QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WHO IS THE NEXT TOP METAL FRONTDUDE?
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Welcome to the new MetalSucks Question Of The Week, a (sorta) weekly survey of our staff on a recent hot-button issue that’s rocking our metal planet.
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Okay not that straight. Here’s this week’s topic:
Inspired by LA Weekly‘s list of the top ten metal frontmen (and two women) under the age of 30, we asked our writers the following question:
WHO IS THE NEXT BIG METAL FRONT(WO)MAN?
Wat u think? The MS staff’s answers after the jump!
Of all the great emerging personalities in metal, there’s one very new standout: Mariel Diaz-Carrion from Look Right Penny. At 22, she lacks the big fat mouth of Randy Blythe, the outsized wackiness of Brent Hinds, and the distracting giga-beauty of Cristina Scabbia or Dave Mustaine, but she’s still controversial: Last week, she pledged to me that LRP’s new debut album uses no auto-tune or pitch correction. Those high-impact vocals are all Mariel, dude! Outrageous! Like Chuck Schuldiner, Glen Benton, and Kelly Shaefer before her, the Floridian has the skills and the spine to lead metal back into pure awesome realness.
Photo by Nick Zimmer // FalseIdolPhoto.com
I care very much about gender equality, which is why I write about the especially gender-equal world of metal. In that interest, I say it’s Made Out of Babies/Battle of Mice/Spylacopa/Julie Christmas solo album frontwoman Julie Christmas. A problem with women in metal is that they often get away with being subpar and/or imitating what the boys do, instead of having a strong, individual style that helps define a band as much as its guitarist does. Christmas has that: Her vocals are instantly recognizable, her lyrics appropriately twisted, and her stage presence is refreshingly strange. That her most famous bands are now kaput implies that she’s difficult to work with, which is a necessity for any charismatic frontperson. You couldn’t make a male version of Julie Christmas, just like you couldn’t make a female version of Dave Mustaine (well, maybe the bangs). She’s a brilliantly fascinating figure, and one I’m always interested in hearing from.
I write about two things too often on MetalSucks: rock music and Textures. Hell, I probably write about Textures more than their manager does. So it is no surprise that I pick Textures newcomer Daniel de Jongh as the next big frontman in Metal. This guy is a beast. On Textures’ acclaimed 2011 album Dualism, de Jongh more than competently filled the Jordan-sized shoes of former singer Eric Kalsbeek. And he also resembles Jack Black. (What’s cooler than that??) Unlike most frontmen in metal today, de Jongh can pull off in concert all that he does on record. No voice cracks, no “I need to catch my breath while you sing!” cop-outs. He may be better live than in the studio — and that’s really saying something, especially considering his insane work in Cilice. (A band worth checking out if you haven’t.) And then there’s de Jongh’s immense presence on stage: Upon the introductory snare roll of “Regenesis,” Jack Black’s cousin turns into a raving Norse God, roaring, thrashing around, and calling down thunderbolts of Patton-esque awesomeness from the heavens. Oh yeah and like any good Dutch Master, de Jongh heartily smokes cigs and knocks back brews, though it doesn’t affect his voice. Well, here’s hoping it doesn’t.
Farida Lemouchi from The Devil’s Blood. Everyone I know who has seen their show has raved about The Devil’s Blood music; she no doubt plays a huge role in that. As someone once remarked to me, it’s like Jefferson Airplane decided to throw a Black Mass. It’s catchy, entertaining, certainly unlike anything out there right now. They’ve been on a lot of radars for a while but hopefully more will recognize the massive talent of Farida, her brother, and the rest of The Devil’s Blood.
Bryan Funck from Thou is one of the most captivating, mesmerizing, and unhinged vocalists I’ve ever seen. To see Thou live is to understand. The band’s unassuming demeanor and flannel-clad, don’t-give-a-fuck-they’re-
For me, it’s all about the ladies. Landmine Marathon’s Grace Perry is perhaps the most riveting frontwoman I’ve ever seen, and I think the argument could be made for Jill Janus from Huntress as one of the most sensational front-things in metal today, both in terms of her talent and her look. But I’m going with Christine Davis of Christian Mistress. She’s got a throaty wail that oozes commitment, not theatrics. Same goes for her live performances: She’s a no-bullshit singer who prefers letting her music speak, not between-song banter. And I do love the female frontwoman who’s sexy because she’s talented, not just because she’s sexy.
