How do some (metal) vocalists have such amazing voices ?

OinkBoink

Senior member
Nov 25, 2003
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Okay. No one has ever given me a proper answer to this question. All I get is 'this is why they're rockstars and we're not' and crap like that.

How is it that all these rock/metal vocalists have such wide vocal ranges and that gruff metal quality to their voices ? I'm specifically talking about singing here and not screaming.

Some examples would be Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield (of the 80s), Bruce Dickinson, Tom Araya etc.
 

Tiamat

Lifer
Nov 25, 2003
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Dunno about vocals but interestingly many of the instrumentalists are formally and perhaps classically trained to a high degree in their instruments in metal bands as compared to pop, punk, alternative rock genres. Don't get me wrong, occasionally you can find real talent in those other genres, but some metal bands just simply have ridiculous keyboard, drum, guitar, based talent all in one band. Talent one might only expect in classical music or jazz.
 

OinkBoink

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Nov 25, 2003
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I get their talent with instruments but how do they go about modifying their voices like that ?
 

Lepton87

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Jul 28, 2009
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I prefer listening to female voices, such as Sharon den Adel in within temptation.
 

IGemini

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Nov 5, 2010
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I prefer listening to female voices, such as Sharon den Adel in within temptation.

This. It's also worth pointing out that not all singers of metal NEED to have that gruff quality. Quite a few were also classically trained before they sang for metal bands. Off the top of my head, Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), and Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) initially sang jazz and/or classical first.
 

CPA

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Nov 19, 2001
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While Bruce Dickinson is the best, how could you leave off Rob Halford?
 

VulgarDisplay

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Apr 3, 2009
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One thing people don't realize is that that gruff metal screaming is often times very quiet in terms of actual volume and amplified. They look like they are in pain doing it because it's part of the act.
 

phucheneh

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Jun 30, 2012
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Having the ability to get loud and remain in control takes talent. And getting REALLY loud and/or death growling and whatnot takes practice, unless you wanna ruin your vocal chords.

But there are plenty of metal singers who really aren't that remarkable...they can do a lot of different things with their voice- clean singing, screams, death growls...but in the end the 'singing' just isn't that special.

I think Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) is officially my favorite vocalist. The evolution of his voice has been quite remarkable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=n3tuxh8Eg_M#t=35s

For reference, same singer in 2003:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCUSzSProPw

On every subsequent album his yelling got more intense yet also came closer to merging with his clean singing.

edit: Not that I don't love me some good juxtaposition.
 
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Skyclad1uhm1

Lifer
Aug 10, 2001
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A lot of metal singers (m/f) are either classically trained or practice their voices a lot. If you try to sing like that and don't do it 'right' you'll not be able to sing for very long.
But the human voice is capable of much more than many people think. Just look at beatboxers, or a band like Van Canto (for those who don't know them but know Nightwish, listen to this with headphones on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr7j-a9Kxc0)
 

OinkBoink

Senior member
Nov 25, 2003
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Mustaine is as crappy as it gets.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo9qcJ8TS1g

Real good vocalists: Roy Khan and Matt Barlow are less known than ones you mentioned, yet better.

I actually like Mustaine. His voice fits Megadeth's music well. He does a good job on tracks like 'Addicted To Chaos', 'The Disintegrators' etc. His vocals on Tornado Of Souls, a great track by itself, are awful though.
 

Skyclad1uhm1

Lifer
Aug 10, 2001
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What I like is when a singer can adjust his/her voice to suit what they sing about in such a way that you can sense the emotion back in their voice.
My Dying Bride, Sentenced, Within Temptation, Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Eluveitie, and lots more do that.

Where pop music tends to have quite 'simplistic' subjects and therefor lyrics (mostly about love or happiness) metal has always also looked at the darker side of society. Both the pain of losing someone and the harm inflicted on people by others. That is also a reason why most metal will never be mainstream as most people don't want to be reminded about life not being all that nice and simple.
Whether it was Slayer singing about Joseph Mengele (Angel of Death), Sentenced (Killing Me, Killing You) or My Dying Bride (For My Fallen Angel) singing about a loved one dying, or even a subject like incest about which many bands have sung songs, including Megadeth (Family Tree), Rammstein (Spiel Mit Mir and Tier). Dark subjects no one wants to think about, but they're part of humanity and won't go away by keeping quiet about it.

Metal has gotten a bad reputation among many religious people due to the few bands that liked shocking people and therefor sang about Satanism. But many metal bands sing about serious subjects and deserve to be recognized by more people.
To fight the darker side of humanity and the mental and physical pain people can have you need to be able to understand it, and to understand it you first need to be able to talk about it. That's one of the reasons I have high hopes for the growing metal scene in the Middle East. Whether it's the Arabic metal bands breaking local taboos with their music and lyrics, the people who make the festivals possible there (Desert Rock was allowed as metal festival in Dubai thanks to a local princess that liked 'louder' music) or bands like Orphaned Land from Israel who perform alongside Arab bands.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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They are ugly so they actually have to be talented.

Or to put it another way - at the top of the pop genre the importance is 90% looks, 5% talent, 5% auto-tune.

It's usually only way down the charts and in other genres like folk, alternative, metal that you get non-pretty people being allowed to sing.
 

Vic Vega

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Sep 24, 2010
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Hetfield has only gotten better. He admitted in an interview years ago he didn't learn how to sing until the 90s.

Outlaw Torn is one of his best songs and didn't come along until Load (1996).
 

HamburgerBoy

Lifer
Apr 12, 2004
27,112
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Araya and Mustaine are about the worst examples of mainstream metal frontmen you could give for such a thread.

They are ugly so they actually have to be talented.

False.

tumblr_ma0kjjB1iI1ro1i4i.jpg
 
Nov 8, 2012
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Hetfield has only gotten better. He admitted in an interview years ago he didn't learn how to sing until the 90s.

Outlaw Torn is one of his best songs and didn't come along until Load (1996).

images


Fuckin seriously? 90's were the worst time ever for the shithole known as Metallica. Their only sense of talent was Pre-AJFA. If the people in this thread even consider metallica "Metal" music.
 

OinkBoink

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Nov 25, 2003
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While Bruce Dickinson is the best, how could you leave off Rob Halford?

I wrote 'etc.' . :biggrin:

Hetfield has only gotten better. He admitted in an interview years ago he didn't learn how to sing until the 90s.

Outlaw Torn is one of his best songs and didn't come along until Load (1996).

His voice sucks (relative to how it was before) on everything after The Black Album.
 

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