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Requiem

Favourite Vocalists by Genre

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Who do you find are the best examples of vocalists of the various metal genres? Subjectivity is everything here. Here are my subjects ranked from amazing to most amazing in a top 5 for the genre of black metal: 

Requiem's Top 6(66) Black Metal Vocalists

6. Legion (Marduk)

Who comes in at number 5? Hoest? Nocturno Culto? Quorthon? Gaahl? Attila? My beloved Maniac? Well, I have to be honest with myself here and say that pound for pound I rate Legion higher. His idiosyncratic work on the incredible 'World Funeral' and 'Panzer Division Marduk' albums is just so distinctive, and there's something about his sound that just nails my soul. I love how you can make out what he's saying, his intonation and that hint of a Swedish accent that comes through. I think the band really lost some of their uniqueness when he left and Mortuus joined. 

5. Ihsahn (Emperor)

Obviously a great guitar player, but his voice is/was just transcendent. Those first few lines from 'Into the Infinity of Thoughts' from 'In the Nightside Eclipse' are hard to beat. I don't think anyone can transport me to a Norwegian snow-covered forest as well as he can with a few rasped lyrics. His great work in 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk' is also so far above most of the competition it's not funny. Ihsahn is one of those guys who just has the x-factor. He was born for it. I'm not the biggest fan of his current art rock solo projects, so I'll stick to commenting on his Emperor material, up to and including 'Prometheus'. 

4. Emperor Magus Caligula (Dark Funeral)

Like my Legion inclusion, this might surprise many, partly due to Dark Funeral's less-than-true credentials, partly cause he has a dumb name. But just put all that aside and listen to this guy. Listen to his howls on the 'Diabolis Interium' album. Listen to him on the track 'King Antichrist' from its follow-up. They're screams from the depths of hell itself and I buy it, wholesale. He just adds life (death?) to the songs he's on and they just elevate. He turns catchy tunes into anthems.  

3. Mortuus (Marduk)

I took a lot of time to warm to Morty, especially after what I thought were fairly run-of-the-mill performances on 'Plague Angel' and 'Rom 512'. Live he was great, but I feel that everyone praises these albums a little more than they deserve. Once he hit 'Frontschwein' though, and started using his voice in different ways including that cut-off, gargled, shout at the end of some sentences, he went to a new level. It's one of the all time great metal performances and is filled with menace, artistry and plausibility. He is my modern favourite. 

2. Varg Vikernes (Burzum)

As far as naturally suited voices for black metal go, it's impossible to beat this guy. Those screams on the first four Burzum albums are inhuman and just add so much to the music. There's just an authenticity to them that cuts right to the soul of the listener. There's desperation mixed with triumphalism somehow. It's a paradox that works and in many ways symbolises what is so transfixing about that era of Norwegian black metal. 

1. Dead (Mayhem)

Most of the audio for Per is from live Mayhem shows, which is perfect because it just shows the power, tone and - again - authenticity going on here. Dead was a unique guy in many ways. He's the best black metal vocalist that ever lived, in my opinion.

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I actually had a good experience with Legion recently when playing Ophthalamia's Via Dolorosa. Ophthalamia has long been one of my favorite Swedish black metal bands, but I almost always reach for their debut A Journey In Darkness with Jon Nödtveidt handling vocals. I must not have been in the mood for Via Dolorosa the last time that I spun it before last week, but it checked all the same boxes as the debut, and Legions vocals were a part of that. I've never heard him so varied and impassioned before, I wish it's something he had carried into Marduk. His delivery on albums like Heaven Shall Burn is every bit as grating and monotonous as the music, so he's a good fit in that regard, but it's almost like an endurance test of how much of the same thing that you can handle before the album ends. That sort of tedium is how I've always felt about Dark Funeral, but Magus is even more grating for me than Legion. He sounds like a cat getting raped by a hot branding iron, and not in a good way. Vocal lines like 666 Voices Inside fill me with laughter at their absolute silliness rather than some sense of evil or darkness. He sounded a lot more menacing on Hypocrisy's Penetralia and Osculum Obscenum, where his overbearing and unskilled approach was actually kind of endearing and fit the music well.

