#1: Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine the The Top 25 Modern Metal Frontmen, and after an incredible amount of arguing, name-calling, and physical violence, we have finalized that list! Writers were asked to consider vocal ability, lyrics, and live presence when casting their votes; to be eligible for the list the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) be a frontman or woman (double-duh), and c) have recorded something AND performed live in the past five years. Today we conclude our countdown with Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan…
Metal and hardcore, as much as any other offshoot of rock n’ roll, has lost a great deal of its edge, spontaneity, and sense of genuine danger. A feeling that anything could happen at any moment has been replaced by coordinated outfits, choreographed stage moves, and too-perfect homogenized performances. You know you’re in deep shit when the band you’re seeing has a not dissimilar rehearsal routine from One Direction.
Thank whatever deity you worship, then, for Greg Puciato. The man does not have a rehearsed bone in his body.
Never have I seen Greg Puciato perform live and not had the following thought:
Holy shit, what the hell is he doing??? He’s going to die! This is it. I am witnessing the last Greg Puciato performance EVER.
Thankfully, Mr. Puciato has not, as of this writing, actually killed himself while hanging from a not-very-sturdy-looking venue PA system or lighting rig…
…or leaping from something ridiculously high…
…or blowing fire…
…or inviting his often-bloodthirsty audience onto the stage with him…
…but hopefully my concern for his well-being is easily understandable. Puciato brings a punk rock performance ethic that too much of extreme music is sorely missing today to each and every concert. He’s like a living, breathing explosion of barely-controlled chaos. I intend it as high praise when I say that to see the man live is to feel both enthralled and a little bit uneasy.
Of course, if Puciato’s only talent were to jump and climb and make you review your insurance premiums in your head, he’d be sitting atop MetalSucks’ Top 25 Modern Metal Acrobats List, not our Top Modern Metal Frontmen list. But besides being one of the most exciting live performers in metal today, he’s also an amazing lyricist (he pens poetry that washes over you like an emotion — maybe you can’t pinpoint its exact meaning or origin, but you know it’s there, damn it) and vocalist. His desperate, psychotic, surprisingly-well-enunciated screaming is far too full of unmistakable personality to allow Puciato to just blend in with metal’s interchangeable screamers; his clean vocals are rubbery-yet-vulnerable, demonstrate a range that’s rare for this kind of music, and seem to draw on a wider range of influences than one might expect (that harmonizing on “Unretrofied” didn’t come from listening to Metallica). A decade after good cop-bad cop vocals have worn out their welcome and left a stain on the couch to boot, he doesn’t just make them work — he makes them wanted.
In short: THIS is what a metal frontman is supposed to be — the personification of talent and anger and sadness and fuck-youness that draws people to metal and hardcore in the first place, the kind of dude who is going to inspire countless kids to abandon any hope of a normal life in favor trying to be Greg Puciato when they grow up.
Not that anyone besides Greg Puciato can ever be Greg Puciato when they grow up. There’ll never be another just like him. He is the only one.
The Rest of the List:
#2: Valient Himself (Valient Thorr)
#3: Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
#4: Devin Townsend
#5: Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)
#6: Julie Christmas
#7: Frank Mullen (Suffocation)
#8: Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
#9: Phil Anselmo
#10: Grace Perry (ex-Landmine Marathon)
#11: Guy Kozowyk (The Red Chord)
#12: Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder)
#13: George “Corspegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse)
#14: Chance Garnette (Skeletonwitch)
#15: Vincent Bennet (The Acacia Strain)
#16: Mike Patton
#17: Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste)
#18: Joe Duplantier (Gojira)
#19: Oderus Urungus (Gwar)
#20: Nergal (Behemoth)
#21: Jens Kidman (Meshuggah)
#22: J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer)
#23: Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed)
#24: Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct)
#25: Chino Moreno (Deftones)