Metal Insider’s 11 most shocking moments of 2017

Posted by on December 20, 2017

For a while now, we’ve been recapping the year in metal by looking at some of the most surprising, sad, ridiculous or generally WTF moments that have taken place over the prior 12 months. With things like Tim Lambesis’ and Randy Blythe’s brushes with the law, Baroness’ near-fatal bus crash and Lostprophets Ian Watkins being one of the most reprehensible human beings ever, there’s never been any shortage of things to cover. This year is no exception, so settle in and be happy that we’ve all made it to the end of another year. 

11) A year of untimely passings

Unfortunately, death is part of life. As metal and hard rock continue to age as genres, there’s really nothing too shocking about artists passing in terms of news. Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Sib Hashian (Boston), Trish Doan (Kittie), Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost) are among those we lost this year, and Loudwire has a full list dedicated to the departed rockers of 2017. Aside from the devastating suicides and a deadly crash that have their own stories here, there were a few artists that passed away so suddenly that they warrant mentioning.

The night we discovered Trans-Siberian Orchestra leader Paul O’Neil died, not only did it cause a sting in our hearts, but it also broke our website. Many questioned TSO’s future, and former Megadeth guitarist Al Pitrelli revealed they had no choice but to move forward:

“I don’t want to go forward without Paul, I just don’t have a choice in the matter.”

This past spring, Long Island death metal giants Internal Bleeding were looking forward to a bright future, which included new music and supporting Vader for a summer tour. Tragedy struck on April 20th and their lives were turned upside down when drummer Bill Tolley died while on duty at his day job as a firefighter. He responded to a call and tragically ended up falling off a fifth-story roof. We didn’t think the group would continue their planned tour without him. However, the band pushed through because they knew he would want that. They ended up bringing Tolley’s favorite drum kit to the stage with them, at every show in his honor.

Lastly, Warrel Dane. Let’s face it, many of us expected (or wished) Nevermore would have a reunion, even if it was to record one last album or embark on a reunion tour. We were all waiting for that day to happen. Secondly, Sanctuary just released Inception this past February and we were looking forward to seeing them tour with Iced Earth. Third, Dane was working on his solo effort, a record that we have waited nearly a decade to see. Bottom line: death sucks.

– Zenae Zukowski



10) Ivan Moody quits Five Finger Death Punch Onstage (Well, Not Really)

Ivan Moody is no stranger to on-stage meltdowns, or spurring rumors that he was leaving Five Finger Death Punch. But Moody’s meltdown in June 2017left many concerned for his well-being, let alone whether he was actually quitting the band for good. But all ended well for Five Finger Death Punch (well, at least the year did). While Five Finger Death Punch continued its European tour with Tommy Vext filling in, Moody sought help for addiction and quickly returned to the road with the band. Whether Moody’s bad habits come back to haunt the band in 2018, at least Five Finger Death Punch can know their legal troubles with labels are behind them.

– Zach Shaw


9) Ghost unmasked by lawsuits

As huge of a genre that metal is, there aren’t really that many success stories of bands that have crossed over to mainstream rock success in the past decade or so. Sweden’s Ghost are one of the few, and it would be hard to argue that their image is one of the main reasons that happened. While many in rock music are faceless (quick, what’s the singer of Imagine Dragons or Cage the Elephant look like?), Ghost stood out because their musicians literally were nameless and faceless. Led by demonic pope Papa Emeritus, their satanic hymns are campy and over the top, and over the course of three albums, they’ve become Grammy winners and topped the rock radio charts. Add in opening for Iron Maiden on a stadium tour, and you’d think this would be their year, right?

Well, not exactly. While the identity of Papa has been an open secret for a while now, the identity of him and some of the other “nameless ghouls” have come out very publicly through a series of lawsuits. First off, it shouldn’t be all that surprising to know that there have been a series of nameless ghouls. It’s that much easier to shuffle out band members when you have no idea what they look like. Secondly. Tobias Forge (yes, he’s admitted that he’s Papa) has claimed that he’s the primary songwriter and Ghost is essentially his solo project, even if he borrowed the “Papa Emeritus” character from someone else. That might paint him as kind of a dictator (or kind of a dick, if you ask the formerly anonymous Ghouls), but it’s certainly paid off for the band. The question is, with the mystique gone from the band, will they remain as popular as they were, or does the general public not care about who’s behind the mask?

– Bram Teitelman


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  • pheet007

    Simmons acting like the arrogant sex predator he is really isn’t news. His trying to patent the “devil horn” was unbelievably fucking stupid. This pervert is without guile, a conscience, or sense of reality. KISS needs to disappear forever. With his behavior he has destroyed a band whose commercial death was long overdue in the first place. I loved KISS when I was in high school in the late ’70’s, back in the time they made great rock and roll, had a show of truly legendary proportions, and were the heroes for so many kids who were desperate to have somebody to look up to. I was mercilessly bullied and had it not been for my rock and roll, and finally getting some real friends by about the 11th grade who weren’t trying to bully me, I’m pretty sure I would have done something really stupid.
    But this isn’t the KISS I loved. This is nothing but a pathetic bunch of old men trying desperately to pass themselves off as teenagers, and when they do bother to release new music, it is only a very piss poor imitation of whatever is popular at the moment.
    Metallica and Lady Gaga? Why not? They’re both sell outs, egomaniacs who can’t get enough limelight and their music sucks. Frankly, Lady Gaga has more credibility with me than Metallica and I couldn’t tell you one song she’s recorded.
    A lot of celebrity deaths this year like every year. If any good can come out of this, maybe it might raise awareness of depression, drug abuse, or other mental illnesses and encourage those who suffer from these problems seek help. Even Nikki Sixx of all people has done some high profile anti-drug work, and I’m very happy for him doing so.
    Decapitated finally obtained at least temporary relief from jail after being charged with what looks more and more like a very questionable case to begin with. If they are guilty, then they must pay the price. However, the woman involved is a liar, was drunk as a skunk on the night and incident in question, and has serious credibility issues. I hope Decapitated are found innocent, and maybe they can pick up the pieces of their no doubt miserable current lives and hopefully one day make more music, as they are (were) among the best of the current death metal bands out there.
    And the Mormon Church last week released a statement that declared anybody who masturbated was homosexual. Okay then! This means THE ENTIRE HUMAN POPULATION WHO HAVE REACHED PUBERTY are all homosexuals. Anybody stupid and gullible enough to allow a cult brainwash them, including Christianity, gets whatever they deserve.