In any case, I think these vocalists have done good work, so I'm not discrediting their inclusion. We like different things, I don't see the appeal of mid-period Marduk or Dark Funeral, and that's alright. Just adding my 2 cents I suppose. I can't argue with the other picks though, especially Ihsahn with the strength of his clean vocals complimenting his harsh lines. I prefer Attila for Mayhem, but Dead is no less a beast, I just like Attila's more varied and original approach better. Varg's pained howls are magnificent too, that was the first thing that grabbed me about his music. Solid list.

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5 hours ago, Requiem said:

Who do you find are the best examples of vocalists of the various metal genres? Subjectivity is everything here. Here are my subjects ranked from amazing to most amazing in a top 5 for the genre of black metal: 

 

Requiem's Top 5 Black Metal Vocalists

5. Legion (Marduk)

Who comes in at number 5? Hoest? Nocturno Culto? Quorthon? Gaahl? Attila? My beloved Maniac? Well, I have to be honest with myself here and say that pound for pound I rate Legion higher. His idiosyncratic work on the incredible 'World Funeral' and 'Panzer Division Marduk' albums is just so distinctive, and there's something about his sound that just nails my soul. I love how you can make out what he's saying, his intonation and that hint of a Swedish accent that comes through. I think the band really lost some of their uniqueness when he left and Mortuus joined. 

4. Ihsahn (Emperor)

Obviously a great guitar player, but his voice is just transcendent. Those first few lines from 'Into the Infinity of Thoughts' from 'In the Nightside Eclipse' are hard to beat. I don't think anyone can transport me to a Norwegian snow-covered forest as well as he can with a few rasped lyrics. His great work in 'Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk' is also so far above most of the competition it's not funny. Ihsahn is one of those guys who just has the x-factor. He was born for it.

3. Emperor Magus Caligula (Dark Funeral)

Like my Legion inclusion, this might surprise many, partly due to Dark Funeral's less-than-true credentials, partly cause he has a dumb name. But just put all that aside and listen to this guy. Listen to his howls on the 'Diabolis Interium' album. Listen to him on the track 'King Antichrist' from its follow-up. They're screams from the depths of hell itself and I buy it, wholesale. He just adds life (death?) to the songs he's on and they just elevate. He turns catchy tunes into anthems.  

2. Varg Vikernes (Burzum)

As far as naturally suited voices for black metal go, it's impossible to beat this guy. Those screams on the first four Burzum albums are inhuman and just add so much to the music. There's just an authenticity to them that cuts right to the soul of the listener. There's desperation mixed with triumphalism somehow. It's a paradox that works and in many ways symbolises what is so transfixing about that era of Norwegian black metal. 

1. Dead (Mayhem)

Most of the audio for Per is from live Mayhem shows, which is perfect because it just shows the power, tone and - again - authenticity going on here. Dead was a unique guy in many ways. He's the best black metal vocalist that ever lived, in my opinion.

Personally, I would put Ihsahn over Caligula.  His work on Anthems was too amazing to simply be #4.

I thought Varg's vocals on his later albums were good too.  Different, but good.

I would also inject Thurios from Drudkh into the conversation.  I always thought that his vocals were perfectly balanced for black metal.

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Steffen krummerer Obscura one of the best tech Death  vocalist he has different ranges in his growl his clean singing is good he also has a good black metal voice as well very talented guitarist as well

 

matt heafy trivium  another very good vocalist he has a good range as well  another very talented guitarist as well 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, deathstorm said:

Steffen krummer Obscura 

matt hefty trivium 

 

 

You should check your spelling on these guys, and the point of the thread is to talk about your favorite vocalists in specific genres. Don't just list vocalists you like, we already have a thread for that.

My favorite BM (well, folk/black) vocalist that hasn't been mentioned yet is Garm. Early Garm, anyway. His screams on Ulver's black metal albums and Borknagar's debut are still some of the most vicious I've heard, and the clean chanting stuff on those albums is brilliant as well. I can even get behind his voice on Ulver's William Blake album and some of what he did with Arcturus. Seconded or thirded on Varg as well, even when I hadn't gotten into Burzum I had to give him credit for his amazing vocals.

I'll type up a DM list when I have some more time, hopefully...

