Going solo in Rock /Metal has become an inevitable necessity, as more artists are searching for a personal musical vision outside of a band context. Technically speaking, not all composers are solo artists (i.e Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt or Death’s Chuck Schuldiner), but solo artists are definitely those who are in full control of the musical direction of a certain project.
The following is a modest mention of 5 musicians’ solo projects with a video preview of their material. You might also want to check the Wikipedia links below for more information on the artists.
- Devin Townsend
Devin Townsend is one of the most hardworking people in Metal today, with an extensive solo career that spanned 13 solo albums to date. Mainly a guitarist and vocalist, Devin also mixes and masters his solo albums which tend to have a rich atmospheric background and usually follow a story-line. In 2007, he released an album entitled “Ziltoid The Omniscient“, famous for its humorous yet heavy and intense nature. In June 2011, he released 2 albums entitled “Deconstruction” and “Ghost”, two polar opposites that emphasize Devin’s schizophrenic character. Devin also features plenty of important guest musicians on his albums, from bands like Cynic, Opeth, Gojira, Soilwork, etc.
Mostly known for his iconic status with Black Metal band Emperor, Ihsahn is mainly a guitarist / vocalist, but has played synths/keyboards and bass on his solo project that was launched in 2006. The project already spanned a trilogy, with the 3rd title “After” released in early 2010. On his albums, Ihsahn brought Classic Metal together with Progressive Black Metal and features everything from piano, orchestration, blast beats and his trademark Black Metal vocals. He even took things to extremes by adding a saxophone to the mix, which also brought him more recognition in the Avant-Garde community for which he was already familiar to due to his side project with Peccatum.
- Serj Tankian
Serj Tankian hit big success with System of A Down in the early 2000’s with one huge album after the other, the latest of which was the double album “Mesmerize / Hypnotize” in 2005. He launched his solo career in 2007 with two albums to date, respectively entitled “Elect the Dead” and “Imperfect Harmonies”. The solo project was well met by fans worldwide, especially the first album which was an instant success. After all, he’s a composer, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, activist and humanitarian among other titles, so he’s definitely one of the most prolific solo artists of the 21st century.
- Steven Wilson
Steven Wilson is a twice Grammy nominated writer, performer and producer whose main band is Progressive Rock band Porcupine Tree. In 2009, he launched his solo project with a release entitled “Insurgentes”, dubbed as his most experimental work yet, one which further extends his 70’s Jazz and Prog Rock influences by adding noise and drone elements to the mix. “Insurgentes” was recorded in studios around the world, and is itself another of his numerous accomplishments. His new release “Grace for Drowning” will be released in September 2011 as a double album.
- Lunatic Soul
Mariusz Duda is the bassist/vocalist of Riverside, a Progressive Rock band which reached international fame with 5 highly accredited studio albums. While still with Riverside, Mariusz was also busy with his solo project Lunatic Soul, under which he released two albums in 2008 and 2010, respectively entitled “Lunatic Soul” and “Lunatic Soul II”. Lunatic Soul’s music is characterized by a dense atmospheric ambiance, and features ethnic instruments and percussion (but no electric guitar). Lunatic Soul was well received by Riverside fans and the Progressive Rock community in general.
If you have any particular Rock / Metal solo artists you’d like to share on LebMetal.com, submit an article to us on admin at lebmetal dot com with an overview of the artists’ solo projects, Wikipedia links to their pages and Youtube links of their songs.