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The Nightmare Rider
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:51 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:09 pm 
 

Harsh Vocals, Guttural Vocals, Death Growls or whatever you want to call them is a stand out feature for allot of the more extreme metal bands. And, we all have to admit, is part of the stereotype that puts off allot of people from the genre when they are not familiar with it to begin with.

And originally, that was how it was with me. It wasn't until I heard Ensiferum's "Twilight Tavern" that I was opened up to the notion that Harsh Vocals could be sung in a way which was;

A: Intelligible
B: Melodic
C: On Subjects other than brutal dismemberment of the human body.

This lead me onto bands like Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom etc. Nowerdays I enjoy a fair bit of metal that involves harsh vocals. But there are still some bands that, in my personal opinion, don't gell with me when it comes to using harsh vocals. Mainly deathcore bands like Design the Skyline and Job for a Cowboy.

From my point of view, much like regular singing, there are ways to do Harsh Vocals right and there are ways to do them very WRONG. To me, it's about the subject matter, the style of music and the context that it's used in. If you are singing about big brutish vikings or emphasising particularly strong lyrics then Harsh vocals are quite appropriate. But when Brutality and outright heavyness is the main goal of the band, it sounds too much like straight up noise to my ears.

However I know that there are plenty of fans of the aforementioned bands and the most brutal extremes of metal. So I throw this very question open to all of you for discussion; How do you determine what is a good use for harsh vocals and what is not? Which bands do you think use harsh vocals well, if any, and which do not?

As always, please try to be respectful of others tastes as I'm making this to understand what people like about bands like JFACB and how it contrasts with other bands that use harsh vocals at large :).

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xThe__Wizard
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:27 pm 
 

Thanks for your unsolicited opinion man.

Vocalists can do harsh vocals and hit notes but some cannot. It also depends on the genre and what type of music one is going for. You can't really compare Insect Warfare and Suffocation to Ensiferium and Arch Enemy because both the former really aren't trying to be melodic or be intelligent.

It's all opinion. The only way it can come out wrong if someone actually isn't doing harsh vocals and they say they are which to me would be like someone doing hardcore shouting or something in that style.
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Last edited by xThe__Wizard on Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Nightmare Rider
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:35 pm 
 

So basically what you're saying is that, like regular singing, it's a tool to use for different purposes and depends on the band?

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Riffs
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:40 pm 
 

The Nightmare Rider wrote:

However I know that there are plenty of fans of the aforementioned bands and the most brutal extremes of metal. So I throw this very question open to all of you for discussion; How do you determine what is a good use for harsh vocals and what is not? Which bands do you think use harsh vocals well, if any, and which do not?


I tend to judge all vocals by the same standards. There needs to be expressiveness, variety, emotions and interesting melodies.

Harsh vocals tend to struggle with all four of those criteria. So I generally think they suck ass except in small doses.

Anything that's always on 10, whether it's monotonous growling, screeching or ridiculously effeminate high screams doesn't generally strike my fancy. I've learned to live with it since the 90s but I do think a big part of why metal's golden years are long past.

If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna dive for cover now.
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The Nightmare Rider
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:14 pm 
 

Riffs wrote:
The Nightmare Rider wrote:

However I know that there are plenty of fans of the aforementioned bands and the most brutal extremes of metal. So I throw this very question open to all of you for discussion; How do you determine what is a good use for harsh vocals and what is not? Which bands do you think use harsh vocals well, if any, and which do not?


I tend to judge all vocals by the same standards. There needs to be expressiveness, variety, emotions and interesting melodies.

Harsh vocals tend to struggle with all four of those criteria. So I generally think they suck ass except in small doses.

Anything that's always on 10, whether it's monotonous growling, screeching or ridiculously effeminate high screams doesn't generally strike my fancy. I've learned to live with it since the 90s but I do think a big part of why metal's golden years are long past.

If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna dive for cover now.