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6 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

You should check your spelling on these guys, and the point of the thread is to talk about your favorite vocalists in specific genres. Don't just list vocalists you like, we already have a thread for that.

My favorite BM (well, folk/black) vocalist that hasn't been mentioned yet is Garm. Early Garm, anyway. His screams on Ulver's black metal albums and Borknagar's debut are still some of the most vicious I've heard, and the clean chanting stuff on those albums is brilliant as well. I can even get behind his voice on Ulver's William Blake album and some of what he did with Arcturus. Seconded or thirded on Varg as well, even when I hadn't gotten into Burzum I had to give him credit for his amazing vocals.

I'll type up a DM list when I have some more time, hopefully...

The spelling is correct on these guys on the booklet I have on there albums I fix it as well thanks again for helping me out 

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You should check your spelling on these guys, and the point of the thread is to talk about your favorite vocalists in specific genres. Don't just list vocalists you like, we already have a thread for that.
My favorite BM (well, folk/black) vocalist that hasn't been mentioned yet is Garm. Early Garm, anyway. His screams on Ulver's black metal albums and Borknagar's debut are still some of the most vicious I've heard, and the clean chanting stuff on those albums is brilliant as well. I can even get behind his voice on Ulver's William Blake album and some of what he did with Arcturus. Seconded or thirded on Varg as well, even when I hadn't gotten into Burzum I had to give him credit for his amazing vocals.
I'll type up a DM list when I have some more time, hopefully...
I prefer Garm's absolutely stunning cleans on The Sham Mirrors, but he was great on The Olden Domain, Bergtatt, Nattens Madrigal, and Aspera Hiems Symfonia. Good call.

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2 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

You should check your spelling on these guys, and the point of the thread is to talk about your favorite vocalists in specific genres. Don't just list vocalists you like, we already have a thread for that.

My favorite BM (well, folk/black) vocalist that hasn't been mentioned yet is Garm. Early Garm, anyway. His screams on Ulver's black metal albums and Borknagar's debut are still some of the most vicious I've heard, and the clean chanting stuff on those albums is brilliant as well. I can even get behind his voice on Ulver's William Blake album and some of what he did with Arcturus. Seconded or thirded on Varg as well, even when I hadn't gotten into Burzum I had to give him credit for his amazing vocals.

I'll type up a DM list when I have some more time, hopefully...

Garm/Trickster G was in the back of my mind the whole time I did my list. I just couldn't squeeze him in. His cleans are in particular so good. His guest vocals on Borknagar's 'Winter Thrice' from last year is a great example. 

There are so many great vocalists out there, that's why I thought a thread like this could be cool. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people think about all sorts of genres. 

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Requiem's Top 5 Gothic/Gothic Doom/Dark Alternative Metal Vocalists

Singers who create more than just a dark atmosphere for their bands. Who has that ability to go beyond dark lyrics to really pinpoint the atmosphere, as far as my ears are concerned?

5. Liv Kristine (Theatre of Tragedy)

When I first heard Liv's voice back in about 1997 it was a really revelatory moment. Partnered with Raymond's growls, her lilting soprano had such a unique and beautiful timbre to it that I had to rethink metal's potential. While her work in Leaves' Eyes is definitely cool, her work as a late teen/early 20s singer puts her in the list here. 

4. Aleah Stainbridge (Trees of Eternity)

In theory Aleah could be higher in the list, but with her tragic death there will only ever be one full length album. Pretty much everyone who has heard her work on 'Hour of the Nightingale' is left haunted. The demo version of 'My Requiem' seems to have a lot of plays on youtube which concerns me, because the album version of that song is true perfection and a better example of her ability. She was also a brilliant lyricist. 

3. Thomas AJ Jensen (Saturnus)

This guy is never discussed, yet I would have it that he's the third best in this genre. His work on the first three Saturnus releases ('Paradise Belongs to You', 'For the Loveless Lonely Nights' and 'Martyre') are tours de force. With spoken word, mid range bark and deep doom rumble, he is a shining jewel in an ocean of wannabes. 

