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Rob Halford vs Bruce Dickinson


MCobra00
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Two of the best (in my opinion) metal vocalists of all time. They both have immense range (though Rob may have a more massive range than Bruce's), possesses operatic vocals, and can belt out the most intense screams! Who do you think is the better singer? I personally like both of them, so my opinion doesn't count. What do say about the subject?

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

To my ears Bruce is a much more entertaining listen, although in fairness I've never been a Judas Priest fan. But Bruce's performance on songs like 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Aces High' etc are very special and do more for me than Rob's best efforts. Obviously two cult figures in metal. 

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Rob just edges it out for me, Priest are my fave band with Maiden being my 3rd/4th (can't decide between them and Sabbath) and I believe Rob is just a better singer overall, no shade on Brucie, he's awesome, but his vocals these days haven't aged as well as Rob's, in Brave New World and Book Of Souls however he sounds pretty damn good imo.

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19 minutes ago, H34VYM3T4LD4V3 said:

Rob just edges it out for me, Priest are my fave band with Maiden being my 3rd/4th (can't decide between them and Sabbath) and I believe Rob is just a better singer overall, no shade on Brucie, he's awesome, but his vocals these days haven't aged as well as Rob's, in Brave New World and Book Of Souls however he sounds pretty damn good imo.

I want to like Book of Souls so bad, and it seems like I should because it has a lot of great moments, but it just doesn't grab me. 

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9 hours ago, Ikard said:

I want to like Book of Souls so bad, and it seems like I should because it has a lot of great moments, but it just doesn't grab me. 

It's ok but it's not a masterpiece like some people claim.

I bought it when it came out as I caught the buzz and felt like this was going to be something special, but gosh it's so damn long and doesn't have anywhere near as many great moments as it should. 'Empire of the Clouds' is easily the best song on the album, and 'The Red and the Black' is also really good, although again probably three minutes too long. 

While I admire the organic sound of Bruce's vocals - and it's clear that there isn't a lot of studio trickery going on - I tend to find them a bit all over the place and even strained in parts. For a guy his age he's amazing, but if we're calling a spade a spade I'd say they aren't all that great to listen to. 

Why they decided to make the album so long is anyone's guess. 

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16 hours ago, H34VYM3T4LD4V3 said:

Took me a couple listens, The Red and the Black, Death or Glory and Empire Of The Clouds are the highlights for me.

I'm gonna give it another attempt when I get home from work this evening. I will report back whether or not it clicks.

 

7 hours ago, Requiem said:

It's ok but it's not a masterpiece like some people claim.

I bought it when it came out as I caught the buzz and felt like this was going to be something special, but gosh it's so damn long and doesn't have anywhere near as many great moments as it should. 'Empire of the Clouds' is easily the best song on the album, and 'The Red and the Black' is also really good, although again probably three minutes too long. 

While I admire the organic sound of Bruce's vocals - and it's clear that there isn't a lot of studio trickery going on - I tend to find them a bit all over the place and even strained in parts. For a guy his age he's amazing, but if we're calling a spade a spade I'd say they aren't all that great to listen to. 

Why they decided to make the album so long is anyone's guess. 

I think that's the problem I'm having too. It seems to drag a little bit.  It's not that it's musically bad it just isn't striking the way piece of mind is for example. If that makes sense.

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  • 2 years later...

While I enjoy the music of both bands, I'm far bigger into Priest than Maiden.  Halford, to me, is the second greatest vocalist in heavy metal history - and the best in history at the operatic style (Phil Anselmo of PanterA will always be my favorite metal frontman).  Judas Priest is one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time.  That being said, I enjoy Maiden's music and think Bruce is an excellent singer, to say the least.  

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7 hours ago, JamesT said:

While I enjoy the music of both bands, I'm far bigger into Priest than Maiden.  Halford, to me, is the second greatest vocalist in heavy metal history - and the best in history at the operatic style (Phil Anselmo of PanterA will always be my favorite metal frontman).  Judas Priest is one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time.  That being said, I enjoy Maiden's music and think Bruce is an excellent singer, to say the least.  

Ditto, except the Phil Anselmo part. I like him but it would never have occurred to me to put him on a list of greatest vocalists/frontmen.

Maiden and Priest have a lot in common. Every album they have produced since 1990 has been over-bloated and could have been greatly improved by trimming down to fit on one LP of 40 minutes. In some cases 35 minutes.

