A couple of weeks ago I posted my Top 10 Classic Metal Vocalists. It was really fun hearing everyone’s feedback and it was cool hearing what some of their choices were. As promised, here is part 2 of that last featuring my 10 favorite Modern Metal Vocalists. There are some amazing metal vocalists that didn’t make this list. It’s not that I don’t love them or that they aren’t good. They are just singers that didn’t come to mind the moment I was putting this list together. When I first made this list, it was challenge I presented to myself: Name 10 of your favorite Classic and 10 Modern Metal Vocalists. If they made this list it’s because their work made such an impact to me that they literally came right off the top of my head. Again, just because I didn’t list someone doesn’t mean I don’t love their work. It just means that the work of those that did make this list made an everlasting impression on me and enough so to be at the top of my mind.
I look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback on this list so read on and DISCUSS!
#10: Wyatt Anderson (White Wizzard)
Highlights: Over The Top, 40 Deuces, Iron Goddess of Vengeance, Fall of Atlantis
Wyatt Anderson literally came out of nowhere with a voice straight from the metal gods above on White Wizzard’s Over the Top album. Wyatt was literally the first modern metal singer that I had heard that embodied everything I love about a metal vocalist. He has depth, range, attitude, and power all while exercising a level of control that many singers strive an entire career to gain. Wyatt’s work on Over the Top and Flying Tigers is proof that he is a vocalist with a lot of promise. Now that he is no longer in White Wizzard I am waiting patiently to see Wyatt’s return to the metal world with a new band eventually. Wyatt is a great singer who I hope to see and hear a lot of in the future.
#9: Christine Davis (Christian Mistress)
Highlights: Black to Gold, Haunted Hunted, All Abandon, Riding on the Edges
When I first heard Christian Mistress, I was not only completely floored by the brilliance of the musicianship but by the fact that vocalist Christine Davis had a voice like none other. With a smokey, almost at times sultry depth to it, Davis’ voice creates this dark and haunting vibe that not only suits the musical accompaniment but the dark and at times occult inspired lyrical content. With songs like “Haunted Hunted” and “Black to Gold”, Davis pretty much makes dark, haunting heavy metal sound sultry and sexy without sounding overly girly or weak. With only two albums under their belt, Christian Mistress quickly became one of my favorite bands and Christine Davis has solidified herself on my list of favorite metal vocalists. I can only hope that we will hear much more from Davis and Christian Mistress for years to come.
#8: Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood)
Highlights: Christ or Cocaine, Die the Death, The Thousandfold Epicentre, Cruel Lover
The Devil’s Blood taught me the age old lesson: Never judge a book by its cover. Putting aside any preconceived ideas of what the Devil’s Blood might sound like based on their name is one of the best things I have ever done because by doing so, I not only found one of my new favorite bands but vocalist Farida Lemouchi earned herself a slot on my list of all time favorite metal singers. Lemouchi’s voice is powerful, soulful, and full of depth and passion. The musky and at times even operatic nature of Lemouchi’s voice lends itself perfectly to The Devil’s Blood’s classic 70’s psychedelic inspired metal. Songs like “The Thousandfold Epicentre” and “Die the Death” showcase Lemouchi’s ability to use her voice as an instrument of sorts while songs like “Christ or Cocaine” and “Cruel Lover” shows us that she can really push her voice into some serious facemelting rock proportions. Farida Lemouchi is a voice that is all her own, distinct, and more than worth of making this list.
#7: Rain Irving (While Heaven Wept)
Highlights: To Wander the Void, Vessel, Destroyer of Solace, Saturn and Sacrifice
Rain Irving has a voice that is all his own. While Rain has a very distinct voice, it is not hard to hear that he has clearly gone to the school of kick ass metal singers and graduated with honors. I hear bits of Bruce Dickinson, bits of James LaBrie, and even a touch of Dio here in there. Rain has a powerful yet clear voice that is full of emotion and passion. Just listening to songs like “Vessel” and “Saturn and Sacrifice” I can literally feel every word Rain is singing. I can easily see, hear, and feel that he is truly connected to each song creating a truly awesome listening experience that creates a connection with the listener as well. Rain has truly earned his place on this list without a doubt.
