And a little one for KG
August 26, 2010 5:20 PM   Subscribe


 
This is a great find. Thanks for posting.

(Maybe Rob Halford will take her up on her offer.)
posted by wittgenstein at 5:25 PM on August 26, 2010


I'm kind of surprised James hetfield wasn't one of the critiqued. His mom was an opera singer, IIRC.
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on August 26, 2010


This is fucking useful. I just became a Judas Priest fan.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:30 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just became a Judas Priest fan.

*dies of shock. rises from dead.*

Wow. You've been missing out, lady. and you've got another thing coming.
posted by jonmc at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again - Metal is the closest thing we have to classical music in the popular music world. Whenever I read about how such and such a metal singer had an opera background, I think "but of course." Generally, the singers who last are the ones who really know how to use their voices.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:34 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


How long did his career last?

Awesome.
posted by Gator at 5:37 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


How long did his career last?

In fairness, this is a question with a variety of possible answers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:39 PM on August 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


"They all sound like Cookie Monster"
posted by DU at 5:40 PM on August 26, 2010


I would love to read her review of Tom Waits.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 5:42 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Poor Ozzy. Doomed to a short, inglorious career after which he will die impoverished and obscure. Not that she isn't right about his, uh, technique. But still. It's like Silverberg writing that Tiptree's writing has an ineluctably masculine quality to it.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love how her first adjective to describe Rob Halford's voice is 'fabulous'.
posted by weezy at 5:48 PM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised James hetfield wasn't one of the critiqued.

Respectfully, though I like James Hetfield and what he does artistically, I don't think he compares with a Dio, Dickinson, or Halford in terms of sheer vocal prowess. At least not from what I've ever heard.

Friedlander pretty much nails what I love (and envy tremendously) about Bruce Dickinson. His ability to enunciate, and bring musical depth at such challenging vocal ranges is absolutely brilliant. What a talent.

Not taking away from the others. But I love Iron Maiden for the vocals.
posted by Brak at 5:48 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Leave Ozzy alone!
posted by doctor_negative at 5:50 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have loved to read her "WTF is this asshat doing?" take on Dani Filth.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:51 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


That was pretty great. I was trying to figure out why a website devoted to metal would have such an un-metal sounding name. The explanation made me lol.
posted by cazoo at 5:51 PM on August 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


Respectfully, though I like James Hetfield and what he does artistically, I don't think he compares with a Dio, Dickinson, or Halford in terms of sheer vocal prowess. At least not from what I've ever heard.

In terms of sheer chops, I agree (although her opinions on Ozzy back up my belief that there's a difference between a great voice and a great rock and roll voice, but that's a whole other debate). I just figure that James picked up a trick or two from mom.
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on August 26, 2010


"They all sound like Cookie Monster"

If only! After listening to the tracks she reviewed, I was more than a little disappointed that the vokills under discussion weren't more, you know, extreme. Comparatively clean and pretty for the most part. There was a comment requesting reviews of black metal and death metal singers.

Why not Mikael Åkerfeldt? Alan Dubin? The two guys in Black Dahlia Murder?


The guy from (heh) Brodequin?
posted by kenko at 5:59 PM on August 26, 2010


Site appears dead, cache here
posted by sanko at 5:59 PM on August 26, 2010


The server for that site is falling over. Anyone have a cached link?
posted by carsonb at 6:00 PM on August 26, 2010


Doh! Good lookin' out, sanko.
posted by carsonb at 6:00 PM on August 26, 2010


Why not Mikael Åkerfeldt? Alan Dubin? The two guys in Black Dahlia Murder?

Because the whole point was to present her with "classic" metal singers, and the five presented are about as classic as it gets.
posted by dersins at 6:02 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, jonmc, growing up a nice blonde suburban girl in sunny California in the 1980s, there were not many positive metal influences in my life. Well, just to be sure — Wilson Phillips isn't metal, right? MTV and the conservatives both made metal look pretty fucking moronic.