2. Jonas Renkse (Katatonia)

Always hard to pinpoint Katatonia's exact genre. What's easy is the determination that his voice is one of those freaks of nature. Its tone, timbre and his use of phrasing is stunning. It's like he doesn't even really have to try. Tracking his clean voice development from 'Discouraged Ones' to their most recent 'The Fall of Hearts' is one of music's great pleasures. 

1. Peter Steele (Type O Negative)

I dislike more of his music than I like, but I just happen to like 'October Rust' more than any other album I've ever heard, not to mention 'Bloody Kisses'. There will never be another Peter Steele, singing songs of lust and darkness. It's around this time of year that I always listen to the best Christmas song ever written, 'Red Water (Christmas Mourning)'.

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Requiem's Top 5 Viking/Pagan-Based Vocalists

 

5. Warlord Nygard (Turisas)

There is so much to like about this guy. Amazing songwriter, but also fantastic growled and clean vocals that fits his battle metal themes perfectly. He has a cinematic narration voice too that really creates a great sense of drama without sounding cheesy. Also probably the greatest frontman I've seen live if you ever get the chance. 

4. Vratyas Vakyas (Falkenbach)

Beautiful smooth voice with that German/Icelandic accent that just seeps through a little bit, adding a degree of the exotic that can't be replicated. Nothing sounds more potentially viking. It suits the songs brilliantly and I could listen to him all day. 

3. Ville Sorvali (Moonsorrow)

Amazing screams that add so much atmosphere and a touch of the sinister in Moonsorrow's anthems to cultures lost. He has a degree of extremity in his voice that gives me chills sometimes and really complements the epic quality of the songs. Moonsorrow are obviously a class act, but I think more accolades need to be bestowed on Ville who gives voice to the past. 

2. Thomas Vanaanen (ex Thyrfing)

Totally underrated, his work on albums like 'Vansinnesvisor' is extreme, haunting and moving. His growled vocals just have this great tone to them that really hits me. As cool as Jens Ryden is, Thyrfing never quite sounded as good without Thomas. 

1. Heri Joensen (Tyr)*

There's a huge asterisk here, because the last three or four Tyr albums suck, but I'm talking here about their second album 'Eric the Red', primarily. Having replaced the awesome Pol Arni on vocals who sang on their debut 'How Far to Asgaard', guitarist Heri blew my mind back when this album came out. I had no idea the guitar player was a better singer than the vocalist! Listen to tracks like 'The Edge' and 'Regin Smidur' for the PERFECT clean viking metal voice. RIP nowadays Tyr, but the early stuff is transcendent. 

 

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Nice list. It has been a while sing I listened to Turisas, but I can get behind all of the others. Tyr was amazing, and the vocals were a huge part of that. Eric the Red and Ragnarok are magnificent, and while Land was okay, they lost me with the next album and I haven't heard anything past that.

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1 hour ago, BlutAusNerd said:

Nice list. It has been a while sing I listened to Turisas, but I can get behind all of the others. Tyr was amazing, and the vocals were a huge part of that. Eric the Red and Ragnarok are magnificent, and while Land was okay, they lost me with the next album and I haven't heard anything past that.

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Turisas might be a bit polished and, dare I say it, manufactured, for your tastes. As for your call on Tyr, it's 100% accurate, and you're not missing anything after 'Land'. I even find 'Ragnarok' a touch too proggy for my personal tastes, but obviously anything more progressive than Vanilla Ice is usually too much for me. 

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Turisas might be a bit polished and, dare I say it, manufactured, for your tastes. As for your call on Tyr, it's 100% accurate, and you're not missing anything after 'Land'. I even find 'Ragnarok' a touch too proggy for my personal tastes, but obviously anything more progressive than Vanilla Ice is usually too much for me. 

I liked Battle Metal when it was released, and enjoyed The Varangian Way until I saw them live. That kind of ruined them for me, but I should revisit those first two albums with fresh ears. As far as prog goes, is that what drives you away from later Enslaved? I don't listen to a lot of standalone prog metal other than the 80's stuff, but extreme genres with healthy amounts of prog make for some of my favorite listening. Goth rock influences probably do to me what prog influences do to you from the sound of it. I can take it in small doses and if it's done well, but by and large I just really don't enjoy those dull strummed 8th note phrased guitar lines.

