One of the biggest stories in metal this year is the revolving door for vocalists. Jesse Leach has returned to Killswitch Engage. Iced Earth played their first L.A. show with new vocalist Stu Block last Saturday at Club Nokia. Dragonforce will soon release their first album with new frontman Marc Hudson. We're sure that with these moves, all of these bands hope to end up on the below list of most successful replacement vocalists in rock and metal.
10. Angela Gossow
Arch Enemy (2001-present)
Michael Amott's soaring guitar melodies have always provided a strong backbone for Arch Enemy's brand of melodic Euro-death. But it was the addition of Angela Gossow on the band's fourth album, 2001's Wages of Sin, that propelled the band to a devoted worldwide following. The act's previous vocalist, Johan Liiva, relied mostly on monotone barks. Gossow has a voice that can hit all ranges of vocal brutality, and it won over U.S. audiences on tours with Ozzfest, Slayer, and Iron Maiden.
9. George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher
Cannibal Corpse (1996-present)
After Cannibal Corpse became death metal's most commercially successful band in the early '90s, disagreements with original growler Chris Barnes saw the entrance of the man called "Corpsegrinder" in 1995. Fisher has provided a solid anchor for the band to continue their gore-obsessed mayhem on albums such as 1996's Vile and the soon-to-be-released Torture. He has helped them remain relevant through numerous metal trends, while Barnes has succumbed to self-parody with subpar originals and cheesy death metal AC/DC covers with his outfit Six Feet Under.
8. Howard Jones
Killswitch Engage (2002-2011)
Longtime fans are excited about the return of Jesse Leach to the fold, but it was Howard Jones that led the band to their largest commercial success with 2004's The End Of Heartache. The undoing of many promising metalcore acts was the comparative wussiness of clean vocal choruses to ferociously barked verses. Jones was capable of pulling off both while still sounding like he had balls. Live, he projected a likeable teddy-bear persona.
7. John Bush
Anthrax (1992-2004, 2009-2010)
Joey Belladonna's anthemic vocals were the right fit for the moshable-thrash of '80s Anthrax. But on 1993's Sound Of White Noise, John Bush's vocals provided the proper amount of world-weary roughness to help the band adjust to the changing '90s metal scene better than some of their contemporaries. The argument of Ozzy vs. Dio will always be a hot topic of metal discussion, but the topic of Bush vs. Belladonna is also a good way to get tensions running between metal fans.
6. Sammy Hagar
Van Halen (1985-1996, 2003-2005)
Let's get one thing clear. We are very stoked that A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halen's first album with David Lee Roth in a quarter-century, turned out awesome. But we also feel that the Hagar era gets a bad rap. His vocals provided a strong base for the band to build expertly-crafted pop-rock that kept Van Halen one of the biggest bands in the world. 1986's 5150 and 1988's OU812 would have been outright disastrous if DLR's over-the-top histrionics were present. (Okay, we admit that 1995's Balance sucked ass.)