1988: "Amber's a really bright little girl, so creative, and a joy to have in class. Her reading is on a ninth grade level. I would recommend she advance directly to fourth grade, but she struggles with self-control and sometimes is frustrated by cooperative activities. Probably she just needs to get more into Priest. Shell out at the Wherehouse for fuckin' Ram It Down on stereo compact disc!"
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


Server down?
posted by kenko at 6:04 PM on August 26, 2010


Because the whole point was to present her with "classic" metal singers, and the five presented are about as classic as it gets.

Yeah, I know, but still …

I guess it comes down to "but why didn't they talk about the stuff I like????????".

I'm sure you understand!
posted by kenko at 6:05 PM on August 26, 2010


Classic Metal Singers but no Robert Plant?

I will now express an opinion on the internet. Rob Halford is a much much much better singer than Robert Plant ever was.

There. I said it. I would do it again if I had to.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Classic Metal Singers but no Robert Plant?

I will now express an opinion on the internet


I will, too. Zeppelin, while awesome, were not metal.

Discuss.
posted by dersins at 6:08 PM on August 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


On the one hand I agree that Zeppelin were not metal, but I also think that for people who are not afficianados of metal, Zeppelin is considered a metal band. And I think some people think of Plant, when they think about Rock vocalists (but perhaps not metal vocalists, I will grant you.)

Mainly I would have liked her to say bad things about Plant.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:12 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would love love love to hear her opinion of Geoff Tate.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:13 PM on August 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think part of the idea too was to give her some examples of people she was otherwise unfamiliar with. Regardless of how far down the classical path she goes, my guess is that she'd recognize Robert Plant on listening. She compares one of the guys to Freddie Mercury, for instance.
posted by Brak at 6:23 PM on August 26, 2010


I was surprised to see King Diamond on the list. "But not only do I not understand a single word he’s saying..." welcome to the club lady. Do you have any idea how many times you have to listen to "Come to the Sabbath" to realize the line is "Later on the Master will join us" not "Later on the massive vaginas"?
posted by MikeMc at 6:24 PM on August 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


No Lemmy?
posted by felix betachat at 6:25 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly were three of the first heavy metal bands. Sure, it changed and evolved after them, but you can't say they're not metal because of what came in their footsteps.

I never liked liked Ozzy's voice. He sounds like he needs to blow his nose. Same with that kid from Green Day.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I too was expecting Lemmy, and not so much expecting as just really hoping for Maynard.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:30 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got the joke in the title for this post. A statue for JB!
posted by mathowie at 6:34 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Lemmy?

Lemmy is being saved for round 2 along with Udo.
posted by MikeMc at 6:36 PM on August 26, 2010


Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly were three of the first heavy metal bands.

*cough* Deep Purple*cough* Blue Cheer
posted by jonmc at 6:38 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude, I favorited this so effin' hard.

Seriously. I have post envy. Thanks for this.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:40 PM on August 26, 2010


Nice, I like that they chose Dreamer/Deceiver, it's one of Halford and Priest's great moments. I also like that they choose Gypsy for King Diamond's cut, that album is really raw compared to where he eventually went with his solo sound. Would have been awesome if they included Messiah Marcolin, he's the one metal singer whose vocal approach wasn't "operatic" so much as attempting actual opera, would like to hear what they had to say.

I had my college girlfriend do the same with shred metal guitarists, I hauled out all the old tapes and player her Vinnie Moore, MacAlpine, Malmsteen, etc. She was a classically trained oboist who had gotten into all the major conservatories including Julliard but decided to go college instead at the last minute. She loved Malmsteen, who she felt has the most similar touch and phrasing to a classical violinist, and thought the rest were clowns. I played her MacAlpine's piano take on Chopin and she almost hyperventilated she was laughing so hard, apparently he just CRUSHES the keyboard in a way no classical pianist ever would.
posted by The Straightener at 6:41 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


"The Immigrant Song" is pure proto-metal.
posted by starvingartist at 6:43 PM on August 26, 2010


*cough* Blue Cheer

Considered by many to be the first heavy metal song.
posted by MikeMc at 6:44 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they were reviewing classic metal singers, Ian Anderson would be a better pick than James Hetfield.
posted by TedW at 6:44 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they were reviewing classic metal singers, Ian Anderson would be a better pick than James Hetfield.

