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Being in a band must be more like running a business than we all assumed, because over the weekend we saw what could only be described as something of a holiday hiring and firing session. Two bands led their vocalists (and drummer and guitarist in one case!) out behind the woodshed and one actually brought in a new guitarist. Such are the stories of Engel, Amberian Dawn, and Arsis. One of these three has had a pretty constant rotating lineup, so if you’re familiar you can guess who brought the new guitarist on board (we’re looking at you, James Malone).

What these represent are some pretty interesting dynamic shifts amongst each group, and at the very least with a new vocalist on the frontlines of two of these, they’re not going to sound the same again.


Swedish death metal band Engel pretty much broke open the dam by announcing that they had mutually parted ways with lead vocalist Magnus Klavborn and had welcomed a new member to the ranks in the form of vocalist Lenne. Whilst Engel have always been something of a polarizing band, there were two very distinctive things about them: Magnus had a very strange singing style that was immediately recognizable amongst just about anyone, and the band didn’t really care what people thought of what they did, so they could hybrid just about any amount of electronica into their music that they wanted.

The musical aspect will likely stay the same and as disjointed as ever, but we are very curious to see how Lenne holds up behind the mic. He’s been performing with the band for a bit now according to their official statement, so chances are a lot of people have heard how he holds up. It’ll be interesting to see how the band changes if/when they decide to do a follow up to this year’s Blood Of Saints release.

Amberian Dawn

Finnish outfit Amberian Dawn are a band that I personally discovered via the Rock Band videogame, as crazy as that sounds. They’ve been one of the hugest supporters of the RBN movement and they have a TON of their material (in comparison to everyone else) available for people to play – a lot of it really fun at that.

They’re a female fronted symphonic metal band that have been going since the mid-point of the 2000′s and they’ve been fighting it our alongside groups like Epica, Forever After, Nightwish and the bevy of other operatic-styled bands for your attention. They tend to lay on the keyboard work especially thick, which has given the band a hefty power metal feel over the years as well.

Sadly, over the weekend they announced a pretty extensive lineup shift as well as three people hit the door for the band. Both drummer Heikki Saari and guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen have decided to exit the band, as well as vocalist Heidi Parviainen. The drummer and guitarist already have new people slotted into the lineup, which was announced via their official website, but the vocalist position is still vacant at the moment. They plan to announce who will be taking those reigns over in December.

The group has announced this as the ‘first chapter’ of the band being closed. If that means they’ll be changing the sound up somewhat, who knows, but if you’ve been looking for some symphonic female vocalist metal, Amberian Dawn are a pretty good bet. As I said, they’re also really fun on Rock Band (for the two of us who still play that game regularly).

This is a recent lineup, right?


Anybody who has been following Arsis for a while has known that the only member who has really been around for the whole shebang has been guitarist/vocalist James Malone. Bassist Noah Martin has been in there for a pretty solid amount of time too, so if there were ever an award for ‘most time spent in Arsis by a person who isn’t James Malone’ it would be a fight between him and drummer Mike VanDyne – although he has been replaced with Shawn Priest as of the beginning of this year.

If you want to know what I’m talking about read the bands Wikipedia page and scroll down to former members. Recently, guitarist Nick Cordle was hired by Arch Enemy – which is a pretty good gig to jump on to – and that left Arsis once again searching for another guitarist. Well, over the weekend they announced Brandon Ellis as the newest man to join the ranks. He’s been touring with the band for a little bit now so people should be familiar with him, and this is likely just an official bit o’ business so people aren’t wondering who the latest axe warrior is.

The group are currently working on a forthcoming disc known as Unwelcome, but to be honest, we have no idea how it is going to sound. There was one demo track but it was unleashed a long while back now, and who knows how the band have approached writing since then. I personally enjoyed Starve For The Devil for the cheeseball bit of work that it was, alongside its approach to their Celebration Of Guilt writing style. The band have never had any album that really sounds the same though, so Unwelcome is going to be something to keep our eyes locked on to.