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Extreme metal vocals

You know what I noticed? People who ordinarily like death growls and black metal shrieks and pig squeals and distorted rasps and all these things still have their limits for other vocals. For instance, I have seen Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy compared to a raped cat, In Flames vocalist Anders Fridén described as ear-splitting (this is in reference to his “harsh” vocals – can’t accurately judge the clean vocals he pulled out in the 2000s), and Sven-Erik Kristiansen(“Maniac” of Mayhem) is just ridiculously abrasive and inhuman to the point that people get frightened away from the Wolf’s Lair Abyss EP (he gets better on later albums, apparently)

But wait, aren’t extreme metal vocals SUPPPOSED to be abrasive? (yes)

I mean, they obviously take some time to get used to. I should know myself – I didn’t just randomly say to myself one day, “Hey, I should become a metalhead spontaneously!” and then just start acquiring a huge collection of heavy metal music. No, I heard tinges of metal and metalesque music long before I got into the genre for real, and I got into the more accessible genres first – the traditional heavy metal, the melodic thrash, the NWOBHM influenced prog, and so forth. But I digress – the way I see it, if you’re complaining that the “extreme” vocals in “extreme metal” are too “extreme” for you… Eh. Just make up your own punishment for yourself.

A more striking problem is when the vocals manage to detract from their own aggression (or at least trangression) somehow, either by poor performing technique (I’m looking at you, Graveyard Classics II era Chris Barnes) or flat out insulting the intelligence of the vocalist (For example, be careful when you choose shouts).

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