OH SNAP! If you play Crest of a Knave backwards you can hear Lars crying during the odd numbered tracks. It's true!
posted by MikeMc at 6:49 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


The reviews are also available on the critic's site.
posted by Rumple at 6:50 PM on August 26, 2010


"I'm kind of surprised James Hetfield wasn't one of the critiqued."

Yeah-heh-aah!
posted by bwg at 6:52 PM on August 26, 2010 [10 favorites]


I would like to read her take on the singer from Caninus. More info
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:53 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool post.

For those who want to discuss the history of Heavy Metal, the BBC's Heavy Metal Britannia (parts 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9) is worth viewing.
posted by fings at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly were three of the first heavy metal bands.

*cough* Deep Purple*cough* Blue Cheer


*hacking up lung* Funkadelic *hiccup* *choke* *gurgling bong noise*
posted by Kirk Grim at 7:04 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is great. I love the way she draws comparisons between King Diamond and classical singers who ornament at the expense of emotion. Ha, what a brilliant idea for a post at a metal blog. But don't bother with the cached site; better to keep trying so you can be listening to that first song as you read her discussion of it. Great stuff, ivey, thanks.

p.s. Ambrosia Voyeur, don't feel bad; I grew up gay in the 70s and didn't discover the half-naked gym shower scenes in "Hot Rockin" until 5 years ago.
posted by mediareport at 7:09 PM on August 26, 2010


p.s. Sad Wings of Destiny is your perfect starting point.
posted by mediareport at 7:14 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


> On the one hand I agree that Zeppelin were not metal, but I also think that for people who are not afficianados of metal, Zeppelin is considered a metal band.

When my wife was a tween, back in the late-'80s, she went over to a friend's house with her newly-purchased copy of Sonic Temple by The Cult. She and her pals were just moving out of their Tiffany/Debbie Gibson phase, and when she put the tape on one of her friends cocked a horrified eyebrow and said "______, this is, like, heavy metal!
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:20 PM on August 26, 2010


I really like this YouTube clip assembling Robert Plant's greatest high notes - including some bootleg concert recordings, presented in ascending order, with the specific notes named in the information.

The '68 recording reminds me of the part in Hammer of the Gods where Page, looking for a singer for the New Yardbirds, drops in on a pub gig where Plant is performing. And can hardly believe his luck at finding this amazing a talent up for grabs.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:20 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Considered by many to be the first heavy metal song.

Yes, and you can find it on the album with the greatest heavy metal title ever.

Yeah, I know it's a greatest hits comp, but I've always loved that title.
posted by marxchivist at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was about twelve, a friend who was a huge Led Zeppelin fan was going on about "Stairway to Heaven," and how it featured one of the greatest head-banging sequences of all time. As you can imagine, I was very excited to hear it. We popped the tape in, and at once the room was filled with the distinct sounds of...non-metal. "Hang on," said my friend, and hit fastforward. Somehow, what we landed upon was even less metal than before. "Hang on," said my friend, and hit fastforward. Still not at all metal. "Hang on," said my friend, and hit fastforward. We were standing in front of the stereo, and had been for some minutes, and my feet were starting to hurt. We got to a point that I guessed must be very far into the tape, and then my friend said, "Oh there it is," and out came some drum-thrashing and this guy screaming in a nut-twisted fashion. I tried to look enthused, but I began to suspect that this heavy metal I was hearing so much about wasn't at all as awesome as it was in my fevered imagination. I liked it and all, but yeah. Kind of a letdown.

(I didn't know it, of course, but what I was actually looking for -- I would discover about a year later -- did in fact exist. Thank God for Slayer.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


*hacking up lung* Funkadelic *hiccup* *choke* *gurgling bong noise*

*hemmorage* The Sonics, Link Wray *brain tumor*
posted by jonmc at 7:41 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'd be curious to know what she thinks of Maynard James Keenan.
posted by chimaera at 7:41 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thank God for Slayer.

