GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES-Part 2 A Very Brief And Incomplete History Of European Super Groups

GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES-Part 2

A Very Brief And Incomplete History Of European Super Groups

(Version 1.1)

by JP


PREFACE

As we hit the 50th anniversary of Heavy Metal this year (2020), as Managing Editor of Metal-Rules.com, one of my goals is to try to add more editorial content and technical information so people can use MR not only as a source of entertainment but reliable information as well.  In our 30,000+ pages of content, we have written almost 14,000 CD reviews, 500+ book reviews, 400+ DVD reviews. Over 25 years we  have conducted over 2000 interviews, and our international staff have reviewed over 1700 concerts and festivals world-wide.

We are also celebrating our 25th year as a web-site so to add even more value for our readers I would like to add  a series of articles about various facets of Heavy Metal.   Every year, I am increasingly happy to discover more and more authors, books, on-line publications, scholars and academic studies scouring our massive archives, citing and sharing our work.  Therefore, my modest goal is to continue to make Metal-Rules a resource and repository on a variety of (hopefully!) interesting topics and not just a shallow dumping ground of regurgitated press-releases, click-bait, pop-up ads, political posturing, countless lists and rankings of albums, and endless industry gossip.  There are plenty of good sites that already do that well and they are all enjoyable in their own way.

I’m not quite how sure this series  will manifest itself but our first feature was a history of Canadian Metal magazines.  This month I am going to look at the phenomena of  American Super-groups.  If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas for future articles, please let me know. You can reach me at joshuawood@shaw.ca.  Thank you.


IMPORTANT NOTE:    As the title suggests this is Part 2.  Part I (American Supergroups) was published back in March of 2020.    The introductory text of this  Part 2 is exactly the same as Part 1.   If you happened to read  Part I, feel free to skip the long article, you can just scroll down and look at the list of bands! If not, feel free to read on! 

A couple of new notes.

I also feel this will be the shortest essay of the ten in this anniversary series.   The Europeans just don’t seem to have the same proclivity to create supergroups as the USA.   The only reason I can think of is that perhaps the music industry is just slightly less commercialized in Europe.   My vague and unscientific sentiment is that European supergroups, are more often than not, formed to make music and have fun and American ones can be more of a creation of label people and big money. Accordingly, there are fewer examples to discuss.  

I didn’t want too just focus on the US, so  here we go with Part 2.  The USA is obviously just one nation with 328 million people and Europe is (roughly) 50 nations with 714 million people so I focused kind of the traditional ‘Metal’ nations of Western and Northern Europe and drew a very rough parallel about 28 nations and about 300 million.   My apologies, I can’t do an individual essay for each European nations supergroups so they all get lumped into one category.  Additionally because of the political and financial structure of the EU, often European supergroups will be multi-nation affairs with member crossing borders with ease.   Lastly, I do not want to get into a whole ‘Brexit / England is (or isn’t) part of Europe’ discussion right now. For our purposes the UK get lumped in Europe. 

It seems there are quite a few Black Metal supergroups.  I can imagine because the scene was quite small and insular so a lot of people knew of each other.  Due to it’s  extreme nature, Black Metal can be musically limiting so often Black Metal musicians make several other bands to explore their creativity in different ways.  Often you will see a Black Metal performer in three bands at once,  his (or her) main vehicle, an old school Death Metal band and maybe a more melodic Hard Rock band.  For example Arve Isdal (aka Ice Dale of Norway) is (as of time of writing)  in Enslaved, Audrey Horne and Bourbon Flame, all very different bands. 

I’ve noticed European supergroups tend to be a bit more prolific and stable.  The only reason that I can think of is that perhaps many of them are formed for more altruistic and musical reasons than financial reasons of the American counter-parts. 

European supergroups had a pretty massive scene in the late 60’s and 70’s  but then seemed to die off in the 80’s and 90’s before the the supergroup concept gained more popularity again in Europe, post-2000.  This is a brief list of honourable mentions from the early days;  Cream, Blind Faith, Humble Pie, Airforce, Cactus, ELP, Captain Beyond, Bad Company, UK, some say even Led Zeppelin,  and that sort of takes us into the 1980’s where we begin our journey from just ‘Rock’ to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. 

By way of comparison, in America, the 80’s were a huge time for supergroups. It continued well into the 90’s as the ‘Hair Metal dudes fell from favour and tried different combinations to reinvent themselves.  However in Europe in the 80’s and 90’s supergroups were not very popular.  In Europe, post-2000, we saw a big rise in supergroups and lately as the traditional physical-media, music industry was failing (or failed)  now people have membership in two or three bands.  It’s almost as if the two regions are almost diametrically opposed. 

Today it’s fast, easy, digital and creates multiple revenue streams.  In todays musical environment, I can’t help but think if a performer who is multiple bands is more of a session player and less of an exciting new supergroup.  Today’s supergroup  seems to be working musicians trying to survive and somehow that makes it seem a little less…super.   Regardless there are some very cool collaborations going on and if you are a fan of these types of projects, I hope you find this interesting.   Enjoy!  

 


GATHERED IN THEIR MASSES-Part 2

A Very Brief And Incomplete History of European Super Groups

Why super-groups?

I’ve always loved super-groups and I know why.  It is simply the quest for more.  For example, if a singer I enjoy joins another band, I automatically want to hear what that sounds like!   If singer from Band ‘A’ and guitarist from band ‘B’ and bassist from band ‘C’ and drummer from Band ‘D’ all join forces to make band ‘E’, my mind is blown!  I’m automatically intrigued and excited.  What will it sound like?  How will they interact musically?  How different sonically and stylistically will it be from bands A, B, C, and D?  So many questions.    These projects can be fun, diverse and interest experiments.

In my mind the super-group, or all-star project has a slightly elevated status than that of a solo album.  A solo album is usually born of an individuals desire to do something creative and different outside of the main band but one where they might have more creative control.  It is less collaborative.  Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith and Steve Harris have all done solo type albums where they are the focus but it allows them to expand beyond Iron Maiden.  A super-group by contrast is a joint-effort, a whole new team starting from scratch.

The idea of mixing elite talent to create something greater than the parts is not new.  Athletes and the sports world have been doing for ages. What if this player from this team and this player and this player made another team? It would be like some sort of…super-team!   Baseball, Hockey, Football and Soccer all have all-star teams, or exhibition games, or tournaments or even leagues. It’s all intended to be fun and there is probably a degree of financial incentive as well.

Sometimes it is natural and organic (ie, player/musician driven) and at times it is a business decision; the sole creation of the front office/Manager/coach/record label/franchise in an attempt to pull a band (or team) together that could be entertaining and profitable.  In the end, I don’t care why they happen. The motives for creating a Metal super-group are unimportant to me. I don’t discriminate; to me the musical end result is the important thing.  It could be the most contrived project ever created, as long as it entertains me I’m happy.

My friends and I would spend time making our own imaginary super-groups, much like the big business of fantasy leagues in sports. We would debate and discuss what it would sound like if David Lee Roth joined Motley Crue or whatever other ludicrous scenario would could imagine for our own amusement. I still do it!  What would have happened if Michael Kiske had joined Iron Maiden?  Who is going to be Ozzy’s new guitarist?  What if it was Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or whoever?   One can only imagine.

I haven’t done any concrete research on this concept but my initial impression is that melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal artists from the United States tend to form more all-star projects or super-groups than many nations.  This could be due to the large population the large overall out-put of Metal bands.  Maybe I’ll do another version with European all-star projects including all those monstrous European Power Metal rock operas like Aina, Avantasia, Avalon, Ayreon, Arch Angel, Aldaria etc…(and that is just the first letter of the alphabet…)

What is a super-group?

What is an all-star project or super-group and is there is distinction between the two?  Well, I don’t believe there is any formal definition but I have always felt that super-groups were the truly elite members from the biggest bands and an all-star project is anything below that level.

For our purposes, and through-out this article, I use the two terms relatively interchangeably and the core definition I’ve adopted is a band that has roughly 60% or more members that have been in a previous band from which they initially derived their fame, reputation, credentials recognition or notoriety.   For example, a super-group power trio would have two members (66%) or more of previous fame. A quarter would have a minimum of three members (75%) and a quintet may have three or four members. (60%-80%).    I don’t want to get too caught up in the numbers, the bottom line is that the majority of the members must have all had some pedigree. A bunch of musicians got together and formed a brand new entity and released an album, or more.