#6: Michelle Schrotz (Brave)
Highlights: Out of Focus, Dark Waters, Driven, Escape
Michelle Schrotz of Brave is the 3rd female vocalist to make my list and is no doubt worthy of her place here. Schrotz’s vocal work is passionate, emotive, and just flat out blows my mind. Whether she’s singing harmonies with Rain Irving in While Heaven Wept or singing lead in Brave, Michelle Schrotz’s voice is one of my favorite things to hear. As the lead vocalist in Brave, Michelle’s voice is a very dynamic one that reaches down into the mellowest of mellow places on songs like “Dark Waters” and “Stronger” but then unleashes her power on songs like “Driven” and “Out of Focus.” On the song “Out of Focus” Schrotz really displays her depth and range with a haunting, Celtic like quality as she brings it down to a near whisper only to punch it to the top of her range with pure, real emotion. What really drew me in more than anything was the way that her voice compliments the subtle complexities of the musical arrangements. Schrotz knows her limitations yet I can totally hear her at times pushing those limits as if she’s so moved she can’t help it. The realness and organic nature of her voice is what makes her one of my favorite all time modern metal singers. No crazy effects and no slathered on auto tune here. Michelle Schrotz is the real deal and without a doubt one of my all time favorites.
#5: James Paul Luna (Holy Grail)
Highlights: Fight to Kill, Immortal Man, Dark Passenger, Ride the Void
The first time I heard James Paul Luna singing on the White Wizzard EP “High Speed GTO” I knew I was hearing a pretty amazing vocalist. It wasn’t until his later band Holy Grail released their “Improper Burial” EP that I found Luna to without a doubt be one of the best modern metal vocalists around. Luna is an old soul in the body of a young dude who obviously studied at the school of the greats like Halford, Dickinson, and Dio. Luna manages to take those classic influences and instead of emulating them combines them all into a blender creating a big ass smoothie of awesomeness that’s all his own. The first time I heard that scream in “Fight to Kill” I knew that I was hearing a voice that will deliver some of my favorite new metal music and his depth, range, and power are made evident on songs like “Immortal Man”, “Dark Passenger”, and “Ride the Void.” While Holy Grail’s albums are awesome to hear, hearing Luna unleash his beast of a voice live is really the way to hear it. His energy and presence is totally captivating and he really knows how to work a crowd. Luna is one of the best out there and he’s keeping the spirit of classic metal vocalists alive.
#4: Cam Pipes (3 Inches of Blood)
Highlights: The Goatrider’s Horde, Trial of Champions, Battles and Brotherhood, , Leather Lord
The first time I heard Cam Pipes I thought I was going to pass out from laughing. I wasn’t laughing because it sucked but I was laughing because it was so fucking awesome and over the goddamn top that I couldn’t even comprehend it’s awesomeness. When I first heard “Trial of Champions” I felt like I was hearing the bastard sun of Rob Halford and King Diamond. Pipes’ totally lives up to his last name as this dude’s pipes are off the charts. Cam sings and performs just like a metal singer should. He gives 120% to each and every song and how this guy can sing like this night after night is beyond me. Seeing Pipes perform live is as mindblowing as it gets because the first time I saw him live it blew my mind that he not only sang as good as the albums but better. His range, control, and the sheer power of his voice are all elements that put him near the top of my list of favorite modern metal vocalists.
