Saturday, November 20, 2010

The state of the "art" of death metal vocals

The "art" of death metal vocals has been lost. There was a time when each band had a vocalist with a distinct sound. You could tell Martin van Drunen from Kam Lee. Or Brett Hoffman from Barney Greenway. John Tardy, Karl Willetts, Marc Grewe, Chuck Schuldiner, Dave Ingram, Matti Karki, LG Petrov, Chris Barnes, Johnny Hedlund, Jeff Walker, Chris Riefert, David Vincent... all of these men had (and most of them still have) their own unique style. These days, what passes for death metal vocals seems to fall into two camps. First, there's the "bastard sons of Barnes," who still try their best to emulate the gutteral gurgling from "Tomb of the Mutilated." This used to be the way that most newer bands went for many years. The idea of sounding lower than low and as unintelligible as possible was appealing to many. But this lot have started to die out over the years in favor of the current "deathcore" sound. More and more vocalists just go for a gruff style with a strong hardcore influence. There's no substance to their voices. No soul. They get the job done, and barely even manage that. They all sound the same, and I doubt that many could tell one from another. There was a time when a death metal vocalist's sound was just as important as the band's guitar tone. Somewhere along the way, that mentality has been lost. There are some bands that still do care about having a unique voice. But the majority of the popular newer bands have vocalists who are indistinguishable from each other.But for a few rare exceptions, the shock value and true extremity of the death metal vocalist has become watered down and diminished to the point of worthlessness.


  1. Bullshit! I agree that there is more and more Deathcore vocalists, but thats not a bad thing. In fact a lot of them got theri one unique voice and are even capable of combinig differnet styles in interesting way!

    Besides that, thatis just how it goes. Things develope and i´m happy about it, even though i rather listen to Old fashioned Death Metal than all the new Deathcore stuff.

  2. Uh-huh... so if I understand you right, you listen to the old fashioned stuff, but are ok with deathcore taking over. Wouldn't you rather just have the old school stuff make a comeback?

    "Development" and "progression" are overrated. Perfect example? Anathema.

    If deathcore is the wave of the future, then I'm going to live in the past and be proud of it.

  3. DM has turned into pop music. All a bunch of young people just trying to copy the old stuff, theres nothing new going on, it's a bit sad. The whole scene died back then, when it had proper potential to reach something extraordinary.
    I so tired of 'new' bands, that i can't say if your are right or wrong about the vocals, but to me the worst problem is the lack of new compositions, and new ways of using the DM sound. The term deathcore is ridicolous, theirs NOTHING different from that socalled 'genre' compared to anything we played back then. It's all Barney- Suffocation, Atheist or Malevolent creation rip off. What a fucking nightmare of repetition.