The life-cycle of a super-group.

Historically, most super-groups do not last very long, not necessarily in terms of time but in terms of total productive output.    Of the 75 bands listed , only about XX of them are active and most of them are the bands that have formed in the last decade. This short-life is generally because one or more the members can return to their other bands that brought them their initial recognition or fame or wealth, once the super-group has run it’s course or natural life-span. More often than not the band just doesn’t work.

Some bands only gather very infrequently to create music, like Demons & Wizards for example, who have only put out three albums in twenty years.  Others gather and do a have a few albums in a short intense period of time such as Chickenfoot who did two albums and a live album in three years and then went on hiatus. There are even tragic stories like that of Adrenaline Mob, a super-group whose momentum was cut short by a tragic car accident. Generally for whatever reason, super-groups are usually short and sweet.

Other possible reasons for the short life-span of super-groups is the volatile nature of bands that are comprised of many ego-driven, alpha artists. It has been said that too many cooks can spoil the broth!   Another reason is that on occasion a record label will put a band together that looks good ‘on paper’ but the execution can be botched or the fans do not take to the project.  5000 fans of  Rocker ‘A’ and 5000 fans of Rocker ‘B’ do not always translate into 10,000 fans buying a new album when Rocker ‘A’ and Rocker ‘B’ make a new band!

A final reason why most super-groups can have a limited shelf-life, is that sometimes members who enjoy playing together or jamming find it hard to create that spontaneous magic in the studio consistently enough that is worthy of continuing on.  It was fun to try once or twice, now we have done it, let’s move on, it was fun while it lasted… or other similar sentiments.  Once the goal is accomplished, glasses were raised and people move on.

Some exceptions.

I avoided choosing people who are generally regarded as solo artists, for example guitar heroes like Yngwie J. Malmsteen or Chris Impelliterri.   They may hire any number of exceptional people to work with them for an album and again, ‘on-paper’ it might meet the loose criteria of a super-group but it is not really a ‘band’, a gathering of musicians who want to have fun and make music.  We can get into some grey areas for example with older bands like Rainbow and Black Sabbath , even Megadeth and W.A.S.P. with a revolving door of talented members with one key leader figure but generally I have picked bands that are comprised of multiple members all working together as equals.  All for one, one for all. Mostly.

I’ve also chosen to exclude Prog-Metal.  That is a whole other universe, those few dozen guys that all play in Dream Theater/Enchant/Spock’s Beard/Trans-Atlantic/Flower Kings/Marillion/Neal Morse/Planet X/Liquid Tension Experiment  etc, etc, etc,  and that whole incestuous scene. I don’t like the term incestuous…let’s call it insular!   To me these seem like guys who just want to play with each other, learn, practice and experiment, rather than form a full band and tour. Maybe I’ll do an examination of that scene as a separate piece and recruit experts like Roie Avin and Jeff Wagner to help me navigate the deep, myriad and exciting world of prog-side projects.

Also, no grunge, so Audiosoave and Temple Of The Dog and all those guys are out. We are called METAL rules after all.

To summarize all that, my rough, loose and sloppy definition of a super-group for this feature is…

-Several members of other previously known bands form a new band.

-The majority of the members in the super-group band have some degree of fame from other bigger bands.

-The new band generally doesn’t eclipse the fame of the bands that the members were originally.

-The new band has relatively short life-span/low productivity. Burn out vs. fade away?

-No guitar heroes or predominantly solo artists and albums.

-No Prog, no grunge.

-At least one studio album was recorded and released.  That makes it more official and not just some late-night, all-star jam on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise or something.

Layout, design, notes etc

A couple of comments on the layout and design of this feature and some notes.

-90% of the time I’ve just included a super-groups debut album. That was the band in it’s purest form during it’s creation phase.

-Bands are listed roughly chronologically by date of release of the debut album.

-As technology made it easier to create music across distances and as physical media became more obsolete, around 2010 there was a big rise in ‘studio-only’ supergroups, especially spearheaded Frontiers Records who are  introducing one or two a year.

-I’ve made a note if they are still active or not as indicated  in brackets after the bands name. Don’t sweat this too much by the time you read this article,  the bands status may have changed, they could have broken up or reformed.  Let’s just call it, ‘as of Fall 2020 status’.

I’ve included a list of the members on the debut album and what bands they were or are in.  This is very fluid and changes constantly, so much so that it is virtually impossible to track.   So for our purposes I’ve included some past and present membership ‘at the time the debut album by the super-group was released.’  So this is not retroactive.  If a member, a singer for example, was in an all-star project in 2000 I do not include all the bands he or she joined after the year 2000.

This list is certainly not comprehensive. I’ve included  about 75 bands so it is a pretty good chunk of the supergroups.   If I have forgotten any bands and I’m sure I have, please let me know who you think meets the criteria and should be included.

Enjoy!

UPDATES:

October 8th, 2020:  Added: Arcturus, Borknagar  (AB)

October 8th, 2020  Added:  Darkened  (Courtesy of JK)


ALASKA (Inactive) (England)

Heart Of The Storm (1984, Music for Nations)

Vocals: Robert Hawthrone (Last Flight)

Guitar: Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake)

Bass: Brian Badhams

Keyboards: Don Airey (Black Sabbath, Rainbow)

Drums: John Marter (Voyager)

Notes/Comments:  After David Coverdale fired everyone from Whitesnake several of the members went onto to other projects.  This was one of them. It was short-lived, two albums and done.


THE FIRM (Inactive) (England)

The Firm (1985, Atlantic)

Vocals: Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company)

Guitar: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)

Bass: Tony Franklin (Whitesnake)

Drums: Chris Slade (Uriah Heep)

Notes/Comments: Quite a bit of 70’s star power carried over into the 80’s, signed to a major but by 1985 it  might have been a little to late to make a splash.


GOGMAGOG (Inactive) (England)

I Will Be There (1985, Food For Thought)

Vocals: Paul Di’Anno (Iron Maiden)

Guitar: Pete Willis (Def Leppard)

Guitar: Jannick Gers (White Spirit)

Bass: Neil Murray (Whitesnake)

Drums:  Clive Burr (Iron Maiden)

Notes/Comments:  Ambitious big name band and a NWOBHM wet-dream but the grand design never materialized. They only managed one EP before calling it quits. The weird band name probably didn’t help the bands chances.


GTR (Inactive) (England)

GTR (1986, Arista)

Vocals: Max Bacon (Bronz)

Guitar: Steve Hackett (Genesis)

Guitar: Steve Howe (Yes)

Bass: Paul Spalding

Drums: Johnathon Mover (Marillion)

Notes/Comments:  Some heavyweight prog dudes from the 70’s take a stab at 80’s melodic hard rock.  Smells a bit like chasing the dollar sign. One album and out.


MAX AND THE BROADWAY METAL CHOIR (Inactive) (England)

…And God Gave Us Max (1986, PowerStation)

Vocals:  Jeff Michelson

Guitar:  Steve Bolton (Atomic Rooster)

Guitar: Jan Cyrka (Cyrka)

Bass: Kevin Riddles (Angel Witch)

Keyboards: Didge Digital (FM)

Drums: Pete Jupp (FM)

Notes/comments: A bit of a weird label creation trying to mix broadway tunes and Metal.  Innovative and early in the game but ultimately unsuccessful.


MEKONG DELTA (Active) (Germany)

Mekong Delta (1987, Aaarrg)

Vocals: Wolfgang Borgmann

Guitar: Rolf Stein (aka Frank Frike of Living Death)

Guitar: Vincent St. John (aka Reiner Kelch of Living Death)

Bass: Bjorn Eklund (aka Ralf Hubert)

Drums: Gordon Perkins (aka Jorg Michael of Avenger/Rage)

Notes/Comments: To me this is one of the earliest 80’s European ‘true’ Metal supergroups.  I say ‘true’ Metal as compared to Hard Rock or some left-over 70’s guys trying to reinvent themselves in the slick 80’s.   These young German thrashers were the new breed, early in their respective careers but already making a name for themselves.  They used pseudonyms at the time (probably for contractual obligation reasons) and at the the time there was quite a bit of buzz about the identity of the members.    Eventually Ralf Hubert walked away with the name and the band became his sole-project with a constant revolving door including past, present and future members of Grave Digger, Stratovarius, Helloween, Rhapsody, Krokus, Holy Moses, U.D.O., Running Wild, Annihilator,  Gamma Ray, Sodom and more. They are still active today.