While I have allot of love for Folk and Melodic Death Metal, I often find I enjoy bands more with primarily clean Vocals that use Harsh vocals on the side to emphasise particular lines. Amaranthe are a band that do this particularly well from what I've heard.

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Opus
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:23 pm 
 

Don't mistake growling to be a form of singing. Two different things.
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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:50 pm 
 

Depends on the music in question and the style, as there's a right and wrong way to do each type.

Hardcore-esque shouts:
Right way: Scott Ruth-esque roars
Wrong way: Pop-metalcore shouts or sounding like Jamey Jasta

Mid-range growls:
Right way: OSDM-esque growls
Wrong way: Flat, monotone growls not far removed from core shouts.

Grunts:
Right way: Frank Mullen or Craig Pillard-esque growls. Shit with power or menace, basically.
Wrong way: Flat, powerless, poorly-enunciated bullshit, often with pig squeals to provide an illusion of range.

Gutturals:
Right way: Majewski/Way/Magana-esque gut-level slam vox.
Wrong way: Don Campan-sounding wigger garbage, especially with excessive pig squeals and gurgles.

Highs:
Right way: Black metal-esque shrieks, Travis Ryan-esque screeching, pig squeals WHEN USED SPARINGLY, Lindberg-esque howls.
Wrong way: Metalcore shrieks, sounding anything like Trevor Strnad or Alexi Laiho. Basically, anything that sounds like a dying cat.

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The Nightmare Rider
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:59 pm 
 

Opus wrote:
Don't mistake growling to be a form of singing. Two different things.


If we are going to go on the tangent of definitions for a moment, are you familiar with the band Gormathon? If so, how would you describe the vocal style of that band? Because it's not quite growling and it's almost a very low grunty singing style. A bit in between.

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tomcat_ha
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:02 pm 
 

Well with harsh vocals i personally like if they varied. This can be varied while keeping doing the same thing.(martin van drunen) or going between different harsh vocal styles. What i do dislike heavily is generic harsh vocals which are basically all technique and no talent. People who employ these all sound the same.(cerebral bore is a good example of this)

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enigmatech
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:06 pm 
 

Pretty much any style is fine as long as you have a strong voice and are able to pronounce your words well. I'm personally not into or impressed by the "hardcore death growl" (note: not an official term) which most of the current deathcore bands use (it's like a regular death growl but pronunciation and solidarity are thrown aside in favor of sounding 'tough' or 'pissed off'), or any of the current "pig squeal" or "guttural" vocalists, because that is annoying and sounds like dying frog or broken dishwasher to me, which in my opinion is not "brutal" or death metal at all. But I suppose these styles work best for their respective genre. It's all just a matter of what you are into. Personally, I think that John Tardy from Obituary has the greatest death growl ever, but many people (especially the fans of the "guttural" style, I'd assume) think he sounds ridiculous.

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xThe__Wizard
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:16 pm 
 

Frank Booth wrote:
Depends on the music in question and the style, as there's a right and wrong way to do each type.

Hardcore-esque shouts:
Right way: Scott Ruth-esque roars
Wrong way: Pop-metalcore shouts or sounding like Jamey Jasta

Mid-range growls:
Right way: OSDM-esque growls
Wrong way: Flat, monotone growls not far removed from core shouts.

Grunts:
Right way: Frank Mullen or Craig Pillard-esque growls. Shit with power or menace, basically.
Wrong way: Flat, powerless, poorly-enunciated bullshit, often with pig squeals to provide an illusion of range.

Gutturals:
Right way: Majewski/Way/Magana-esque gut-level slam vox.
Wrong way: Don Campan-sounding wigger garbage, especially with excessive pig squeals and gurgles.

Highs:
Right way: Black metal-esque shrieks, Travis Ryan-esque screeching, pig squeals WHEN USED SPARINGLY, Lindberg-esque howls.
Wrong way: Metalcore shrieks, sounding anything like Trevor Strnad or Alexi Laiho. Basically, anything that sounds like a dying cat.


