Opera Teacher Critiques Heavy Metal's Greatest Singers

And Ozzy Doesn't Come Out So Well      08/09/10

Buying Choices

If you've ever listened to a high-pitched yell over screaming metal guitars and raised your hand in the sign of the horns, you'll want to check out opera teacher Claudia Friedlander's take on the classic male metal vocalists. 

In a recent blog post at her site, Friedlander analyzes the vocal performances of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, Black Sabbath's Ronnie James Dio, Mercyful Fate's King Diamond, Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest's Rob Halford

Here's what she has to say about Bruce Dickinson's vocals on The Number Of The Beast, above:

I have nothing but admiration for this singer.

Listen how he starts off with a soft growl, then moves seamlessly into a well-supported, sustained high full-voice sound that then evolves into an effortless long scream! His diction is easily intelligible, regardless of the range he’s singing in or the effect he’s going for.

He achieves an intensely rhythmic delivery of the lyrics without losing legato and musical momentum, something a lot of classical singers struggle with, especially when interpreting the many staccato and accent markings that crowd scores by Bellini, Donizetti, etc.

Friedlander finds a special favorite in the work of Judas Priest's Rob Halford:

This singer has a fabulous range of vocal colors and effects to choose from. His diction is easy to understand, and his phrasing is lovely throughout. He begins with such a high, gorgeous, resonant messa di voce that I was surprised to hear how low his actual full singing voice sits once he moved into it.

While Friedlander may enjoy Halford's performance technique, she's unimpressed with Ozzy Osbourne, "a singer with decent diction and good musical instincts but no command of vocal technique."

After reading Friedlander analysis of these vocalists' technique, you may find yourself listening to metal vocals with new appreciation. 

What do you think? Does Ozzy need to work on his resonant messa di voce?


James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news


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