What Ever Happened to… “Fair to Midland” Edition

Welcome to the series that I have no intention of maintaining as a series. Let’s talk about the bulbs that burned so bright that they burnt out before they could shine again.

The vague concept of potential energy that builds with the promise of a payload that will change the course of humanity, only to slowly fizzle out and return to a grounded state, is something that haunts my dreams. Since great art takes significant time and effort, there are bound to be countless examples of greatness unfinished. If we are lucky, we get to glimpse the unfinished work, but deep down we know the unfinished product is not what it was intended to be. David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, stunted by his suicide, and Brian Wilson’s Smile, massively delayed by (I won’t go into detail because you need to see Love and Mercy) come to mind for me.

With emerging musicians, the potential for greatness isn’t really known to anyone outside of the project, so it is hard to be disappointed when they fizzle out. However, when an artist releases one spectacular album then fades into oblivion, it affects me more than it should. Shouldn’t I just be happy with what I have?

Anyway, back when I was just a wee lad (2008), I was coming off the high of discovering Karnivool’s Themata, when I somehow became aware of a band called Fair to Midland and their album, Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True (2007). It seemed to be one of those albums that was exactly what I was looking for at the time. I was coming down from my love of Cheesy Weedly Deedels (ex: Dream Theater) and looking for more interesting songwriting.

Fair to Midland delivered. Now, I can almost guarantee that Darroh Sudderth’s vocals will make a few of you nope-the-fuck-right-off, but if there is a chance that you can get used to them, it is worth the effort. The album kicks off with the eclectic “Dance of the Manatee”, which gives ample notice of just how much fun the album is going to contain.

Like a less-heavy Destrage, the tone is all over the place. Is it serious? Is it just a wacky experiment? At this point it is hard to tell. A few more songs in, you start to grasp the theme. As the album title implies, they somehow instill the fever-dream-esque spirit of a fairy tale into every song, yet every song is its own identifiable entity.

After Fables, the band released one more album four years later, but it doesn’t have nearly the same charm (and I don’t want to talk about it because it doesn’t fit the narrative of this article). There were rumors of another album to follow, but instead they were never to be heard from again.

I want to tack another band onto this post who suffered from a similar condition. About three years ago, I related-artist-searched my way to Amia Venera Landscape and fell in post-metal-love. The Italian band released The Long Procession in 2010, and seemingly vanished. I looked everywhere and basically only found old articles and reviews. I was certain they succumbed to the same fate, but then: a blink. They released a new recording in August of 2014 and divulged a plan to release four (4!!) albums in the near future. A few more months of silence followed until they finally announced this December that their next album would be out on April 30, 2016.  Maybe the dead do rise.

Written by:

Published on: February 1, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Not Metal, Opinion

Views: 2960

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Eliza

    Please keep doing these! This article was great, and I’d like to see more rather than just be pleased with what I have.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Thanks! I would consider more but I can’t think of many more bands that fit the criteria. I was considering running this as a reader submission column since my Porcelain Throne series seems to have fizzled.

      • Eliza

        I’m sure that there are more bands out there who followed this trajectory. Then again, I suck at doing research.

      • *gulp*

      • i’ll send one over One of These Days!

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Ha, I really failed to propagate it over the last few months, maybe one day it will be resurrected.

      • Owlswald

        Necrophagist is probably the most obvious metal example.

      • I’ve got a few hundred–or, to be precise, 2–bands that I’m considering enthroning in porcelain one day soon or much later than soon (or never).

        • you bring up a good point. i guess there are a handful of bands that i’m considering never enthroning too

  • holy cow man, did i ever love this band!!!

  • Lebanese band Damaar (دمار) comes to mind. They created one of the best bestial black metal releases of all time in 2006 and then just disappeared off the face of the earth. Apparently they relocated to Australia after 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war, and then split up. Playing anti-Islamic black metal in Lebanon may pose some issues I guess. Anyways, great band and great Demo.


  • sweetooth0

    I always wondered what happened to Lord Gore. A demo and two albums and then nothing. The guys in the band continue to be active elsewhere (for the most part).

    • Good call, it’s incredible the amount of other amazing bands these guys are part of too. Blood Freak, Frightmare, Engorged, Knelt Rote, Ritual Necromancy, Terror Oath, Weregoat, Splatterhouse, and so on and so on.

      • I have a sneaking suspicion that those dudes have a passing interest in gory movies and video games.

      • Dubs

        I’m kind of surprised you’d namecheck Knelt Rote. They’re pretty spazzy.

        • I always thought they were just noisy. I prefer the Trespass album more anyways. More straightforward grindy black metal (Less noise). Album absolutely pulverizes.


          • Dubs

            Cosigned on the pulverization.

  • megachiles

    I’m sure manatees are graceful dancers.


    Srsly tho, that song takes me back.

  • NecrovoreDivus de Mortuus. One and done in 1987.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Interesting, when I was writing this I was wondering if there would be more or fewer examples of this during the pre-home-recording eras.