This is the thing I'm trying to avoid. That's your opinion man. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's bad.

I used to think John Tardy was ridiculous but his vocals have grown on me. Not the greatest but a really unique style that few can come close to even replicating.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:56 pm 
 

The Nightmare Rider wrote:
To me, it's about the subject matter, the style of music and the context that it's used in.

You got that part right. :lol:

What I don't get is why you think that doing harsh vocals is removed in style and context from what brutal music is. Take for instance death metal. Would it be the same without the harsh vocalists that exist? Guys with different tones and ranges that go from John Tardy to Martin Van Drunen, from Craig Pillard to Frank Mullen, from Karl Willets to Ross Dolan... I mean, who said every growler is the same and why do you feel like it's noise? Maybe extreme metal really isn't your thing and as you say you endure the vocal trade-off of clean/harsh because the chorus is enhanced and it's usually clean?

Some musical styles use and abuse harsh vocals and they're an integral part of them. Some vocalists are good and others just suck. Why generalize the entire category of harsh vocals then? I really don't get what's your point...
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The Nightmare Rider
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:25 pm 
 

androdion wrote:
The Nightmare Rider wrote:
To me, it's about the subject matter, the style of music and the context that it's used in.

You got that part right. :lol:

What I don't get is why you think that doing harsh vocals is removed in style and context from what brutal music is. Take for instance death metal. Would it be the same without the harsh vocalists that exist? Guys with different tones and ranges that go from John Tardy to Martin Van Drunen, from Craig Pillard to Frank Mullen, from Karl Willets to Ross Dolan... I mean, who said every growler is the same and why do you feel like it's noise? Maybe extreme metal really isn't your thing and as you say you endure the vocal trade-off of clean/harsh because the chorus is enhanced and it's usually clean?

Some musical styles use and abuse harsh vocals and they're an integral part of them. Some vocalists are good and others just suck. Why generalize the entire category of harsh vocals then? I really don't get what's your point...


You make a fair point, but I was more referring to Deathcore bands that to me feel like they're trying too hard to be brutal for the sake of it. It's just slap you round the head brutality with no subtlety with it and the harsh vocals are a central point of this. However I do want to make clear that allot of this is down to personal taste. I'm not much a fan of pure brutal death metal, but I can respect allot of bands and even like others (Debauchery for example).

I made this thread because Harsh vocals is something that put allot of people off the more extreme ends of metal when it can actually be done in a variety of ways. I bring up Debauchery again because they are largely a Death 'n' Roll band which I feel has more intelligible singing compared to allot of other Brutal Death Metal bands. From my perspective, being able to understand what they're saying and having a bit of range too it is far better than simply roaring down a microphone. There's being brutal, then there's trying too hard. Make sense?

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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:36 pm 
 

Harsh vocals simply tend to be shunned more often because they aren't pretty. Simple as that. Hell, I didn't like harsh vocals when I got into metal, and I doubt that many people here started listening to fucking Incantation or Immortal from day one. They're an acquired taste, much like metal itself.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:38 pm 
 

Yeah it does. ;)

There are a few names on my previous post that you should listen to because they're a part of those "growlers who speak in a low tone" kind of vocalists. Karl Willets from Bolt Thrower and Ross Dolan from Immolation are two of the most intelligible growlers I know. In fact there was a thread a few months ago that was about those kind of vocalists in death metal. You can always expand your knowledge of a scene and you'll find out more bands/band members with which you can relate more than others, i.e. personal taste.

As for the deathcore example, well that has more to do with the macho/though guy posture of the bands than the vocal technique. It's brutal for the sake of being brutal for sure, but there are also many death metal bands from which the same could be said. Now... Debauchery? Really? I don't want to sound like a dick but that's like one of the worst bands to have ever existed on the goddamned planet! Try Entombed's Wolverine Blues for some quality death'n'roll with a very intelligible singer.

