I’m mixed on growling and harsh vocals. I really like bands like Amon Amarth, Carach Angren, Antestor, and Opeth, and I can at least tolerate, if not slightly enjoy, the vocals for bands like Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy, and Crimson Moonlight. However, I absolutely cannot get into bands like Emperor, Horde, or Between the Buried and Me due to their harsh vocals. I also don’t really like modern Dimmu Borgir, but that’s because Shagrath managed to find a way to make the style sound pitiful. I still love his vocals on Kamelot’s The Black Halo, though.
Okay, you guys are wearing me down. I’m getting a bit more into the vocals now.
Same here. I’m getting more tolerant of them in bands like Epica, but they aren’t the primary vocals.
I saw them in concert with Nevermore (which is the band I was there to see). It was one of the more scary moments of my life. I was praying Hail Mary’s the whole time Dimmu Borgir was on stage. I didn’t realize he was the guest growler on The Black Halo.
Yes! That’s exactly when I like harsh vocals, then they are playing a minor part like a character in a story.
Or, in one of my favorite uses, as an effect to supplement the lyrics. In Threshold’s Slipstream (one my favorite “move out of your comfort zone” songs), Dan Swanö has just one line - repeated four times - but it’s the perfect element to shake the listener out of complacency, which is the point of the lyrics (which are in the summary on YT):
Was he really so bad that you needed to ask for Mary’s intercession?
Really, I don’t know what happened. I’ve heard some of their earlier stuff, and he was pretty good, just like in The Black Halo. His stuff on Abrahadabra and Eonian were just awful, though. Maybe it was like that on In Sorte Diaboli, but I skipped that album and am not enough of a fan of the band to make time to listen to it.
A lot of growled vocals tend to come from genres where they fit. It’s generally meant to convey the brutal, horrifying, unnerving, hate-filled, or similar emotion of the genre. Sometimes, though, I think they go way too far and end up sounding less like fitting vocals and more like nails on a chalkboard or, in modern Dimmu Borgir’s case, pig squeals.
Cool song. I think my brother has some of the Threshold albums. I’ll have to give them a listen.
I always liked the way that Ayreon used the harsh vocals. I love the interchange between Saviour Machine’s Eric Clayton and Opeth’s Mike Akerfeldt on “Day12: Trauma.” Akerfeldt plays the part of “Fear”, so it fits perfectly within the theme.
It wasn’t his vocals so much as the band’s stage presence.
I keep meaning to get into them. I’ve seen them come up periodically due to having guest vocals from some of my favorites, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’m also a huge fan of Avantasia, and Ayreon seems to be the closest thing to them.
Yeah, Dimmu Borgir has a bit of a unsettling nature to them, but that goes for a lot of black metal. If you want something close to the style but less occult-themed and less anti-religious, I’d highly advise Carach Angren. All their albums are concept albums that tell horror stories, but they leave it at the story and are pretty deliberate in leaving out religious and political commentary.
Interestingly enough, I’m a huge fan of Ayreon and I keep meaning to get into Avantasia. My brother has all the Avantasia albums, but I haven’t listened to them much, though I feel like I would like them.
They actually cooperated on a song together:
Their newest album “The Source” is pretty solid and includes an all-star lineup: James Labrie, Tobias Sammet, Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, Hansi Kursch, Russel Allen, etc. Here’s the track with all the vocalists. There’s even a section where the lyrics are in binary.
My favorite Ayreon album will always be “The Human Equation”, though. Honestly, it’s one of my top 5 favorite albums period. Most of the vocalists portray a different emotion/characteristic playing inside the protagonist’s (James Labrie’s) head.
Yes, that’s probably why I don’t listen to black metal.
Re Avantasia and Ayreon, I’ve been into Ayreon much longer and only recently got into Avantasia.
Fans of Ayreon should also try Arjen’s project Star One. I only stumbled upon the Space Metal album a few years ago, but wow, am I hooked. Every song is about a different science fiction movie, novel or TV series.
Try the song Intergalactic Space Crusaders, about the British scifi TV show Blake’s 7 and featuring Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Damian Wilson (Threshold).
I tend not to like Arjen’s side projects as much as Ayreon, but Star One is every bit as good. Stream of Passion is pretty good, too. Arjen was only involved with their first album before they decided to spin off into a band in their own right sans Arjen.