Most bands are no strangers to lineup changes, with members often coming and going (and sometimes coming back again) regularly through their lifespans. Sometimes that leaves nobody from the original lineup, as we explored recently, looking at 10 legendary bands with no original members left.
Sometimes, though, bands hit on that lighting-in-a-bottle formula instantly and never have to change a single member. Here, Metal Hammer has found 10 heavy acts whose lineups never changed since day one.
Rage Against The Machine
They’re the ultimate band for rebels of all stripes, with Killing In the Name’s iconic refrain – “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” – being shouted from countless throats over the years. Rap metal icons Rage Against The Machine have flown the flag for radical, anti-establishment politics for more than 30 years, and haven’t changed members once in that time.
American rockers Alter Bridge might have formed from three quarters of Creed, but they’re very much their own animal. For almost 20 years, the four-piece have made reliably anthemic hard rock, borderline metal (Metalingus, anyone?), and despite flying under the radar for many, they’ve risen to dominating arenas. Plus, latest album Pawns And Kings offers some of their finest work yet.
Say what you will about the quality of their more recent output, but rock trio Muse have had the same core members since the very beginning: a recipe that’s given us the stunning Absolution as well as the smash hit Black Holes And Revelations. Prog rock, pop, electro, metal – they’ve covered so many bases, but it’s all still Matt Bellamy and co.
Enter Shikari have seemingly made it their life’s work to make as many people dance as possible. From the iconic Sorry You’re Not A Winner on 2007 debut album Take To The Skies to this year’s A Kiss For The Whole World, it’s all been the work of the same group of friends from St Albans (and their custom instrument, Sparky).
Thrice’s career has been one of constant evolution. Shifting from post-hardcore to experimental territory and eventually to alt rock, it could be the work of several different bands. It isn’t though: the same four musicians have guided the legendary band through every iteration of their storied career, from the classic The Artist In The Ambulance to 2021’s excellent Horizons/East.
The 69 Eyes
These Finnish rockers have been going since 1992 without a single wheel change, and they’re now a staple of the goth scene, marrying macabre tones with guitar-driven melodicism. Neither their lineup or style has shifted over the years, and even with this year’s Death Of Darkness there’s no sign that the band are ready to hang up their boots just yet.
Dir En Grey
The Japanese experimentalists might’ve started as a visual kei band but over eleven albums they’ve embraced everything from death metal to prog and even early flourishes of pop. Despite initially sporting a striking look, Dir En Grey have toned down their costumes and makeup in later years, instead focusing on delivering the most mind-bending, often challenging music they can. Truly an enigmatic band.
“Trouble comes in threes – so does Brutus.” Those seven words adorn the Belgian post-hardcore trio’s social media pages, but no trouble has befallen the band to force any changes since they formed 10 years ago. Though they started life as a Refused cover band, they’re best known for their stunningly emotional, multi-genre music and Stefanie Mannaerts’ raw yet melodic singing.
Though, as of October last year, the band confirmed they had gone on indefinite hiatus, Circa Survive were for years the darlings of the post-hardcore scene, leaving an immense legacy through seven genre-defining albums. It’s not even singer Anthony Green’s first rodeo, as he first saw success with Saosin, but Circa survived until 2022 without losing a single original member.
Dutch for “cot death”, Wiegedood have arguably one of the most unpleasant, and metal, names. The Church Of Ra devotees have made challenging, raucous black metal for nigh on a decade to steadily growing audiences, and while their former band Oathbreaker are much missed, Wiegedood are a terrifying, gloriously blackened prospect that show no signs of slowing any time soon.