PS: Xlxlx also makes a very good point.
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xThe__Wizard
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:52 pm 
 

The Nightmare Rider wrote:
There's being brutal, then there's trying too hard. Make sense?


Nah it doesn't make sense at all.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:01 pm 
 

xThe__Wizard wrote:
The Nightmare Rider wrote:
There's being brutal, then there's trying too hard. Make sense?

Nah it doesn't make sense at all.

Yes, it does. There's a difference between using sonic violence as a mean to and end, and the aforementioned sonic violence being the end itself. From what I've heard, stuff that does the latter tends to be boring, juvenile tripe.
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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:24 pm 
 

xThe__Wizard wrote:
The Nightmare Rider wrote:
There's being brutal, then there's trying too hard. Make sense?


Nah it doesn't make sense at all.


Don Campan and Jonathan Huber prior to The Time of Great Purification are perfect examples of trying too hard. Instead of going for gut-level impact like good slam or slam-influenced vocalists should (Majewski, Way, Ochoa, and Konni being good examples), they go overboard with pig squeals and gurgles in an effort to impress. It doesn't work, of course, and they just sound like obnoxious wigger douchebags. Huber got better and started going for gut impact (too bad he didn't become a better person to match). Campan tried to get better but completely fucked it up and managed to sound even more obnoxious.

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MalignantThrone
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:34 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Yes, it does. There's a difference between using sonic violence as a mean to and end, and the aforementioned sonic violence being the end itself. From what I've heard, stuff that does the latter tends to be boring, juvenile tripe.

And what should the end result of your first example, then? Does sonic violence by itself lend anything positive to an overall effect of anything but sonic violence?

There is no such thing as trying too hard to be brutal. You can fail at being brutal, sure, but it's not a negative correlation between "pushes the limits of music" and the quality of the music. Bands that try to rip off Putrefaction in Progress or Forensick and fail, do so because they have shoddy musicianship or otherwise fail to capture the atmosphere and finesse of those albums... not because they're inherently very close to them musically.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:59 pm 
 

MalignantThrone wrote:
Xlxlx wrote:
Yes, it does. There's a difference between using sonic violence as a mean to and end, and the aforementioned sonic violence being the end itself. From what I've heard, stuff that does the latter tends to be boring, juvenile tripe.

And what should the end result of your first example, then? Does sonic violence by itself lend anything positive to an overall effect of anything but sonic violence?

Guess I should've explained myself further.

First of all, brutality is a bit of an abstract concept, just like "evilness" or "coldness" (two terms also used to describe metal, among a plethora of others). But the thing is that, when coupled with good songwriting, it can greatly enhance the feel of the music, and I'll point out to stuff such as None So Vile and Effigy of the Forgotten as prime examples of stellar musical crafting only made better by its extremely violent connotations. Now, when the musicians can't write a song worth shit, and try to make up for it with blast beats, tons of tremolo picking and ultra low growls, then those elements will be reduced to vapid compensation.

I hope that's clear enough.

PS: Our tastes are extremely different MT, so I don't know if we can reach an agreement on this particular subject. I'll eagerly await your answer though.
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MalignantThrone
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:19 pm 
 

Nah, you explained yourself sufficiently. :) I'm not going to try to argue the musical merits of said blast beats and tremolo riffs, since at that point we'd simply never find common ground on which to agree. Point is that I don't think their use necessarily indicates "trying too hard"; especially since I'm sure half those bands could write competent, structured music if they so pleased (see "Severe Lacerations" on Enmity's infamous album, for example). I don't see it as trying to make up for songwriting skills by beefing up everything else - the way I see it, that sort of music intentionally goes for an entirely different atmosphere compared to albums like Effigy of the Forgotten and None So Vile. Certainly the music is rather single-minded, but in an idiot savant sort of way, it tends to be ridiculously good at the atmospheric concepts it flirts with.

