#15: Vincent Bennett (The Acacia Strain)
MetalSucks recently polled its staff to determine who are 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; the only requirements to be eligible for the list were that 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 continue our countdown with The Acacia Strain’s Vincent Bennett…
Vincent Bennett’s lyrics alone make him worthy of inclusion on this list. Blunt, sardonic and often downright creepy, Bennett’s subtlety-free poetry leaves his positively bleak outlook on life in no doubt. Let’s look at a few choice lines from over the years:
I know where you live and I see where you sleep
Creepy! Hide your children.
I am the [unintelligible], so I am the fucking boss
You will re-think what you’ve said when you realize how much blood you’ve lost
Oh my lord… really, hide your children!! Far away from where anyone will find them.
I don’t fear death / Because I refuse to believe in life
Spoken by a man who truly hates everything.
I hate everything you love
I do not doubt this.
When you’re dead you’re done you’re dead you died
But plenty of metal vocalists channel their anger through lyrics, so what makes Bennett so special? The final line above is so ridiculous, so absurd, that Bennett just has to be in on the joke. Not to say that Bennett isn’t actually angry at the world, doesn’t actually believe everything he’s saying the way, for example, Slayer’s Tom Araya has copped to accepting Jesus as his savior and just writes satanic lyrics because that is what Slayer songs require. No, there isn’t any doubt that Bennett’s got an incredibly dark view of the world and all those that inhabit it, it’s just that he’s aware said darkness is comical in its extremity and so chooses to emphasize and make light of it the way, oh, I don’t know, one Axl Rosenberg does too. There is no way you come up with the above line (and countless others) if you haven’t got a sense of humor about yourself. There is certainly plenty of other evidence to suggest The Acacia Strain have a very healthy sense of humor, too. And in case you haven’t noticed, we like senses of humor here at MetalSucks… it’s right there in the friggin’ name of the site.
Of course it’s not just lyrical brutality/ridiculousness that makes Vincent Bennett near and fear to our hearts; the guy is an imperial frontman, the ultimate live hypeman. Last year when I wrote my [exaggerated for effect] piece about how metal vocalist are becoming irrelevant, I specifically had Bennett in mind when I spoke about how frontmen are necessary as a focal point for audience eyes to gravitate towards. Can you imagine The Acacia Strain without Bennett? At least in the live setting, Bennett is who you’re paying attention to 100% of the time as he bobs and pogos about the stage, violently slashing his arms around as he conducts the audience into an absolute frenzy. He is also really fucking violent: I have heard from show promoters that The Acacia Strain have been barred from playing certain venues because of how Bennett constantly instigates the audience to fuck each other up.
What it ultimately boils down to is this: when you think of The Acacia Strain, you think of Vincent Bennett. That is the mark of a great metal frontman.
THE LIST SO FAR:
#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)