Hands down, it’s Mike Armine of Philadelphia’s sludgy shoegazers Rosetta. He’s got this undeniable charisma and a confidence completely devoid of any sort of pretentious airs. On stage, he’s not commanding the audience, but rather whole-heartedly — and with every fiber of his being — trying to relate the sincerity of each lyric, of each song. Maybe it’s the genre: A fan wouldn’t expect such powerful, in-your-face antics judging just from Rosetta records. Maybe it’s just the shirtlessness + tattoos + glasses combo (I kid). Whatever it is about Armine, the Rosetta live experience stands way out from any other band for me, and that has damn near everything to do with the otherworldly performance Mike Armine gave on that stage. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more of Rosetta.
David Castillo of Primitive Weapons. He’s absolutely electrifying to watch. If those guys can get out on the road a little more, he’ll turn heads everywhere they go.
Nobody. My answer might have been different ten years ago, but given the way the metal scene has exploded, it’s impossible to pick a single band — let alone a single frontman — as a “rising star.” Hell, I don’t even think that Greg Puciato or Brent Hinds can be counted as a top frontman; Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan aren’t household names the way Megadeth and Lamb Of God are. It’s definitely got to do with the genre explosion: Deathcore, djent, and slam weren’t around a decade ago. Metal is so diverse now, and tastes vary so much, that the current community isn’t even going to settle on one band as the next big thing; a single frontman or -woman is totally out of the question. A Lamb Of God level of fame is pretty much a thing of the past.
Alexia from Eyes Set To Kill (right). Her band is not very good but hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng omg she is so hot that it literally caused me physical pain when I interviewed her last year. It was in a little room backstage with like five other people and I was afraid my enormous, throbbing bonar (which was dripping pre-cum like a leaky faucet in desperate need of repair) would tear through my jeans and land with a thud on her lap. P sure they are from Arizona or Texas or something but I like her because she reminds me of the hot pochas of the San Gabriel Valley aka the 626.
Mercedes and Phoenix from Courage My Love. These two Canadian cuties might have stripper names, but they’re squeaky clean, G-rated Disneypunkers that give me butterflies in my stomach when I think about going on our first date to get Slurpees, then working up the nerve to respectfully ask if I can give her a kiss on the cheek. And when I noticed that they changed the lyrics of this song to “Oh My Gosh” (below)?? My heart melted ♥♥♥
Kreayshawn. Kreay bb, I’m not like the other guys. I noticed that you changed your hair — I think it really frames your beautiful face! And I love how you don’t feel like you have to get dressed up for every video shoot (below). You have natural beauty that shines through whether you have a stylist or you’re just chillaxin in the studio. You have the ability. You are good and lovely. I love you.
I have no idea who is going to “make it big” next, and I really don’t care. But for an electrifying metal personality, look no further than Valient Himself, the rasping, preaching, sweating, and headbanging frontman of Valient Thorr. Earlier in their history, VT spent summers on Warped Tour in the years when the tour was a diverse package across multiple stages — exactly the scenario where a dynamic frontman is the pull for an excellent band. In a typical Valient Thorr set, Valient Himself is a ball of energy, running around in his pro wrestling boots and spitting his lyrical rants at a furious pace. The dude sweats more than any frontman I’ve ever seen, but his energy level just gets higher. He feeds off the crowd and it shows. Who’s the best frontperson in music? Valient Himself. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT?!
So concludes this sweaty-palmed edition of MetalSucks Question Of The Week. Are we way off? Does it indicate our horniness that most of us picked a member of the opposite sex? In the future, will there be such a thing as a star metal front-thing like Randy Blythe, Dave Mustaine, or Maria Brink? Are you dying to comment below? Well go for it, sweetballz! See you back here next Friday!