 

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Just now, BlutAusNerd said:

I liked Battle Metal when it was released, and enjoyed The Varangian Way until I saw them live. That kind of ruined them for me, but I should revisit those first two albums with fresh ears.

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Wow, really? What was it about their show that put you off? I rate their London 2008 show as one of the greatest/most fun shows I've ever seen. The group vocals, the accordian and violin, Nygard prowling around the stage in full furs. I was spilling my mead horn all over the place in high excitement. 

3 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

As far as prog goes, is that what drives you away from later Enslaved? I don't listen to a lot of standalone prog metal other than the 80's stuff, but extreme genres with healthy amounts of prog make for some of my favorite listening. Goth rock influences probably do to me what prog influences do to you from the sound of it. I can take it in small doses and if it's done well, but by and large I just really don't enjoy those dull strummed 8th note phrased guitar lines.

 

Here's the second part of your message that I missed for some reason...

Prog's a tricky one for me. Bands like Tyr, Borknagar and I guess Opeth have quite a few prog elements going on, and I really like those bands. But yeah I generally don't feel a great deal when I hear prog metal. Bands like Porcupine Tree and all of that never really did it for me, nor does proggy death stuff. 

Regarding Enslaved, it's probably a combination of the prog and the artsy feel of it. The whole existence/space/time vibe - it's hard to explain. I find it really disengaging and a little bit pretentious, which is ridiculous when you consider the genres and bands that I actually like. In the final analysis, I just don't feel moved by the sounds and how they're created. 

I infinitely prefer more straightforward melodic music. That's why I prefer 'Slaughter of the Soul' to the earlier albums of At the Gates and the list goes on. 

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Here's the second part of your message that I missed for some reason...
Prog's a tricky one for me. Bands like Tyr, Borknagar and I guess Opeth have quite a few prog elements going on, and I really like those bands. But yeah I generally don't feel a great deal when I hear prog metal. Bands like Porcupine Tree and all of that never really did it for me, nor does proggy death stuff. 
Regarding Enslaved, it's probably a combination of the prog and the artsy feel of it. The whole existence/space/time vibe - it's hard to explain. I find it really disengaging and a little bit pretentious, which is ridiculous when you consider the genres and bands that I actually like. In the final analysis, I just don't feel moved by the sounds and how they're created. 
I infinitely prefer more straightforward melodic music. That's why I prefer 'Slaughter of the Soul' to the earlier albums of At the Gates and the list goes on. 
They seemed like they were really off of their game. They were making a lot of mistakes and kind of giggling to themselves about it as the show went on, and then had to stop early when their violinist broke a string. It was disappointing, I bought the shirt and never wear it because that was my last memory of them. It has been long enough that I should give the albums another listen and decide whether to keep them or trade them in.

For Enslaved and prog, that is a bit confusing, but it is what it is. I can certainly accept that Enslaved is not for everyone, especially their releases after Blodhemn. I do tend to like my music to be less straightforward, and absolutely love when metal gets weird and uncomfortable. Straightforward tends to work best for me when it's either high energy or grooving, but there are exceptions to everything.

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56 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

They seemed like they were really off of their game. They were making a lot of mistakes and kind of giggling to themselves about it as the show went on, and then had to stop early when their violinist broke a string. It was disappointing, I bought the shirt and never wear it because that was my last memory of them. It has been long enough that I should give the albums another listen and decide whether to keep them or trade them in.

For Enslaved and prog, that is a bit confusing, but it is what it is. I can certainly accept that Enslaved is not for everyone, especially their releases after Blodhemn. I do tend to like my music to be less straightforward, and absolutely love when metal gets weird and uncomfortable. Straightforward tends to work best for me when it's either high energy or grooving, but there are exceptions to everything.

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When I see the words 'weird' and 'uncomfortable' in connection with bands my alarm bells go off madly. I've got, and love, plenty of weird and uncomfortable music though, so none of these rules and hard and fast. 

The new Enslaved album is called 'E' for crying out loud. Who the hell do they think they are? Imagine a dinner party with these guys and Satyricon.