DARE (Active) (England)

Out Of The Silence (1988, A&M)

Vocals: Darren Wharton (Thin Lizzy)

Guitar: Vinny Burns (Jailbait)

Bass: Martin Shelton

Keyboards: Brian Cox (Orbital)

Drums: James Ross (Frontier)

Notes/comments: This melodic Hard rock act found some early success and longevity and is still active today.  Shelly and Burns went onto to join Ten.


BLUE MURDER (Inactive) (England)
Blue Murder (1989, Geffen)

Vocals/Gutiar: John Sykes (Tygers Of Pan-Tang, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake)
Bass: Tony Franklin (The Firm, Jimmy Page)
Drums: Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra)

Notes/comments:  A mix of US and UK heroes, I felt it kind fit in with the American scene.  Originally I put this in the US pile, but it fits here too.


SWEDISH EROTICA (Inactive) (Sweden)

Swedish Erotica (1989, Virgin)

Vocals: Mats Levin (Capricorn)

Guitar: Magnus Axx

Guitar: Morgan Jensen

Bass: Jonas Tangstrom

Drums: Bjarne Olsson (DD Band, Zanity)

Notes/Comments:  A bit of an honourable mention here.  Despite Sweden having a very decent melodic Hard rock scene, this seemed a bit like an attempt to capitalize on the the American sound and scene, the band even living in LA for a while. The band had a long history with past, present and future members of Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen, King Diamond, Shotgun Messiah, Madison, Talisman, TNT, and Treat all passing through at one time or another.


CARNAGE (Inactive) (Sweden)

Dark Recollections (1990, Necrosis)

Vocals: Matti Kari (Carbonized, Dismember)

Guitar: Michael Amott

Bass: David Blomqvist (Entombed)

Drums: Fred Estby (Dismember)

Notes/Comments:  One of the earliest Death Metal supergroups, maybe even the first.   In a scenario similar to Mekong Delta, these young musicians in the extreme scene were starting out and all went onto to bigger things, making Carnage a flashpoint, despite only making one album.


CASANOVA (Inactive) (Germany)

Casanova (1990, WEA)

Vocals: Michael Voss (Mad Max)

Guitar: Stephan Neumeier (Dresden China)

Bass: Jurgen Attig

Drums:  Michael Eurich (Warlock)

Notes/comments:    Super polished, American style Melodic Metal. Formed a bit of a 90’s, German, major label triumvirate along with Bonfire and Fair Warning.


GAMMA RAY (Active) (Germany)

Heading For Tomorrow (1990, Noise)

 

Vocals: Ralk Scheepers (Tyran Pace)

Guitar: Kai Hansen (Helloween)

Bass: Uwe Wessel (Travental)

Drums:  Mathias Burchardt (Travental)

Notes/comments:   Although it might seem odd to think of Gamma Ray as a super-group, in retrospect they were. Billed ever-so-briefly as a Kai Hansen solo project (see above) the ex- Helloweenie quickly established it a band project with three established member of the still young German Metal scene. Further the cover art featured Kai and Ralf like it was some of selling point! Disagree if you will and call it an honourable mention.


TALISMAN (Unknown) (Sweden)

Talisman (1990, Airplay)

Vocals: Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie)

Guitar: Christopher Stahl (Power)

Guitar: Mats Lindfors (John Norum)

Bass/Drums: Marcel Jacob (Yngwie, John Norum)

Keyboards: Mats Olausson (Talk Of The Town, Yngwie)

Notes/comments:  Another early Swedish supergroup a bunch of ex-Yngwie guys doing melodic Metal.   Lots of Swedes have passed through this band over the years as well the band hanging on to make several well-received albums.


ADRENALIN KICK (Inactive) (England) 

Bad Reputation (1992, Status)

Vocals: Mike Pritchard (Skeletoon Swing)

Guitar: Dave Cook (Strategy, Wayward Angel)

Guitar: Adre Kania

Bass: Darren Richardson (Sweet Deceit)

Drums:  Mac


AB/CD  (Inactive) (Sweden)

The Rock and Roll Devil (RCA, 1992)

Vocals: Mats Leven (Treat)

Guitar: Bjorn Pahlsson (Easy Action)

Bass: Bengt Ljungberger (Raw Animal)

Drums:  Nicco Wallin

Notes/comments:  Originally a Swedish, AC/DC cover and/or tribute band, dating back to the mid-80’s,  albeit a serious one.  They started doing their own material and got signed to a major!


MEMENTO MORI (Inactive)  (Sweden) 

Rhymes Of Lunacy (1993, Black Mark)

Vocals: Messiah Marconi (Candlemass)

Guitar: Mike Wead (Hexenhaus)

Guitar: Nikky Argento

Bass: Marty Marteen (Hexenhaus)

Drums:  Snowy Shaw (King Diamond)

Notes/ comments:    The first Power/Doom supergroup?


ARCTURUS (Active, Norway)

Constellation (1994, Nocturnal Art)

 

Vocals:  Garm (Ulver)

Guitar: Samoth (Satyricon, Emperor)

Keyboards: Sverd (Ulver, Mortem)

Drums: Hellhammer (Mayhem)

Notes/comments:  Another very early example of a Norwegian super-group.  Not that prolific but still active and respected.


OPHTHALMIA (Inactive) (Sweden)

A Journey Into Darkness (1994, Avante-Garde)

Vocals: Shadow (aka Jon Nodtveidt) (Dissection)

Guitar: It (aka Tony Saarka) (Abruptum)

Bass:  Mourning (aka Robert Iversson) (Pan.Thy. Monium)

Drums:  Winter (aka Benny Larsson)  (Edge Of Sanity, Pan.Thy. Monium)

Notes/comments:  A bit of an early Black Metal all-star project, possibly the first.  A bit odd but well regarded in the underground.


SPIRTUAL BEGGARS (Active) (Sweden)

Spiritual Beggars (1994, Wrong Again Records)

Vocals: Spice (aka Christian Sjostrand) (Aeon)

Guitar: Michael Amott (Carcass, Carnage)

Bass: Pingo Sjoholm

Drums:  Ludwig Witt

Notes/Comments:  Despite relatively humble beginnings, a ton of top-notch people have passed through this band included past, present members of  Arch Enemy, King Diamond, Grand Magus and many more.  Originally founded by Amott as his Hard Rock+stoner/groove side-project they are still going strong today.


VAGABOND (Inactive) (Norway)

Vagabond (1994, EMI)

Vocals: Jorn Lande

Guitar: Ronnie LeTekro (TNT)

Bass:  Morty Black (TNT)

Drums:  Steiner Krokstad (Stage Dolls)

Notes/Comments:  Basically Norway’s first Melodic Metal supergroup formed of Ex-TNT guys when they split off a brief time.  John Land’s first band!  Signed to a major as a last stab when this style was fading in popularity.  Two albums and out.


VOODOOCULT (Inactive) (Germany)

Jesus Killing Machine (1994, Motor Music)

Vocals: Philip Boa (solo)

Guitar: Mille Petrozza (Kreator)

Guitar: Chuck Schuldiner (Death)

Guitar: Waldemar Sorychta (Despair)

Guitar: Gabby Abularach (Cro-Mags)

Bass: Dave Ball

Drums:  Dave Lombardo (Slayer)

Notes/comments:  A very interesting project with a few modern industrial tinges.  Amazing on paper with some huge names but failed to capture the imagination. Maybe the weird lyrics and poor album cover didn’t help.  Had strong ties to Grip INC.


X-WILD (Inactive) (Germany)

So What! (1994, Tricolour)

Vocals: Frank Knight

Guitar:  Axel Morgan (Running Wild)

Bass: (Running Wild)

Drums:  Stefan Schwarzmann (Running Wild, U.D.O.)

Notes/comments:  At one point Rock ‘n Rolf of the infamous Pirate Metal band Running Wild, made most of his crew walk the plank for mutiny.  He sailed off into the sunset with the band name and the other guys said, ‘So what!’ and they got a new captain, a new vessel and formed X-Wild.  Clever if you think about it. They actually made three solid albums of teutonic Power Metal not unlike what they were doing before. Bit of an honourable/interesting mention.