I don't have a point. I just wanted to quote that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:59 PM on August 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


I had my college girlfriend do the same with shred metal guitarists, I hauled out all the old tapes and player her Vinnie Moore, MacAlpine, Malmsteen, etc. She was a classically trained oboist who had gotten into all the major conservatories including Julliard but decided to go college instead at the last minute. She loved Malmsteen, who she felt has the most similar touch and phrasing to a classical violinist, and thought the rest were clowns.

This is kind of amusing to me. When I took History of 20th Music, we touched at the very end of the class on appropriations of classical music in popular music, focussing in particular on neoclassical metal, tracing its development from the Eruption solo to Randi Rhoads and finally to Malmsteen. The sort of inevitable conclusion (and this coming from several classical music scholars!) was that Malmsteen was far and away the least musical of those three players, in the nebulous, intangible sense of musicality that centers on things like phrasing and taste. I still pretty much feel that way.

I too am wondering what she would make of stuff like the overtone singing you hear in a lot of death metal. This was interesting (and given the stylistic gap, she came across as very fair in her assessments) but the difference in technique is really too minimal for it to be enlightening in any way.
posted by invitapriore at 8:03 PM on August 26, 2010


Nice link. For some reason last night I had the urge to hear Sheriff of Huddersfield for the first time in years.
posted by homunculus at 8:04 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Randi Rhoads

Randy Rhoads. With a 'y.' He's a metal guitarist, not the chick who played the lady cop on CHiPs.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


*cough* Blue Cheer

Considered by many to be the first heavy metal song.


Only if The Who are considered heavy metal.
posted by eriko at 8:11 PM on August 26, 2010


Some heads are gonna roll!!
posted by swift at 8:12 PM on August 26, 2010


*heads out to the highway*
posted by jonmc at 8:13 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


No Lemmy?

What, this Lemmy?
posted by eriko at 8:18 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


heh, wonder what she'd make of Blood Revolt?

I used to say clean singing would never work in black/death metal, but not anymore... now I say it won't work again. Until their next album, at least.
posted by vorfeed at 8:23 PM on August 26, 2010


Hey, after we settle on the exact dividing line between heavy metal and hard rock, it should be a snap to figure out science fiction vs. fantasy...
Although I don't really agree with the premise, I once heard (maybe here on metafilter) the difference expressed as: hard rock is blues based while heavy metal is more classically influenced.
posted by 445supermag at 8:25 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Randy Rhoads. With a 'y.' He's a metal guitarist, not the chick who played the lady cop on CHiPs.

Yeah, I just noticed that and was about to correct myself. A slip of the fingers as it were.
posted by invitapriore at 8:28 PM on August 26, 2010


Did someone say Lemmy?
posted by dbiedny at 8:37 PM on August 26, 2010


Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly were three of the first heavy metal bands. Sure, it changed and evolved after them, but you can't say they're not metal because of what came in their footsteps.

i'll say led zeppelin weren't metal because they threw in way too many other things - they were funk, they were folk, they were r&b, they were punk, they were even pop at times - sure, they played a lot of unadulterated metal, but they transcended that - they were perhaps the best hard rock group of all time besides the stones - and there is a difference between metal and hard rock

black sabbath was metal as hell, of course

iron butterfly were psychedelic trying to find its way to metal - sometimes they did and most times they didn't
posted by pyramid termite at 8:41 PM on August 26, 2010


*cough* Blue Cheer

Considered by many to be the first heavy metal song.

Only if The Who are considered heavy metal.


Why? Was the Who's cover of SB heavier than Blue Cheer's cover? I'm thinking not.
posted by MikeMc at 8:54 PM on August 26, 2010


Man, no mention of prog?
posted by muddgirl at 8:55 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would love love love to hear her opinion of Geoff Tate.

Me too. Would have to be the right song, tho. Operation: Mindcrime might be a good choice. It has him spanning at least three octaves.

