Feb 222012

As I did yesterday with an article by Full Metal Attorney about Pantera, today I’m again leeching off the creativity of another metal blogger in an effort to spark discussion here at NCS. Today, the blood-suckee is Jason Roche, a metal writer for the LA Weekly blog.

Latching on to some of the new year’s higher-profile vocalist switch-ups — with Jesse Leach re-joining Killswitch Engage, Stu Block recently making his live debut with Iced Earth, and Dragonforce on the verge of releasing their first album with new vocalist Marc Hudson — Jason wrote two pieces over the last two days about the Top Ten Best and Worst Replacement Singers in Rock and Metal.

As the titles of these two articles suggest, some of his Top 10 choices are about rock bands. Those of you who are less musically narrow-minded than I am would enjoy reading them from start to finish (here and here), but our focus is metal, so the metal bands on his lists are the ones that caught my eye. On his Top 10 list of Best Replacements, the following are relevant to metal:

No. 10: ANGELA GOSSOW replacing Johan Liiva in Arch Enemy (2001 – present)

No. 9: GEORGE “CORPSEGRINDER” FISHER replacing Chris Barnes in Cannibal Corpse (1996 – present)

No. 8: HOWARD JONES replacing Jesse Leach in Killswitch Engage (2002-2011)

No. 7: JOHN BUSH replacing Joey Belladonna in Anthrax (1992-2004, 2009-2010)

No. 4: MIKE PATTON replacing Chuck Mosley in Faith No More (1989 – present)

No. 3: BRUCE DICKINSON replacing Paul Di’Anno in Iron Maiden (1982-1993, 2000-present)

No. 2: RONNIE JAMES DIO replacing Ozzy Osbourne and others in Black Sabbath (1979-1982, 1980-1992, 2006-2010)

No. 1: BRIAN JOHNSON replacing the deceased Bon Scott in AC/DC (1980-present)

And Jason’s Top 10 list for Worst Replacements includes these picks . . .

No.7:  MATT McGACHY replacing Lord Worm in Cryptopsy (2007 – present)

No. 6: RIPPER OWENS replacing Rob Halford in Judas Priest (1996-2002) and Matt Barlow in Iced Earth (2004-2007)

No. 4: BLAZE BAYLEY replacing Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden (1994-1999)

No. 1: DAN NELSON replacing Joey Belladonna in Anthrax (2007-2009)

Now, some of these picks aren’t controversial. But I can predict that some of them — particularly some of his picks for Best Replacements — are going to generate violent disagreement among many metalheads. And, to be brutally honest, that’s one of the reasons I’m re-publishing these lists here — to elicit comments from you either agreeing or disagreeing with these picks. (To be fair, when you read Jason’s explanations at LA Weekly, it becomes clear that some of his Best Replacement choices, e.g., Howard Jones over Jesse Leach, are based on the success of the bands following the vocalist change rather than an aesthetic judgment about who was the better singer.

The other topic I’d like to throw out there for discussion is, Who Did Jason Miss? Most of the bands he focused on are big-name metal acts, which is understandable, given that he was limiting himself to 10 picks per list. But he certainly didn’t exhaust the subject. So, if you’ve got other examples of either Bad replacements or Good replacements, please let us know, even if you wouldn’t necessarily put them on a Top 10 list.



  1. Am I the only one that thinks that Angela Gossow can’t growl worth shit?

  2. Our new singer is one of the worst replacements! Compare at http://www.myspace.com/oneinchgiant

  3. Though it’s not as hi-profile as the examples in Jason’s lists (and won’t come as a surprise to most long-term readers here), I have to throw out Myke Terry for Mat Bruso in Bury Your Dead as a bad replacement, since it’s what spawned the name of this site.

  4. Attila Csihar for Mayhem as one of the best replacements, Dead was a great vocalist but no one sounds quite like Attila does.

  5. Kind of outside our typical realm of discussion, but the woman who replaced Tarja Turunen in Nightwish was horrible. In my opinion. But the personnel change also came with a style change, so maybe that was it.

