t’s not often that we put our cart before the horse with our Editor’s Picks and run a pick before we’ve had a chance to go more in-depth in a review, but SPOILERS: British rock act Bring Me The Horizon’s latest record amo (sixth overall) wound up as my pick for January 2019, and as we never received a promo copy, we haven’t had much of a chance to dissect it and let its diverse sounds sink in at the point of publication in order to dedicate a formal review. At the time, I just knew that I liked it. A lot. Now, going on two weeks since release and the album spinning nearly nonstop, it has had the opportunity to sink its hooks in deeper.
Like many metalheads, I spent many a year condemning anything verging on pop as simplistic, saccharine drivel manufactured to appeal to the lowest common denominator of music listeners. Over time I’ve softened and come to appreciate that not all pop-infused music can be painted with the same brush. More than…
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.
Clichés exist for a reason; usually, they represent a grain of truth that gets buried underneath public scrutiny. The more that people observe or muse on that single grain, the more it gets reused and worn. In the process, a certain derision becomes attached to it but that does nothing to take away from the actual grain present there. Clichés, when used right, still have the potential for truth and incisive perspective. Steven Wilson has, for all intents and purposes, worked long enough in the business to become his own cliché, a musician whose style is so important that it is an arch-type when one approaches music in a large number of sub-genres. As Wilson continues to progress down his career, what is left to him? It seems as if every peak has been conquered. What keeps him going? If To The Bone, his upcoming release, is any indication, it is probably a mix of love of music, dedication to the craft and the constant need to tweak his own style.
There are are a handful of bands that somehow always manage to top their previous output with their latest output. These rare beasts push onward and upward with their new material without compromising a core-familiarity that’s been woven throughout their music since the start. With each album release it’s becoming apparent that Dance Gavin Dance are a part of this laudable group. After their last album Instant Gratification, Dance Gavin Dance could have gone anywhere and it more than likely would have been well received. luckily they chose to go above and beyond and release one of the best albums of their entire career, Mothership.