Metal has a reputation of not being accessible, mostly due to the heavier genres taking things a step further with the screaming. Most may not like it, but it is my drug, I am addicted to heavy music with this harsh style of vocalization. I had to do a lot of thinking on this one, and it may change later this year or in a few years when I discover new bands, but as of now, these are my top favorites of the masters of brutality.
#12: Caleb Shomo (Beartooth)
Caleb Shomo has a phenomenal voice, but I feel his regular singing is better than his screams, yet they work so well with Beartooth’s hardcore inspired style.
Along with the music, he loads up every lyric with so much emotion that it makes his passion standout to make for some of the most powerful metal music in the scene. He makes me feel as I bang my head every time.
#11: Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth)
Johan’s vocals match well with his Viking and Norse mythological inspired lyrics. His monstrous voice could easily come from a creature that the ancient pillagers believed in as he goes over his fascination with these themes.
#10: Corey Taylor (Slipknot)
Of course, I had to put Corey Mother Fucking Taylor on this list. His range brightens through his clean vocals then dulls out in his screams, like Shomo. What he lacks is made up based on his iconic voice that has inspired almost every metal band that has popped up since the release of Slipknot’s second album Iowa.
#9: Winston McCall (Parkway Drive)
Unlike most metalcore groups, McCall’s delivery gives some resemblance to heavier genres like death metal as he belts out booming screams and some spine chilling highs. When it comes to his neck of the woods in the metal underworld, it is hard to beat the Australian vocalist.
#8: Spencer Charnas (Ice Nine Kills)
The horror-loving frontman of Ice Nine Kills has a distinguishable approach to his style of vocalization. Death metal-inspired highs and lows certainly can be heard while he does classic medium registered screams and then hops into that weird middle ground of screaming and clean singing every other word. I feel like he is not fully appreciated, and anyone who has not heard INK then you better start with their last album, The Silver Scream.
#7: Spencer Sotelo (Periphery)
Arguably one of the best singers/screamers in modern metal, this other Spencer from Periphery can flip back and forth from smooth, beautiful singing to a shocking monster unlike anyone else in metalcore. He has a bold range but has his own sound that is hard to replicate.
#6: Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)
Not having Randy Blythe on here is like not having Corey Taylor. Of course, I had to put this legend here. The dreadlocked singer stands out not only with his impressive talent but from his signature sound that drops jaws every time he opens his mouth.
Interesting enough, unlike everyone else who has to learn the art of brutal vocals, Randy told Loudwire that he simply can make that sound. It started as a joke, and here he is, a punk guy who is a metal God.
#5: Scott Ian Lewis (Carnifex)
Carnifex, like some others, leads deathcore from its origins and continues to do so today. Fronted by Scott Ian Lewis, who has a classic voice for anyone who listens to the genre or the inspiration of this extreme movement, death metal. His voice makes his profoundly sorrowful lyrics more impactful. While some in this area of metal lean one way or another of doing higher or lower registered vocals better, Lewis can do every part equally as brutally with nothing getting left behind.
#4: Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder)
Metal haters may think all screamers sound the same, and while many sounds similar, that is because they want to imitate their influences like George “Corpsegrinder,” Phil Bozeman, or whoever else that person seeks out as their inspiration. Then you get Trevor Strnad, who proves those people wrong.
His distinctive lows are one thing, but it is his highs that I think makes him such a legend. Those wicked witch vocals sound unlike anyone else out there. Replicating him would be foolish as everyone should strive to be an individual, like this death metal veteran. There is a reason The Black Dahlia Murder are a mighty force in the dark depths of blood, guts, and nightmares.
#3: Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent)
I am calling here, Shadow of Intent will be new leaders of deathcore and Ben Duerr is the guy everyone will look to as he is breaking ground in the genre. I have not heard gutturals so good since Phil Bozeman, and I have certainly not heard anyone who has this type of range in a while. Keep your eyes open because this band, and vocalist, are the next big thing for fans wanting the heaviest metal possible.
#2: Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel)
Speaking of Bozeman and groundbreaking vocals, the Whitechapel singer goes above and beyond with his vocal performance with every album. His highs are good, but nothing impressive. What makes the Tenessee native an idol to all screamers who have formed since the release of The Somatic Defilement comes from his lows and gutturals. He has his own voice with techniques to create demonic sounds that boggle minds since 2007.
On top of that, the man can actually sing shockingly well. I wonder what other secret talents he is hiding from his fans.
#1: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)
I could be wrong, but I think Ryan is the most innovative vocalist in death metal/deathgrind/deathcore. Nobody in this extreme level of heaviness has a range like him. Whether it is his Cookie Monster lows, his brutal gutturals, shrieking highs, or his weirdly melodic vocals, he can do it all to the point I think nobody else can reach.