Metal vocal styles are some of the most challenging to learn, it truly pushes the boundaries of the human voice. These vocalists are often shunned from mainstream culture; their well-practiced skills and the accomplished musicianship alongside them are dismissed as “just screaming” and “just loud noise”. Their is such incredible talent in the metal scene, even if it’s still more of a niche interest in comparison to hip-hop and rap, especially. It is also arguably more difficult for women vocalists in these genres, since they are a minority, and must surpass the stereotype of being mediocre. Though the vocalists I’ll be mentioning- in my opinion- are some of the best, they all seem to have something in common, and that is self-taught discipline.
Red Handed Denial
Singer/screamer Lauren Babic shows her Youtube viewers just how much raw talent she had at the age of 17, when she decided to audition for the post hardcore band Red Handed Denial. Of course with time, she has developed her own technique to maintain her voice but according to her- it was love at first scream.
Q: How long have you been La-la-ing and rawr-rawr-ing for?
A: I started la-la-ing and rawr- rawr-ing when I joined Red Handed Denial in 2008. I went to audition and thought to myself ‘Hey, I can hold a tune’- and I actually legitimately started screaming at the audition. I had never really tried it before.
Their music video for “Empire” off of their latest album “Redeemer”, released March 29, 2019- shown below.
The current vocalist for Arch Enemy, Alissa White-Gluz tells an interviewer for SparkTV some of her attitudes when it comes to learning vocals and fixing vocal issues.
“Sometimes I will feel that my voice is tense, or that I have cracking when I flip between voices- you know like, depending on what my problem might be, I’ll just like, search that and then you can find a lot of vocal teachers on YouTube that are offering advice. I’ve never taken a vocal lesson, so I don’t adhere to any particular school when it comes to singing, but I like to learn from as many people as I can. Also, when we go tour, I’ll try to learn from every vocalist that I’m on tour with, whether it be, Mille from Kreator, or Cristina from Lacuna Coil, or whoever it is- I like to just pick up a little bit of their technique and incorporate it into my own…”
That is crazy impressive if you ask me-watch the rest of what Alissa has to say in the interview down below, and take a listen to some of Arch Enemy’s work!
From the depths of the underground Ukrainian metal scene came JINJER, the band who knows how to blend djent, metalcore, death, nu and groove metal, and also elements of progressive and jazz. They boast a notable female vocalist, Tatiana Shmailyuk- with an incredible vocal range, and profound lyrical talent despite not being a native speaker in English. Her screams are exceptionally powerful and low in tone; her fame in the U.S. began with a viral video of JINJER’s live studio performance of their song “Pisces”. Tatiana spoke with B Sharp Entertainment when asked about her voice maintenance:
“Hmmm, honestly I do not know. There are no warm ups, no exercises, simply nothing I do. Maybe the only secret I have is that I constantly sing, sometimes every single minute during the whole day.”
She also told an interviewer from Devolution Magazine:
“I’m still working on it, you know. I still try to like cultivate more techniques or whatever….yeah, of constant racing you know, after this technique. I don’t know, I just, I don’t take care of my voice at all. Yes, as you can see I smoke, a lot, I’m a heavy smoker. And yeah maybe that helps, actually.”
Hopefully she will realize just how harmful smoking can be to her beautiful and dynamic voice! The point is, this woman has talent and has developed her own techniques herself without formal training. Check out this live performance of JINJER’s “Who is Gonna Be the One?”
Som Pluijmers (Cerebral Bore + Your Time to Die)
Death metal vocalist Som Pluijmers tells her YouTube subscribers that she began teaching herself to growl and scream at the age of twelve! And first began recording her vocals with band Cerebral Bore at age eighteen. She says in the video below that regardless of what tips you take from her, the secret lies within practice and finding your own unique methods for your vocal abilities. Near the end of the video, she says,
“I started off with singing along to songs from Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy, and…I think it’s the best way to do it.”
Later on, she states,
“You’re just gonna have to experience it yourself, that’s just the way it goes, I’m sorry. It’s just like driving a car, like, after you get your driving lessons, you’re gonna have to do it yourself.”
Check out how brutal Som’s vocals are in her previous band, Cerebral Bore, down below
So, overall, the one thing I learned from doing a bit of research with some of these popular female metal vocalists is how many of them have a kick-ass DIY attitude! Perhaps it was their persistence on learning the art, in a male dominated genre, as well as their insane vocal cords already destined for great things. Either way, it gave me a little inspiration; even if you don’t like metal, you have to at least be in awe of the sounds coming out of these women’s mouths.