Barely two weeks into 2017 and the metalcore universe has been turned upside down. While 2016 was the year that we lost a ton of iconic musicians, 2017 is becoming the year of band members stepping away from their bands. Either it’s very coincidental that several metalcore bands are now down a member and some bands even calling it quits completely in such a short span of time, or there’s a legitimate trend happening as the genre enters its teens. Here’s the rundown of what’s been going on so far in 2017.
Of Mice & Men
This trend all began at the tail of 2016 on December 30 when Of Mice & Men founding member and frontman Austin Carlile announced that he was stepping down from the band because of his battle with Marfan’s Syndrome, which has caused the band to cancel several tours last year into this year because of Carlile’s numerous surgeries. The band is continuing as a four piece with bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley taking vocal duties and Carlile mentioned that he is still writing music as well. The metalcore heavyweights released four albums with Carlile and 2016 was a huge year for the band including the release of their “best” album Cold World, which peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200, and touring over the summer with Slipknot and Marilyn Manson.
The New Year rang in on a sour note for Attila when founding drummer Sean Heenan announced on New Year’s Day that he would no longer be behind the kit for the band. He noted that it was time to continue his musical career on a different path and that he was very grateful for the time spent in the band. Their 2016 album Chaos peaked at #30 on the Billboard 200 and the band went on a successful tour with Chelsea Grin, Emmure, and Sylar to end the year. Attila have a U.S. tour with New Years Day set to begin on February 14 but there is no word as to who will be replacing Heenan.
Crown the Empire
The first signs of Crown the Empire’s vocalist David Escamilla stepping away from the band were shown when he went on hiatus from touring with the band in November 2016. On January 8, 2017 Escamilla and the band both announced their split which also revealed that the band do not write their own music but that they have outside sources who help with the writing. The band will mostly carry on with vocalist Andy Leo taking over sole vocal duties. Escamilla also said he will continue making music. 2016 saw the band release their third album Retrograde, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200, and also saw a major shift in the band’s sound, which many people believe is why Escamilla left. There were many rumors that Escamilla may take Austin Carlile’s place in Of Mice & Men but Escamilla denied these rumors.
After the band released an acoustic EP entitled Fight Through the Night in December 2016, Phinehas drummer Lee Humerian wrote a lengthy post on January 10, 2017 that he is moving to Ukraine with his wife Katie to join the Joshua Venture ministry called EXIT. Humerian explains, “EXIT is a music outreach ministry to schools that provides preventative training on issues such as relationships, self- esteem and drug and alcohol abuse.” Humerian’s last show with the band will be on January 21 and he also noted that he will be recording the drums for the new Phinehas album, which they are currently writing. The band’s last album, Till the End, was released in July 2015, their first for Artery Records. There is no word who will be taking over after his departure.
Motionless In White
On the same day as Humerian’s announcement about his departure from Phinehas, Motionless in White’s keyboardist Josh Balz also announced his parting with MIW. Balz explained that he needs to focus on himself and that he has been struggling over the last year. He also wrote that this may not be the last we see of him in the music industry. MIW will have a fill-in keyboardist on their upcoming tour with Falling in Reverse and Issues. Balz was in the band for 10 years and joined when he was 16. The band’s fourth album Graveyard Shift will be out on Roadrunner Records sometime this year.
With this year being their 10th anniversary, Affiance announced on January 11 that they will be going on an indefinite hiatus. The band stated that they can no longer carry on because they could not sustain the financial aspect. The band has crowdfunded some of their latest projects and their newest van but a band can only survive for so long on crowdfunding. Known for their hard work ethic and their inspirational message, the band feel that they let their fans down for calling it quits. In their statement, they wrote their success was all due to their fans. “You literally kept our dreams alive the entire time. Touring with bands like Killswitch Engage and Protest The Hero, playing in Europe and South Africa, charting on Billboard independently, being in a video game, on a tv show, being set on FUCKING FIRE…. All of it was because of you. For that we are eternally grateful,” the band wrote. The band are lining up some farewell shows for the spring of 2017 and said they may release some content occasionally and some members may carry on their music career in new projects. Affiance released three albums and two EPs over their decade long career.
Although it’s been a rough start, there are a ton of great releases set for this year. Here’s to hoping 2017 turns around for metalcore.