Shriek/grunt/growl-free metal?
June 26, 2009 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for music similar to Within Temptation (symphonic metal, preferably female-fronted). Should be easy, but there's a catch...

No "death vocals". No screaming, grunting, growling, or shrieking. Any more than an extremely infrequent couple of seconds here or there is pretty much out.

I love the sound of really intense driving, epic-sounding music with an amazing singer, and the best example I can come up with is Within Temptation. I *think* it's called symphonic metal, or goth metal, or symphonic goth metal...I have no idea. I know almost nothing about the metal genre and it's 12,304 subgenres. Pandora played one of their songs, I checked them out and I love everything they've done (except Enter, b/c of the screaming), and now all of the typical recommendations I can find have the #@*$ death vocals. And I'm pretty sure those types of vocals are really just part of the genre, which makes searching kind of tricky.

I'm not tied to a female-fronted band, as I love passionate male singers as well, but they have to be SINGING.

posted by CrazyGabby to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Nightwish is the way to go. Check out audio from the albums Wishmaster or Oceanborn for decent examples.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:35 AM on June 26, 2009

Have you looked in to Pandora?
posted by strangelove at 9:44 AM on June 26, 2009

I think early Queensryche fits that description - anything prior to (and including) Operation Mindcrime.
posted by COD at 9:48 AM on June 26, 2009

posted by knowles at 9:49 AM on June 26, 2009

This might be on the borderline of screaming, but how about some German power metal like Blind Guardian? (WARNING: EXTREMELY STUPID LYRICAL CONTENTS)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:53 AM on June 26, 2009

The Gathering.
posted by darksong at 9:55 AM on June 26, 2009

There's a ton of Nightwish stuff on Youtube. They're the band that finally made me understand fanboy-ism, because they're so earnest I can't help but laugh. The male vocalist isn't "shouty", exactly. I don't own any of their stuff, I just scratch the occasional itch with youtube.

Previous Front-lady
I Wish I had an Angel (shoutiness)
Planet Hell

Current front-woman
Bye Bye Beautiful - some more shoutiness

Hmm, other stuff...
Lacuna Coil - Falling
Lacuna Coil - Spellbound
posted by Decimask at 10:00 AM on June 26, 2009

Lacuna Coil and Leaves' Eyes both have a lot of what you're looking for (some of Leaves' Eyes' stuff has some grunting in the background, but the lead vocals are female singing).
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:01 AM on June 26, 2009

Also try After Forever and Epica - Floor and Simone are probably the two best vocalists in the genre.
posted by benzo8 at 10:07 AM on June 26, 2009

The Gathering is sort of the gold standard for this type of metal, though their last album, Home, is barely metal, hardly even hard rock. Nighttime Birds is fantastic, and If_Then_Else is also very good. Try Green Carnation's epic, hour long Light of Day, Day of Darkness, there's only a couple growls, very brief.

Honestly, there's about a zillion bands out of Europe and Russia that fit the bill you describe, but honestly, operatic goth metal/power metal are my least favorite genres so I can't help much more than this.
posted by The Straightener at 10:18 AM on June 26, 2009

Ok, here's the motherlode. I was on a metal forum with a dude for a couple years who lived for this stuff. I copied this off a profile of his. Happy hunting.

"I'm just your basic metalhead, though I enjoy listening to various other music styles as well. Mostly, I listen to Metal that is both very melodic and evocative (at least to me). My preferred genre fall into three major categories however, Power/ Symphonic/ Operatic Metal.

A few bands I enjoy:

Silent Cry
Van Canto
The Dogma
The Aerium
Via Mistica
Arch of Hell
Mortal Love
Lady Winter
Helium Vola
Seventh One
Estatic Fear
Luca Turilli
Shadow Host
Leaves' Eyes
After Forever
Corvus Corax
Aesma Deava
Ordo Funebris
Thy Majestie
Crystal Tears
Kapel Maister
Dark Princess
Flowing Tears
Emilie Autumn
Wizards' Hymn
Amberian Dawn
Infernal Beauty
Forgotten Tales
Trobar de Morte
Civilization One
Rain Fell Within
Ophelia's Dream
L'âme Immortelle
Power Symphony
Dreams of Sanity
Saurom Lamderth
Timeless Miracle
Tapping the Vein
Inkubus Sukkubus
Clann An Drumma
Signs of Darkness
Blackmore's Night
Visions of Atlantis
Within Temptation
Erben der Schöpfung
Luca Turilli's Dreamquest
Die Verbannten Kinder Evas"
posted by The Straightener at 10:28 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I don't know why, The Straightener, but your tower of babel structure is frightening me. Do you sort your CDs by length of band name?
posted by Decimask at 10:50 AM on June 26, 2009

It's impressive, if tilty, that list. But Aqua? And Enya? In the first five? Not sure it really answers the question...
posted by benzo8 at 10:53 AM on June 26, 2009

I think the guy I copied the list from is the type that has some elaborate and arcane catalogging system for his CDs, yes. This isn't my kind of metal, though, I prefer not so much a grunt or a growl but a grunt and/or growl that becomes a wretch, potentially resulting in the expulsion of some small amount of vomit, at the end.
posted by The Straightener at 10:53 AM on June 26, 2009

Iron Maiden
Judas Priest
posted by ignignokt at 11:11 AM on June 26, 2009

Nightwish is the undisputed king of the female fronted symphonic metal genre. Within Temptation is a decent clone of NW. Leaves Eyes are reasonably competent too.

