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Metal Departures We Never Saw Coming

When it was announced that God Forbid guitarist Dallas Coyle had left the band, it came as quite a shock. Their new album, ‘Earthsblood,’ had just been released and they were days away from an extensive tour with a little band called Lamb of God. What the hell was he thinking? Was the promise of free booze and catered food every night too much to handle? Was the plush tour bus not quite plush enough? And what about getting paid to play guitar every night for thousands of adoring fans? How could anyone turn that down?

Inter-band relationships are often tenuous, and no matter how much fun a situation should be, spending it with someone you have grown apart from, whether artistically or personally, can be a deal-breaker. When you factor in the ubiquitous drugs, alcohol, and massive egos; it’s a wonder that news like this doesn’t happen every day. Nonetheless, when it does happen (especially to a band that seemingly has everything going for them), our reaction usually falls into the “Whoa, didn’t see that one coming” category. Will we ever learn? Noisecreep recalls some other metal departures that had us scratching our heads and saying, “Whoa.”

7.

Brian “Head” Welch Quits Korn for a Higher Calling
Formed in 1992, Korn practically invented nu-metal, and by 2005 they had thousands upon thousands of suburban kids wearing baggy pants and hating their parents. When news came that Welch was leaving Korn because he had “…chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior” and would be “dedicating his musical pursuits to that end,” it was initially assumed to be a hoax. But trying to kick a raging meth addiction can lead to some pretty drastic changes in one’s life… perhaps too drastic.

6.

Jason Newsted Quits Metallica to Pursue a Side Project
Quitting one of the biggest bands on the planet is generally not a good career move, but in early 2001, Jason Newsted did just that, quitting Metallica shortly after James Hetfield had made it clear that he wasn’t too happy about Newsted’s side project, Echobrain. Echobrain never really went anywhere, and Jason went on to work with Voivod, which didn’t go as smoothly as he might have hoped (original guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’amour” died of cancer in 2005). And we can’t forget about Jason’s rather embarrassing stint with “Rock Star Supernova.” Meanwhile, Metallica continue to sell assloads of records and sell-out every show they play. They were, however, kind enough to invite him back to play at Metallica’s recent induction to the Rock’n'Roll Hall of Fame.

5.

Max Cavalera Quits Sepultura, Leaves Brother Behind.
Brothers Max and Igor Cavalera formed Brazil’s most famous metal export, Sepultura, in 1984. By 1996, Sepultura had more than made their mark on virtually every sub-genre of extreme metal and were riding high on the success of groundbreaking metal staples ‘Arise,’ ‘Chaos A.D.’ and ‘Roots.’ But apparently Sepultura didn’t learn anything from Spinal Tap, and the decision to have Max’s wife Gloria manage the band led to internal strife that turned even the two brothers against each other. When the band fired Gloria against Max’s wishes in late1996, Max quit. We probably should have seen this one coming. Be that as it may, fans and media alike were shocked.

4.

Tom Warrior Quits the Band He Started
Since their inception in 1984, Celtic Frost have had some definite ups and downs. ‘Morbid Tales’ and ‘To Mega Therion’ are certified metal classics, but when band leader Tom Warrior (aka Tom Gabriel Fischer) took CF on a foray into glam metal with 1988′s ‘Cold Lake,’ it alienated even the most die-hard fans. But in 2006, all was forgiven when Celtic Frost returned to their old form with ‘Monotheist,’ their first album in sixteen years. Heavy touring followed and talk of another album emerged. But it was not to be… in April of 2008, it was revealed by way of the band’s website that Fischer had left Celtic Frost “due to the irresolvable, severe erosion of the personal basis so urgently required to collaborate within a band so unique, volatile, and ambitious,” which loosely translates to, “We can’t f*cking stand each other”.

3.

Johnny Weils Quits Alabama Thunderpussy Via Email
After original Alabama Thunderpussy vocalist Johnny Thorkmortin left the band in 2002, new vocalist Johnny Weils joined the band and things were looking up for ATP. A well received record, ‘Fulton Hill,’ and a successful tour with Corrosion of Conformity had put Weils and his bandmates at the top of the stoner rock heap. But when they started demoing songs for their next record, things went downhill. Apparently Weils didn’t take to kindly to being told he needed to work on the things vocalists generally work on, like lyrics and melodies. He went AWOL and ultimately quit the band via email. Needless to say, the rest of the band were pissed. Despite finding yet another singer (Kyle Thomas), ATP never got their stride back and disbanded in 2008.

2.

Dissection’s Jon Nodtveidt Quits the Band Via Suicide
No one will dispute that Jon Nodtveidt, leader of Swedish black metal band Dissection, was kind of a loose cannon (he was convicted and served prison time for helping murder a man in 1997). But when he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in August of 2006, thus ending the band, it still came as a bit of a surprise. Perhaps not so surprising was the manner in which he did it – his body was supposedly found on a pentagram surrounded by candles, with Satanic literature lying next to him. Black metal to the end.

1.

Mayhem’s “Dead” Quits the Band Via Suicide
Since we included Nodtveidt’s “departure by suicide,” I guess we need to give an honorable mention to former Mayhem vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin, aka “Dead.” In April of 1991, Dead also offed himself with a shotgun. His suicide was the first of many disturbing events that shook Norway’s then burgeoning black metal scene. But you can’t really say that it was unexpected; he was by all accounts obsessed with death, and he chose to be referred to as “Dead,” for chrissakes. It’s only surprising that he didn’t do it sooner.

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