I'm very slowly working on a Queensryche FPP.
posted by zarq at 8:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


dersins: "I will, too. Zeppelin, while awesome, were not metal."

No kidding! Blows my mind that people think of Zeppelin as metal.

The defining characteristics of metal as I know it are:

1) Very high gain on the guitar amps. (Led Zep fails to meet the criterion here.)
2) Strict (almost Bach-like) timing.
posted by smcameron at 9:10 PM on August 26, 2010


What about Bon Scott? Maybe AC/DC wasn't exactly Metal, but they were hard as hell, and Scott is quite seriously underrated in some ways. His melody lines were never very complex, but he was incredibly expressive, and able to deliver well in a softer voice as well as his hard screaming voice.

I'm thinking in particular of Ride On from Dirty Deeds. The range of dynamics on that song is pretty amazing, and he's got a very easy control of pitch that's just natural talent.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:15 PM on August 26, 2010


Kids, Metal was a different thing in the late 60's and early 70's. You need Led Zeppelin to get to get to the better metal just a few years later, just like you need Bill Haley and The Comets to get to the better rock and roll a few years later.*

I mean, listen to "Rock Around The Clock." That's the song that make rock and roll mainstream in 1954. It hardly sounds like rock at all anymore. I mean, there aren't exactly hundreds of rockers out there trying to sound like Bill Haley. Rockers these days (well, 'ceptin Brian Setzer*) would most likely call that sound rockabilly.

Of course, "punk" meant something different in the late 70's than it means now. The Sex Pistol's* "God Save The Queen" sounds almost quaint next to some of the punk that's happened since.

I mean, my point is that music changes. Kicking Led Zeppelin out of the metal category simply because they don't sound like Metal now is not entirely unlike claiming that Bill Haley isn't rock and roll because he doesn't sound like Jack White*.

*Of course, they were basically stealing sounds from earlier artists and popularizing them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:23 PM on August 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


"better" metal?

Go listen to When the Levee Breaks right now. There is none better.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:27 PM on August 26, 2010


2) Strict (almost Bach-like) timing.

Describes Earth 2 to a T!
posted by kenko at 9:28 PM on August 26, 2010


You need Led Zeppelin to get to get to the better metal just a few years later, just like you need Bill Haley and The Comets to get to the better rock and roll a few years later.*

are you seriously proposing that little richard, chuck berry, jerry lee lewis and elvis NEEDED to hear bill haley and the comets to rock?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on August 26, 2010


i'll say led zeppelin weren't metal because they threw in way too many other things - they were funk, they were folk, they were r&b, they were punk, they were even pop at times - sure, they played a lot of unadulterated metal, but they transcended that - they were perhaps the best hard rock group of all time besides the stones

I've mentioned it before, but the best sensation I've ever felt, besides having sex, was playing The Song Remains The Same in a band that could really play it. Fucking chills. It's like finding a little portal through to another dimension - a seeing god experience.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:43 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


I guess the title "Ask a Real Musician" is supposed to be funny, but it's still pretty offensive and stupid.

I haven't seen anyone miss the point of anything this badly since I quit my English major forever freshman year. Ok, so Ozzy doesn't hit a lot of different notes in War Pigs. He doesn't sing about a friendly talking otter either. What the fuck is your point?
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:45 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is not to say I'm completely filled with rock-nerd-rage over this. It's an interesting perspective. I'm just always amazed when people get so wrapped up in the technicalities of an art form that they completely forget the point of making art in the first place- communicating.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:47 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, you know what they say, drjimmy11: "Wenn manche mystische Kunstliebhaber, welche jede Kritik für Zergliederung, und jede Zergliederung für Zerstörung des Genusses halten, konsequent dächten: so wäre Potztausend das beste Kunsturteil über das würdigste Werk. Auch gibts Kritiken, die nichts mehr sagen, nur viel weitläuftiger."
posted by kenko at 9:54 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess the title "Ask a Real Musician" is supposed to be funny, but it's still pretty offensive and stupid.