ABSTRAKT ALGEBRA (Inactive) (Sweden)

Abstract Algebra (1995, Megarock)

Vocals: Mats Leven (Treat)

Guitar: Mike Wead (Hexenhaus, Memento Mori, Candlemass)

Guitar: Simon Johansson

Bass: Leif Edling (Nemesis, Candlemass)

Drums:  Jojo Perkovic

Notes/comments:  One of the many semi-incestous bands in Swedish doom/Power Metal scene including Candlemass, Krux, Memento Mori, and Zoic; all those guys just trading members back and forth.  It’s still a good record though.


BRAZEN ABBOT (Inactive) (Sweden)

Live And Learn (1995, SPV) 

Vocals: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze)

Vocals: Goran Edman  (Madison, Yngwie)

Vocals:  Thomas Vikstrom (Candlemass, Talisman)

Guitar: Nikolo Kotzev (Baltimore)

Bass: Svante Henryson

Keyboards: Mic Michaeli (Europe)

Drums:  Ian Haugland (Europe)

Notes/comments:  Long running and under appreciated band with some heavy weight players founded Baltimore man, Kotzev.


VED BUENS ENDE (Inactive) (Norway)

Written In Waters (1995, Misanthropy)

Vocals/Guitar: Vicotnik (aka Usaf Parvez) (Dodheimsgard)

Bass: Skoll (aka (Ulver, Fimbulwinter)

Drums:  Carl Michael Eide (Satyricon, Ulver)

Notes/comments:  Another early black Metal super-group. They only managed the one album.


ZYKLON-B

Blood Must Be Shed  (1995, Malicious Records)

Vocals: Aldrahn (Thorns)

Guitar/Bass: Samoth (Emperor, Satyricon)

Keyboards: Ihshan (Emperor)

Drums: Frost (Satyricon)

Notes/comments: A very early Black Metal super-group.  Short-lived, not very productive and not without controversy.


AIN’T DEAD YET (Inactive) (Switzerland) 

Read Your Mind (1996, Interchord) 

Vocals: Andy Portmann

Guitar: Many Mauer (Headhunter, Killer, Krokus)

Bass: Tony Castell (Krokus)

Drums: Peter Haas (Krokus, Mekong Delta, Poltergeist)

Notes/comments: Started as a Krokus spin-off doing cover tunes, they got signed and did one album. The debut covers EP from 1992 is bit of a rarity among collectors.


BORKNAGAR (Active) (Norway)

Borknagar (1996, Malicious)

Vocals: Garm (Ulver)

Guitar: Oystein G. Brun (Molested)

Bass:  Infernus (Gorgoroth)

Keyboards: Ivar Bjornson (Enslaved)

Drums: Grim (Gorgoroth, Molested)

Notes/comments:  One of the more enduring and long-running Norwegian black Metal supergroups.


VONDUR-(Inactive) (Sweden)

Striosyfirysing (1996, Necropolis)

Vocals/Guitar/Bass:  It (aka Tony Saarka) (Abruptum, Ophthalamia)

Drums/Vocals: All (aka Jim Berger) (Abruptum, Ophthalamia)

Notes/comments:  These two guys (It and All) were always reinventing themselves. This is the third or fourth band they were in together. Lots of known session people helped along the way.


HAMMERFALL (Active) (Sweden)

Glory to The Brave (1997, Nuclear Blast)

Original line-up:  

Vocals: Mikael Stanne (Ceremonial Oath, Dark Tranquility)

Guitar: Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquility)

Guitar: Oscar Dronjak (Ceremonial Oath, Crystal Age)

Bass: Johan Larsson (In Flames)

Drums: Jesper Stromblad (Ceremonial Oath, Dimension Zero, In Flames)

Album Line-up: 

Vocals: Joachim Cans

Guitar: Oscar Dronjak (Ceremonial Oath, Crystal Age)

Bass: Johan Larsson (In Flames)

Drums: Glenn Ljungstrom (Dimension Zero, In Flames)

Notes/comments: One of the more important bands in the history of Metal.  A bunch of Swedish Melodic Death Metal guys wanted to get back to their True Metal roots. They made this fun project which became a surprise smash hit and virtually single-handedly reignited and spearheaded the late 90’s True/Power Metal revival spawning dozens and dozens of bands. This band quickly surpassed all the bands the members came from in terms of sales, popularity and touring and is still going today.


PRIMAL FEAR- (Active) (Germany)

Primal Fear (1997, Nuclear Blast)

Vocals: Ralf Scheepers (Tyran Pace, Gamma Ray)

Guitar: Thomas Naumann (Sinner)

Bass: Mat Sinner (Sinner)

Drums:  Klaus Sperling (Protopower, Insanity, Sinner)

Notes/comments:   In a scenario similar to Gamma Ray, Primal Fear was never really billed as a super-group but on paper they meet all the criteria, three or four known guys coming together to make something new.  Essentially it was the traditional Metal band Sinner going Power Metal with a new singer.  It worked, because they, along with Hammerfall, helped spearhead the True Metal revival of the late 90’s. Lots of big names have come and gone from this band over the years.  As being classified as an official ‘super-group’ it could go either way, but well worth mentioning.


PRIME TIME (Inactive) (Denmark)

The Unknown (1997, Rising Sun)

Vocals: Eduard Hovinga (Elegy)

Guitar: Henrik Poulson (Narita)

Bass: Christian Raiaki (Narita)

Keyboards: Andre Anderson (Royal Hunt)

Drums: Allen Sorenson (Narita)

Notes/comments:  Denmark first supergroup was a bunch of Metal dudes joining forces to do a Melodic Hard rock album or three.


WAR (Inactive) (Sweden)

Total War (1997, Necropolis)

Vocals: All All (aka Jim Berger) (Abruptum, Ophthalamia)

Guitar: It (aka Tony Saarka) (Abruptum, Ophthalamia)

Guitar: Blackmoon (aka David Parland) ( Necrophobia, Dark Funeral)

Bass: Mikael Hedlund (Hypocrisy, The Abyss)

Drums: Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, The Abyss)

Notes/comments:  Yet another It/All collaboration this time bringing even more buddies, titans all to a man.


CHARADE (Inactive) (Germany)

Charade (1998, Bareknuckle)

Vocals: Michael Bormann (Zeno, Jaded Heart)

Guitar: Angel Schleifer (Bonfire, Demon Drive)

Bass: Jorg Designer (Bonfire, Sabu)

Drums: Unknown

Notes/Comments: This Bonfire spin-off emerged when there were legal wrangling over the future of Bonfire.  Cool album but too little, too late and out of style by then.


THE HAUNTED (Active) (Sweden)

The Haunted (1998, Earache)

Vocals: Peter Dolving

Guitar: Anders Bjorler (At The Gates)

Guitar: Patrik Jenseon (Satanic Slaughter, Seance)

Bass: Jonas Bjorler (At The Gates)

Drums: Adrian Erlandsson (At The Gates, Decameron)

Notes/comments:   Another pretty massive super-group, and the membership speaks for themselves. Still going strong today.


ILLWILL (Inactive) (Sweden)

Evolution (1998, Diamond Records)

Vocals: Jonas Dahlstrom

Guitar: Andy LaRoque (EF Band, King Diamond)

Bass: Sharlee D’Angelo (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate)

Drums: Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Merciful Fate, Memento Mori)

Notes/comments:  Basically King Diamond with a different singer.  Very few noticed this one which is a shame because it’s pretty decent.


THE SNAKES (Inactive) (England/Norway)

Live In Europe (1998, Pony Canyon)

Vocals: Jorn Lande (Vagabond)

Guitar: Micky Moody (Whitesnake)

Guitar: Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake)

Keyboards: Don Airey (Ozzy, Rainbow)

Bass: Sid Ringsby

Drums: Willy Bendiksen (Host, Road, Bad Habits)

Notes/comments:  One of many short-lived bands formed by ex-Whitesnake members after they got the boot in the early 80’s by David Coverale. Their debut was a live album of Whitesnake tunes but carried on to do a handful of original albums.  They had another go at it in 2001 as Company Of Snakes and then evolved into M3.


SOUTHPAW (Inactive) (Sweden)

Southpaw (1998, Z Records) 

Vocals: Mats Leven (Abstract Algebra, Yngwie)

Guitar: Fredrik Akesson (Talisman)

Bass: John Leven (Brazen Abbot, Europe, Yngwie)

Drums: Richard Evansand (Sorcerer)

Notes/comments:   An cool attempt at a southern groove thing, that unlike fellow countrymen Spiritual Beggars, just didn’t work, despite enough talent.


