If you are in a metal band, chances are your vocalist has one of two styles – “clean” singing such as Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford, or screaming/death growl vocals like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.
The trend today is that many younger bands go with the screaming/screamo/brutal/harsh vocal style over clean singing.
What the hell is the reason? I’m not quite sure, but in my opinion it’s a damn shame because it’s giving metal a shitty name. It happens to be the direction of the genre and it’s going to set metal bands back in a lot of ways.
I’d like to immediately state that in reality I really could care less how you choose to create your art. If you write something that makes you happy and resonates with only one other person, good for you. I’m not here to tell people what to do.
That being said, there is no question that clean singing is superior to brutal death-style vocals. Here are 10 reasons why:
It adds a dynamic and powerful element to live music that is pleasing to the ear.
A power vocalist that can hit the correct pitch, move through octaves, and harmonize with other vocalists will sound far better live than someone simply screaming guttural nonsense that adds little more than a “brutal” feel.
You might as well not write lyrics because they are completely indecipherable, especially live.
You might pen the most inspiring lyrics of anyone around…too bad no one will hear a damn thing you’re saying. There’s literally no point. You might hear it on the record, but that’s only half the experience. Arguably, banging out live music is far more thrilling, and you’re crippling your appeal.
Speaking of appeal – people will immediately walk out of a venue due to screaming or guttural death growl vocals.
Maybe you don’t care, but many people flat out hate it, including myself and I’m a metalhead through and through. You’re not doing it right if half the crowd leaves 10 seconds into your set. Have fun playing basement shows at 2 am every time you want to play.
Women generally despise it.
Again, perhaps you don’t give a shit, but if you’re going “brutal” for the sake of trying to be “metal” or because everyone else is doing it, you’ll be forgotten by the ladies very quickly.
There are few things better than watching the female body sway to the power of music. Clean vocalists are superior in this regard.
You sound like every other death growl band.
Live death growl vocals are nearly indistinguishable from each other. Clean, high range and dynamic singers leave their mark. Screamers will be forgotten.
“Metal” causes many people to immediately think of death growls.
You’re ruining it for many bands that have real vocal talent. I don’t know how many times I told friends or promoters that I play metal, only to watch them roll their eyes in disgust. It’s because of death vocals that this happens.
You’ll never get a crowd response like this, because you will never be legendary.
Death screams don’t go well with the blues influence of classic metal and rock.
Many of today’s metal musicians and singers have completely lost the blues influence. If you do it right, your live performance will be miles ahead of the competition.
Bluesy solos mixed with speed solos mixed with well-timed vocal leads crossed with great riffing will destroy guttural nonsense and the non-bluesy feel of many hardcore metal bands.
Many bands just assume that brutal vocals come with the metal territory and disregard singing as an integral part of the live sound.
In reality I think it’s because most people can’t sing well at all. It’s difficult to find someone who can pull off power vocals in a live setting. It’s also very challenging to play and sing at the same time, so a lot of guitar players sacrifice their singing ability to kill it on guitar. That’s fine, but you could be killing it on guitar while your buddy is bringing the house down with vocals in a higher class of talent.
Death growl bands have inspired a new label – “true metal.”
Many of us use this to distinguish the utter shit from the real deal.
Just listen to Midnight of the band Crimson Glory, or Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche. They completely out class the competition especially those in the metal genre.
Hell, I’ll even take “lighter” stuff like Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, Skid Row and Scorpions because they have very unique and immediately distinguishable vocalists. Who gives a shit what they wore, it was a product of their time. The music fucking rocks.
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, etc. are the true soul of “metal.” You’ll never achieve their legendary status if you go with death growls. FACT.
Maybe you don’t care, which is fine. Sucks to not even have a chance, though.