I think it would only be funny if they had originally titled the column "Ask An Integer Musician" but found it too limiting.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't speak to specific vocal qualities, but certainly "Beyond the Realms of Death", "Victim of Changes" or most of all "Blood Red Skies" are certainly operatic in scope.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is: ROB HALFORD FUCK YEAH
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:13 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


drjimmy11, to me the idea is more like asking a master of Irish Folk Music to review country guitarists. Irish Folk was, of course, one of the if not the most defining influence on American Country, but the two are still very different genres. These are almost like audition tapes/notes for another, though distantly related, genre.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:22 PM on August 26, 2010


""better" metal?

Go listen to When the Levee Breaks right now. There is none better."

Eh? Are you saying you think that "When the Levee Breaks" is within one million miles of being "metal."?

(Whether it's good or not is unrelated to whether it's "metal.")
posted by smcameron at 10:26 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


are you seriously proposing that little richard, chuck berry, jerry lee lewis and elvis NEEDED to hear bill haley and the comets to rock?

They didn't need to hear Bill Haley - the audience did.

Furthermore, I'd argue that Bill Haley was maybe borrowing a thing or 12 from a couple of the folks you mentioned there...
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:38 PM on August 26, 2010


"Ozzy in Massive Adduction Shocker; Career in Question; 'Tight-throated' Says Top Doc"
posted by chavenet at 11:23 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aww, I love me some Ozzy vocals on early Black Sabbath.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:28 PM on August 26, 2010


I would love to hear what she thinks of Till Lindemann of Rammstein.
posted by zippy at 11:34 PM on August 26, 2010


drjimmy11: "I'm just always amazed when people get so wrapped up in the technicalities of an art form that they completely forget the point of making art in the first place- communicating."

I don't want to give offense, but I think you're missing the point of her use as a critic. She's a voice coach. Voice is a unique instrument. Anyone can sing, but very few singers pursue vocal training, and therefore, very few singers attain control, range, and mastery with appropriate safety and care for their equipment. Hell, do most band singers even read music as a part of their process? She's not really critiquing the music at all, and makes no comment about whether the songs rule or do not rule or are art or not art. She is descriptive of the quality of the voices more than anything; a discussion which doesn't happen in depth in nearly enough music criticism, in my opinion.

She'd have frightful things to say about Tom Waits or David Byrne, I'm sure, but only in terms of their laryngeal utility. Good vocalists don't have to be good singers. It's not really the same thing as a guitar instructor comparing and critiquing Yngwie and that grand canyon video guy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:05 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


What? I don't see Jim Gillette on this list!
posted by chillmost at 12:40 AM on August 27, 2010


cazoo, when you are totally ragin', feelin' the fuckin' metal, you are not, not, clutching oranges. despite what that site says. you have a goblet, a chalice, full of the blood of christ or goats or a slain wizard. absolutely not citrus.
posted by rainperimeter at 12:51 AM on August 27, 2010


Maybe they mean blood oranges?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:52 AM on August 27, 2010


I am moved to post without having read the complete thread to just say:

Led Zeppelin were very heavy
They were not very metal

And I mean that.

On preview:

(I didn't know it, of course, but what I was actually looking for -- I would discover about a year later -- did in fact exist. Thank God for Slayer.)


It's interesting how this works. After my Pink Floyd addiction at 13, how was I to know that what I needed was Black Flag, and the Sex Pistols?
posted by Sparx at 2:07 AM on August 27, 2010


Nobody has commented using the obvious portmanteau word "metalfilter" yet? Ok, I'll do it.
posted by parrot_person at 4:44 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank God for Slayer.

I don't have a point. I just wanted to quote that.


God Listens....to Slayer!
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:00 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh? Are you saying you think that "When the Levee Breaks" is within one million miles of being "metal."?

John Bonham is a one million ton freight train relentlessly smashing through the landscape for 7 solid minutes. It's not Iron Maiden-style guitar buzz no, but it's made of solid iron ore, when you observe its core.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:06 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yeah, it was more the word "better" that I was responding to, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:07 AM on August 27, 2010


Speaking of Slayer, the fat bastards can still bring it.
posted by zzazazz at 5:18 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sure I'm not the only one who tried to find that SNL skit where Horatio Sanz is Ozzy in the studio, and it's time for lunch but nobody can understand him unless he sings his order... chicken fajita...