WITCHERY (Active) (Sweden)

Restless And Dead (1998, Necropolis)

Vocals: Toxine (aka Tony Kampner) (Satanic Slaughter, Seance)

Guitar: Jensen (aka Patrik Jensen) (Satanic Slaughter, Seance, The Haunted)

Guitar: Richard Corpse (aka Rikard Rimfalt) (Satanic Slaughter, Morgue)

Bass: Sharlee (aka Charles Andreason) (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate)

Drums: Mique (aka Micke Pettersson ) (Satanic Slaughter, Seance)

Notes/comments: One of the more successful thrash super-groups spawned from the Swedish Death Metal scene.


BLOODBATH (Active) (Sweden)

Breeding Death (2000, Century Media)

Vocals:  Mikael Akerfelt (Opeth)

Guitar: Anders Nystrom (Bewitched, Diabolical Masquerade, Katatonia)

Bass: Jonas Renkse (Katatonia, October Tide)

Drums: Dan Swano (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Pan.Thy. Monium)

Notes/comments: Basically one of, if not the biggest Death Metal supergroups.  Rotating membership but still going once in a while.


THE PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX (Active) (Sweden)

Cybersonic Superchrist (2000, Massacre)

Vocals:  Jorgen Sandstrom (Entombed)

Guitar/Bass: Kenth Philipsson (Rosicrucian, Leukemia)

Notes/comments: Another honourable mention as they started a little low key.   However this duo is very prolific and over the many years have had lots of people pass through the ranks including past, present band future members of Evergrey, Katatonia, Bloodbound, Lord Belial, Vomitory, Megadeth and more.


SILENT FORCE (Active) (Germany)

Empire Of The Future (2000, Massacre)

Vocals: D.C. Cooper (Royal Hunt)

Guitar: Axel Beyrodt (Sinner)

Bass: Thorsten Fleisch (Belladonna)

Keyboards: Torsten Rorhe

Drums: Andre Hilgers (Ninja, Vanize)

Notes/comments:  A very decent and early-ish Power Metal super-group that got some decent traction and is still going today.  Hilgers and Beyrodt would go onto bigger bands over time.


VOODOO HILL (Inactive)  (Italy)

Voodoo Hill (2000, Frontiers)

Vocals: Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze)

Guitar: Dario Mollo (The Cage)

Keyboards: Dario Patti (Guintinni Project)

Bass: Max Matis

Drums: Roberto Gualdi

Notes/comments:  The Italians were a bit slow out of the gate when it comes to supergroups but this is an early example. Once Rhapsody broke out we saw a big increase in Italian all-star projects.


COMPANY OF SNAKES (Inactive)

Here They Go Again (2001, SPV)

Vocals: Steffan Berggren (Snakes In Paradise)

Guitar: Micky Moody (Whitesnake)

Guitar: Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake)

Keyboards: Don Airey (Ozzy, Rainbow)

Bass: Neil Murray (Whitesnake)

Drums: John Lingwood (Steamhammer, Manfred Mann)

Notes/comments: The aforementioned continuation of The Snakes.  These guys did two albums before breaking up and reforming as M3.


LAST TRIBE (Inactive) (Sweden)

The Ritual (2001, Frontiers)

Vocals: Rikard Bengsston (Armageddon)

Guitar: Magnus Karlsson (Midnight Sun)

Bass: Par Wallmark

Drums: Kristoffer Andersson

Notes/comments:  A bit of an honourable mention here the whole Midnight Sun/Last Tribe melodic Metal crew would spin off many members who would go onto bigger bands and over the years members of In Flames, Primal Fear, Messhuggah, Flower Kings and more.  They managed three albums.


SUSPERIA (Active) (Norway)

Predominance (2001, Nuclear Blast)

Vocals: Athena (aka Pal Mathieson) (Ringnevond, Seven Sins)

Guitar: Elvorn (aka Christian Hagan) (Ringnevond, Seven Sins)

Guitar: Cyrus (aka Terje Andersen)

Bass: Memnock (aka Hakon Didriksen) (Old Man’s Child)

Drums: Tjodalv (aka Ian Akesson) (Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child)

Notes/Comments:  A cadre of Norway Black Metal dudes made a killer thrash band that is still going today.


ZYKLON (Inactive) (Norway) 

World Ov Worms (2001, Candlelight) 

Vocals: Daemon (Limbic Art)

Guitar/Bass: Samoth (Emperor, Satyricon)

Guitar: Destructor: (Myrkskog

Drums: Tyrm (Enslaved, Emperor)

Notes/comments: A project of black Metal pedigree dabbling in a more modern industrial sound. Quite well received but only did three albums.


DREAM EVIL (Active) 

Dragonslayer (2002, Century Media) 

Vocals: Niklas Isfeldt (Pure X)

Guitar: Gus G. (Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy)

Guitar: Fredrik Nordstrom (Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility, Hammerfall)

Bass:  Peter Stalfors (Pure X)

Drums: Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate)

Notes/comments:  Rock solid true Metal super group now six albums deep.


KRUX (Inactive) (Sweden) 

Krux (2002, Mascot)

Vocals: Mats Leven (Abstract Algebra, Yngwie)

Guitar: Jorgen Sandstrom (Entombed, Grave, Project Hate)

Bass: Lief Edling (Abstrakt Algebra, Candlemass)

Drums: Peter Stjarnvind (Entombed, Merciless)

Notes/comments:  Part of the Swedish whole Power/Doom scene. A good album with heavy hitters but not too many people noticed it.


 STAR ONE (Inactive) (Netherlands)

Space Metal (2002, InsideOut)

Vocals:  Russell Allen (Symphony X)

Vocals: Floor Jansen (After Forever)

Guitar/Bass: Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Vengeance)

Drums:  Ed Warby (Gorefest)

Notes/comments:  This Dutch all-star project is lyrically based on an exploration of Science fiction film and literature.


LIVING LOUD (Inactive ) (England)

Living Loud (2003,  Capitol)

Vocals:  Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel)

Guitar: Steve Morse (Deep Purple)

Bass: Bob Daisley (Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Rainbow)

Keyboards: Don Airey (Ozzy, Rainbow)

Drums:  Lee Kerslake (Ozzy, Uriah Heep)

Notes/comments:  Signed to a major but this super-group got very little attention or attraction. Basically this was Ozzy’s solo band and the album was largely covers of songs from Ozzy’s first two solo albums, that were originally penned by Daisley.


MASTERPLAN (Active) (Germany)

Masterplan (2003, AFM)

Vocals:  Jorn Lande (Snakes, Vagabonds, Ark, solo)

Guitar/Bass: Roland Grapow (Helloween)

Drums: Uli Kusch (Helloween)

Notes/comments:  Long running project formed by a couple of ex-Helloween members and man about town Jorn Lande.


AGE OF SILENCE (Inactive) ( Norway)

Acceleration  (2004, The End)

Vocals:  Lazare (Borknagar, Solefald, Carpathian Forest)

Guitar: Kobbergaard (Winds)

Guitar: Extant

Bass: Eikind (Khold)

Keyboards: Andy Winter (Winds)

Drums: Hellhammer (Arcturus, Mayhem)

Notes/comments: A Prog Metal band formed by a bunch of Black Metal dudes with impressive lineage.


EVIL MASQUERADE (Active) ( Denmark)

Welcome to The Show (2004, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Henrik Brockmann (Jaded Heart, Royal Hunt)

Guitar:  Henrik Flyman (Moahni Moahna, Wuthering Heights)

Bass: Kapser Gram (Wuthering Heights, Manticora)

Drums: Dennis Buhl (Sinphonia)

Notes/comments:  An early Danish supergroup that churned out quite a few albums in rapid succession.


RASKASTA JOULUA (Active) (Finland)

Raskasta Joulua (2004, T2 Produtions)

Vocals:  Various singers of Nightwish, Thunderstone, Lullacry, Altaria and more.

Guitar: Erkka Korhonen (Urban Tale)

Bass: Lauri Porra (Sinergy, Warmen)

Drums: Janne Parvaiinen (Barathrum, Synergy, Waltari)

Notes/comments:  This is basically the Finnish version of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.   Raskasta Joulua means ‘Heavy Christmas’.   Massive popularity ensued, quickly signed to a major label, reissued in north America, multiple albums tours and videos to support it all.  As Spinal Tap said ‘Cashing in on Christmas’…but seriously, I love these guys. Aside from the musical core, it is packed with multiple guest vocalists as these thing usually are.   There are not too many Finnish Supergroups but this is likely the very biggest.   Watch for their ‘Summer’ project later in this essay.


