Some metal musos are amongst the most talented exponents of instrumental craft (though sometimes they are not – and are on the far end of the spectrum). But is this true for the singers? Is there a method to their madness? A classically trained singer, and expert, has analysed five popular metal singers.
Here’s what she had to say about Ozzy Osborne.
“This is a singer with decent diction and good musical instincts but no command of vocal technique. He is massively over-adducting his vocal folds while driving enough air through them to get them to speak, but his throat is so tight that there is no flow or resonance… The entire range of his singing is contained within a single octave – with the exception of the moment when he yells “Oh Lord!” a little higher, in my opinion the only quasi-free vocal sound on the entire track.”
But it’s not all bad news. Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson gets a good wrap (as do others).
“I have nothing but admiration for this singer. Listen how he starts off with a soft growl, then moves seamlessly into a well-supported, sustained high full-voice sound that then evolves into an effortless long scream! His diction is easily intelligible, regardless of the range he’s singing in or the effect he’s going for. He achieves an intensely rhythmic delivery of the lyrics without losing legato and musical momentum, something a lot of classical singers struggle with, especially when interpreting the many staccato and accent markings that crowd scores by Bellini, Donizetti, etc… Notice the rasp that occasionally colors his sound. This is an effect that is totally distinct from strain – his entire larynx and throat needs to be completely loose and free to respond this way.”