  6. debating this changes nothing!

  7. I would rank Tomi Joutsen replacing Pasi in Amorphis up there kind of high. I don’t think Owens replacing Barlow was that bad though Stu Block just might be the best vocalist Iced Earth has had to date. Also I’m surprised that Exodus wasn’t represented with Baloff/Sousa/Dukes.

    • Tomi Joutsen: another great example. Same for Exodus.

      • I’d say Souza is a great replacement for Baloff (“Tempo of the Damned” especially being one of my favorite albums) and while I wouldn’t go as far as to call Dukes a bad replacement per se–after all the newer Exodus albums still are fantastic–he’s not nearly as distinctive or dynmaic over the course of an hour plus.

        I would have loved to hear Periphery’s debut with Chris Barreto, and the verdict is still out on Eliot Coleman (who is super talented) replacing Daniel Tompkins.

        I’m going to say biggest upgrade in modern metal is Dmitri Minakakis to Greg Puciato. He’s THE frontman in metal today.

  8. Thanks for stirring the pot, Islander. I did consider Exodus and Amorphis for Best Replacements, and Nightwish for Worst Replacement, with Nightwish probably coming the closest to actually making it into the final lists.

  9. I agree with Tomi Joutsen being one of the best replacements. Others for consideration:
    – Messiah Marcolin replacing Johan Längquist in Candlemass 9even if Längquist was amazing too) and subsequently replacing Björn Flodkvist
    – Matt Barlow replacing John Greely (and later replacing Owens) in Iced Earth
    – the underrated Tony Martin replacing a string of temps and Ian Gillan in Sabbath (it took him a while to get off the ground, but when he did it was amazing)
    – And for my possibly controversial one, Pepper Keenan replacing Mike Dean in COC

    For the worst:
    – Ian Gillan replacing Dio in Black Sabbath
    I had trouble thinking of the worst, because I usually kind of forget about a band after they get a bad vocalist and disappoint me, preferring to remember them as they once were.

    • I agree with the analysis of Tony Martin. I personally consider Headless Cross to be one of the best Sabbath albums, certainly the best sans Dio or Ozzy

    • yus sir…tony martin is nothing below exceptional…and the headless cross is definitely one of the most underrated metal albums…not just sabbath albums..who ever is to replace roy khan in kamelot has a huge task cut out for himself..

  10. John McEntee has been the best vocalist for Incantation since Craig Pillard left.

    • Worst would be Patrick Mameli replacing Martin Van Drunen on Pestilence

      • Well, even though I’m in a minority in liking Mameli’s vocals, I can’t argue that Van Drunen’s vocals are superior. He’s sort of in a league of his own. But I wouldn’t call this the worst or even a Top 10 step-down.

        • I thought this was an article about whether the replacement was a step down or not. Otherwise Im going to disagree with Brian Johnson being better than Bon Scott. Hes as good as of a replacement as AC/DC could have asked for, but theres no way I would agree that hes better

          And everyone is a top ten step down when compared to MVD

  11. One agrees with most of the Best Replacements list, but for Arch Enemy whose music one does not really care for, regardless of the vocalist.

  12. Anyone else feel bad for Ripper Owens? I mean, the poor guy is a fantastic singer, but got a bad rap replacing not one, but two vocalists.

  13. Surprised Slob Dukes replacing Zetro isn’t at the top of the,list. That doucebag blows massive donkey dick. I can’t and won’t even listen to Exodus as long as he is in the band.

  14. One of my personal worsts is Daniel de jongh replacing Erik kalsbeek in textures. He just doesn’t have the vocal range to compete.

    One of my best is Jeff jaworski for Grady Avenell. I think Grady has one of the most intense voices out there but the hierophant is the best album they’ve ever done. It will be interesting to see what happens now that Grady is back.

  15. Matthew “Chalky” Chalk – the most unique DM vocalist I have ever heard – being replaced by Jason Peppiatt.

    Christian Älvestam being replaced by two nobodies. Seriously, how much has their profile/standing slipped since they released Holographic Universe.

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