ZILLION (Inactive) (Germany)

Zillion (2004, Frontiers)

Vocals/Guitar:  Sandro Giampietro (Helge)

Bass:  Jens Becker (Grave Digger, Running Wild)

Drums: Mike Terrana (Artesian, Axel Rudi Pell, Rage)

Notes/comments:  Short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful project. An early example of Italy’s Frontiers label throwing guys together in a band to see what would stick.


ALLEN/LANDE (Active) (International) 

The Battle (2005, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Jorn Lande Jorn Lande (Snakes, Vagabonds, Ark, solo)

Vocals: Russell Allen (Symphony X, Star One)

Guitar / Bass:  Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe, Midnight Sun)

Drums: Jamie Salazar (Last Tribe, Midnight Sun, Flower Kings)

Notes/comments:   Why not have two vocal titans face off?  This was surpassingly successful land developed a template (dare we say formula) for Frontiers Records to put two singers together in a studio-only project with a  backing band of cool session dudes and outside writers.   See Somerville/Kiske,  Allen/Olzen and Lione/Conti for other examples.  Allen/Lande has four albums to date each with a conflict/combat themed title and giant monsters fighting each other on the cover art.


AUDREY HORNE (Active) (Norway)

No Hay Banda (2005, Tuba)

Vocals:  Torkjell Rod

Guitar: Ice Dale (Enslaved)

Guitar: Thomas Tofthagen (Sahg)

Bass:  King Ov Hell (Gorgoroth)

Keyboards: Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved)

Drums: Kjetil Greve (Sahg, Deride)

Notes/comments:  Surprisingly successful Hard Rock band made up of Black Metal guys.  They won a grammy in Norway and some hit singles with comedic video (with puppets!)  have put them on a real roll now six albums deep.


PLACE VENDOME (Active ) (Germany/International)

Place Vendome (2005, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Michael Kiske (Helloween)

Guitar: Uwe Ritenauer (PC 69)

Bass:  Dennis Ward (PC 69, DC Cooper)

Keyboards: Gunter Werne (Vanden Plas, DC Cooper)

Drums: Kosta Zafiriou (PC 69)

Notes/comments:  Rock solid melodic Metal band got really good traction and momentum, now four albums deep into their career. It’s basically Kiske and Pink Cream 69 and soon, Sunstorm whose career arc is very similar.


SAVAGE CIRCUS (Inactive) (Germany)

Dreamland Manor (2005, Dockyard 1)

Vocals:  Jens Carlsson (Persuader)

Guitar: Emil Norberg (Persuader)

Guitar/Bass: Piet Seilck (Iron Saviour)

Drums: Thomas Stauch (Blind Guardian)

Notes/comments:  A  Blind Guardian spin-off.  Word on the mean streets was that  Stauch was getting a bit tired of the direct of Blind Guardian and wanted to get back to his Speed/Power roots so he formed this band.  They only do two albums but both were quality Germanic Power Metal heavier and faster than Blind Guardian ever was.


WILD WILLY’S GANG (Inactive) (Norway)

Camouflage (2005, FaceFront)

Vocals:  Jan Thore Grefstad (Highland Glory, Frostmoon)

Guitar: Ronnie LeTekro (TNT)

Bass:  Sid Ringsby (Jorn, The Snakes, TNT)

Drums: Willy Bendiksen (Road, Bad Habitz, Jorn)

Notes/comments:  Kind of a fun, on-again/off-again project from some Norwegian hard rockers.


CHROME DIVISION (Active) (Norway)

Doomsday Rock and Roll (2006, Nuclear Blast)

Vocals:  Eddie Guz (The Carburaters)

Guitar: Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir, Ulver)

Guitar: Ricky Black (Old Man’s Child)

Bass:  Luna (Ashes To Ashes)

Drums: Tony White (Old Man’s Child, Minas Tirith)

Notes/comments:  Shaggy’s fun Death n’ Roll side project.  More longevity and productivity than one might expect.


FATAL FORCE (Inactive) (Denmark)

Fatal Force (2006, MTM)

Vocals:  Mats Leven (Abstract Algebra, Yngwie, Treat)

Guitar/Bass: Torben Enevoldsen (Acacia Avenue, Section A, solo)

Drums: Daniel Flores (Mind’s Eye, Secret Sphere, Tears of Anger)

Notes/comments: Short-lived Dannish power-trio.


SUNSTORM (Active) (Germany/International)

Sunstorm (2006, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Joe Lynn Turner (Yngwie, Rainbow)

Guitar: Uwe Ritenauer (PC 69, Place Vendome)

Bass:  Dennis Ward (PC 69, Place Vendome)

Keyboards: Jochen Weyer

Drums: Chris Scmidt

Notes/comments:  Rock solid melodic Metal band got really good traction and momentum, now five albums deep into their career. It’s basically Joe Lynn Turner and Pink Cream 69 and Place Vendome whose career arc is very similar.


THE CODEX (Inactive) (Denmark/International)

The Codex (2007, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Mark Boals (Yngwie, Ring Of Fire)

Guitar: Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe, Midnight Sun, Allen/Lande)

Bass:  Linus Abrahamson (Mr. Kite)

Drums: Daniel Flores (Mind’s Eye, Secret Sphere, Tears of Anger)

Notes/comments:  One of many Frontiers projects that was really good in theory but just didn’t work.   I like it!  They only did one album.


EDEN’S CURSE (Inactive) (England)

Eden’s Curse (2007, AFM)

Vocals:  Michael Eden (Seven Tea)

Guitar: Thorsten Kohne (Attack, Demon Drive)

Bass:  Paul Logue

Keyboards: Ferdy Dornberg (Axel Rudi Pell, Rough Silk)

Drums: Pete Newdeck (Paul Di’Anno, Steve Grimmet)

Notes/comments: Top quality Melodic Metal band that put out five albums in fairly rapid succession before calling it quits.


FREEVIL (Inactive) (Sweden)

Freewill Burning (2007, Nastified)

Vocals/Drums :  Micke Pettersen (Satanic Slaughter, Seance, Witchery)

Guitar: Tomas Andersson (Denata, Seance)

Bass:  Roger Blomberg (Denata)

Notes/comments: This one is a bit of a hot mess.  Members From Satanic Slaughter, Seance, Denata and Witchery made a brief horror-Metal themed band.  Plus you can never go wrong with a semi-naked chick smeared in blood on your album cover.  Tony of Satanic Slaughter, Seance, Witchery and Denata later joined  the band.


NORTHERN KINGS (Inactive) (Finland)

Reborn (2007, Warner)

Vocals: Jarkko Shola (Terasebonti, Dreamtale)

Vocals: Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot)

Vocals: Juha-Pekka Leppaluoto (Charon)

Vocals: Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica)

Guitar: Erkka Korhonen (Raskasta Joulua, Urban Tale)

Bass:  Erkki Silvennoinen (Amoral)

Keyboards: Vili Ollila (Raskasta Joulua,  Tunnel Vision)

Drums: Anssi Nykanen (Raskasta Joulua, Timo Tolkki)

Notes/comments:  Heavy hitters of the Finnish  Power Metal scene joined forces to do a pair of albums of 80’s pop cover tunes.  The backing band is Raskasta Joulua the Metal Christmas project.


RIDE THE SKY (Inactive) (Germany)

New Protection (2007, Nuclear Blast)

Vocals: Bjorn Jansson (Beyond Twilight, Imaginery, Tears Of Anger)

Guitar: Benny Jansson (Xsaviour, Tears Of Anger)

Bass:  Mathias Garnas (Xsaviour)

Keyboards: Kaspar Dahlqvist (Dionysius, Stormwind, Tresdure Land)

Drums: Uli Kusch (Helloween, Gamma Ray, Holy Moses, Mekong Delta)

Notes/comments:  Another Power Metal band that, while excellent credentials, failed to excite. They managed to make one album.


