Bruce Dickinson a better singer in 1986 or 2016?

Spaldy

Ancient Mariner
The vocals are indeed very good, but they are a studio overdub.

Another fact : there are re-dos by Smith also, they say guitar was out of tune.
Yeah I knew that but what's the difference in the vinyl version as @karljant said? Or am I misinterpreting them?
 

Gk1

Here I sit in a serenade of glory!
As long as we are not talking about a real live/dead one, I am fine with Bruce's live performances. I mean we do not have an official live release from 86/87, but these songs could have been difficult even for Kiske (or something).
 

karljant

Ancient Mariner
I'm curious as to what you mean by this.

To my knowledge Bruce's somewhat strained voice on LAD doesn't improve on vinyl. I should know as I have the vinyl and the CD.
Vinyl/ Cd vs the Video version. They are two different shows. And I think his voice is absolutely perfect. You don't. it is what it is and as I said before I don't care nor should you.
 

Spaldy

Ancient Mariner
To answer the OP, yes Bruce Dickinson was a better singer in 2016 than 1986. However I think it's best to specify that his voice peaked between 1997 and 2009. He reached a sort-of sweet spot where he had full mastery over his vocal chords and could still hit those big notes. Years of experience and vocal training had gotten him there and the results are evident on the recordings released in that period.

This happens to many classical singers where their voices age like fine wine. That's where Bruce was then. In the 80's/early 90's he didn't have the control or the pacing to stay consistent throughout a tour. BOH may be a great performance but that was a first run of gigs. I'd like to hear what he sounded like by the end of that tour. LAD as often mentioned is a terrific performance but he's clearly struggling and can't reach the bigger notes he could later in his career. Compare to RIR or F666 where he doesn't miss a note.

Now since then his voice has noticeably weakened. Whether that's due to the cancer or just age he struggles a lot more now similar to how he struggled on those 80's live albums.

Even so, he's still better than 99% of rock/metal singers his age. Or any age even.
 

TheMercenary

Educated Fool
IMHO, he's not better in 2016 than in 1986, as his voice is quite different now from what it was in the 80's. Every human sees his/her voice changing when growing older. It's natural. But, no matter he sing on 'SiT' or on 'Senjutsu', it sounds great. Still the same guy who gives us chills on every album Maiden does or he does in solo. His voice is just more "mature", positively talking. ;)
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
To answer the OP, yes Bruce Dickinson was a better singer in 2016 than 1986. However I think it's best to specify that his voice peaked between 1997 and 2009. He reached a sort-of sweet spot where he had full mastery over his vocal chords and could still hit those big notes. Years of experience and vocal training had gotten him there and the results are evident on the recordings released in that period.

This happens to many classical singers where their voices age like fine wine. That's where Bruce was then. In the 80's/early 90's he didn't have the control or the pacing to stay consistent throughout a tour. BOH may be a great performance but that was a first run of gigs. I'd like to hear what he sounded like by the end of that tour. LAD as often mentioned is a terrific performance but he's clearly struggling and can't reach the bigger notes he could later in his career. Compare to RIR or F666 where he doesn't miss a note.

Now since then his voice has noticeably weakened. Whether that's due to the cancer or just age he struggles a lot more now similar to how he struggled on those 80's live albums.

Even so, he's still better than 99% of rock/metal singers his age. Or any age even.

Hear, hear!
 

Vaenyr

Nomad
It's a shame that the question is "1986 vs 2016", when 1996 - 2006, give or take a few, is arguably Bruce's best era.

I'm in general not the biggest fan of Bruce's 80's performances. In the studio he was amazing, POM era Bruce is magical, but live he had a lot of issues. Pre-World Slavery Tour he had trouble controlling his pitch, which you can hear clearly on Beast Over Hammersmith, where he would constantly overshoot the high notes. Add to that his rather unrefined technique at that point, a grueling touring schedule and some very tough songs to sing night after night (The Trooper, or HBTN, are fantastic songs, but even for a tenor it is exhausting to basically sing the whole song around a high B ) which led to some very inconsistent performances. LAD in particular has a ton of cool moments, but Bruce is clearly the weakest link. If you don't know the lyrics at points you can hardly understand the words he's singing. So, if I had to choose between 1986 and 2016, the latter wins easily in my view.

Having said that, starting with Skunkworks Bruce rediscovered his high range and developed a much healthier technique which led to my favorite era of his singing. SW, AOB, TCW, BNW (RIR), DOD, TOS and AMOLAD feature, in my opinion of course, his most consistent performances and some freaking awesome moments (the high C#'s in TTLBLAH!). The only "blemish" that started appearing and has been apparent ever since is his high scream (NOTB, Wrathchild, Moonchild, ROTM) which I personally dislike heavily. The pitch is still impressive, but I do not enjoy the sound of it.