Maybe someone else has more madder search skills than I do.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:47 AM on August 27, 2010


Very cool from the point of view of a singer. I also forwarded it to Mr. sonika who is a huge heavy metal fan. I try to point out "good" and "bad" vocalists to him, but he honestly can't hear the difference. Hopefully this will help elucidate that for him a bit.

(Also as a singer tackling some effin' difficult shit this fall, her blog looks totally invaluable. Thanks again!)
posted by sonika at 5:58 AM on August 27, 2010


Bill Haley was maybe borrowing a thing or 12 from a couple of the folks you mentioned there...

Specifically: Haley's producer, Milt Gabler, had previously produced many of Louis Jordan's hits and was deliberately working to make Haley sound more like Jordan when recording the songs that made Haley famous.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on August 27, 2010


Tom Waits, David Byrne & Till Lindemann are among my favorite singers!

Of course @drjimmy11, passion trumps technique every time http://www.claudiafriedlander.com/the-liberated-voice/2010/07/vocal-technique-the-best-of-intentions.html

Thanks everyone for reading!
posted by CFriedlander at 6:26 AM on August 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Ms. Friedlander, welcome to Metafilter!
posted by zarq at 7:05 AM on August 27, 2010


If you play Crest of a Knave backwards you can hear Lars crying during the odd numbered tracks. It's true!

This is the best thing I have read all week.

that grand canyon video guy

-_-
posted by adamdschneider at 7:47 AM on August 27, 2010


What about Bon Scott?

I had the same thought, but as much as I love Bon and his style, Brian Johnson has the better singing voice and would be a much better subject for this kind of critique.

Also, Zeppelin were not heavy metal...just a blues band that got loud and heavy.
posted by rocket88 at 7:51 AM on August 27, 2010


Brian Johnson has the better singing voice

OH NO YOU DID NOT...
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:52 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I seem to remember an interview with James Hetfield where he claimed that ... And Justice For All was the first album where he actually went and got some kind of vocal training. Previous to that he was just "screaming in key" as I seem to remember him putting it. I'm guessing that means he didn't learn that much from his mom.

I'll be the nth one to put in that I would really like to hear this lady's take on Maynard James Keenan and Tom Waits both.
posted by komara at 8:06 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? I don't see Jim Gillette on this list!

Probably because Nitro came so much later to the scene, but seriously, the guy has a vocal range that just eclipses nearly everyone else. I'd have loved to hear her take on him though.

Brian Johnson has the better singing voice

OH NO YOU DID NOT.
..

Easy, easy. I think we can agree that they are both gods who should be worshiped equally. Between the commandment Let There be Rock, and the style lessons of Back in Black, we learned everything important that life has to offer.
posted by quin at 8:28 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Quin, I'm an old fart, and the Scott-era AC/DC is just part of my being, so of course I'm biased. Not to slight Jones, really -- I love Back in Black. Personally, I find him to be more one-dimensional than Scott. Although he's a great, great screamer, I wish he'd let down a bit. I enjoy Scott's superior dynamic, though maybe he wasn't as good of a screamer.

It's always tough when someone you worship dies, and is replaced by anybody. I.E. The Who. I looove Kenny Jones and worship The Faces, however, he'll never eclipse Keith Moon for me. It's an age bias thing, mostly.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:42 AM on August 27, 2010


I'm not that old, but I far prefer Bon Scott.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:55 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My father always insisted that "heavy metal" was coined in regards to led zeppelin and quicksilver messenger service. Because they were heavy for the time, and lead and quicksilver are heavy metals.

