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Necroticism174
Kite String Popper

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
Posts: 4794
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:20 am 
 

I've been contemplating this for a while. When I'm listening to metal (and music in general really) and the vocalist sucks, is constantly off-key, or is painfully generic, it really detracts so much from the music and sometimes it even stops me from listening to the band altogether. On the other hand, if the drummer isn't doing anything mindblowing except keeping the beat, or the riffs aren't world changing, as long as there are other awesome aspects (and the vocals aren't cringe worthy) I still generally find enjoyment. Vocalists seem to be a make it or break it aspect. Why do you think that is? If not, why do you disagree? Post examples of bands that exemplify this if any come to mind.
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Unifying_Disorder
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:52 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:24 am 
 

Vocalists break the tension of the music, when they fail to do so adequately, audial discomfort results.

Basically, in simpler terms, vocals cut through the energy of the music, and when they don't in confuses your ears and leads to music sounding bad.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:26 am 
 

It's because vocalists are 1.) the part of the music most notably featured, and 2.) the human aspect that our brains are hard-wired to focus on.

If the vocalist is bad, regardless of anything else, your brain won't want anything to do with it.
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Necroticism174
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:31 am 
 

What about bands like Silencer then? Great musically, but terrible to most people vocally ( I personally like it). Is it worth forcing yourself to get accustomed to it and overlooking it because the music itself kicks ass?
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tehfoks
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:40 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:41 am 
 

I'm quite the opposite. If the vocalist sucks I usually just ignore him or get used to it after a few listens. That is, if the riffs are worth it. (Examples: Vio-lence, Diamond plate, Dukes-era Exodus) The only vocalists that can truly ruin the music for me are "painfully generic" ones.

On the other hand, if the riffs are sub-par, I can't get through a single song, let alone an album. I do appreciate some creative drumming, but it doesn't really bother me when he's just keeping the beat like the OP mentioned. The bottom line for me is the riff. By far the thing I pay most attention to. I guess that's why I listen to thrash mostly.

By the way, I can't think of any "painfully generic" metal vocalists that bother me. I guess it's mostly in hard rock and mainstream stuff where it bothers me.
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Painkiller1349
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Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:45 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:44 am 
 

Silencer's vocals actually grew on me after a little while, and I wouldn't have given it a second chance if the music sucked. So I'd say yes, it is worth overlooking if the music's good enough.
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Smalley
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:06 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:48 am 
 

Necroticism174 wrote:
On the other hand, if the drummer isn't doing anything mindblowing except keeping the beat, or the riffs aren't world changing, as long as there are other awesome aspects (and the vocals aren't cringe worthy) I still generally find enjoyment.

Ditto. And I have a really hard time learning to tolerate shitty vocals in favor for good riffage/whatever, so I never could get into stuff like Ozzy-era Sabbath, for the most part; I just care too much vocals. However, adequate-but-generic vocals I'm more than fine with; doesn't have to be amazing for me, really.

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americanholocaust
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Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:38 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:02 am 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
It's because vocalists are 1.) the part of the music most notably featured, and 2.) the human aspect that our brains are hard-wired to focus on.


I have to agree with this guy. We are pretty much programmed to seek out human sounds, and if we don't enjoy a vocalist, atleast for me, it's hard to get into a band sometimes, no matter how great the music is. There are obviously exceptions, but it is much easier for me to enjoy a good band with a great vocalist sometimes more than a great band with a shitty vocals. Like I said, with exceptions.
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metroplex
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Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:28 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:05 am 
 

To me vocal lines are far more important than the vocals themselves.

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maxxpower
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:04 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:06 am 
 

One of the reasons why I can't fully enjoy Mayhem's Chimera.

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Xlxlx
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:12 am 
 

I can enjoy a wide array of different vocal styles and, well, voices overall, and I only find a vocalist bothersome if he/her is either boring (as in, he doesn't add anything to the music) or completely amateurish (goes constantly off key, lacks power, etc). But all in all, I give the vocals a lot of attention, and while I don't require every singer to be a prodigy, I do want him/her to be mildly interesting and add at least his little grain of salt to the music (that is, if we're not talking exactly about a very vocal-centric band). Sometimes, the vocalist can be okay for me by just having some attitude, without me requiring him to be exactly technically gifted (case in point why I have no problem with Dave Mustaine's vocals).
metroplex wrote:
To me vocal lines are far more important than the vocals themselves.

