Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Bizarre Vocal Scene
Band Photo: Vaginal Penetration Of An Amelus With A Musty Carrot (?)
From the completely mainstream outfits with a horde of fans to basement one-man acts, heavy metal is composed of a vast multitude of bands – and the number of metal groups continues to constantly grow. Every week we unearth three bands to help expand your metallic horizons and introduce you to styles and sounds you might not have heard otherwise.
Last week we covered groups that blend together a variety of genre styles and break trends within metal, including Germ and Vintage Flesh, two bands that utilize very odd vocal styles. While it can be argued that any extreme metal band uses vocals that most would consider bizarre, there are vocalists within the world of heavy music who go much further and produce sounds that even hardened underground metal lovers may find shocking.
From avant-garde groups like Peccatum with purposefully off-key singing, to the gut-busting and throat-shredding growls of black metal bands like Marduk, there are plenty of new vocal varieties to discover while journeying through the many sub-genres of metal. This week we’ll take a look at three lesser known bands that use vocals you are almost guaranteed to never hear anywhere else.
Taking the concept of evil atmosphere to an entirely new level, Abruptum was a group primarily active in the ‘90s that puts most black metal acts to shame and released its early material through the infamous Deathlike Silence Productions. Rather than evil guitar sounds and high pitched screams, Abruptum uses bizarrely distorted vocals and shrieks of agonized pain – and rumors persist that the screams are authentic due to self-inflicted wounds in the studio.
Listening to Abruptum albums all the way the through really requires a specific mood, as song structures and melody are pretty much thrown out the window in favor of highly chaotic musical expressions. If you’ve got the candles lit and the razors handy, dip into the madness of Abruptum through the clips below.
Goregrind act Vaginal Penetration of an Amelus with a Musty Carrot (if you don’t know what an “amelus” is, turn image safe search off and Google it…) has pretty much got the market cornered on utterly inhuman vocals. They give entirely new meaning to the phrase “pig squeal,” although as some of our readers pointed out in an earlier news post, perhaps “toad croak” would be a better description. Because the grunts sound like something that can’t possibly come from a human, the band’s vocalist even had to post a verification video to show off his “unique” vocal styling. In his words, it’s all “just beard, neck, mouth.”
The amelus penetrators have a new album out now titled “In Involuntary Abortion we Trust,” and we even had the privilege to premiere the song “Mass Suicide With a Rusty Comb” online a few months back. If you’re brave enough to hear more, check out a teaser for the new album below, along with a live video clip.
In the “try to say that name three times fast category” comes Agathothodion, another act with vocals that are rarely, if ever, heard anywhere else. Starting with the oddity of an Illinois band deciding to put the album titles in German, then adding in the fact that apparently the one-man project is a Christian “unblack” band (although how you could tell isn’t clear – the vocals aren’t even remotely understandable), you arrive at a musical outfit that’s likely to piss off pretty much everyone at some point, and that’s before hearing the music.
The atmospheric music itself actually has a lot to offer for fans of lo-ofi ambient and shoegaze style black metal, while the vocal delivery is an acquired taste that takes some getting used to. It’s not so much a grunt or scream as a hearty throat clearing or maybe an unhealthy weeze, possibly aided by a bad head cold. If a black metal band’s kvltness is gauged by underground aesthetic, a disdain for all things mainstream, and a total lack of giving a shit what anybody thinks about it, then Agathothodoin is about as trve as it gets. Give the songs below a listen and see for yourself if the vocals are the real deal and the embodiment of all things underground – or an unfortunate experiment that fails miserably.
There are still plenty more bands out there with unusual or bizarre vocal styles, and if you know of any worth hearing give ‘em a shout out in the comments below. Be sure to check back in next Monday as we continue to unearth more underground metal bands.
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