  • Mayk Benynton

    I’m getting some nu metal vibes from it.

  • Mayk Benynton

    What happened to the rest of the members of Snot, did they form another band?

  • The Taste Of Blood comes to mind. They were doing deathcore before it was hip to do deathcore. This is the only album they did and then disappeared. Also like the recording on this as well.


    • Mayk Benynton

      lol, those painted nails.

      • Never knew they even had a video until I did a search today.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      This is some weird shit, it’s like 10 sub-genres packed into one song.

  • Salvador Dalí Lama

    “A Loophole In Limbo” is muh jam.

  • Waynecro

    I always wanted to hear more from Eibon–a sort of supergroup comprising Phil Anselmo, Fenriz, Satyr, Maniac, and Killjoy. I think they released only one song.


    • What a weird lineup!

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      What about the last song recorded by Layne Staley for the movie The Faculty? That was a good supergroup.

      • Waynecro

        Shit, I had totally forgotten about that. I remember liking that movie. Of course, I’ve never watched it sober.

  • Guacamole Jim

    This is cool stuff!! A bit nu-metal-ish, but not in a bad way.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      For some reason that connection never really crossed my mind, maybe because I have always had such a hard time classifying them as anything. Not wrong though.

      • Guacamole Jim

        Their later-era stuff seems to move away from it. I suppose it was hard at that time to be doing metal that wasn’t, in some way, influenced by nu metal. I’m not a nu metal hater by any means, so it’s not negatively affecting my experience!

  • Owlswald

    Great topic. I listened to Fables.. non-stop when it came out but it definitely took me a few listens for it to really settle in. I’ll throw out One Inch Giant (http://oneinchgiant.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-white-beyond). The Great White Beyond was awesome but haven’t heard a peep from them in years. Another I used to dig was One Minute Silence and, coincidentally, they actually re-appeared with a new EP recently.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Dang, digging that One Inch Giant, too bad they only have two songs posted for free listening.

      • Owlswald

        If you’re a streamer, the full album is on Google Play and I would be surprised if it wasn’t on Spotify.

  • Good job putting the question and recommending this, LogicFlushed.

    I feel the same with Lykathea Aflame, man. What would happened with those guys?


    • that was a good!

    • Dubs

      The chain continues with Cult of Fire and Death Karma.

  • Guppusmaximus

    While this stuff sounds decent, I wouldn’t say the songwriting is more interesting than Images & Words. Just my .02

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      True, maybe songwriting was the wrong way to put it… maybe looking for a more interesting cohesive sound than individual instrument mastery?

      • Guppusmaximus

        I can appreciate that. I think you were looking for a little more accessibility as opposed to harrowing changes in tempo & melody. DT can have that tiring effect – they are very stealthy with it especially on I&W. To me,Fair to Midland sound like they just removed a few pieces.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Love and Mercy is an amazing movie. I won’t spoil any of it. Also, Smile ended up being released in 2004 as a Brian Wilson solo album. He’s performing Pet Sounds in full for the final time.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      I am curious as to what the difference would have been between what is on the 2004 release and the original conception. Agree, excellent movie. Paul Dano>>>>>

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        The original conception was released as The Smile Sessions in 2011.


    Im pretty sure that the saying is “fair to middling”

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Weird, never heard that phrase before. I am sure it is a play on that though.


        Its a southern colloquialism, to be sure

      • Fair to middling is related to grades of cotton. When someone says they’re “fair to middling”, it means that they’re doing OK but just barely.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          You would know that Joe “Slave Driver” Thrashnkill.

    • shut up

  • DeerBeefjeff

    For anyone wondering, back when it was kind of coming to light that FTM had broken up, I did some digging and found out a couple things about the situation of the band. The band’s ex-drummer, Brett Stowers, had said that the band had gone in to a lot of debt from touring and equipment use (or something similar) and that that had played a role in the band’s inactivity.
    Another factor was that somehow all of the band members had gotten scattered across the country for various reasons, one of which I found out was that Darroh Sudderth, the band’s singer, married one of the former singers from iwrestledabearonce following an on-stage proposal during an encore at a FTM show. That was pretty much it for the band.
    Some of the members of the band went on to form Erstwhile, which sounds okay, I guess.
    Inter.Funda.Stifle is still best FTM

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Good to know, thanks for digging into it!

  • Defenestrator

    Dude this band was my shit when I was younger! I totally sympathize with the statement that it was exactly what I was looking for at the time. Such a unique album, and listening to it now, it holds the same charm. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, gonna have to dig up my old CD copy and show my girlfriend a weird band from my past. Cheers!

  • SteveUreta

    It’s hard to believe that this band has stopped making music, and from what hear is that their live performances were even better. I remember another band that I found, I can’t even remember how I found one of their songs lol. They were called Edison Glass, but by the time I heard them, they had also disappeared! Well, I hope FTM rises from the dead in the future.