It might not be your tastes, but I don't think you could argue that music can get much more grotesque than Putridity, or Last Days of Humanity, because they take brutality and base their entire modus operandi around it. Some people will like it, most won't, but all-in-all I think most of those sorts of bands are very aware of how simple and brutish their music is. Now, not putting up a facade of intellect won't improve the music in your mind if you think it's crap, but I don't think people give these sorts of bands enough credit. It's not like they set out to play something like Bolt Thrower or Incantation and, finding that they couldn't efficiently pull that off, shrugged and started playing base slams and low gurgly vocals. They know what they want to play, and, based on what must presumably be their artistic visions, most execute it very well.

Alas, seems I'm starting to stray far away from the main point of the thread, so I'll shut up for now. :P
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:24 pm 
 

Mmmmm, I somewhat see where you're coming from, though don't really agree with a couple of your points. That's probably because we have not only quite different tastes MT, but our very outlook on music seems to differ a lot, and as you say, there would be no point in arguing that. Always nice to read such a coherent yet different take on metal though.

Here ends our little exchange, because like you, I don't want to derail the thread.
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Nhor
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:36 pm 
 

The Nightmare Rider wrote:
Harsh Vocals, Guttural Vocals, Death Growls or whatever you want to call them is a stand out feature for allot of the more extreme metal bands.


They've been around for so long that this couldn't be less true.

Edit: I'll through this in here too, I suppose.

Xlxlx wrote:
They're an acquired taste, much like metal itself.


There are tons, and tons, and tons of metal bands that very easy on the untrained ear.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:51 pm 
 

Nhor wrote:
There are tons, and tons, and tons of metal bands that very easy on the untrained ear.

Tons and tons? Apart from the names that got mainstream attention how many other metal bands is a regular Joe able to listen to without instantly saying "Wow, that's really heavy!"? From my experience anything heavier than Metallica/Maiden/Motorhead is usually enough to scare the average person away.

@MT - You make some very good points regarding the BDM scene. Care to transverse them into the deathcore scene? I'd like to hear someone else's opinion and you seem like someone who could offer a different perspective. ;)
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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:54 pm 
 

androdion wrote:
Nhor wrote:
There are tons, and tons, and tons of metal bands that very easy on the untrained ear.

Tons and tons? Apart from the names that got mainstream attention how many other metal bands is a regular Joe able to listen to without instantly saying "Wow, that's really heavy!"?\

Timeless Miracle. Way, way below mainstream attention, but accessible as all hell.
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Nhor
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:16 pm 
 

androdion wrote:
Tons and tons? Apart from the names that got mainstream attention how many other metal bands is a regular Joe able to listen to without instantly saying "Wow, that's really heavy!"? From my experience anything heavier than Metallica/Maiden/Motorhead is usually enough to scare the average person away.


That's why you show them power metal, neoclassical metal, progressive metal, symphonic metal, and so on. Instrumental stuff from pretty much any genre works as well, more often than not.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:20 pm 
 

You see Nhor, whenever I'm asked to show people some of the music that I listen to, I offer them something relatively light; Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Helloween, etc..... And you know what? I still get told that the music is too fast, or there are too many things going on at the same time, or that the vocals are too over the top. It's not that easy.
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MalignantThrone
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:30 pm 
 

androdion wrote:
@MT - You make some very good points regarding the BDM scene. Care to transverse them into the deathcore scene? I'd like to hear someone else's opinion and you seem like someone who could offer a different perspective. ;)