I bought Book of Souls from an actual record store when it came out and have listened to it maybe half a dozen times. Same with Firepower. Within them there is some good shit but it shouldn't be my job as a fan to sift through and work out what it is. That is a producer's job. The production team of both those albums failed to present a distillation of the best material. They let it all through. That takes no skill at all.

 

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14 hours ago, JonoBlade said:

Ditto, except the Phil Anselmo part. I like him but it would never have occurred to me to put him on a list of greatest vocalists/frontmen.

Maiden and Priest have a lot in common. Every album they have produced since 1990 has been over-bloated and could have been greatly improved by trimming down to fit on one LP of 40 minutes. In some cases 35 minutes.

I bought Book of Souls from an actual record store when it came out and have listened to it maybe half a dozen times. Same with Firepower. Within them there is some good shit but it shouldn't be my job as a fan to sift through and work out what it is. That is a producer's job. The production team of both those albums failed to present a distillation of the best material. They let it all through. That takes no skill at all.

 

Yeah man, Phil is definitely a different type of vocalist.  He's always been my favorite front man because of his combination of charisma, stage presence and ferocity.  A guy like Halford has such an incredible range, although Phil could hit those operatic high notes back in the late 80's and early 90's.  The 1988 PanterA release "Power Metal" showcases Phil's incredible range.  I cannot believe he used to be able to sing like that.  The fact that PanterA is my favorite band of all time doesn't hurt his case either.  I really like Down, Superjoint Ritual, and Scour as well.  Phil has had a mighty hand in so many great bands.  

 

As for Judas Priest, I absolutely love "Firepower".  In my book, it ranks as one of the top 5 Priest albums ever.  I'm with you on the whole Maiden thing, though.  I enjoy their music, but I find a lot of their recent material more difficult to get into, because the songs are just too long and don't hold my interest all the way through.  I like "Book of Souls" fine enough, but Maiden in general has just never grabbed me the way Priest does.  

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5 hours ago, Dead1 said:

Bruce all the way.  Halford's earlier stuff was good but I can't stand his performances on things like Johhny B Goode.  It's absolutely  cringe worthy.

Johnny G. Goode was ill-judged, although to be honest my 14 year old self never cared even if it were an unnecessary track.

Rob's voice still sounds solid today but it sits in a range that some simply don't like. 

Some people, my wife and other heathens, think exactly the same of Freddie Mercury. The voice just sits in a place that grates them. I can understand it even if they are wrong.

Come to think of it, she can't stand Bruce either. But in that case I understand it better. To me he often sounds like singing on the edge of his range. It is a technically good voice and when it's on it's on, but it just doesn't sound as measured and consistent as Halford.

I guess a great vocal performance is one that you don't actually notice. With Bruce sometimes I wince, with Rob I don't.

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7 hours ago, JamesT said:

Yeah man, Phil is definitely a different type of vocalist.  He's always been my favorite front man because of his combination of charisma, stage presence and ferocity.  A guy like Halford has such an incredible range, although Phil could hit those operatic high notes back in the late 80's and early 90's.  The 1988 PanterA release "Power Metal" showcases Phil's incredible range.  I cannot believe he used to be able to sing like that.  The fact that PanterA is my favorite band of all time doesn't hurt his case either.  I really like Down, Superjoint Ritual, and Scour as well.  Phil has had a mighty hand in so many great bands.  

As for Judas Priest, I absolutely love "Firepower".  In my book, it ranks as one of the top 5 Priest albums ever.  I'm with you on the whole Maiden thing, though.  I enjoy their music, but I find a lot of their recent material more difficult to get into, because the songs are just too long and don't hold my interest all the way through.  I like "Book of Souls" fine enough, but Maiden in general has just never grabbed me the way Priest does.  

Even Cowboys from Hell has a lot of vocal range. I only heard Power Metal once. It sounded like Queensryche to me, but that was a long time ago. 

Phil is so deeply flawed but you feel he is worthy of redemption and that might be why he has a loyal fanbase.

Judging by critical and fan response I appear to be wrong about Firepower. By all measures it was a successful record....but I just don't like long albums of samey music. There was no ebb and flow and it was too polished. I even prefer Nostradamus to Firepower because I liked the musical ideas better, but it was an even greater offender in the crime of unjustified runtime.

I would rank Firepower above Redeemer of Souls and the ripper albums (which have their moments, once again, too long) but I'll take Turbo over it any day. That's just how I roll.

