On July 20, 2012, a documentary about Columbus rock group Phantods, "Meet the Phantods," premiered at the Grandview Theater. The next night, the band played its final show.

On July 20, 2012, a documentary about Columbus rock group Phantods, "Meet the Phantods," premiered at the Grandview Theater. The next night, the band played its final show.

It was a jarring way for such a popular local act to bow out. Phantods seemed to be picking up steam, building off the momentum from 2010's Creature, a hook-laden hard-rock record that managed to take the band in a poppier direction without alienating Phantods fans who loved the bizarro-metal sounds of the group's early days.

But Phantods singer Gretchen King, who moved to Los Angeles after the band called it quits, said that while it seemed like things were happening for Phantods on the outside, it was a different story on the inside.

After nine years, she and others in the band were burnt out. Playing show after show and getting minimal sleep before working day jobs was taking its toll. Plus, King's personal life had been in turmoil since her former roommate, Alix Reese, was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight and paralyzed from the shoulders down in the spring of 2010.

"In a way, that was the start of the end of Phantods. It was such a traumatic experience," King said recently by phone from Los Angeles. "At the time, it felt like my life was falling apart. … What's crazy is that, through all of that, Alix was in the best mental state. She was putting us all to shame."

King said Phantods was also on a mission to make it to the next level - to bust out of Columbus and get signed to a label. But local prominence never quite led to national success.

"If I could I'd tell myself back then, 'Don't be so serious. This may never do anything beyond what it's doing right now, so just do it and let go of it,'" King said. "I felt such an internal pressure that it had to do something and had to be something and I had to get somewhere with it that I felt like a complete failure. … In hindsight, that's so sad and kind of pathetic."

Every year since the breakup, someone in Columbus would call King and ask if the Phantods would reunite for a show, and every year she turned down the offer. "I love all those guys, but it's kind of like an ex-boyfriend - I didn't know if I was ready to see them yet and bring up all those feelings again," she said.

But this year, King said the timing felt right, and everybody in the band was into the idea. Phantods will play its first show in four years at the Retropolis stage on Sunday at 6:45 p.m. The band also made all of its music available to download for free at phantods.com

These days, when not working as a graphic designer and photographer, King writes and performs songs in her LA-based electro-pop duo, Kabiria. She still has to fight off the tendency to obsess over the project, but she's now better able to go with the flow.

"I do have super high goals for myself, but I can't make it happen," she said. "I can only do the work."