Changing band members can have a huge effect on the music, but swapping vocalists can be considerably more detrimental. While a singer’s voice can make or break a band, some have managed to maintain successful careers with multiple vocalists and even improve their sound through a shake-up in the vocal department.
Take a look below for some of the best bands who made a change in vocalists work for them.
Metalcore noisemakers Norma Jean had an explosive debut with Josh Scogin on vocals/ But after he left to form the Chariot, the band developed their sound without missing a step. Cory Brandan’s vocals across the band’s career have become a crucial aspect of their sound. Any Norma Jean fan will agree it was a good trade-off to have Scogin move on to new projects.
Killswitch Engage became one of the biggest metalcore bands out of the new wave of American heavy metal. When original vocalist Jesse Leach stepped down to bring in Howard Jones, it was like nothing really changed. The two vocalists’ voices are distinct, but they’re still quite similar, and seeing their friendship develop even after trading roles once again in 2012 makes it even better.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Dillinger Escape Plan essentially created a movement with original vocalist Dimitri Minakakis. However, after he left, the band went on to continue developing their sound into a colossal beast. From their EP with Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton to all of their records with Greg Puciato, they became one of the most notable hardcore bands to ever exist.
Hardcore-punk originators Black Flag cycled through a few vocalists, but they hit their stride with the addition of Henry Rollins. Sure, it’s impossible to deny the importance of their work with Keith Morris. But Rollins defined the band and helped build notoriety as one of the most dangerous punk acts of the ’80s.
Flyleaf quickly rose to prominence with their debut self-titled album, but something that made the band so unique was Lacey Sturm’s standout vocal performances. When she announced her departure in 2012, things seemed up in the air. Luckily, the band came back stronger than ever with Kristen May on vocals for another spectacular record. However, that unfortunately marks the last thing they’ve done as of now due to the frontwoman leaving in 2016.
Dance Gavin Dance
Trying to keep track of everyone who’s been a part of Dance Gavin Dance is a challenge. But when it comes to vocalists, they’ve been graced with talent throughout their entire career. From their early days with Jon Mess and Jonny Craig, they managed to become a household name. They’ve since soared without Craig by adding Tilian Pearson to handle cleans.
The dropping of Craig Mabbitt as blessthefall vocalist seemed like a poor decision to some when it happened in 2007. Ultimately, it worked out better than anyone could imagine. Not only did blessthefall continue to put out top-notch metalcore with Beau Bokan stepping in, but Mabbitt went on to help form the Word Alive while also fronting Escape The Fate.
Underoath have become one of the biggest names in metalcore and post-hardcore with Spencer Chamberlain on vocals. But the band were drastically different before his addition. Their first three albums with vocalist Dallas Taylor were incredibly heavy in comparison to their newer material. While they almost feel like two separate bands, both eras are incredible in their own right.
Chiodos are synonymous with Craig Owens, but they managed to introduce a great second era of the band with Brandon Bolmer on vocals. They continued with one spectacular record under Bolmer before Owens returned for the band’s swan song to cap off a wild and truly remarkable career.