10 Greatest Rock + Metal Supergroups
The term “supergroup” first surfaced during the late ’60s when already successful musicians started to link up with other well-known musicians to form new groups. The first wave of these bands include legendary acts such as Crosby, Stills & Nash, Blind Faith and Humble Pie. Since then, pretty much every musical genre you can think of boasts their very own version of a supergroup.
When a new supergroup and its lineup is announced, early anticipation is high, but more often that not, the end result leaves a lot to be desired. It usually comes down to the “too many cooks spoil the pot” theory at work. But sometimes the concept works and today Noisecreep is taking a look at the 10 Greatest Rock + Metal Supergroups.
Starting off our 10 Greatest + Metal Supergroups list in especially heavy fashion is Sweden’s Bloodbath. Featuring Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt on vocals (Kataklysm’s Peter Tägtgren sang on one album), Bloodbath was formed with the sole intention of writing and performing death metal of the early ‘90s variety. You would be hard-pressed to find an act doing the Entombed/Dismember style of metal better than these guys. Åkerfeldt left the band in 2012, but Bloodbath promise to return with a new vocalist in the future.
While its origins can be traced back to an impromptu jam session at singer Sammy Hagar’s famed Cabo Wabo club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Chickenfoot has morphed into a full-blown recording and touring entity. So you ask, “But what do you get when you combine two former Van Halen members (Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony), with a dude from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (drummer Chad Smith), and Joe Satriani?” If their two studio albums are any indication, the answer is a killer hard rock group.
On paper, the union of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford might have looked like a creative disaster waiting to happen, but boy, were the naysayers wrong. It turned out that Wilk and Commerford’s funky rhythms and Morello’s chaotic guitar style with Cornell’s siren wail of a voice was a match made in supergroup heaven.
Them Crooked Vultures
With John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl holding down the rhythm section and Josh Homme taking care of the guitars and vocal duties, Them Crooked Vultures is a music geek’s wet dream. The power trio’s 2009 self-titled album was a stunner, packed with unconventional yet memorable arrangements and a seemingly endless array of meaty guitar riffs. In terms of TCV’s future, Grohl has gone on record about his eagerness to record with the band again. Who could blame the guy?
Black Country Communion
The mere announcement of Black Country Communion’s formation back in 2009 was enough to leave classic rock fans with their mouths agape in anticipation. The Glenn Hughes-led supergroup didn’t disappoint. Over the course of three albums — one a year starting in 2010 — BCC laid down the kind of bluesy hard rock that would have made the band stadium headliners in the ‘70s. It’s a shame guitarist Joe Bonamassa and Hughes couldn’t work out their differences in 2013.
Featuring the colossal rhythm section of bass ace Billy Sheehan and celebrated session drummer Pat Torpey, along with shred era guitar hero Paul Gilbert and vocalist Eric Martin, Mr. Big dispels the notion that supergroups aren’t capable of putting their egos aside long enough to craft quality material together. Since forming in 1988, the combo has delivered one soul-kissed melodic rock gem after the other, and even managed to score a No. 1 US Hot 100 single with the 1991 ballad, ‘To Be With You.’
Not resting on its members’ heavy duty credentials, Velvet Revolver has always dropped nothing but top-notch, arena-worthy rock since coming together in 2002. Singles like ‘Fall to Pieces’ and ‘Slither’ found a permanent home on modern rock radio playlists from Scottsdale to Stockholm, while their live show made Velvet Revolver a top concert draw. While the band has not called it quits, several years have past since they split with Scott Weiland and they’ve yet to name his replacement.
A Perfect Circle
Conceived by Tool frontman Maynard Keenan and former guitar tech Billy Howerdel in 1999, A Perfect Circle’s sonic approach effortlessly merges muscular, metal-infused guitar riffs with off-kilter rhythms and a left-of-center lyrical style. Daring enough for prog-rock purists to appreciate yet melodically direct enough for the average rock fan to connect with, it’s no surprise A Perfect Circle’s three albums have gone either platinum or gold. Back together touring after a six-year hiatus, APC reportedly have new music in the works.
Heaven and Hell
Many heavy metal pundits consider the first two albums the Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath made at the beginning of the ‘80s (‘Heaven and Hell,’ ‘Mob Rules’) the last truly great records the band made. The hallowed lineup that made the ‘Heaven and Hell’ album reunited in 2006 and cranked out a stellar collection of new material in ‘The Devil You Know’ three years later. Sadly, Dio’s untimely passing in 2010 brought Heaven and Hell to an end.
Formed in 1991 by vocalist Phil Anselmo (Pantera), guitarist Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity), guitarist Kirk Windstein (Crowbar), bassist Todd Strange (Crowbar), and guitarist Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod), Down has whipped up some of the most potent doom metal this side of Black Sabbath and Trouble. Down’s 1995 eponymous debut album is rightfully considered a modern classic within the metal community, and 2012’s ‘Down IV Part I – The Purple EP’ found the veteran act still worshipping at the altar of The Mighty Iommi. We couldn’t think of a better way to top off our 10 Greatest Rock + Metal Supergroups.