In fairness I'm probably overdoing the Enslaved hate. It's just that I haven't really loved any material post 'Below the Lights'. Here are the albums I own and my ranking (it turns out I don't own 'Isa', it was a former housemate): 

Requiem's Ranking of Enslaved Albums and EPs in Splits that he Owns

8. Ruun (2006)

7. Yggdrasill (1992)

6. Blodhemn (1999)

5. Hordanes Land (1993)

4. Below the Lights (2003)

3. Frost (1994)

2. Vikingligr Veldi (1994)

1. Eld (1997)

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Doesn't anyone have any lists for their favourite vocalists? Come on, let's get some discussions going! 
I remembered this the other day, but then couldn't find it. I'll have to make some time to put up some entries.

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11 hours ago, BlutAusNerd said:

I remembered this the other day, but then couldn't find it. I'll have to make some time to put up some entries.

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I reckon you would have some really interesting things to say about vocalists in genres. Send some through when you get the chance (or can be bothered).

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I reckon you would have some really interesting things to say about vocalists in genres. Send some through when you get the chance (or can be bothered).
I think it's safe to say that we'll have wildly different selections, but reading about what sparks our interest in various topics is part of the fun, right?

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BlutAusNerd's Top 5 Black Metal Vocalists:

 

5. Vorphalack

 

I'm not sure if this will seem like a surprise inclusion or not, since the mighty Samael isn't frequently referenced on this site. However, when combined with the likes of Celtic Frost and Coroner, they show that the potency and influence of a scene is about quality, not quantity. Samael started their existence as a Celtic Frost worshiping entity filled with basic and downtuned riffs that kicked a great deal of ass, to the point that it didn't matter if they were unoriginal. They evolved to become more unique while retaining their downtuned riffing wreckage, but even as they transitioned into industrial territory, the sick vocals of Vorphalack have always been a high point of the music. His powerful rasping delivery was excellent, but especially vicious on my favorite album of theirs, Ceremony of Opposites. He very clearly put everything he had into that performance, and it's one of the qualities of the album that makes it one of my favorites in black metal. I've heard few come close to matching that degree of intensity, and that conviction is really all that I need from a black metal vocalist.

 

4. Tom G Warrior

 

"Ugh!" That is all.

 

3. Quorthon

 

Seeing as just almost every black metal vocalist to follow would try to emulate Quorthon's signature croak, I don't think anyone will be surprised by his inclusion. Also, the fact that all of them have fallen short of their venom and rage, even after nearly 35 years, is telling of their quality. As influential, trendsetting, and killer as their music was, Bathory's greatest strength were the vocals of Quorthon, at least until Hammerheart. Spitting and snarling all over the microphone while still sounding intelligible was another cool feat that others could stand to take a note from. You guys have heard him, you know why he's here. I would be sincerely surprised if this pick was met with any contention.

 

2. King Diamond

 

Argue with me all you want, I honestly don't give a shit. Early Mercyful Fate is black metal, and while the music should be clear about that on its own, the influence they had in shaping the genre as one of its first and most talented bands should say a great deal. I don't think I've ever met anyone who would question their instrumental prowess and songwriting genius, but the vocals of King Diamond are easily the most recognizable feature of the band, and are essential to their sound. His banshee wails and demon shrieks may sound more refined than the snarls of other black metal vocalists, but as the music was also more refined, I don't think another vocal style would have fit with Mercyful Fate. Some of the most talented vocalists in black metal have taken a lot of cues from this kind of delivery, the likes of Big Boss, Attila Csihar, and Ihsahn being the most obvious, but the impact they had was much deeper than that. Other early black metal vocalists used their voice as a weapon, whereas King Diamond was a grand orator of the evil and horror of which he shouted, which caught on heavily in the 2nd wave and with modern black metal. Hail to the King, baby.

 

1. Attila Csihar

 

For anyone who knows me, this is an obvious choice. Being the vocalist on my favorite black metal album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, as well as the vocalist on my favorite black metal demo, Tormentor's Anno Domini, there's really nobody else that can take the top spot for me. It's not just his range that's impressive, but how well he can handle himself in all of those ranges. From devilish snarls and cavernous growls to haunting operatic cleans and bizarre noises, nobody else really sounds like Attila, nor can they pull off the conviction and strength that he displays in even one of these styles, let alone all of them. He has an impressive body of work with a number of bands, and is also a charismatic and theatrical front man who does an excellent job of looking the part when he performs. The black metal vocal master.