I don't really have as much pretentious nonsense to say about deathcore, compared to BDM. A big chunk of the genre takes just as much influence from melodic death metal as it does metalcore, and this sort of deathcore is rather inoffensive at worst, so as a whole it doesn't get shat on as badly as brutal death metal. There are a section of bands, though, that basically play the Enmity equivalent of deathcore - Suicide Silence, Carnifex and Chelsea Grin would both be the biggest of those, but there are tons of other lesser-known ones; I'm going to assume this is the kind of deathcore you're referring to, if only because it's the type that would most likely be compared to brutal death metal in terms of its goals. Indeed, I see the sort of deathcore those bands play as being sort of like brutal death metal but from a different perspective - it's primal and thuggish at all costs, but instead of trying to evoke an atmosphere of grotesqueness, it goes full-on with the catchiness and doesn't hold back. It's definitely not as inaccessible as ultra-brutal death metal or goregrind, and I'll admit that deathcore is much more prone to "trying too hard" at something than brutal death metal, but when it's executed "correctly" (depending on whether or you assume a deathcore band achieving their goals to be "correct") it's heavy, loud, bouncy and at the same time offers a bit more variation in tempos compared to most brutal death metal.

Basically: admittedly devoid of atmosphere, but ridiculously fun. If I somehow managed to miss the point entirely with my rather incoherent paragraph, I apologise.
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Nhor
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:43 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
You see Nhor, whenever I'm asked to show people some of the music that I listen to, I offer them something relatively light; Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Helloween, etc..... And you know what? I still get told that the music is too fast, or there are too many things going on at the same time, or that the vocals are too over the top. It's not that easy.


Doesn't seem like you're trying hard enough then (power metal exclusively it seems), or giving accurate enough examples based on the person.
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androdion
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:43 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
You see Nhor, whenever I'm asked to show people some of the music that I listen to, I offer them something relatively light; Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Helloween, etc..... And you know what? I still get told that the music is too fast, or there are too many things going on at the same time, or that the vocals are too over the top. It's not that easy.

Pretty much this. I was listening to that Timeless Miracle band and trying to think about the reaction the band would get on the local pub. Needless to say I grinned really hard. People outside of the metal scene, or that just listen to music on the radio on their way to work, or those who only catch a few sing-a-long tunes Friday night at the bar don't really take even this lightheartedly. Because either "it's all over the place", or "it has double bass" or "it has a lot of guitar work" (i.e. riffs!), you name it. The average Joe doesn't even understand the concept of riff-based music! :roll:

@MT - Nah man, you hit the nail spot on. ;) That was the sort of "dissertation" I wanted from you, and I think the one that better suits the discussion the OP demanded.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:51 pm 
 

Nhor wrote:
Xlxlx wrote:
You see Nhor, whenever I'm asked to show people some of the music that I listen to, I offer them something relatively light; Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Helloween, etc..... And you know what? I still get told that the music is too fast, or there are too many things going on at the same time, or that the vocals are too over the top. It's not that easy.

Doesn't seem like you're trying hard enough then (power metal exclusively it seems), or giving accurate enough examples based on the person.

You're talking to me as if I actually had to try to get people to like metal. I just put on the lighter stuff when asked to because people don't tend to react kindly to unintelligible roaring and drumming that resembles the shooting of machine guns. Just like Androdion stated, it seems like your average Joe has a difficult time wrapping his head around the idea of guitar centric music.
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Nhor
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:03 am 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
You're talking to me as if I actually had to try to get people to like metal. I just put on the lighter stuff when asked to because people don't tend to react kindly to unintelligible roaring and drumming that resembles the shooting of machine guns. Just like Androdion stated, it seems like your average Joe has a difficult time wrapping his head around the idea of guitar centric music.


Well there's your problem, you're going straight for less heavy rather than towards something everyone can enjoy. You have to know what the person focuses on in their listening experience and work around that. If they're into pop, their ears are probably centered around vocals so stuff like Dalriada, Battlelore, and Dragon Guardian would probably suit them (depending on where you live.) And as I mentioned earlier, neoclassical almost never fails so stuff like Alejandro Silva and Tiluland always have worked for me.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:11 am 
 

Whatever, man. I'm not interested in getting people to enjoy metal. I only give others a taste of the music I enjoy when actually asked to.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:35 am 
 

Harsh vocals are best when they're used like an instrument - i.e. for the sound they have, and how urgent and angry/whatever other emotion the band is going for, that they give off. They work because they sound so strange to our ears that they add a freshly otherworldly or otherwised depraved kind of element to the already rather harsh attack of the instruments on extreme metal albums. They don't become the focus of the music but act as an extra, aiding element to make the sound work as a whole. It's shock value, in a sense, in that it completes the alienation from what most people find acceptable. That's why extreme metal works.

