Help me to understand the appeal of Death/Black metal vocals?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by frogman81, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    I think it's like horror movies, it needs to feel real to be any good. If it sounds like the singer genuinely went psychotic and could actually murder you or bomb a hospital or something, then I can get it. When I heard Corey Taylor on Iowa for the first time I nearly shat myself in horror. I can appreciate that.

    Unfortunately, once it starts sounding too practiced, controlled, stylized and genre-appropriate I just lose interest completely. Especially when they turn 180 and start singing clean in the chorus, it's like watching a bad actor who can't make up his mind about what emotion his character is trying to express.

    Lastly I think the rest of the production needs to gel with the vocals too. For growls to sound sincere I need the drummer to play faster than their ability allows, the guitarist to bang their strings out of tune and the bass player to knock over a cymbal stand in sheer rampage. If it's all neatly produced and tight and music collegey then it just doesn't make any sense for me to have vocals like that.
     
  2. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Pointy Gang™

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    :yesway: Like rizzo said earlier, actually coaxing nuance and different textures out of harsh vocals is quite difficult, but some guys like Devin Townsend are exceptional at it. Howard from Killswitch/ Phil Anselmo were also really great at getting different textures from harsh vocals.
     
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  3. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo SS.org Regular

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    I used not not like those grunt/growl/scream vocals for the longest time, but I still liked all the playing and the songs of many of the bands, so I listened to more and more of the music and I started liking the vocals more and more, no I really like that type of vocals!
     
  4. AlexCorriveau

    AlexCorriveau Yeeeeeeeeesssssssss

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    It fits perfectly the brutality of the music. And also, the whole "HOW THE HELL CAN HE DO THAT?!?!" appeal when I started to listen to it. I learned how to do it and I enjoy myself almost as much as playing guitar when I sing death metal. I also love the aspect of learning how different vocalists approach their vocals and trying their techniques.
     
  5. Kruger667

    Kruger667 SS.org Regular

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    This is a pretty deep topic. I think a Friday night, case of beer, and good sound system would be in order to go through metal vocals.

    Anyways to start with, the vocals can be used as a means of accenting or emphasizing the rhythm. George Fisher tends to lock in with the drum cymbals and it creates a nice accent to the rhythm. I don't think clean vocals would have the same effect.

     
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  6. ppinkham

    ppinkham SS.org Regular

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    Death metal is only really death metal because of the vocals. Otherwise, it's basically thrash. If James Hetfield was the singer for Cannibal Corpse, then you wouldn't be able to hear that any other way, either. ;)
     
  7. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

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    When I first started listening to death metal, I loved the fact that it sounded like it didn't come from this world but had such an orchestrated flow. It has a completely otherworldly/inhuman vibe to it, and the vocals are just as responsible as the instrumentation; guys like Lord Worm do NOT sound human.

    And like many have already mentioned here, it's aggressive and dark music, and the vocals often match that atmosphere. It's hard to imagine Defeated Sanity with Periphery vocals. :facepalm:
     
  8. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    I tried explaining this to some people I know. The best I could say was that it's just another form of expression. Not all art needs to be "beautiful" or inspire "happiness", etc. So screaming, growling etc is just another form of expression for a vocalist. In this sense, it's a very primal, raw expression. It's distortion, in much the same way a guitar can be distorted, or an electronic note can be distorted. And it's an effect to evoke certain things.

    It's similar to the "heaviness" "debate" where people think you don't need to downtune a guitar to be "heavy". What you say is important, but how you say it, even moreso. You can play the grimmest black metal on a ukulele - but it will sound much better in a lower range and distorted. In much the same way, you can sing about a deep primal emotion in a clear voice - or you can scream it in utter anguish. Or blend them for dynamic contrast.

    It's not filler at all - it's a deliberate stylistic choice. That's all there is to understand. If you understand that, you're perfectly free to dislike it.
     
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  9. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Just like a lot of things about metal, they're great when they're done well.

    Back in the days before Napster or streaming, etc. you'd hear about bands and go pick up their CD. All too often, you'd pop the CD into the car stereo, opening riff to track 1 is awesome and you're ready to peel out of the music store parking lot like a viking going into battle, and then the vocals kick in... and ugh. But that can be with harsh or clean vocals.
     
  10. AdamMaz

    AdamMaz SS.org Regular

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    I don't care about lyrics. I'm in it for the intensity/passion put into vocal expression.

    I like to grunt/growl Death vocals because it is empowering, which adds to the music (especially if the instrumentals are heavy).

    Black shrieking/barking is sheer, exuberant angst, which feels like unloading all of my frustrations.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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  11. bulb

    bulb SS.org Regular

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    It’s almost like people have different tastes
     
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  12. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Pointy Gang™

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    insightful observation as always :yesway:
     
  13. bulb

    bulb SS.org Regular

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    I’m amazing
     
  14. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Oh Misha, you lost the opportunity. Fixed it for you.
     
  15. bulb

    bulb SS.org Regular

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    FUCK!
     
  16. BusinessMan

    BusinessMan SS.org Regular

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    I tend to think of the vocals as another instrument (because sometimes I can’t understand them). It adds more of a gruff sound to the instruments are incapable or adding to the mix.
     
  17. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Aside from all the reasons stated from members (maybe this has been mentioned already) I'd say having someone sing clean or like doing harsh singing vocals the singer must have really really good ideas on vocal lines to meld with the intensity and sometimes chaotic patterns of death metal, especially if you go tech death. I think the only band that kind of did that but it wasn't that successful, in my opinion, was Spiral Architect.

    Most extreme bands that have some clean vocals usually are over more melodic passages.
     
  18. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

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    As someone said before harsh vocals help emphasize the music, but need to be contextualized.
    No need to growl over an upbeat ukulele riff.
    Or maybe yes…...
     
  19. sevenfoxes

    sevenfoxes SS.org Regular

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    I'm pretty tired of metal vocals in general. Most of it is so damn redundant, and hasn't really elvolved much. I'd honestly rather listen to most metal bands without the vocals.

    Maybe I've been listening to metal for too long, but i think most of these singers are just boring.
     
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  20. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    The first time I ever really liked them instead of tolerating them was when I listened to Opeth's Still Life while following along with the lyrics. YMMV?!
     

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