Something tells me you fucking love John Arch. Is that correct?
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TheEvilSocky
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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:34 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:25 am 
 

I prefer for their to be a vocalist however what they're saying or how they sound make little difference to me, Last days of Humanity's vocalist could be constantly screaming "Ikea furniture" and it would not hinder the enjoyment, however if they were instrumental, I'd find it slightly boring.
Not sure why but a certain vocalist style will not ever turn me off of a band it just is how it is
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KC_Slaanesh
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:51 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:34 am 
 

There's no vocal styles other than brutal death gibberish that I'm really averse to, I can get to like almost anything. The most recent vocalist I've heard that I can't stand is that fuckin clock from Portal. That said, the vocals, and especially their lyrical content, are merely accents to the music for me. If the guitars are good and choppy enough, and there's bitchin songwriting, I can grow to like any vocalist that tags along.
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dreadmeat
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Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:03 am 
 

i can't stand the sodom or kreator vocalists, but the music is awesome.
the vocals make or break it for me quite often.
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Adriankat
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:54 pm
Posts: 2563
Location: South Bay Area, California
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:10 am 
 

Necroticism174 wrote:
What about bands like Silencer then? Great musically, but terrible to most people vocally ( I personally like it). Is it worth forcing yourself to get accustomed to it and overlooking it because the music itself kicks ass?

I think in some cases, you have to rationalize yourself into liking the vocals. Some people have an easier time doing this (I quickly became a fan of Silencer vocals), but other people have to find something in the voice before they appreciate it. For example, if someone didn't like the vocals at first, he'd have to think about it for a while and hope he comes up with a conclusion like, "well, he does sound like a guy who's in immense pain and that's pretty cool."

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Erisgaroth
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:18 am
Posts: 1542
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:15 am 
 

tehfoks wrote:
I'm quite the opposite. If the vocalist sucks I usually just ignore him or get used to it after a few listens. That is, if the riffs are worth it. (Examples: Vio-lence, Diamond plate, Dukes-era Exodus) The only vocalists that can truly ruin the music for me are "painfully generic" ones.

On the other hand, if the riffs are sub-par, I can't get through a single song, let alone an album. I do appreciate some creative drumming, but it doesn't really bother me when he's just keeping the beat like the OP mentioned. The bottom line for me is the riff. By far the thing I pay most attention to. I guess that's why I listen to thrash mostly.

By the way, I can't think of any "painfully generic" metal vocalists that bother me. I guess it's mostly in hard rock and mainstream stuff where it bothers me.


Me too, i focus more in the riffs than in the vocals. But if the vocals are really horrible i just keep away from that stuff, and i can't remember examples right now, but rather examples of bad riffing, or simple riffing, like some songs of Soulfly. To me, vocals, are the second thing important in a band, (again, to me) but first, the guitars. I can't stand a song if it's not well played, and i love almost every sound with the guitar, so is very hard for me to get angry for listening to a band :grin:

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StinkyPenis
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:36 pm
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Location: Bangladesh
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:21 am 
 

I find that in thrash vocals can be very good or very bad depending on the listener. I like the higher pitched vocals like Hirax, Intruder, Vektor. And other odd vocals would be Snake from Voivod.

With death and black metal you can get away with being generic. It's hard not to honestly. With the other genres that require some singing the good are sorted from the bad in an obvious way. You can tell if a person can't sing.

I am a guitar oriented guy. Good vocals are just icing on top of a delicious riff cake. They won't really make it or break it for me but I find myself liking bands with unique and talented vocals with above average guitarists more then bands with generic vocalists and amazing guitarists/songwriting.

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Death_Welder
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:53 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:28 am 
 

Vocals make the band for me. Thats why I don't like black metal much, although I love the music itself. I have dismissed many great bands when I'm not gripped by the vocals. Anaal Nathrakh is an AMAZING band to me because of Vitriol's godly vocals.

