Metal vocals

Goreliscious

Senior Member
With regards to extreme metal vocals, how do you go about "finding your own voice" and get comfortable with it?

With line-up changes in the band I might have to do vocals whilst playing drums, but I don't really just wanna mimic the generic death/black metal style that 99.9% of extreme metal vocalists churn out without any individuality - but at the same time, I don't know how to go about "finding" my voice and get comfortable with it.

Vocals I like for the sake of being able to hear some of the vocalists own voice: the chick from Kylesa, Eyehategod, Isis, Sepultura with Max, High on Fire, Entombed etc

The sorta vocals I wanna avoid are Suffocation, Deicide, Immortal etc etc etc...not saying I don't like their styles, (let alone have the ability to mimic them!) it's just that their styles have been ripped off to death so I don't wanna go down that road.

Any help would be appreciated...
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Well, how many voices do you have? Can you switch between millions of 'effects' or do you have 3-4 ways of using your vocal chords and getting certain sounds and that's all, as most of us do??? I mean, your post reads as if you had 100 'voice presets' in your arsenal and but no idea which one to choose or which parameters to adjust (you call it 'finding', I see little sense in this - see above - millions of choices? No).

Try everything YOUR voice is up to and then decide what fits your music context best. You might need to practice your vocal chords to achieve some new results you're not up to at the moment. Or rely on another person to sing. You might consider getting a few lessons with a vocal trainer to evaluate and make you aware of the present level of your vocal skills and to give you some hints how to improve, starting from that. Or to show you different ways of utilising your voice.

Personally, I don't like ANY voice which isn't 'normal' (and metal is my favourite genre!!) - I just prefer clean vocals, period - except for singing 'with power' to make vocals work in a song/mix context. I was shocked when I recorded vocal tracks of a friend of mine and thought 'man, he's yelling like mad' and then learned that a bit of 'crunch' when singing can be a good thing to make the vocals work better in a mix because when adding all the other tracks, the vocals will sit perfectly and the 'crunch' will become inaudibly but helps the vocals to stand out more against the other instruments. I'm referring to a metal context - in jazz or other genres, there's no need for 'crunch'.

If you're looking for something special you could consider using effects processors/stomp boxes etc to really modify your natural vocal sounds. Those effects don't have to be overused, you might get interesting results by dialing in small amounts of this or that effect. There's a lot more than fuzz boxes... be creative.
 

Goreliscious

Senior Member
No I don't have hundreds of presets to choose from, and I'm not talking about singing, I'm talking more shouty vocals where you can hear the vocalists natural voice as well as some aggression.

Ultimately what I mean is: with extreme metal vocals you can create a whole new voice for yourself but most vocalists train their voice to the same style and end up mimicing Deicide, Suffocation etc. What I wanna do is develop my own voice get confident in it so I don't feel I should just hide behind the traditional growls/screams.

For example when I play my band's recordings (without vocals) and "sing along" trying the style I'm talking about, it sounds shit, but I can hear in my head how it could work, but I don't know how to develop my voice to get it to that point. Every tutorial video I find is geared towards training your voice to do growls/screams, I need a tutorial video on how to strike the balance like these guys/girls have...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3HVLyI-t3E
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMnTQE68Xts
 

Arky

Platinum Member
What about consulting a metal vocal coach then? Your goal seems highly specified so referring to a vocal coach would be the most direct way to get advice from a pro, wouldn't it?

Don't forget that depending on the style you're going to sing, you might put considerable strain on your body and could ruin your voice after a few years. Decide for yourself whether (your) music is worth this. Maybe with some help of a vocal coach you might find 'your voice' with a singing style which will be sustainable physically and won't be of great damage for your voice.
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
if you can't find a vocal coach id recommend "the zen of screaming" by melissa cross. she's vocal coach to metal singers like randy blyth of lamb of god and angela gassow from archenemy and many others.
 
The best way to identify your scream, is to examine it, record a few isolated tracks and listen to them tentatively, to the point where you could identify it like it was mitch lucker or phil bozeman.

Once your acquainted, just spend some free time on honing the scream, work out the kinks and don't try to force your screams., you'll end up ruining your throat that way. It takes a few months before it comes out naturally. You'll know when you don't have to warm up by eating cornflakes to screech primal. haha
 

Evilbagua

Silver Member
Drink lots of whiskey followed by some smashed up glass, and pray the end result is as badass as dixie dave from Weedeater.

To me it sounds like you like more sludgey/stoner rock (high on fire eyehategod etc) vocals as opposed to death metal lows. Thats cool those are easier to do anyway, most "low gutteral super brutal super tech death metal" vocalists always sound really weak and almost all are really quiet as opposed to screaming/yelling. I think real death metal lows are very hard to do well everyone things there great but sound awful. The sludgey vocals are more harsh yelling to me ,but you can still understand the lyrics pretty easy. A nice mix I think.

My vote is practice and listen to lots of bands, so you can see what they sound like vs you etc. Sing along to stuff in the car or when ever you have time and get your voice used to it and don't strain yourself. You might like the band Lair of the Minotaur I really dig their vocals, but they get a lot of hate for them in the metal world. Also more old school death metal like Bolt Thrower, sound really clear and powerful. I tell the vocalist in my band to mix those two things usually.
 

Goreliscious

Senior Member
Cheers, that Lair of the Minotaur stuff sounds cool.

Yeah it's the sorta sludge/stoner vein I'm aiming for with decipherable lyrics. It's frustrating cos when I "sing along" to Kylesa/Superjoint Ritual and the like I think I can manage it, but when I try applying it to my bands stuff it sounds poo.

It's really difficult to not apply an accent too - my band plays a mix of death metal/stoner/sludge so when I try doing vocals, without even thinking about it, I end up singing with some kinda southern drawl! And I aint even from America! I hate it, I don't wanna pretend to be something I'm not!

Annoyingly I can do a pretty good Jeff Walker/Carcass wretch, but it's too "easy" to do what's obvious and not play with boundaries.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Very few people can do this very well, such as the David Lee Roths of the music world. I can sing fairly high, but cannot garner enough vocal strength to screech/scream like that. And when I try it just trashes my vocal chords. I close out each gog by singing Rocking in the Free World by Neil Young. It's as high as I can sing, and borders on screaming the way we play the song. I couldn't sing it mid-set or I'd be toast afterward.
 

nickg

Silver Member
my god i hate those cookie monster growling "vocalists". other than not ripping out their vocal cords their talent is WHERE???
 

sleepcascade

Junior Member
my god i hate those cookie monster growling "vocalists". other than not ripping out their vocal cords their talent is WHERE???
You sound like a curmudgeon. You don't have to like it, you don't even have to understand it, but try not to sound like my grandfather. As a matter of fact, my grandparents have come to see me play death metal before and were far more open-minded then you were in your statement.
 

Goreliscious

Senior Member
The more I listen to Mike Williams (Eyehategod/Arson Anthem/Outlaw Order) the more I want his voice. If being a junkie was guarenteed way to get that voice, I'd have to give it a damn good thought before I wimped out.
 
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