 

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On 1/1/2018 at 11:03 AM, BlutAusNerd said:

BlutAusNerd's Top 5 Black Metal Vocalists:

 

5. Vorphalack

 

I'm not sure if this will seem like a surprise inclusion or not, since the mighty Samael isn't frequently referenced on this site. However, when combined with the likes of Celtic Frost and Coroner, they show that the potency and influence of a scene is about quality, not quantity. Samael started their existence as a Celtic Frost worshiping entity filled with basic and downtuned riffs that kicked a great deal of ass, to the point that it didn't matter if they were unoriginal. They evolved to become more unique while retaining their downtuned riffing wreckage, but even as they transitioned into industrial territory, the sick vocals of Vorphalack have always been a high point of the music. His powerful rasping delivery was excellent, but especially vicious on my favorite album of theirs, Ceremony of Opposites. He very clearly put everything he had into that performance, and it's one of the qualities of the album that makes it one of my favorites in black metal. I've heard few come close to matching that degree of intensity, and that conviction is really all that I need from a black metal vocalist.

 

4. Tom G Warrior

 

"Ugh!" That is all.

 

3. Quorthon

 

Seeing as just almost every black metal vocalist to follow would try to emulate Quorthon's signature croak, I don't think anyone will be surprised by his inclusion. Also, the fact that all of them have fallen short of their venom and rage, even after nearly 35 years, is telling of their quality. As influential, trendsetting, and killer as their music was, Bathory's greatest strength were the vocals of Quorthon, at least until Hammerheart. Spitting and snarling all over the microphone while still sounding intelligible was another cool feat that others could stand to take a note from. You guys have heard him, you know why he's here. I would be sincerely surprised if this pick was met with any contention.

 

2. King Diamond

 

Argue with me all you want, I honestly don't give a shit. Early Mercyful Fate is black metal, and while the music should be clear about that on its own, the influence they had in shaping the genre as one of its first and most talented bands should say a great deal. I don't think I've ever met anyone who would question their instrumental prowess and songwriting genius, but the vocals of King Diamond are easily the most recognizable feature of the band, and are essential to their sound. His banshee wails and demon shrieks may sound more refined than the snarls of other black metal vocalists, but as the music was also more refined, I don't think another vocal style would have fit with Mercyful Fate. Some of the most talented vocalists in black metal have taken a lot of cues from this kind of delivery, the likes of Big Boss, Attila Csihar, and Ihsahn being the most obvious, but the impact they had was much deeper than that. Other early black metal vocalists used their voice as a weapon, whereas King Diamond was a grand orator of the evil and horror of which he shouted, which caught on heavily in the 2nd wave and with modern black metal. Hail to the King, baby.

 

1. Attila Csihar

 

For anyone who knows me, this is an obvious choice. Being the vocalist on my favorite black metal album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, as well as the vocalist on my favorite black metal demo, Tormentor's Anno Domini, there's really nobody else that can take the top spot for me. It's not just his range that's impressive, but how well he can handle himself in all of those ranges. From devilish snarls and cavernous growls to haunting operatic cleans and bizarre noises, nobody else really sounds like Attila, nor can they pull off the conviction and strength that he displays in even one of these styles, let alone all of them. He has an impressive body of work with a number of bands, and is also a charismatic and theatrical front man who does an excellent job of looking the part when he performs. The black metal vocal master.

 

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Excellent list. And also, can I compliment you on your descriptions. 

Firstly, I think the overall list is cool and a solid list, even though I do see your beloved first wave (proto-black metal? Just joking) getting a nice juicy showing. Singers like Quorthon and Tom G are 100%, although I wouldn't put them as the 'best' vocalists. But I'm happy to see them there. 

Your Attila call is really interesting to me, as Mayhem is my favourite band of all time. I really considered including him in my list but I just couldn't do it. That time I saw him live and he wore a white cover-all suit with all sorts of garbage (chip packets, empty cans etc) stuck to it. It was the single worst stage costume I've ever seen and it left a bad taste in my mouth with this maniac (pun intended). 

