metal bands changed sound
[Photos by: Linkin Park/Kristina Servant, Bring Me The Horizon/Sven Mandel, The Devil Wears Prada/Henry Laurisch]

Changing up your sound as a band can be really hit or miss with how the results turn out. Some acts have seen huge success from doing so, while others have been completely trashed by not only their fanbase but the music community as a whole. Still, bands making a big adjustment to their sound can pay off huge and helps reinvigorate groups who have felt stale writing the same material album after album. Take a look below for 10 metal bands who changed up their sound successfully.

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1. Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon have gone through changes on nearly every single album and are essentially nothing like they were when they began. From their start as a deathcore act to their straight-forward metalcore phase and now an alt-rock-leaning electronic sound, the quintet have vastly shaken up what they do whether their original fans like it or not.

2. The Devil Wears Prada

As the Devil Wears Prada matured and aged, they went from being a Myspace electronic-metalcore band to a serious metalcore act without any of the ridiculous song titles and goofy synths. Then, they once again changed up their approach to music with their new album, The Act, going for a more rock-oriented sound while keeping some of their heavy moments. 

3. Mastodon

Mastodon’s first four records are easily some of the best progressive sludge metal around, but after they completed a collection of concept albums, the band went in a more prog-rock direction. Through a softer sound, they managed to boost their reach further into the mainstream and found more of a middle ground between the two styles on their last album, Emperor Of Sand.

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4. Baroness

Baroness started as a heavy sludge-metal band prior to dropping any of their albums in the color saga, but with each record after The Red Album, they pushed into soft-rock music. From the point of their double record Yellow & Green, the band didn’t have any traces of metal left and have managed to keep their fanbase from the early days despite the change.

5. Linkin Park

If you listen to the last Linkin Park album, it’s hard to believe they were ever a metal band. Sure, it’s arguable they only really fit in with the nü-metal and alt-rock scenes, but they had plenty of heavy songs. On One More Light, though, they went in an entirely different direction, pushing into the pop sphere and even including a song with rappers Pusha T and Stormzy. 

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6. Opeth

Opeth captured the death-metal scene’s attention through several years’ worth of creating some of the best progressive death metal around, and on 2011’s Heritage, they shocked everyone by completely stripping their sound of any traces of heavy music. Three albums later, the band have solidified a new sound in folk and jazz, which many didn’t care for, but the shift caught plenty of attention from fans of prog music that doesn’t feature death metal. 

7. Whitechapel

Incorporating clean vocals into deathcore has been a bad sign for a number of bands, but Whitechapel managed to pull it off better than anyone before them. They kept all of the bits about the band that longtime fans still wanted to hear while adding more melody to their riffs and singing that isn’t as jarring as you would expect.

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8. Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive managed to become leaders of metal in Australia and brought attention to countless other metalcore and deathcore bands in the country, but as they got further into their career, they’ve pushed into an arena-rock version of themselves. While plenty of people would love to hear another beatdown metalcore album such as Deep Blue, the band know that diving into these sounds has given them exponential growth. 

9. Northlane

After amazing fans of djent with their incredible first and second albums, Northlane swapped their vocalist and shifted into a more melodic version of themselves on 2015’s Node. Their latest two records feature much more ambience and melodic singing styles than before, helping the band reclaim their strength after a huge loss. 

10. Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold are arguably one of the biggest names in heavy metal, but if you listen to their albums prior to City Of Evil, it’s hard to imagine how they became bigger than their Orange County metalcore peers. That album dove into traditional heavy-metal and hard-rock elements, which they’ve continued to expand on with each subsequent album to the point where they’re essentially not metal at all anymore.