For many hard-rock and metal fans, 2017 will be remembered for the two shocking high-profile suicides that took place in quick succession this spring/summer. But Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington were hardly the only heavy-music artists we lost in 2017. Below, we look back on the Soundgarden and Linkin Park singers and several other musicians who passed away over the last 12 months, but whose legacies live on in the music they left behind. Rest in peace.
The extreme-metal pioneer, best known as the bassist for Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, died October 21st of a heart attack. He was 50. Born Martin Stricker in the U.S., the musician moved to Switzerland as a teenager, forming Hellhammer with vocalist/guitarist Thomas Gabriel Fischer in 1982; the band's first and only release, Apocalyptic Raids (1984), is regarded as one of the earliest known black-metal or death-metal masterworks. After disbanding Hellhammer in 1984, Ain and Fischer achieved worldwide fame with Celtic Frost, a powerful, protean band adored by everyone from Nirvana to Anthrax to Marduk.
The Linkin Park singer took his own life on July 20th at the age of 41. Bennington's powerful voice and soul-bearing lyrics were crucial in catapulting the rap-rock outfit — which he joined in 1999 — to international stardom via albums like Hybrid Theory (2000) and Meteora (2003), and most recently, One More Light (released just months before Bennington's passing). Bennington also founded Dead by Sunrise, a hard-rock outfit featuring members of Orgy and Julien-K, who released one album, Out of Ashes (2009). Earlier in this decade, he did a brief stint as frontman for the seminal grunge band Stone Temple Pilots; Bennington toured with the band and recorded a lone EP, High Rise, before parting ways with the group in 2015.
The revered rock vocalist committed suicide following his band Soundgarden's May 17th concert at Detroit's Fox Theater. He was 52. Along with peers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the Seattle outfit (which Cornell co-founded in 1984) played a pivotal role in turning the city's then-burgeoning grunge movement into an international phenomenon with albums like Badmotorfinger (1991) and Superknown (1994), the latter of which spawned the smash singles "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun." The band split up in 1997 before reuniting in 2010 for another album, King Animal. Outside of Soundgarden, Cornell steered several notable bands, including Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, as well as launching a successful solo career.
The erstwhile Sanctuary and Nevermore frontman died of a heart attack on December 13th at age 56; he was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he was working on his second solo album. A trained opera singer, Dane was revered for his impressive range and intense performance style, featured prominently on Sanctuary's earlier albums Refuge Denied (1988) and Into the Mirror (1990). In 1991, he launched the progressive-metal outfit Nevermore, who released seven albums before going on hiatus in 2011. Outside of music, Dane collaborated with the black-metal band Behemoth, released solo material and even lent his voice to Candynose Twinskins on Adult Swim's Metalocalypse.
The Kittie bassist passed away due to unspecified causes on February 13th. She was 31. Born in South Korea, Doan joined the Canadian metal band in 2005; she can be heard on 2006's Never Again EP and the following year's full-length Funeral for Yesterday. Doan parted ways with the group in 2007 to focus on her battles with depression and anorexia and work toward a college degree. She reunited with Kittie five years later. "She was so much more than just a musician or member of the band," the band said in a statement, "She was our blood, our sister and family."
The singer, who performed on Corrosion of Conformity's landmark 1984 debut Eye for an Eye, died of unspecified causes on September 22nd. The Vermont-born, North Carolina-based Eycke, who joined COC in 1983, was "the kind of singer that people would be into hearing at that point," according to the band's bassist, Mike Dean. "He was a hardcore kind of tough dude." Eycke parted ways with the Corrosion of Conformity after Eye for an Eye due to creative differences — but however brief his tenure may have been, Eycke was nonetheless instrumental in shaping the influential crossover band's identity.
The co-founding bassist for industrial-tinged metal band American Head Charge died November 12th at age 46 of an undisclosed terminal illness. Hanks co-founded the Minneapolis, Minnesota, group in 1997 and played on all of their albums, including their breakthrough release, the Rick Rubin-produced The War of Art (2001), which pushed American Head Charge to the forefront of the nu-metal scene in the early Aughts; in support of the record, Hanks and his bandmates played that year's Ozzfest, as well as Slipknot's Pledge of Allegiance tour. The band's most recent album, Tango Umbrella, came out last year.
Born Grantzberg Venon Hart, the co-founding drummer of revered Twin Cities punk trio Hüsker Dü passed away September 13th of complications from liver cancer and Hepatitis C. He was 56. In 1979, Hart formed the band with guitarist Bob Mould and bassist Greg Norton — whom he met while working at a record store in South St. Paul, Minnesota. The group's pioneering mash-up of rugged punk rhythms and tender-hearted pop melodies, exemplified on their 1984 magnum opus Zen Arcade, secured their legacy as post-hardcore pioneers for decades to come. After Hüsker Dü broke up in 1988, Hart embarked on a solo career (his last such effort, The Argument, came out in 2013) and formed another rock trio, Nova Mob.