A lot of music from back then is still called "psychedelic", though today it sounds quaint and hardly mind altering. Woah, man. The fuzz on your guitar just blew my mind.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 10:53 AM on August 27, 2010


I defy anyone to listen to "Anywhere I Lay My Head" and then claim that Tom Waits is anything but an excellent singer.
posted by kenko at 11:13 AM on August 27, 2010


This is kind of amusing to me. When I took History of 20th Music, we touched at the very end of the class on appropriations of classical music in popular music, focussing in particular on neoclassical metal, tracing its development from the Eruption solo to Randi Rhoads and finally to Malmsteen. The sort of inevitable conclusion (and this coming from several classical music scholars!) was that Malmsteen was far and away the least musical of those three players, in the nebulous, intangible sense of musicality that centers on things like phrasing and taste. I still pretty much feel that way.


This bears repeating. Malmsteen sacrifices phrasing to raise his notes per second, apes classical tropes at a superfast speed without caring how they create emotional impact and his orchestra+malmsteen tracks are atrocious. He once said that he's practiced so much, he can't play the wrong notes. There are no wrong notes in music, Yngwie. Besides, speed isn't the only element of difficult (let alone interesting) guitar playing.

Looks at past shredding FPPs, starts thinking about post.
posted by ersatz at 11:59 AM on August 27, 2010


Yngwie was the only shredder who knew shit about guitar tone and how to produce one that didn't sound thin as a piece of tin foil. I wouldn't really consider Van Halen or Rhoads shred, more proto-shred, sort of in the Richie Blackmore category that Yngwie was taking the torch from. Of the shred that this second wave produced (i.e., Shrapnel Records et.al., starting in the early 80s after Randy was dead and Van Halen sucked shit), Yngwie is the only thing that still stands up. I think we're talking about completely different eras, and I'm not sure judging from what people are posting that most contributors in this thread really listen to much metal to start with so it's hard to have much of an argument.
posted by The Straightener at 12:05 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't really consider Van Halen or Rhoads shred, more proto-shred, sort of in the Richie Blackmore category that Yngwie was taking the torch from.

Yeah, I agree. I wasn't claiming that they were in the same genre, just that the stylistic debt to one from the next is easy to trace. Nonetheless, the feeling for me once I got to the end of that path was that it took a wrong turn somewhere.
posted by invitapriore at 12:32 PM on August 27, 2010


Ok, but what about Allan Holdsworth?
posted by kenko at 12:50 PM on August 27, 2010


Let me just interrupt to say that this is the best Metalfilter conversation here ever. Carry on.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2010


Ok, but what about Allan Holdsworth?

Super-human in some ways. Velvet-smooth, despite shredding-ness, though I find I'm not a big leistener in the long-run. smooth, yet mechanical.

Side one of In The Dead of Night by UK though... that's the shit. Bruford/Wetton is one of the classic rhythm sections of all time. ALL TIME!

Red has been stuck in my car CD player for almost 3 days
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:20 PM on August 27, 2010


Red has been stuck in my car CD player for almost 3 days

Rightly so.
posted by kenko at 5:21 PM on August 27, 2010


adamdschneider: "I'm not that old, but I far prefer Bon Scott."

First touch was too much, ow!
posted by bwg at 12:32 AM on August 28, 2010


Bon Scott era AC/DC had a much higher testosterone Level. I like that.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:26 PM on August 28, 2010


I can understand how a kid who didn't come up until the 80s or 90s wouldn't think of Led Zeppelin as heavy metal, especially since many metal bands in the late 70s and afterwards moved away form the blues aspect metal had previously. But as I and someone else pointed out above, those who come after build upon what those who came before have left behind.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:35 PM on August 28, 2010


Daddy-O: "Bon Scott era AC/DC had a much higher testosterone Level. I like that."

Well, they did have big balls.
posted by bwg at 5:38 AM on August 29, 2010


Graham Bonnet did a few segments for the series Rockschool that I recall seeing after getting the Alcatrazz album with Steve Vai on it. The surprising thing to me was how much he spoke about technique for longevity - which came down to learning how sing while keeping your throat relaxed instead of straining. You know, those things that work on nearly any instrument.
posted by plinth at 6:53 PM on August 30, 2010




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