times longer for a new album. So were these albums really worth the wait? Check them out below and decide for yourselves.

Satan’s Life Sentence is one of the greatest NWOBHM comeback albums. After 27 years of dormancy (not counting the band’s rebranding as Pariah) Life Sentence dropped outta nowhere in 2013 and proved that traditional heavy metal is truly a timeless genre. Satan have since dropped three more albums that’ve been unfairly slept on. 

Angel Witch’s self-titled debut album is a landmark for British heavy metal. It’s just so damn good, directly influencing the burgeoning thrash movement of the early 1980s. The band seemed to be done with new albums after 1986’s Frontal Assault, but when 2012 came around, the world suddenly had a new Angel Witch record. As Above, So Below received fairly good reviews, and Angel Witch continues ripping to this day.

Remember when At the Gates invented metalcore then disappeared for like 20 years? 1995’s Slaughter of the Soul is still widely considered to be the Swedish band’s signature release, and At War With Reality was undoubtedly one of 2014’s best metal albums. Hell, this very website gave the album a perfect score. Revisit this one, because it holds up extremely well. 

Surgical Fucking Steel — a comeback for the history books. Few acts have experienced the cult fan base of Carcass, the grind innovators who released five gore-obsessed masterworks then pissed off for nearly two decades. With the metal world having undergone vast changes from 1996 to 2013, Carcass proved their much-aped style couldn’t be outdone by anyone but Bill Steer and Jeff Walker.

For those who can’t get enough of the team of Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess, the wait for Liquid Tension Experiment 3 felt much longer than 22 years. The 2021 album was a beautiful gift for the COVID era — nearly two hours of hyper technical jam tracks and even a cover of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” 

Late ‘60s occult rock may be one of the most underrated eras of underground music. At the very forefront of Britain’s occult scene was Coven, whose 1969 debut album set the stage for acts like Black Sabbath. After releasing 1974’s Blood on the Snow, Coven went into a deep hibernation, taking nearly 40 years before returning with 2013’s Jinx. It was the right album title, because vocalist Jinx Dawson still sounds fucking incredible.

Imagine inventing death metal, making two of metal’s most influential albums, then fucking off until 2019. For Possessed, there was absolutely no rust to be heard on Revelations of Oblivion, which came out 37 years after Beyond the Gates. Revelations hits just like the old stuff, proving there’s no expiration date when you’ve got the secret formula. What a comeback!

One of America’s most slept-on heavy metal innovators, Sir Lord Baltimore basically penned the blueprint for stoner and desert rock. After Sir Lord Baltimore’s 1971 sophomore album, a third record was written but ultimately shelved until 2006. The lyrics to Sir Lord Baltimore III Raw were rewritten to represent the band’s new Christian ideology, and it was the band’s last album before frontman John Garner died in 2015. 

Compared to the rest of these albums, the wait for Tool’s Fear Inoculum was the blink of an eye, but man it felt like forever in real time. The “new Tool album” had basically become a meme by 2019, but when Fear Inoculum dropped after 13 years, the Tool faithful was finally satiated. Fear Inoculum isn’t Lateralus or Ænima, but it’s got some all-timers like “Pneuma” and “7empest.”

Sacred Reich barely went away since forming in 1985, but the band put out no new music from 1996’s Heal to 2019’s Awakening. After sipping heavy on that 1990s Pantera juice on Heal, fans wondered if they’d get Ignorance-era Reich or Heal-era Reich in 2019… and the answer was… kinda both? Awakening turned out to be a killer blend of Reich’s discography, blending shredding thrash with thick, groovy hooks and powerful vocals. Well done, boys!

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