BASSINVADERS (Inactive) (Germany)

Hellbassbeaters (2008, Frontiers)

Vocals: Apollo Papathanasio (Evil Masquerade, Firewind, Spiritual Beggars)

Bass: Markus Grosskopf (Helloween)

Bass:  Angelripper (Sodom)

Bass: Schmier (Destruction)

Bass:  Peavy (Rage)

Drums: Andre Hilgers (Rage, Axxis)

Notes/comments: This was likely never intended to be anything more than a fun one-off project of Grosskopf and his bass playing buddies. No less than 20 Metal bassists from around the planet played on this including Sarzo, Sheehan, Verni, Vera, Baltes and many more.


SAINT DEAMON (Active) (Sweden)

In Shadows Lost From The Brave (2008, Frontiers)

Vocals: Jan Thore Grefstad (Highland Glory, Frostmoon)

Guitar: Toya (Celine Dione)

Bass: Magnus Moberg (Dionysius, Nation)

Drums: Ronny Millanowicz (Dionysius, Sinergy)

Notes/comments:  One of many Frontiers many experiments. Still going today.


CAINS OFFERING (Active) (Finland)

Gather The Faithful (2009, Frontiers)

Vocals: Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius)

Guitar: Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica, Altaria)

Bass: Jukka Koskinen (Norther, Wintersun)

Keyboards: Mikko Harkin (Sonata Arctica, Kenziner)

Drums: Jani Hurula

Notes/comments: One of my favourite supergroups featuring more heavy hitters from Finland.


HEAVEN & HELL (Inactive) (England/US)

The Devil You Know  (2009, Roadrunner)

Vocals:  Dio (Dio, Rainbow, Black Sabbath)

Guitar: Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)

Bass:  Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath, Ozzy)

Drums: Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio)

Notes/comments:  Managers, lawyers and egos prevented this from being called Black Sabbath but we can call a spade a spade.   Oddly enough, this was proceeded a couple years prior with a debut live album. One and done, Dio’s last stand.


W.E.T. (Active) (Sweden)

W.E.T. (2009, Frontiers)

Vocals: Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie, Talisman)

Guitar: Magnus Henriksson (Eclipse)

Bass: Erik Martensson (Eclipse)

Keyboards: Robert Sall (Work Of Art)

Drums:  Robban Black

Notes/comments: Titans of Swedish Melodic Metal with members of Work Of Art (W), Eclipse (E) and Talisman (T)…get it?  Some Frontiers projects work, some don’t. this one did and are now several albums deep.


BARREN EARTH (Active) (Finland)

Curse Of The Red River (2010, Peaceville)

Vocals: Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun)

Guitar: Janne Perttila (Winds Of Pain)

Guitar: Sami Yli-Sirnio (Kreator, Waltari)

Bass: Olli-Pekka Laine (Amorphis)

Keyboards: Kapser Martenson (Amorphis)

Drums:  Marko Tarvonen (Moonsorrow)

Notes/comments: Impressive pedigree.


KISKE/SOMERVILLE (Active)

Kiske/Sommerville (2010, Frontiers)

Vocals: Michael Kiske (Helloween, Place Vendome)

Vocals: Amanda Somerville (Ana, Epica, Kamelot)

Guitar: Sanders Gammons (After Forever)

Guitar: Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Allen/Olzen)

Bass: Mat Sinner (Sinner, Primal Fear)

Keyboards: Jimmy Kresic (Voodoo Circle)

Drums:  Martin Schmidt (Atrocity, Leaves Eyes)

Notes/comments:  One of many (awesome!)  duet-projects with studio backing band afforded by Frontiers.


OV HELL (Inactive) (Norway)

The Underworld Regime (2010, Indie Recordings)

Vocals:  Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir)

Guitar: Ice Dale (Enslaved)

Bass: King (Gorgoroth, Sahg)

Drums:  Frost (Satyricon, Gorgorth, 1349)

Notes/comments:  I guess even grim and necro Black Metal dudes occasionally need a lawyer.  The whole Gorgorth/God Seed/Ov Hell story is an interesting story to say the least, fighting over the name and so on.   Even though Ov Hell only did one album it consisted of some the titans of Norway.


SOLUTION .45 (Active) (Sweden)

For Aeons Past (2010, AFM )

Vocals:  Christian Alvestam (Miseration, Scar Symmetry)

Guitar: Tom Gardiner (Hateform)

Guitar: Jani Stefanovic (Divine Fire)

Bass: Anders Edlund (Incapacity, Solar Dawn)

Drums:  Rolf Pilve (Dreamtale, Miseration)

Notes/comments: A more melodic project for most of these guys.


AMARANTHE (Active ) (Sweden)

Amaranth (2011, Spinefarm)

Vocals:  Elize Ryd (Kamelot, Falconer)

Vocals: Jake Lundberg (Dreamland)

Guitar: Olof Morck (Nightrage, Dragonland)

Bass: Johan Andreassen

Drums:  Morten Sorensen (Dragonland, Submission)

Notes/comments:  This very poppy melodic Metal band did surprisingly well internationally and are still going.


SYMFONIA (Inactive) (Finland)

In Paradisum (2011, Edel)

Vocals:  Andre Matos (Angra, Viper)

Guitar:  Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius)

Bass: Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius, Evergrey)

Keyboards: Mikko Hsrkin (Soanta Arctica)

Drums:  Uli Kusch (Helloween, Gamma Ray)

Notes/comments: Considering who is in this band it baffles me that it didn’t work or at very least wasn’t more well-received.


NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA (Active) (Sweden)

Internal Affairs (2012, Coroner)

Vocals:  Bjorn Strid (Soilwork, Terror 2000)

Guitar: David Anderson (Soilwork, Meanstreak)

Bass: Sharlee D’Angelo (King Diamond, Arch Enemy)

Keyboards: Richard Larsen (Terror 20000)

Drums:  Jonas Kallsback (Meanstreak)

Notes/comments:  Popular Hard rock , aeronautical-themed side project of some heavier-type players.  Reminds me of Audrey Horne, just rocking out for fun.


CIVIL WAR (Active) (Sweden)

The Killer Angels (2013, Despotz)

Vocals:  Nils Patrick Johansson (Astral Doors, Withering Heights)

Guitar: Oskar Montelius (Sabaton)

Guitar: Rikard Sunden (Sabaton)

Bass: Stefan Eriksson (Cryonic Temple)

Keyboards: Daniel Myhr (Sabaton)

Drums:  Daniel Mullback (Sabaton)

Notes/comments:  A bit of a weird one and worth an honourable mention.  Back in 2011 or so Joachim dumped all of Sabaton.  They picked up a new singer and carried on doing military themed Power Metal under the Civil War moniker.


THE RESISTANCE (Inactive)

Scars (2013, Ear Music)

Vocals:  Marco Aro (The Haunted)

Guitar: Jesper Stromblad (Hammerfall, In Flames, Dimension Zero)

Bass: Glenn Ljungstrom (Hammerfall, In Flames, Dimension Zero)

Drums:  Christofer Bareknsjo (Witchery, Kaamos)

Notes/comments: A short-lived and largely uninspired all-star project.  Decent quality but didn’t catch on and after two albums they called it quits. Maybe the dull band name, dull album title and dull cover art didn’t help their chances.


TWILIGHT OF THE GODS (Inactive) (Sweden) 

Fire On The Mountain (2013, Season Of Mist)

Vocals:  Alan Avril (Primordial)

Guitar: Patrick Lindgren (Thyrfing)

Guitar: Rune Eriksen (Aura Noir, Mayhem)

Bass: Frode Glesnes (Einherjer)

Drums:  Nick Barker (Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir)

Notes/comments:  Initially founded as a fun one-off, Bathory tribute, side-project thing, they morphed into a ‘real’ band but only have produced one album to date.  Incredible line up.  I saw these guys on 70,000 Tons, I hope they can keep going but will understand if they don’t.


BLACK WELDER (Active) (Germany)

Survival Of The Fittest (2015, Golden Core)

Vocals:  Ralf Scheepers (Gamma Ray, Primal Fear)

Guitar: Andrew Szucs (Seven Seraphim)

Bass: Bjorn Englen (Yngwie)

Drums:  Aquiles Priester (Angra, Hangar)

Notes/comments: Another ‘killer on paper’ band who managed one album that failed to capture the imagination.  I loved it but have been waiting half a decade for the follow up.


CHAOS MAGIC (Active) (Finland)

Chaos Magic (2015, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Caterina Nix (Aghonya)

Guitar/Bass: Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius, Symfonia)

Drums:  Jami Huovinen (Allen/Lande, Ring Of Fire)

Notes/comments:  Yet another songbird+ guitar hero pairing by Frontiers.


