Voices of The Void: The Dio Fach

I guess this was inevitable. When I originally conceived of this column, there was a lot of details I wanted to get into. Vocalists who started as screamers and turned into great clean singers. Vocalists who pioneered new styles. Vocalists who simply have unique voices. But before we get into all of that, I feel as though we have to establish some of the basics of metal singing. Back in the 70s, metal singers were simply rock singers with a louder band behind them. There weren’t distinctive styles. However, as metal became more and more separate from hard rock, the playing styles of each instrument involved in making metal developed their own identity and distinct style. In opera and classical singing, teachers and singers refer to voice types as “fachs”. The fach system was developed by the Germans to make casting operas easier. As we talk about the emerging styles of metal singing, I will be using this term. Arguably, the first metal fach was the Dio-fach. So, to establish these metal basics, I will be doing an overview of Ronnie James Dio’s voice, his career, and how he established this fach.

Voices of the Void: Chuck Schuldiner

Last week’s vocalist was Quorthon, the father of black metal vocals. Appropriately, this week we are focusing on the father of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner. While Chuck’s most valuable contributions to the death metal genre were probably his compositions and abilities on the guitar, his vocals are still quite something. Chuck is different than Quorthon in that he didn’t single-handedly invent the death metal vocal style. Other vocalists like Jeff Becerra, Mille Petrozza, and Tom G. Warrior had huge parts in creating this sound too. However, Chuck had a few key elements to his vocal delivery that were especially remarkable. Let’s start at the very beginning.

Half-Life – Cradle of Filth, Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our retrospective on one of black and extreme metal’s paradoxically most popular and overlooked acts: Cradle of Filth. This part covers everything from 2004’s Nymphetamine to the present day and tries to pin down exactly why their reputation has suffered during this period, even though they’ve still been putting out some fairly decent albums. Refresh yourself with Part 1, and follow through to the end for a quick wrap up and some speculation on what the future holds for the band nearly a half-century into their sordid career.

After the Firestorm – The Incarnation of Metalcore

Music operates in cycles and waves, with the energy generated from one, feeding directly into another. This is one of the major ways that we see genres and styles achieve growth. One particular genre that we have seen outgrow its roots and reach with newly grown tentacles into ever-evolving styles is hardcore. Just look around at the number of sub-genres that include the affix of “core” to their names. In this piece we look at the bands who evolved hardcore in both subtle and major ways to arrive at what we now know as “metalcore.” First, we take a look at some of the bands who were most directly tied to hardcore in its last iteration before metalcore truly came into being.

Clipping. Go Deep On Afrofuturism With New Track

Hello, it is I, the resident science fiction nerd for Heavy Blog (there are actually two of us now that Joshua has joined our ranks). A year or so ago, I covered Clipping.’s phenomenal Splendor & Misery, dissecting its themes and lyrics. In the process, I tried to give an overview of “afrofuturism”, a media spanning genre which uses science fiction and futurist thought to conceive of racially radical ideas and propose a counterpoint to what is often a white dominated genre. As I wanted to keep the posts from getting insanely long (they were already really long), I could only touch upon afrofuturism briefly and, seeing as that’s my medium of choice, I focused on its presence in literature. How good of Clipping. themselves then to help me shed light on less known but not less important instances of the movement/genre/way of thought.

Heavy Rewind – 1987: The Year in Metal

Every once in a great while we have calendar years that see iconic releases across a range of styles. It is rare that we see this happen in just one particular style. 1987 was one such year, though, as the entire spectrum of heaviness saw iconic records drop like so many tears from the eyes of mainstream pop music stars that these albums would devour. At the time, it didn’t seem like this was any different of a year for music until fans started to take a look at their growing record collections and what would spin out from the influence of so many landmark albums.

Voices of The Void: Quorthon

Black metal is one of metal’s most mysterious and plentiful subgenres. It finds new ways to reinvent itself every few years and seems to be sprouting out of every country nowadays. Though the genre seems ubiquitous today, it didn’t start out that way. A handful of bands in the early 80’s started all the tropes that metalheads are so fond of today. While the genre’s Satanic imagery, punk and thrash influence, or ethereal nature can’t be solely credited to a single artist, one aspect can: the vocals. Black metal’s classic screeches were the invention of one Satanic Satanic teenager in 1984.