The Nothingface frontman died on April 15th of an undisclosed degenerative illness. He was 39. Holt joined the Washington D.C. band at the tender age of 16, replacing original vocalist David Gabbard; his distinctive blend of feral screams and buttoned-up melodies can be heard on all five Nothingface albums. When the group disbanded in 2004 due to complications with their label, Holt and former Nothingface bassist Bill Gaal started a new band, Kingdom of Snakes, before reuniting with the group again in 2005. Despite releasing a few demos in 2009, Nothingface's rumored sixth album, sadly, never came to fruition.
The former lead vocalist of Faith No More passed away November 9th at age 57 "due to the disease of addiction," according to a family statement. Mosley enlisted with Faith No More in the early Eighties, performing and singing on the band's first two albums, We Care a Lot (1986) and Introduce Yourself (1987). The group fired him for erratic behavior in 1988, following the European tour behind the latter album; he was replaced by the group's current frontman, Mike Patton. Following his departure from Faith No More, Mosley briefly served as the lead singer for seminal D.C. hardcore band Bad Brains, eventually forming several groups of his own — such as Cement, VUA and Indoria — and pursuing solo work.
The former Black Sabbath keyboardist died on January 28th after a battle with lung cancer. He was 68. Nicholls was tapped by Black Sabbath following Ozzy Osbourne's dismissal from the definitive metal group in 1979. Beginning with the following year's album Heaven & Hell, the musician went on to enjoy a 25-year tenure with Black Sabbath, performing on nine studio LPs and several world tours. Nicholls' time with the group came to a close in 2004, when Ozzy replaced him with Adam Wakeman, a member of the frontman's solo band. Outside of Black Sabbath, Nicholls collaborated with ex-Sabbath singer Tony Martin, and did time Quartz and Johnny Neal and the Starliners.
The co-founding Marilyn Manson guitarist died on October 22nd at age 49 following a battle with stage-four colon cancer. Together with his friend Brian Warner (better known as Marilyn Manson), the musician formed an industrial-metal group that would be feared by many and adored by millions: Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids. As the co-writer and lead guitarist on the band's earliest records — most notably Portrait of an American Family (1994) and the ensuing Smells Like Children EP (1995) — Putesky had a major role in shaping Manson's horrorshow up until his exit in 1996, during sessions for that year's Antichrist Superstar. After leaving Manson, Putesky recorded solo material as Three Ton Gate, performed and recorded with Jack Off Jill, collaborated with singer Jessicka Addams in the Linda Blairs and performed with the electro-punk band Kill Miss Pretty.
The former Black Flag bassist (pictured above, far left) passed away on May 3rd after a months-long battle with stage 4 glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Revuleta enlisted with the seminal hardcore outfit in 1986, performing with Henry Rollins, et al. through the end of their original run, and again at their 2003 reunion. Though he wasn't featured on any of the group's recordings, his performances remain immortalized in live footage and Reality 86'd (1991), Dave Markey's Black Flag tour documentary.
The lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the New England doom-metal trio Pilgrim, Rossi — a.k.a. "The Wizard" — died of unrevealed causes on October 26th. He was 26. Formed in 2011, the Rhode Island-based group won the hearts of critics and fans alike with its Metal Blade debut Misery Wizard (2012) and its similarly excellent follow-up, II: Void Worship (2014), two crushing slabs of old-school doom that prompted comparisons to Candlemass and Witchfinder General.
AC/DC's co-founding rhythm guitarist passed away November 18th at age 64 following a long battle with dementia. Born in Scotland, Young formed the legendary hard-rock outfit with his brother, Angus, in 1973, after their family relocated to Sydney, Australia. His electrifying, no-nonsense hooks, showcased on hits like "Highway to Hell," "Back in Black," "You Shook Me All Night Long" and countless others, was a key catalyst for AC/DC's meteoric rise and — with 1980's seminal Back in Black, which is currently the second-highest-selling album in history — their apotheosis.
The bassist, also known as David Zablidowsky, lost his life on July 14th after a tractor-trailer struck his band Adrenaline Mob's RV, which had pulled over en route to a tour stop in Florida. He was 38. In addition to his bass duties with the heavy-metal outfit, whom he joined earlier this year, Zablidowsky played with the famed symphonic-rock outfit Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the hard-rock band ZO2, the latter of whom were the subjects of IFC's comedy show Z Rock.