The Ship Of Theseus: When Are Bands No Longer Themselves


The ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that goes along the lines of a ship whose wooden parts are replaced one by one until all of its original parts have been replaced. The question is then raised at which point did the ship stop being its original self. When the first part was replaced? When half the parts were replaced? When the last part was replaced?

So to apply that to music, at which point is a band no longer itself after it replaces its members one by one? When the first original member is replaced? When half of them are replaced? When there is just one left? When there are none left?

In this list I tried collecting a few examples of bands with questionable lineups and claims to their name, ranging from just slightly off to pretty vile. Mostly we'll have bands who only have at most one original member left. Also I tried not to include too many bands who have always been centered around one member which always had a pretty often changing lineup in the band's heyday, despite it probably fitting better with the list's metaphor.

That obviously begs the question of what an original member is? A founding member? A member who played on the band's debut album? A member who played on the band's breakthrough album? A member who was a member long enough in the band's heyday? I'm fairly sure that whichever definition I choose, I'll break it enough times to be hypocritical and arbitrary.

Also I'll only add bands who have released albums with the dubious lineup. Some bands like Iron Butterfly are just legacy bands with one member left, but they haven't released a new album since 1975.

It's quite understandable why this does happen, since a lot of these cases would be getting way less attention if they used a different name regardless of the quality of the music, so latching on to the good old name is the wise business choice. Is it moral? Do the fans share any of the blame for not being interested in something that doesn't have a recognizable name? Should bands be forced to keep the members who played on the classic albums even if they hate each others' guts or if they can't play as well as they used to or should they be replaced if it means more and better music and shows?

Created by: RaduP | 28.10.2019



1. Quiet Riot - Road Rage
Here we probably have the most extreme case, with the band not having any of the band's original members, as in none of the folks who played on this album played on Quiet Riot and Quiet Riot II. The only somewhat original member is Frank Banali, who played drums on Metal Health, the band's breakthrough album. Also Chuck Wright played bass since 1985, but he missed the band's biggest albums.
2. Napalm Death - Harmony Corruption
I'm not gonna go and claim that Napalm Death don't have an absolutely unquestionable claim to their name, but they technically don't have any founding members left and none of the people currently in the band played on Scum.
3. In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading
Quite a similar case to the one above, while the band has plenty of members from the band's glory days, none of the current members played on the band's debut album Lunar Stain, at least since the last founding member, Jesper Strömblad, left in 2010.
4. Stratovarius - Nemesis
Not only does the band not have any founding members, but none of the current members played on any of the first two Stratovarius records.
5. Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods
What does every other Immortal album other than Blizzard Beats have in common? It only has just one performing member in common with Northern Chaos Gods.
6. Eluveitie - Ategnatos
After about half the band left in 2016, Chrigel Glanzmann is the only remaining member to have played on both Spirit and Slania, but also he is the band's founder so whichever musicians are in the band, his claim shouldn't come under too much scrutiny. There are many somewhat similar cases, but I'm only including this one because of how many members left the band at once.
7. Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained
The band was already on shaky ground on Illud Divinum Insanus, but when David Vincent left too it left Trey Azagthoth as the only one left in the band who performed on any of the first four Morbid Angel records.
8. Rhapsody Of Fire - The Eighth Mountain
Does this come as any surprise?
9. Equilibrium - Erdentempel
With two founding members leaving just before this album, all instruments had to be performed by the last founding member, René Berthiaume, who is also the only member left to have performed on the band's first two albums.
10. Soilwork - Verkligheten
Even though Björn Strid is the band's only founding member left since 2012, Verkligheten also sees him as the only remaining member to have performed on the band's first three albums.
11. Venom - Fallen Angels
Which members do Fallen Angels and Prime Evil have in common. None. Sure, Prime Evil wasn't prime Venom either, but it had more members in common with Welcome To Hell and Black Metal than anything since Fallen Angels.
12. Tygers Of Pan Tang - Ritual
Ever since their first breakup in 1983, Tygers Of Pan Tang never had more than one founding member left, not even the same one.
13. Phlebotomized - Deformation Of Humanity
Though a lot of original members did reunite prior to this album, Tom Palms is the only original member to actually perform on it.
14. In The Woods... - Cease The Day
The album previous to this had most original members, but in the meantime, In The Woods... got left with only drummer Anders Kobro.
15. Demon - Unbroken
This is the first Demon album since the reunion to not have any other members other than Dave Hill to have actually been part of the band in the 80s. Previous ones also had Andy Dale, even though he only played bass for two years on an album nobody probably remembers.
16. Possessed - Revelations Of Oblivion
Jeff Becerra is the only original member left, with no other original members being involved whatsoever since the reunion.
17. Suicidal Tendencies - Still Cyco Punk After All These Years
Mike Muir has been Suicidal Tendencies only founding member left since pretty much the band's inception, but it's not like the band had any shortage of consistent members in the 80s and 90s.
18. Nocturnus AD - Paradox
At least they re-branded themselves. Paradox only has Mike Browning out of the original Nocturnus.
19. Angel Witch - As Above, So Below
Continuing NWOBHM fashion, Kevin Heybourne is the only Angel Witch member to have been in the band in the 80s.
20. Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper - Walking In The Shadows
More a continuation of Steve Grimmett's solo album than of the 80s NWOBHM band.
21. Blitzkrieg - Judge Not!
In their defense, they released way more records in the 2000s than in the 90s and 80s combined and they never really had a stable lineup.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by RaduP ]



Comments

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Comments: 4   Visited by: 20 users
28.10.2019 - 13:36
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
There's probably a lot I'm missing out, so feel free to recommend.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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28.10.2019 - 16:39
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Quote:
but when David Vincent left too it left Trey Azagthoth as the only founding member


David Vincent wasn't even a founding member. On the first three demos and 'Abominations Of Desolation'(which was originally supposed to be the debut album and not 'Altars Of Madness' Mike Browning (yes, he of Nocturnus) was the vocalist (and drummer) and John Ortega played bass and David Vincent wasn't even around in the band.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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28.10.2019 - 16:45
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.10.2019 at 16:39

Quote:
but when David Vincent left too it left Trey Azagthoth as the only founding member


David Vincent wasn't even a founding member. On the first three demos and 'Abominations Of Desolation'(which was originally supposed to be the debut album and not 'Altars Of Madness' Mike Browning (yes, he of Nocturnus) was the vocalist (and drummer) and John Ortega played bass and David Vincent wasn't even around in the band.

Fair, I'll take the schooling and edit the entry.

Also I should check that album out.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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01.11.2019 - 21:33
LuciferOfGayness
GolemOfWaffles
Bell Witch.
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"Every night, full of drugs and liquor, I see, floating above my bed, the Devil.
This woman in white dress, Satan Herself.
She's beautiful. She's there for me. Translucent.
I'm in love with her."
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