Yes, By a Thread is dead. For those of us that loved this band their departure seems somewhat unjust and hard to swallow. Their first album "The Last of the Daydreams" (1999) burst onto the post-hardcore scene as a natural evolution from their hardcore/punk roots. The album was raw and heavy, yet beautiful and melodic; it gained them many heartfelt fans and a following that persists, if somewhat diminished, to this day. By a Thread toured the U.S. and Canada several times in the early 2000s but perhaps sat on their first album too long to gain any true momentum.
Many of us were introduced to By a Thread from the Xbox game "Amped", yet it was for this very reason that BAT's second album (self-titled), which was recorded in 2006, wasn't released until 2011. Despite the positives that arose from the added avenue of exposure, the band members weren't aware that their entire first album was being placed onto a video game. Disputes with their record label ensued, the band broke up (2007), and the new songs senesced silently on a shelf for 5 years, effectively pushing those songs into an entirely different time and generation of listeners than their first record. With no active band backing them, BAT returned to their label to negotiate the release of the aging songs.
Many of the band's best recordings are found on scattered EP's and splits. The rawness and emotion that is found in "Daydreams" continues in these various recordings and versions of songs, bridging the gap between their first and second album. Songs like "Tainted", which was one of the band's favourite songs to open shows with, never made it onto an actual record; it can be found on the Revelation 100 compilation as well as on the By a Thread/Waterdown split EP. Also found on this split are "Seven Shades of Grey", a song that could have easily been found on their first record, "Tunnel Vision", a song that sees their hardcore roots shine through, and a version of "Tomorrow's Gone" that rocks harder than the version found on the second album. The By a Thread/Still Life Projector split EP has the earlier versions of "Dive In", "Haro", "Line Ups" and "Bloodshed", once again, all versions that rock harder than the versions found on the second album; they provide a true extension of the feel captured on "The Last of the Daydreams".
The second album, self-titled (2006/2011), was produced much differently than their previous material. The album was perhaps overproduced to some extent, having the effect of removing the rawness that characterized the band through so much of its existence, replacing it with polish. That being said, there are still gems on the second record like "Fashion", "Reign" and "Eight Track Mind".
Perhaps one day By a Thread will get back together for a reunion. The music and the fans still tug at the hearts of the band members.
A reunion almost happened in January 2013 after By a Thread agreed to play the Revelation Records 25th anniversary show at the House of Blues in Chicago. Set to play alongside the likes of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today, By a Thread began rehearsing after 6 years of inactivity. However, ultimately it wasn't meant to be, as despite a month of preparation, one of the band members backed out due to personal reasons less than one week before the show.