#3: Russell Allen (Symphony X)
Highlights: Paradise Lost, Set The World on Fire, The Accolade, The End of Innocence
Sir Russell Allen is one of the most amazing voices that I have ever heard. Allen is a rock and roll singer in a progressive metal band. Just think if Paul Stanley’s voice was lent to Dream Theater or something. Yeah, I know. FUCKING AWESOME. Allen’s voice is dynamic and powerful with a soulful upper register that can go from clear to gritty and heavy in the drop of a hat. The versatility, depth, and range of Allen’s voice is best heard on songs like “Paradise Lost” and “The Accolade” but if you really want to hear him pushing the envelope to the very maximum of his potential, songs like “Set the World on Fire” and “The End of Innocence” are sure to melt your goddamn face clean off. Seeing Allen live is something truly outstanding to behold. He works the stage and the audience with the presence of singers like Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio. His voice alone could run the show but Allen is the total package as he has an amazing voice and a stage presence that can captivate any audience that he stands before. Whether he’s singing with Symphony X or singing with Jorn Lande or even his solo Atomic Soul material, Russell Allen is without a doubt one of metals greatest voices.
#2: Joakim Nilsson (Graveyard)
Highlights: As the Years Pass by the Hours Bend, Right is Wrong, The Siren, The Suits the Law and The Uniform
Some will argue whether or not Graveyard is heavy metal or not. Hell, the band themselves may even argue it but it’s my blog and I say that Graveyard is just as metal as anyone else. You want to talk about a versatile and voice full of passion, emotion, and dept? Then lets talk about Joakim Nilsson. The first time I heard “Hisingin Blues” I was floored by this guy’s voice. First off, I couldn’t believe they were Swedish and second, his voice just hit me like a ton of bricks. Nilsson feels every note and every word that comes out of his mouth. Technically, he may not be considered a great singer by most but to me, it’s his lack of technique that makes him truly great. Nilsson is not held back by the restraints of technique. Instead, Nilsson sings what comes from his heart and the real, organic power of his voice is something that totally touches me. His subtle low, clear range in first part of “The Siren” always makes the hair on my arms stand up while the power and even angry kind of tone on “The Suits, The Law, and the Uniform” just make me slam my fist on my desk and yell “FUCK YEAH JOAKIM!” “As the Years Pass By, the Hours Bend” is another example of how Nilsson can take his voice into almost a psychedelic 60’s groove ala Jack Bruce (Cream singer/bassist) only to kick it into Ian Gillan territories of rasp and attitude. Joakim is a singer with a classic, timeless kind of voice that never gets old no matter how much I listen to it.
#1: Jorn Lande
Highlights: We Brought the Angels Down, Spirit Black, Shame on the Night, Time to Be King
Jorn Lande is hands down my favorite modern metal singer. I first heard Jorn as a guest vocalist on Avantasia’s Wicked Symphony album. Because of his stellar work on that album, I sought out his work and was pleasantly surprised to find such an outstanding catalog of music. Jorn, much like Luna from Holy Grail, is an old soul trapped in the shell of a younger man. Lande is one of those singers who makes singing look incredibly easy but when you hear what he’s singing you know that you would have an aneurysm trying to sing what he’s doing. I have never heard anyone say that this guy sucks. I mean, whether you like his songs or not, you can’t help but say, “Yeah, that dude’s got a voice like none other.” When I hear Jorn singing songs like “We Brought The Angels Down” and “Time To Be King”, I hear the bastard child of Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale. He wears those two influences very proudly on his sleeve but manages to take the both of them and combine them into one amazing, powerful, soulful, and distinct voice. On his tribute album to Ronnie James Dio called “Dio”, Jorn took those Dio classics and put his voice to them. That album is a strong display of his gratitude to Dio and was done tastefully and done as JORN, not as Jorn trying to be Dio. Jorn Lande is a voice that does so many different things to me as a listener. Not only does his voice rock my face but it makes me feel everything that Jorn is feeling. Jorn is a singer that feels every note that passes his lips and as a listener I can’t help but feel it too. Jorn Lande embodies everything that I love about a singer and much like the reason that Ronnie James and Dickinson are my top favorite classic singers, Jorn takes the top spot of my list of favorite modern metal singers.
Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, “No fucking way.”