When a successful musician declares, “I’m going solo!,” the results can sometimes be underwhelming. However, these 10 acts went on to become essential pieces of the metal landscape.

Countless musicians have gone solo after departing from the bands which made them famous. It’s rare that a solo project will actually eclipse the popularity of a musician’s former band, but it’s absolutely happened. Yngwie Malmsteen found some modest popularity with Steeler and Alcatrazz in the early ‘80s, but truly exploded once Yngwie’s debut solo album, Rising Force, launched in 1984.

Another musician whose solo work has arguably become the focal point of his career is Devin Townsend. Though he released legitimate masterworks like City and Alien with Strapping Young Lad, Devin’s rabid fan base has devoured the 17 albums he’s made as a solo artist, with The Devin Townsend Band and The Devin Townsend Project.

Once Ritchie Blackmore became a guitar icon with Deep Purple, his departure from the band could have marked the final high point of his career. Thankfully, the riff lord formed the almighty Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. After Ronnie spent his time with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, he would go on to enjoy his own solo success with the legendary Dio.

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