10 Mesmerizing High Notes by Metal Vocalists Pt. 2
Is there anything more metal than a soul-ripping, eardrum-shattering falsetto scream? The answer is an affirmative and resounding “NO!” These high shrieks are something heavy metal calls its own. Nothing gets a crowd cheering and on their feet faster than a frontman belting out one of the highest notes fans have ever heard as singers assert their vocal prowess.
We’ve already covered 10 singers and their astounding high notes and here we pay homage to another 10 metal frontmen who can reach notes that light up arenas and temporarily deafen fans. Metal is all about more, more, more, which is why we’re presenting 10 Mesmerizing High Notes by Metal Vocalists Pt. 2!
Geoff Tate has proven himself as one of the most dominant voices in metal on two stellar live releases with Queensrÿche. Of course, ‘Operation: Livecrime’ is a hallmark in the live album pantheon, but the ‘Live in Tokyo’ video sees him effortlessly belt out every high note to perfection as well. While ‘Queen of the Reich’ is a perfect set opener, this song closed the set in 1985 and Tate shows no sign of wear with the famed falsetto wail at the beginning of the song.
Perhaps one of metal’s most overlooked singers, the late Midnight had one of the most impressive voices in the genre. His ear-piercing falsettos and harmonies are so difficult to replicate because of shrieks like the one in ‘Red Sharks.’ Midnight’s maddening falsettos can be found all over Crimson Glory’s first two progressive power metal albums, but this note in ‘Red Sharks’ sticks out the most and not just because of the shards of glass that litter floor after listening to the song.
Singer Ralf Scheepers got his start with the cult metal act Tyran’ Pace, who sound exactly like Judas Priest. He left Gamma Ray to try out for Judas Priest after the departure of Rob Halford, but did not win the job. He went on to form Primal Fear who are heavily influenced by the British Metal Gods. In 1999, Scheepers executed a C#7 note live, which is whistle tone, above the falsetto range. The audio quality here may not be great, but this is too impressive to be left off our list!
Nitro are notable for two main reasons: they feature virtuoso guitarist Michael Angelo Batio (the ambidextrous guy who plays the 4 neck guitar) and singer Jim Gillette, whose wailing screams are just downright outrageous that you better make sure you’re drinking out of a plastic cup when you listen to his music. His 40-second long scream in ‘Machine Gunn Eddie’ is the pinnacle of his ability.
Manowar singer Eric Adams is lauded for his massive vocal range. Though he usually sings with a gritty tone, he busts out massive screams that reach the gates of Valhalla. As if Manowar fans weren’t insane enough out shows, things get even more out of hand every time Adams lets out a scream like this. ‘Thor (The Powerhead)’ comes off the band’s ‘Sign of the Hammer’ album and is undoubtedly one of the singer’s finest moments.
Michael Kiske joined Helloween at the incredibly young age of 19 and was only one year older when the band re-recorded the song ‘Victim of Fate.’ The song first appeared on the ‘Helloween’ EP with guitarist Kai Hansen handling vocal duties as well. Both versions are incredible, but there’s no questioning who is the better singer. Kiske contributed countless falsetto screams to Helloween, but the one following the spoken word section here will make your spine tingle.
Sebastian Bach was a young kid with one savage voice. He was only 20 years old when he recorded Skid Row‘s debut album and dazzled fans and musicians with his golden pipes. Three years later the band released ‘Slave to the Grind,’ which saw Skid Row enter heavier territory. They still had room for a ballad and ‘Quicksand Jesus’ showcases one of Bach’s finest performances with a throat-ripping scream that rises, falls, and rises again before settling down. What were you doing when you were 23?
Matt Barlow should do voice-overs for ‘Jurassic Park’ because he sounds like a damn pterodactyl. It’s a common practice to layer vocals in the studio for a fuller effect, but there’s no studio trickery here. In this live video of the Iced Earth song ‘Dracula,’ Barlow unleashes his dinosaur screams that break the quiet beginning. He continues the shrieking through the rest of the song, making the entire performance one giant highlight for his unbelievable vocal abilities.
New Wave of British Heavy Metal outfit Grim Reaper set a buzz about them with the ending scream in ‘See You in Hell.’ After a repetitive chorus the band erupt into a crash ending with Steve Grimmet unchaining his voice and tearing off a most fitting ending for a song with this title. The falsetto shriek lasts a full 20 seconds and is one Hell of a way to kick off an album.
Those unfamiliar with Pantera‘s first album with Philip Anselmo, ‘Power Metal,’ are likely pretty surprised when they hear him unleash the high-pitched scream in ‘Cemetery Gates.’ Of course, Anselmo hits high notes on other ‘Cowboys From Hell’ songs like ‘Shattered,’ but this one rightfully gets all the glory. The placement of the scream is perfect and one of the band’s most highlighted moments.