I agree with the recommendation of Blind Guardian, but not the comment that their lyrics are stupid. English is not their first language so some of the lyrics can be forgiven.
posted by valadil at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2009

Have you looked in to Pandora?

Oh, yes - that's where I found WT to begin with. The problem I found with Pandora was that, if I thumbs-downed groups with the death vocals, then the music just grew more and more mellow and I ended up with stuff like Enya. Who I like quite a bit, but wasn't exactly what I was hoping for.

I'm also scared yet oddly awed by the towery list.

Thanks for the suggestions - keep them coming! :-)
posted by CrazyGabby at 12:13 PM on June 26, 2009

The Straightener's list is impressive, but many of the groups have death-metal type vocals or belong to different genres.

The Gathering is one of my favorites in this genre, specially Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. The female vocalist was not around for the first CD, so I don't recommend it. Their last records are more mainstream though.

Dreams of Sanity is a very interesting group, with strong progressive rock influences and two female vocalists.

Other bands with female vocalists: Collide, Ophelia's Dream, The Birthday Massacre (reminds me a bit of Evanescence, though). Emily Autumn plays gothic cabaret with metal influences, and can be really hit or miss. L'ame Immortelle and Lacuna Coil are very famous, but I don't know them well enough to comment.

With male vocalists, I like Tiamat's Wildhoney and Moonspell's Wolfheart and Irreligious (although I think Moonspell's music has not aged well, I didn't like it when I heard it recently).

Some of these bands start as death/black metal bands, with heavy grunting and violent lyrics, then they play softer symphonic/doom metal, and then end up in totally different genres (even electronica or pop), so try to listen to the records before buying them, even if you liked another album from the same band.

I also recommend compilations such as Beauty in Darkness. Some of the songs have growly vocals, but not all.
posted by clearlydemon at 12:16 PM on June 26, 2009

The problem I found with Pandora was that, if I thumbs-downed groups with the death vocals, then the music just grew more and more mellow and I ended up with stuff like Enya.

Yeah, Pandora is really bad if you're a fan of just one or two bands in a genre (like you're trying to be)

Love me some Regina Spektor, totally don't like much of anything Pandora gives me as "similar music"
posted by toekneebullard at 2:24 PM on June 26, 2009

In my experience, symphonic metal ranges from entirely un-growly and accessible, to extremely deathy, as many metal bands combine elements from different sub-genres. A combination of symphonic and power metal might be what you're looking for (generally, power metal = epic, melodic, with clean vocals).

Wikipedia can actually be pretty helpful for finding metal bands in this type of genre, so you might look through the List of Symphonic Metal Bands for more Symphonic/Power metal, and see what catches your eye (ear).

A couple more for the list: Stream of Passion, Therion
posted by gueneverey at 4:32 PM on June 26, 2009

Seconding Stream of Passion, and recommending Arjen Lucassen's main project Ayreon. Especially Into the Electric Castle, and The Human Equation. He uses a mix of both male and female vocalists, but they are all top notch.
posted by Jawn at 1:52 PM on June 27, 2009

Recent Kittie albums are more pop-oriented, more metal than punky, and less growly, although they do have a couple of tracks with growl vocals.

In This Moment has been my go-to band for this lately, and has a fairly epic feel to it without being yet another Nightwish knockoff.

I see The Gathering has been suggested, but it's a little bit Lite Rock for my personal tastes.

Krypteria is also a touch poppy but I really adore the vocalist's style a ton.

The Birthday Massacre looks like it got a mention, and I've been really getting into them lately, but while Chibi's vocals are awesome I would never really call the music they're producing metal in any significant way.

People seem to have mentioned Lacuna Coil a couple of times but it's sort of... eh. Check it out and see if you get into it, but I didn't really.

I have some other suggestions to dig up out of my playlists, but because I'm one of those people who doesn't get all flipped out over good quality growl vocals (I come to epic metal by way of old school thrash) I don't really make a point of keeping track of who might have a growl vocalist on backup or a track or two of growl.

After Forever mentioned earlier is decent stuff, although it's also on the lighter end of things.
posted by majick at 4:46 PM on June 27, 2009

Echoes of Eternity's The Forgotten Goddess is probably up your alley as well.
posted by majick at 4:37 PM on June 28, 2009

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