10 metal songs you can’t sing

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The average metal singer can probably spend his entire career giving his best cry or trying to outperform the person next to him. As much as music can seem like a sport in this regard, there is a right and a wrong way for people to show off when it comes to showing off your chops.

While guitarists would love to put their flashy chops on for a solo, here are the songs that would leave any other mortal dry trying to duplicate them. We’re not talking about karaoke bar stuff … this is where you start to enter the land of vocal Olympians.

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    Killer, “Angel of Death”

    Some of the greatest vocal lines in metal songs tend to be the ones in a million that no one can perform. For example, even Tom Araya never managed to match that kind of intensity when they tried to follow this in the studio. Sometimes all it takes is a little burst of energy to bring you to true greatness.

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    Merciful fate, “Gypsy”

    Chances are, 90% of modern metal criers took their vocal cues from King Diamond’s playbook. And this song doesn’t keep you waiting either. From the first few seconds you have our king looking for an incredible falsetto before switching to regular vocals on a dime. Considering how much has been said about King Diamond over the course of his career, there may be some truth behind him in using dark magic to learn vocal skills like this.

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    Type O negative, “Christian woman”

    What … do you think metal vocal prowess begins and ends at the high end of the spectrum? Don’t be afraid, son. Although Peter Steele was already a legend among men during the classic Type O Negative era, it takes a certain amount of natural baritone to get this song just right. Sure, the notes might all be correct, but getting that distinctive growl is something you’re born with or not.

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    Alice in Chains, “The Man in the Box”

    Outside of Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, nobody was looking in grunge bands for the biggest skyrocketing notes or anything. But for a song about angst, “Man in the Box” is deceptively difficult to sing, the main note of the chorus being at the top of the tenor scale. Layne could bang this thing out loud without a problem, but maybe that’s why we’re still in awe of him.

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    Iron Maiden, “The Number of the Beast”

    When you talk about any type of metal singer, there’s a good chance they’re not doing something Bruce Dickinson has done a thousand times better before. Chances are, even Bruce wouldn’t dare touch the opening scream of this song like the recording, being able to both frighten you and take your breath away with his strength. Any scream like this would be reserved for the song’s grand finale, but we’re just getting started here, folks.

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    Tool, “The Grudge”

    Most of the singers who have circled the block a few times are known to indulge in those “endurance test” notes. You know, the kind that you can hold on until the moment you start to pass out? Maynard makes this trick seem easy, as he has enough breathing support to keep a solid cry for a full 25 seconds. It’s the kind of song you play and immediately reach for the nearest water bottle.

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    Linkin Park, “Abandoned”

    There still aren’t enough people who know how great Chester Bennington was as a singer. While there is a lot of angst about those early records, it takes a superhuman being to hold out the scream of “Given Up” that long, especially keeping it in tune and never losing the same amount of power.

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    A perfect circle, “Judith”

    For our second installment at Maynard: The Alien Singer, “Judith” is one of those songs that just shouldn’t have been possible. Even though the song was perfect on its own, no one was prepared for how long Maynard’s final note is held, for a full 16 seconds while switching notes in between. “The Grudge” may have been the start of his vocal acrobatics, but this is where it gets a lot tastier.

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    Pantera, “Gates to the cemetery”

    Yeah, now we’ve reached the broken furniture list part. While trying to match Dime’s guitar, it is captioned that Phil Anselmo broke a chair to get the last screams of this song. His pain was worth it for the end, which looks like an angel dragged into the underworld to be reborn as a demon. This is the kind of section reserved for the bravest metalheads.

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    Judas Priest, “pain reliever”

    Is it really a shock that the true god of metal is at the top of this list? Halford has blown us away time and time again … he’s pretty much marked this whole style of singing. “Painkiller” feels like he’s almost going to go up against someone like Pavarotti, as Rob comes to the final note and clings to it while the rest of the group take their time to catch up. Out of all the other songs on this list, it feels like it should come with a medical warning label for anyone trying to try it out.


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