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dreadmeat
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Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:36 am 
 

Death_Welder wrote:
Vocals make the band for me. That's why I don't like black metal much, although I love the music itself. I have dismissed many great bands when I'm not gripped by the vocals.
that's exactly how i feel about black metal.
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godsonsafari
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:03 am
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Location: Sparty's Land Grant University, USA
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:40 am 
 

Frankly, the tone of the guitar or drums can affect my interest in a record every bit as much as a singer, however singers offer probably the greatest variance possible for any particular band's sound. An electric guitar can be massaged in the studio to sound a great many ways, yes, but generally speaking, a guitar is a guitar. Drums are drums. But the human voice is much more versatile, and the difference in quality of vocalists is much greater than the difference between how a mediocre producer and a good one can make in terms of the way guitars/drums/bass sound on record.
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Death_Welder
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:53 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:14 am 
 

dreadmeat wrote:
Death_Welder wrote:
Vocals make the band for me. That's why I don't like black metal much, although I love the music itself. I have dismissed many great bands when I'm not gripped by the vocals.
that's exactly how i feel about black metal.


I can't stand the squawks and shrieks. Emperor was one of my 1st extreme metal bands and still a favorite to this day. But that's it for the most part. Same with thrash. The vocals are a little laughable to my ears, including slayer to a point. I'm very picky with my vocals

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StellarGraves
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:16 pm
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Location: Israel
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:29 am 
 

Major..

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dreadmeat
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
Posts: 4577
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:50 am 
 

Death_Welder wrote:
I can't stand the squawks and shrieks. /snip/ Same with thrash. The vocals are a little laughable to my ears, including slayer to a point. I'm very picky with my vocals
i like older slayer but the more modern monotone shouting i can't handle.
we definitely need more vocal-free metal :grin:
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joppek
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:10 am 
 

there's loads of examples where the vocals put me off a band (mercyful fate anyone?), but i can only think of one instance where another single instrument is ruining it for me: the drums on death's leprosy
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MalignantTyrant
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:52 am 
 

It depends, it usually takes me a while to get used to certain vocalists. I actually try for a while to get into certain bands because I'd like to like them, y'know.
For example, The Black Dahlia Murder. I fucking hated that band for like a whole year, and it was mainly because of Trevor Strnad, not the music. At the time I was just really getting into the death metal scene and was used to the Frank Mullen/Chris Barnes grunting so I was a bit shaken by Trevor or Tomas Lindberg's vocal styles. Nowadays I love hearing that shit because it's a melodeath staple by now. I listen to What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse all the time and Blood in the Ink.
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Toberium
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:04 am 
 

It depends for me. A bad clean singer is an automatic no-no. I'm more tolerant to a bad extreme vocalist, but it's still a component. I can overlook it if the music underneath is just that great. But if they sound like a special ed kid yelling about forests and shit, then I can't stand it.

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Abominatrix
Harbinger of Metal

Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
Posts: 9913
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:50 am 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
It's because vocalists are 1.) the part of the music most notably featured, and 2.) the human aspect that our brains are hard-wired to focus on.


I don't know, I grew up with at least 3/4 instrumental music and I suspect many people are the same way. Still, it's true that most rock-based music tends to highlight vocals. For metal, I believe guitars are the central element of focus, or at least, ought to be. Of course some bands/albums just would not be as great without their vocalist leading the charge (Arch-era Fates Warning, Root/Big Boss, etc), but generally I think they're rather replaceable and, particularly if they don't play an instrument, are usually not all that involved with songwriting. I also find that the singer is most often the weak link in a band on stage....I'd say this holds true a good 90% of the time, and even applies to some professional/long-running bands.
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Desperta_Ferro
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:45 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:20 pm 
 

I pay a lot of attention to the vocals, that's why I got into metal in the first place. The clean, power metal screaming, the black metal shrieks and the death growls, I love them all.

For me, technique doesn't matter, with the voice, it's about emotion. I hate what Anselmo does, he's technically competent, and has a very powerful voice, but that tough-guy thing makes me sick. I can't stand most hardcore because of that. Even I found myself liking some metal-core music, but the attitude, rather the voice, ruins it for me.

