JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU CARE ABOUT METAL LYRICS
So Vince and I were talking the other day about this question that both of us have wondered about from time to time, and since then I haven’t stopped thinking about it. So here it is: DO ANY OF YOU GIVE A FUCK ABOUT LYRICS IN METAL?
Is it just the sound of the voice and how it works with the sound of the music, or is it also what the vocalist is saying that matters to you? I’m going to take a guess and say that fans of hardcore and straight edge bands really do care about the lyrics because the bands are representing the ideals and beliefs of their respective communities. But what about in death metal, black metal, or any other genre of metal? When you listen to Necrophagist or Cannibal Corpse or Suicide Silence, can you comprehend what they’re singing about, and do you even care? Is it what they’re singing about, or is it more what it sounds like with the music, or both?
I can tell you that I can barely understand what pop singers are saying half the time, let alone extreme metal vocalists. To me, in general, it’s how it sounds with the music. Back in the day of GN’R and Alice in Chains, lyrics meant a shite-load more to me, but for some reason nowadays I never ever find myself scanning lyric sheets. I just don’t really care. I just care about the feeling the vocals give me, and what texture they add to the music.
Perfect example is Opeth. I love Mikael Åkerfeldt’s clean vocals. So beautiful when they’re used. That band wouldn’t be complete without them. Do I care what he’s singing about? With all due respect to the genius that Mikael Åkerfeldtis, no, I don’t care what he’s singing about.
Now, I know a group of metal fans that DO care about lyrics. Those would be Lamb of God fans. They tend to know every goddamn word that comes out of Randy Blythe’s mouth. I even have a theory as to why that is. Have you ever noticed how loud the vocals are on a Lamb Of God record? They’re the loudest things in the entire mix. OF COURSE everyone knows the lyrics to Lamb Of God songs. They’re as loud as the vocals on a pop record. Why do you think everyone remembers the lyrics on pop records? On the other hand, do you think that if death metal had pop vocal mixes like Lamb Of God does, that people would remember the lyrics to Cannibal Corpse’s “Fucked With a Knife?” I think that Randy writes vocal lines that are incredibly memorable, that are then mixed in a way where everyone will understand them and get stuck in their heads.
Why am I going on about catchy lyrics vs. mix technique vs. vocals as just a texture vs. what communities they definitely mean something in? Because I’m trying to figure out overall what impact lyrics have for you guys, the listeners. Could a band get up there and kick ass and have an amazing vocalist that just screams nothing but gibberish and still get huge, or are the lyrics a vital part to connecting with the metal audience? Tell me your thoughts.
Sean Z has written some pretty cool lyrics for Daath. Why don’t you find out by visiting them on MySpace?