Today, we turn our attention toward metal and rock supergroups that should appeal to any type of listener. In doing so, we celebrate the veteran artists who have made major contributions to the music world.
Although most mortals will recoil at this entity's pure black metallic power, I personally rank Kråbøl as the most promising emerging supergroup — it is a family affair, starring musicians, who, past and present, have played with the likes of Tulus, Sarke, Khold, Misotheist, Enevelde, Minas, Funeral, Faustcoven, Katechon, etc. Two musicians included have received Spellemann / "Norwegian Grammy" nominations.
Enjoy our list of 10 accessible bands with all-star lineups.
Formed in 1994, Mad Season featured prominent members of the Seattle grunge milieu: Alice in Chains' Layne Staley; Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan; Pearl Jam's Mike McCready; John Baker Sauders, who would join The Walkabouts in 1996; and Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin. Layne Staley has stated that Mad Season's Above (1995) was the record of which he was most proud. Staley was actually the one who invited Lanegan to participate in the album. Surprisingly, Lanegan revealed in his book Sing Backwards and Weep that he completed his work on the two tracks to which he contributed in a little over an hour. Lanegan was supposed to take over from Staley as Mad Season's second lead vocalist, but the time wasn't exactly right. For the 2013 Above reissue, Lanegan did record three additional songs that were originally intended to appear on the second Mad Season record under the new project name Disinformation.
There was a Mad Season reunion of sorts in 2015 that included participants like Guns N' Roses Duff McKagan and the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. At that point, Lanegan, who tragically passed away in 2022 after intense health issues, remained strong, but Staley and Saunders had both fallen victim to addiction. Partially due to the struggles that Mad Season's members faced, their art is certainly among the most heart-wrenching material you'll come across. Their music was often jazzy and bluesy, always contemplative, and totally honest.
Velvet Revolver's dream team lineup centered around the late frontman Scott Weiland, who rose to fame with Stone Temple Pilots. Weiland was flanked by Guns N' Roses members Duff McKagan, Slash, and Matt Sorum as well as ex-Wasted Youth's Dave Kushner. Although Weiland felt pressured to join the band and had a rather rough experience as a result, he still managed to create a lot of deeply personal songs. For example, "The Last Fight," was inspired by his deceased brother. Weiland also gave voice to some of his battles in "You Got No Right." "Loving the Alien" and VR's cover of Electric Light Orchestra's "Can't Get It Out of My Head" are both magical songs. Of course, VR enjoyed mainstream success with hits like "Slither" and "Fall to Pieces." "Set Me Free" appeared in the 2003 Hulk film. "Come On, Come In" was similarly used in the 2005 blockbuster Fantastic Four.
Down emerged in 1991. Their debut album, NOLA (1995), is a harrowing classic. Frontman Philip Anselmo pairs New Orleans soul with a boxer's strength. The Pantera icon never fails to find the perfect balance between heart and aggression. In Down, Phil is currently joined by Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan, ex-Crowbar's Jimmy Bower, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein, and Saint Vitus' Patrick Bruders. Past members include ex-Crowbar's Todd Strange; Pantera's Rex Brown; and Bobby Landgraf, who has played live with Pantera.
Founded in 2015, Vltimas is a fantastic outfit that plays death metal with a blackened twist. Vltimas' members are based in Texas, Canada, and Portugal. The group boasts the epic talents of Cryptosy's Flo Mounier, Aura Noir and ex-Mayhem's Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen, and ex-Morbid Angel's David Vincent. Mounier and Eriksen have also played together for Nader Sadek. Of course, earlier this year, Eriksen released his masterpiece of a debut album under the RUÏM banner — an effort that should go down in BM history. It would be impossible to properly sing the praises of Mr. Eriksen, who is an absolute guitar god. We are so happy that he is able to demonstrate his skills in Vltimas.
Murderdolls was the delightfully sleazy supergroup that we all need to revisit sometimes. This entertaining entity began as a collaboration between Wednesday 13 and the tragically deceased Joey Jordison of Slipknot. The band would welcome other accomplished musicians: Genitorturers' Eric Griffin, ex-Dope's late Ben Graves, ex-Dope's Tripp Eisen, and Dope's Acey Slade. Fortunately, Murderdolls managed to record two studio albums: Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls (2002) and Women and Children Last (2010). Although there has been some drama surrounding the Murderdolls name, we prefer to focus on the music.
That said, we will share an interesting revelation made by Joey Jordison that was captured by journalist and author Jon Wiederhorn: "We needed time away from one another and I think every Slipknot fan should be grateful to the Murderdolls and Stone Sour for doing records during that time because if that had not happened Slipknot might not have made it to our third record."
Formed in 1998, the Swedish death metal collective Bloodbath has boasted a long list of revered talents. Bloodbath originally included Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt, Edge of Sanity's Dan Swanö, Katatonia's Jonas Renkse, and Katatonia's Anders Nyström — the last two remain with the band. Bloodbath also currently boasts Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes, ex-Opeth's Martin Axenrot, and Lik's Tomas Åkvik. Bloodbath's lineup previously showcased other great talents: Pain and Hypocrisy's Peter Tägtgren, Craft's Joakim Karlsson, and ex-Katatonia's Per Eriksson.
Lindemann was a fun and amusing project while it lasted. This outrageous outfit, of course, consisted of Rammstein's frontman Till Lindemann as well as composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren, whom we named above. In 2020, Lindemann disbanded when Tägtgren withdrew. The latter told Landry.Audio: "We could have spit out hundreds of songs every year because we had so many ideas, and we really clicked. So, yeah, it's sad. We could have been one of the biggest bands in the world if we kept on going, I tell you that. It was insane." We wouldn't doubt the validity of his statement. Although Till has since restarted Lindemann, it just isn't the same without Tägtgren.
Paradise Lost's Greg Mackintosh founded Vallenfyre in 2010 in honor of his late father. Vallenfyre allowed Mackintosh to express his grief through brilliant art. Over the years, Mackintosh was joined by the likes of ex-My Dying Bride's Hamish Glencross, At the Gates and ex-Paradise Lost's Adrian Erlandsson, Opeth and ex-Paradise Lost's Waltteri Väyrynen, and Scoot of the punk band Doom. After Vallenfyre was laid to rest in 2018, the terribly unsetting phoenix that is the great Strigoi rose from its ashes, thanks to the resilient Mr. Mackintosh.
Bodom After Midnight
Most of us think of the now defunct Bodom After Midnight as Alexi Laiho's post-Children of Bodom band. However, it was, in fact, a supergroup as well. Laiho was joined by ex-Norther and ex-CoB's Daniel Freyberg, Waltteri Väyrynen from the pick above, and ex-Santa Cruz's Mitja Toivonen. Bodom After Midnight's debut EP, Paint the Sky with Blood (2021), was actually released after the untimely death of Laiho. It ends with the band's bone-chilling cover of Dissection's "Where Dead Angels Lie." On a very different note, many metalheads might already know that Laiho was also part of the playful supergroup The Local Band.
Isafjørd represents the creative union of Sólstafir's Aðalbjörn Tryggvason and Sign and ex-Pain of Salvation's Ragnar Zolberg. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Zolberg truly has one of the most beautiful and entrancing voices in the music world. His vocals intertwine splendidly with Tryggvason's. Isafjørd's debut, Hjartastaki, dropped in December of last year. Looking back, Hjartastaki was one of the best records of 2022. The inventive Isafjørd created a style of their own on this criminally catchy and irresistible Icelandic offering. We can't wait to hear new content from Isafjørd in the future!