LEVEL 10 (Active) (International) 

Chapter One (2015, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Russell Allen (Symphony X, Star One)

Guitar: Roland Grapow (Helloween, Masterplan)

Guitar: Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Sinner, Silent Force)

Keyboards: Alessandro Del Vecchio (Too many to count)

Bass: Mat Sinner (Sinner, Primal Fear)

Drums:  Randy Black (Annihilator, Primal Fear)

Notes/comments:  I’m a sucker for this stuff.  Imagine our surprise; another Power Metal super-group of Frontiers!  Also billed as Russell Allen and Mat Sinner.


ETERNAL IDOL (Active) (Italy)

The Unrevealed Secret (2016, Frontiers)

Vocals: Fabio Lione (Rhapsody)

Vocals: Giorgia Colleluori (Hollow Haze)

Guitar: Nick Savio (Hollow Haze, White Skull)

Bass: Andrea Burrito (Secret Sphere)

Drums:  Camillo Collettori (Hollow Haze)

Notes/comments: In a similar situation to Sabaton, the band Hollow Haze recruited Fabio Lione and made a new project. This is honourable mention territory rather than a bonafide super-group. The singer, Giorgia would go on  to join Sinner.


NORDIC UNION  (Active) (International) 

Nordic Union (2016 Frontiers)

Vocals:  Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids)

Guitar: Magnus Henriksson (Eclipse, W.E.T.)

Guitar/Bass: Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.)

Drums:  Magnus Ulfstedt (Ammunition, Eclipse)

Notes/comments:   This is basically Eclipse with Ronnie on vocals but it is still really cool if you like those bands.


THE DARK ELEMENT (Active) (Finland)

The Dark Element (2017, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Annette Olzen (Nightwish)

Guitar: Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica, Cain’s Offering)

Bass: Jonas Kohlberg (Cain’s Offering)

Drums:  Jani Hurula (Cain’s Offering)

Notes/comments:  Marks Annette return to Metal after leaving Nightwish and laying low for a few years.  Quite well-received and they have put out two quick albums.  Keen-eyed fans will note this is basically just Cain’s Offering with Annette singing.


THE FERRYMEN (Active) (International)

The Ferrymen (2017, Frontiers)

Vocals:  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, Lords Of Black)

Guitar/Bass: Magnus Karlsson(Primal Fear, Free Fall)

Drums:  Mike Terrana (Yngwie, Rage, Axel Rudi Pell)

Notes/comments:   It’s early days but after two albums momentum seems to be good.


LIONE/CONTI (Active) (Italy)

Leone/Conti (2018, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Fabio Lione (Rhapsody, Angra, Labyrinth)

Vocals: Alessandro (Trick Or Treat, Rhapsody)

Guitar/Bass: Simone Mularoni (DGM, Sunstorm)

Keyboards: Fillippo Marlignano (Echotime)

Drums:  Marco Lanciotti (Elvenking)

Notes/comments: Two power house vocalists, the singer of Rhapsody and the guy who replaced him in Rhapsody, go head-to-head in the usual Frontiers fashion.


MASTERS OF CEREMONY (Active)

 Signs Of Wings (2019, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Adrienne Cowan (Winds Of Plague, Seven Spires)

Guitar: Sascha Pater (Heaven’s Gate, Luca Tirili, Avantasia)

Bass: Andre Neygenfind (Avantasia)

Keyboards: Corvin Bahn (Gamma Ray, Kamelot)

Drums:  Felix Bohnke (Edguy, Avantasia)

Notes/comments: Billed as ‘Sascha Path’s’ it is nice to see the former Heaven’s Gate guitarist come out from behind the product desk. Essentially this is the Avantasia  band doing their own thing while waiting for Tobias Sammet to write the next album.


MAJESTICA (Active ) (Sweden)

Above The Sky (2019, Nuclear Blast) 

Vocals/Guitar: Tommy Johansson (Reinxeed, Sabaton)

Guitar: Alex Oriz (Reinxeed)

Bass: Christopher Davidsson (Reinxeed)

Drums:  Uli Kusch (Helloween, Gamma Ray)

Notes/comments:  This is conjecture but it seems that Nuclear Blast perhaps noting the success of all these Frontiers bands is starting to sign a few supergroups of their own as well…two in 2019 the other being Northtale. (see below) This is basically a reinvention of the long-running Swedish Christian Power Metal band, Reinxeed.


NORTH TALE (Active)  (International)

Welcome to Paradise (2019, Nuclear Blast) 

Vocals:  Christian Ericksson (Twilight Force)

Guitar: Bill Hudson (Circle II Circle, Savatage, TSO, Pain)

Bass: Mikael Planefeldt

Keyboards: Jimmy Pitts (Eternity’s End Scholomance)

Drums:  Patrik Johansson (Yngwie, Impelliterri, Stormwind)

Notes/comments:  One of the more exciting supergroups in the last few years.


RASKASTA ISKELMAA  (Active) (Finland)

Raskasta Iskelmaa (2019, Spinefarm)

Vocals: Various members of Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Charon, Poisonblack, MachineMen, Sark Sarah, Tarot etc

Guitar: Tuomas Wäinölä (Kotipelto)
Guitar: Erkka Korhonen (Urban Tale, Dark Sarah)
Bass:  Erkki Silvennoinen (Amoral, Omni Gatherum)
Drums: Mirka Rantanen (Thunderstone, Kotipelto)
Keyboards:  Vili Ollila (Tunnel Vision, Thaurod)

Notes/comments: The third part of a Finnish super-group triumvirate along with Raskasta Juolua and Northern Kings, all basically the same all-star band.  This time is The ‘Heavy Christmas’ summer time project. The word Iskelmaa is a translation for a Finnish type of schlager music, which in turn, is translated as ‘hit’.  For North Americans who are not familiar, it is a type of bouncy/pop/folk music you might hear at an October Fest celebration or in a disco. So  Raskasta Iskelmaa can be roughly translated as ‘Heavy Pop’ music.  This is cover tunes of European pop tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Quirky and fun.


ACT OF DENIAL (Active) (Sweden)

Negative  (2020, ??) 

Vocals:  Bjorn Strid (Soilwork)

Guitar: Voi Cox (Victim, Koziak)

Guitar: Luger (Benighted)

Bass: Steve Diorgio (Death, Sadus, Testament)

Drums:  Krimh (Septic Flesh)

Notes/comments: One to watch!


ALLEN/OLZEN (Active) (International)

Worlds Apart (2020, Frontiers) 

Vocals:  Russell Allen (Symphony X)

Vocals: Annette Olzen (Nightwish, The Dark Element)

Guitar: Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Freefall)

Drums:  Anders Kollerfors (Starbreaker)

Notes/comments:   The latest in a long line of singers going head to head on the Frontiers label.


DARKENED (Active) (International)

Kingdom Of Decay (2020, Edged Circle)

Vocals: Gord Olson (Ye Goat-Herd Gods, Demisery)

Guitar: Hempa Brynolfsson (Excruciate)

Guitar: Linus Nirbrant (A Canourous Quintet)

Bass:  Tobias Christiansson (Grave, Dismember)

Drums: Andrew Whale (Bolt Thrower)

Notes/comments:  Hot new Death Metal super-group with great pedigree.


APPENDIX A 

(The ever intriguing world of the Swedish Christian Speed Metal Scene) (Yes, it’s a real thing) 

I wanted to give an honourable mention to this whole insular but very cool scene. These are maybe not ‘super-groups’ in the tradition sense but these bands are often comprised of other members of other bands, which meets our definition and criteria.

Spearheaded by Christian Liljgren, of Narnia  Liljgren founded not one but two labels dedicated to their small but strong scene; Liljgren Records and Rivel Records.   Over the past 15+ years a group of several dozen musicians have formed a number of bands all of whom of which have traded members back and forth in one form or another.  It goes pretty deep and I’m not going to micro-analyze who was in what band, band-by-band, but suffice to day these performers keep this style alive and defending the faith.  I’ve just put a picture of the bands individual debut album up for something to look at.  Here are probably 30-40 albums worth of catalogue to explore here for the faithful . The bands include…

 

7Days


Audiovision


Azoria


Divine Fire


 

Golden Resurrection


Grimmark


Lack Of Faith


Majestica


Majestic Vanguard

 


Morning Dwell


 

Narnia


Oriz


Reinxeed


Wisdom Call


Thanks for reading. Stay super!

 

 

 

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