Monday, September 6, 2010

Classical Vocal Instructor Analyzes Five Metal Singers

The list doesn't surprise me much and it explains why I am a fan of most of the singers that she has good things to say about.

The "she" is question is Claudia Friedlander, a New York City vocal teacher who specializes in opera. Her opinions were solicited from Invisible Oranges a few months ago, a summary of which appears below.

The two vocalists she seems most enthralled with are Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickenson.

Of Dickenson: "There is a visceral dramatic intensity driving this singing. Many rock and metal singers are tenors who sustain much higher, much longer than operatic tenors are ever required to." and for Dio, she compares him to Queen's Freddie Mercury, stating "This is another very fine singer. His voice is so naturally resonant...Like the first singer, he performs with perfect legato, clear diction, and a consistent, organic vibrancy."

She offered praise for Rob Halford, but admitted he was "the only one I really wish I could get my hands on. He demonstrates several mad skills, but they aren’t well-integrated. It doesn’t matter so much because he is so committed, expressive, and musical, but I could have helped him do it easier and better."

Ha! The metal god needs a vocal instructor!

Actually, the vocal part she listened to is from Sad Wings Of Destiny, probably Priest's best album, but one that was recorded very early in their career.

I'm sure Halford has been through a few vocal coaches since then when money was hard to come by for food, let alone vocal instructors.

But she offers a bit of hesitation for King Diamond, one of metal's premier screamers, suggesting that some of his technique benefits from studio trickery.

And then there's Ozzy Osbourne, a vocalist she's not familiar with and not a fan of. She exclaims how it made her throat tight when she listened to "War Pigs." "The entire range of his singing is contained within a single octave," she observed, "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."

While technically misguided, "War Pigs" is pure, throaty brilliance.

I would have loved to hear her take on "Changes."

A nod to Cousin J for the lead and Invisible Oranges for the article quotes.

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