They're bad when they're used like clean vocals. For me anyway, melodeath and folk metal bands with harsh vocals can be OK I guess, sometimes even great, but a lot of the time it just sounds lame when you try to growl melodically. The metal genre has evolved to a point where anything can happen with these kinds of styles, but I still stand by my first paragraph here.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:41 am 
 

What do you mean by "trying to growl melodically", Emp? That kinda sounds like an oxymoron, if you ask me.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:44 am 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
What do you mean by "growl melodically", Emp? That kinda sounds like an oxymoron, if you ask me.


You know, what the OP is talking about. Amon Amarth and the like - "let's have catchy choruses but then growl them instead of sing." Kind of backfires on any band that does it, I think. I've never really found growled vocals very catchy because it's an anti-melodic style trying to do something fit for clean vocals. I'm sure there are better words for that, but I'm tired as hell.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:50 am 
 

Ah, gotcha. Don't worry, I just got a bit confused by the terminology you utilized.
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FantomLord17
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:36 am 
 

I agree with Empyreal: Harsh vocals work better as an "instrument", used to enhance other elements of the song through their power, aggression, mood and rhythm. I've found that vocalists that growl certain parts of the song with a different tone (for example: the first 3 lines of a verse using a low growl and the last line or word being higher pitched) work the best. Obviously it isn't as varied or "melodic" as clean vocals, but since they aren't as common to our ears as clean voices they have an added allure. Also, because of the reduced "catchiness" of harsh vocals it is very important for the rest of the band to step up. Melodic Death Metal bands do it through melodic guitar leads, Death/doom and black metal do it through atmosphere and mood, technical death bands through technical prowess and so on. Metal fans are accustomed to giving much attention to the instruments when listening to songs, whereas detractors are very likely unable to get past their vocal-centric listening habits.

Though, as already said, they work better as an instrument, they also have the task of delivering lyrics. I supposes that because of this aggression one would expect that only violent or bitter lyrics work with them, I think that bands like Insomnium do a great job at having low death growls with beautiful, poetic lyrics more concerned with forests than violence. It somehow enhances their power alongside the very melodic music.

BTW, sorry if my vocabulary is a bit lacking. I hope it wasn't too hard to understand :p

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xThe__Wizard
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:08 pm 
 

Frank Booth wrote:
xThe__Wizard wrote:
Nah it doesn't make sense at all.


Don Campan and Jonathan Huber prior to The Time of Great Purification are perfect examples of trying too hard. Instead of going for gut-level impact like good slam or slam-influenced vocalists should (Majewski, Way, Ochoa, and Konni being good examples), they go overboard with pig squeals and gurgles in an effort to impress. It doesn't work, of course, and they just sound like obnoxious wigger douchebags. Huber got better and started going for gut impact (too bad he didn't become a better person to match). Campan tried to get better but completely fucked it up and managed to sound even more obnoxious.


Again that's your opinion man. You seem to not understand the difference. Those vocalists may be totally wignorant but you are too yo. Not saying you have to like them but saying they are trying to hard? Did you ask them yourself?
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Erosion of Humanity
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:42 pm 
 

@ OP, I totally get where you're coming from when I first got into metal I couldn't stand the harsh/death growls or whatever you want to call them. Then I did a complete 180 and starting not liking anything with clean vocals until I stumbled into Scar Symmetry way back when and I really got into that kind of melo death that uses both the harsh and clean vocals almost inter-changeably through out the song. It opened a whole new world of music to me and nowadays it's actually my favorite style of metal though I do listen to most other styles of metal except for Doom, I just can't get into it.
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