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.