On the other hand, Quorthon could not sing for shit, but I love his heartfelt vocals.

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Xlxlx
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:29 pm 
 

Actually, Anselmo doesn't do any of that "tough guy" yelling in Down, so you could try listening to them. Which reminds me of a point you just raised, Ferro; when is a vocalist's attitude annoying? There's the aforementioned "tough guy" stance that's reasonably grating for anyone who's not a douchebag, but then what other cases are there of such a thing?
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Desperta_Ferro
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:31 pm 
 

I will try to give Down a listen, thanks.

And there isn't really any other attitude that bothers me that much, maybe the sleazy hard-rockish tone, don't know how to explain it.

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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:37 pm 
 

How about too emotional vocalists? Such as Kamelot's first singer who no one cares about, and for good reason. This tool sounds like he's crying his lines, for fuck's sake!
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Desperta_Ferro
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:42 pm 
 

haha

Roy Khan truly made that band what it is today

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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:45 pm 
 

Not to dismiss the rest of the members, but yeah, they wouldn't be as famous as they are if not for Roy Khan's terrific voice and mesmerizing stage presence. Actually, it's interesting to think how much a singer/frontman has to do with a band's succes, but then again, that's fairly obvious.
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Abominatrix
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:15 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:52 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Not to dismiss the rest of the members, but yeah, they wouldn't be as famous as they are if not for Roy Khan's terrific voice and mesmerizing stage presence. Actually, it's interesting to think how much a singer/frontman has to do with a band's succes, but then again, that's fairly obvious.



I'm not really a fan, but they seemed pretty known to me before that guy joined. I know I had a song with the old singer on some sampler CD and he struck me as being fine, though the music was pretty much by-the-numbers power metal, and I think that, perhaps, was really teh problem for them....

Toughguy mannerisms can work fine in certain bands. I guess the key is just whether you find the voice appealing or not. Tommy Victor doesn't even have to try; just shouting a bit with that caustic New York snarl somehow ends up making him sound pretty cool.

One mannerism I really don't like is the "listen to me, I'm an emotional gothic vampire" style of singing, or speaking...guys forcing their voices into as low a register as possible, mumbling and whispering and moaning about "vampiriraaaaaaaaaah, you're my destiny" and "melancholy flowers drift on her bosom"...gods, it's awful.
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garthmargengi
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:56 pm 
 

Vocal fry "basses", ew, screw those.

Regarding the subject of the thread, as always there are exceptions, but a crappy singer does ruin a band for me.
However, now that I think of it, a crappy anything can ruin a band for me, be it shitty drumming, lame bass, cheesy keyboards, generic riffs or whatever, why even bother if the band doesn't work as a whole.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:59 pm 
 

Mmmm..... It's just that I think there's a difference between "tough guy mannerisms" and actual aggressive singing/yelling. The first one is plastic and forced, while the second one is more genuine, as if the vocalist was truly angry. That's just me, though.

And Abom; I guess you're not much of a Peter Steele fan, am I right?
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:12 pm 
 

I like Peter, but think that Bloody Kisses is pretty much the nadir and most self-indulgent of all his performances. He sounds great yelling and foaming and pissed off.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:17 pm 
 

Funnily enough, Bloody Kisses is my favorite performance of his, due to the over the top nature of it. Weird how perspective works, uh? I think he was at his best when crooning at a very low pitch, even if I do like his more hardcore-influenced yells. Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Chilling performance, if there ever was such a thing.
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:20 pm 
 

Yeah, I'm sure his performance makes plenty of girls and gay men swoon. :D
And of course, the over-the-top nature is intentional; I recognise that, but it doesn't make me like it any better.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:25 pm 
 

Hey, I think the guy's voice is sexy, and I'm straight, so yeah..... And as for over the top vocalists, let's go to the other side of the spectrum; how about very high pitched vocalists? For example, I've heard many people complain about Mike Sanders, the guy who sang in Toxik's debut, and although I personally really love the guy, I can easily see why he wouldn't be liked by other people. What I don't get though, is being into metal and not liking high pitched singers in general. That's something I just can't fathom.
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