Oooh. I never buy new LPs anymore but I did pre-order the KK's Priest record. The first two tracks sounded, well, good at least. Brothers of the Road or something was a bit lame but if it fits on two sides of vinyl it is already better than the last six Priest albums.

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I'd give this to Bruce any day over Rob.  The solo work of Bruce is testament to him being superior in the sensible ideas section of this debate if not necessarily him always winning in the vocal range department (depending on when in their histories you want to benchmark - it does vary).  Having recently visited the solo outputs of both it is clear that Halford's have usually been around mid-life crisis releases/collabs whereas Dickinson actually focussed on getting in decent musicians to aid his sound and bring his ideas to maturity.

That having been said, I rate Di'anno over Dickinson in Maiden though purely because I felt Paul's vocals offered more dimension to that grittier edge of the early Maiden records.    

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20 hours ago, MacabreEternal said:

I'd give this to Bruce any day over Rob.  The solo work of Bruce is testament to him being superior in the sensible ideas section of this debate if not necessarily him always winning in the vocal range department (depending on when in their histories you want to benchmark - it does vary).  Having recently visited the solo outputs of both it is clear that Halford's have usually been around mid-life crisis releases/collabs whereas Dickinson actually focussed on getting in decent musicians to aid his sound and bring his ideas to maturity.

That having been said, I rate Di'anno over Dickinson in Maiden though purely because I felt Paul's vocals offered more dimension to that grittier edge of the early Maiden records.    

Resurrection and Crucible are both better than anything Priest released since Painkiller. Even Fight has some great stuff on it. I haven't heard all of Bruce's solo stuff but it was pretty good and possibly better than latter-day Maiden too. The Scream for Me Sarajevo documentary is excellent.

By "mid-life crisis" I presume you refer to 2wo. I haven't ever heard it; but one dud (ok, Winter Songs, 2; ok Halford IV probably and Celestial) is not bad.

I still reckon Rob is a better singer though. Just not the all round dynamo that Bruce is. Or lyric-writer.

Plus one for Di'anno. I just prefer his vocals. 

 

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Topically:

https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/rob-halford-and-his-brother-to-launch-hails-horns-english-bitter-ale/

Both Maiden, Bruce being particularly involved, and now Rob are in the ale game.

To be fair Rob has been careful to never say he is anti-drinking, despite being a recovering alcoholic. However, this strikes me as one business venture an alcoholic just shouldn't get into. It's like a vegan buying shares in a factory farm.

It's not just that he is sober, but he brings it up in every second interview, just like those blasted vegans do.

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7 hours ago, JonoBlade said:

Resurrection and Crucible are both better than anything Priest released since Painkiller.

 

To me his Halford output is nothing more than a poor man's JP.  Resurrection is painfully immature on the lyrical content and for large parts of that record I hear Lachman and Chlasicak carrying Rob.  Ironically on this same album he collaborates with Dickinson on The One You Love To Hate which is arguably the worst track on the whole record.

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5 hours ago, JonoBlade said:

Topically:

https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/rob-halford-and-his-brother-to-launch-hails-horns-english-bitter-ale/

Both Maiden, Bruce being particularly involved, and now Rob are in the ale game.

To be fair Rob has been careful to never say he is anti-drinking, despite being a recovering alcoholic. However, this strikes me as one business venture an alcoholic just shouldn't get into. It's like a vegan buying shares in a factory farm.

It's not just that he is sober, but he brings it up in every second interview, just like those blasted vegans do.

This has been something that has surprised me over the years too. Booze must be a very lucrative side business for musos as more and more of them are getting into it. Some just put their name to it and seemingly have very little to do with the product but others get really involved. Mustaine pushing his wine as often as he does has always seemed like the wrong business venture for him too.

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11 hours ago, MacabreEternal said:

To me his Halford output is nothing more than a poor man's JP.  Resurrection is painfully immature on the lyrical content and for large parts of that record I hear Lachman and Chlasicak carrying Rob.  Ironically on this same album he collaborates with Dickinson on The One You Love To Hate which is arguably the worst track on the whole record.

Yeah, well no one listened to JP for the literary genius of the lyrics. Some of the earliest albums were decent, but after that I kind of just got used to the absurd characters Rob creates and then accepted it blindly.

There are a couple of filler tracks on Resurrection but The One You Love to Hate is fine. Silent Screams is excellent. Each to their own I suppose.

 

 

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