Awesome list, though. Awesome! 

 

 

 

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Excellent list. And also, can I compliment you on your descriptions. 
Firstly, I think the overall list is cool and a solid list, even though I do see your beloved first wave (proto-black metal? Just joking) getting a nice juicy showing. Singers like Quorthon and Tom G are 100%, although I wouldn't put them as the 'best' vocalists. But I'm happy to see them there. 
Your Attila call is really interesting to me, as Mayhem is my favourite band of all time. I really considered including him in my list but I just couldn't do it. That time I saw him live and he wore a white cover-all suit with all sorts of garbage (chip packets, empty cans etc) stuck to it. It was the single worst stage costume I've ever seen and it left a bad taste in my mouth with this maniac (pun intended). 
Awesome list, though. Awesome! 
 
 
 
I figured you wouldn't be too keen on the mostly first wave selections, but I feel like the vocals are less pronounced in most 2nd wave and modern black metal. Not to say that they're unimportant, but they tend to be further back in the mix and take a back seat to the music. As such, the strength of the vocals was more important in first wave black metal, and tends to stand out for me more for that reason. These individuals were charismatic in addition to their influence, and are all instantly recognizable, more do than most second wave vocalists would be. That's how I feel about it anyway.

As far as Attila goes, I've been thoroughly impressed with his performance every time I've seen him. The first time was with Sunn O))) when he was wearing that burlap sack/dead tree kind of outfit, and his vocals were the absolute highlight of the show. Sunn O))) is a pretty boring band IMO, their albums haven't done much for me in the past, but that live performance with Attila was insane. All 3 Mayhem gigs with Attila were pretty great, but the most recent with the De Mysteriis set was my favorite because it's my favorite black metal album. All 3 had different outfits, and I think the Dracula styled one from the 2nd time I saw them was my favorite, I never saw a "garbage" outfit. It sounds heinous though, I can't imagine what the point was.

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On 1/3/2018 at 5:19 AM, BlutAusNerd said:

I figured you wouldn't be too keen on the mostly first wave selections, but I feel like the vocals are less pronounced in most 2nd wave and modern black metal. Not to say that they're unimportant, but they tend to be further back in the mix and take a back seat to the music. As such, the strength of the vocals was more important in first wave black metal, and tends to stand out for me more for that reason. These individuals were charismatic in addition to their influence, and are all instantly recognizable, more do than most second wave vocalists would be. That's how I feel about it anyway.

As far as Attila goes, I've been thoroughly impressed with his performance every time I've seen him. The first time was with Sunn O))) when he was wearing that burlap sack/dead tree kind of outfit, and his vocals were the absolute highlight of the show. Sunn O))) is a pretty boring band IMO, their albums haven't done much for me in the past, but that live performance with Attila was insane. All 3 Mayhem gigs with Attila were pretty great, but the most recent with the De Mysteriis set was my favorite because it's my favorite black metal album. All 3 had different outfits, and I think the Dracula styled one from the 2nd time I saw them was my favorite, I never saw a "garbage" outfit. It sounds heinous though, I can't imagine what the point was.

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There is definitely more personality in the first wave vocalists, that's for sure. 

I think the last time I saw Attila I was standing at the side lamenting the loss of such a great band. I found it really boring. I think this time around I'll get into the pit and try to feel it a bit more. Actually I hope that doesn't damage my Mayhem pins on my fancy jacket. Joke. (It will definitely damage them....)

I love Mayhem though and I can't wait to see 'De Mysteriis' in its entirety in just a week or two.  

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There is definitely more personality in the first wave vocalists, that's for sure. 
I think the last time I saw Attila I was standing at the side lamenting the loss of such a great band. I found it really boring. I think this time around I'll get into the pit and try to feel it a bit more. Actually I hope that doesn't damage my Mayhem pins on my fancy jacket. Joke. (It will definitely damage them....)
I love Mayhem though and I can't wait to see 'De Mysteriis' in its entirety in just a week or two.  
I hope that you're not disappointed as you were in the past. They had the lights low, asked for no photographs, and even engineered Hellhammer's drums to sound like they did on the album. It was tastefully minimal, and did justice to the greatest black metal album of all time IMO.

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