That leaves 2016. His voice has matured a lot and when he's in good shape his singing is phenomenal. It is utterly amazing that he can still sing the difficult songs decades after first perfoming them, without downtuning, which is certainly not a given. Personally I think downtuning to D standard would probably be a good idea nowadays, but Steve would never approve that. On bad days, or when he's sick (NOTD an egregious example) it is very difficult to understand Bruce, but you can't fault him for that. Having heard Senjutsu now, there is some straining for some higher parts, but also moments where he sounds absolutely awesome.
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
Personally I think downtuning to D standard would probably be a good idea nowadays, but Steve would never approve that.
I'm pretty sure Steve would (although I think Eb is more realistic - a whole step down is a pretty massive change), but Bruce himself mentioned taking pride in not having to tune down "yet". He said they'll do it if they have to, so it's clearly not an issue for Steve, more so Bruce himself not wanting to.
 

Vaenyr

Nomad
I'm pretty sure Steve would (although I think Eb is more realistic - a whole step down is a pretty massive change), but Bruce himself mentioned taking pride in not having to tune down "yet". He said they'll do it if they have to, so it's clearly not an issue for Steve, more so Bruce himself not wanting to.
You're probably right. I kinda get the pride reasoning and the man can still reach insane pitches, but singing that high all the time does no one a favour. I've been wanting more Maiden songs where Bruce can use his mid range. TFF had a bunch, TBOS not so much, but Senjutsu thankfully has a ton of mid-range parts and I couldn't be happier. Those songs, mixed between more difficult ones, will give Bruce the opportunity to rest a bit in a live setting.
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
Personally I think downtuning to D standard would probably be a good idea nowadays, but Steve would never approve that.

Ok I might not be a metal wizard such as Smith but I've been playing 10 years in std.E then 10 years in std.D, and today (as in last few years) I have guitars in both. The sound is profoundly different even using the same setup. The harmonies are different because the strings react differently, seeing how much priority Smith gives to intonation this is a clear show stopper.

Good luck in pulling Gilmour style solos in full step down, you'll have to invest a lot more into vibrato and it will never sound the same even then. Every fret on the guitar has an unique sound and an unique microtuning offset to the perfect note. Changing the tuning changes both the note over the fret and string tension over that same fret, the latter being very important for vibrato. Even riffing comes out differently because of the string tension.
 

Vaenyr

Nomad
Ok I might not be a metal wizard such as Smith but I've been playing 10 years in std.E then 10 years in std.D, and today (as in last few years) I have guitars in both. The sound is profoundly different even using the same setup. The harmonies are different because the strings react differently, seeing how much priority Smith gives to intonation this is a clear show stopper.

Good luck in pulling Gilmour style solos in full step down, you'll have to invest a lot more into vibrato and it will never sound the same even then. Every fret on the guitar has an unique sound and an unique microtuning offset to the perfect note. Changing the tuning changes both the note over the fret and string tension over that same fret, the latter being very important for vibrato. Even riffing comes out differently because of the string tension.
I'm a musician myself and have used tons of different tunings, so I am quite aware. At this point it's a compromise between a slightly different guitar sound but more relaxed vocals, or the traditional sound we are used to but more straining from Bruce. Personally, I'd prefer the former, especially if you consider that we've got a ton of live albums with the original tunings. At least this way the second cd of the next album would be a bit more exciting, hearing songs we've heard hundreds of times in a different interpretation :D

Edit: Death On The Road has the only instance (as far as I know) where a song is transposed to a different key, Lord Of The Flies. The original is in F# minor , while the DOTR version is a full step lower E minor.
 

frus

Barbed Wire Hen
You would put heavier strings if you change the tuning.
Of course, 1 whole step changes the way the song feels pretty noticably, and I always thought of Maiden being lightweight but energetic, rather than heavy
 

Powrslave

Prowler
Youd rather Clone Bruce - 2016 than Clone Bruce - 1986? Really?

Id Clone Bruce from 86, clone myself back then too :D & Dave particularly from 86! Hes has less Solo's to forget :shred:
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
You would put heavier strings if you change the tuning.
Of course, 1 whole step changes the way the song feels pretty noticably, and I always thought of Maiden being lightweight but energetic, rather than heavy

I'm using 10-52 as is, for standard tuning and for full step down.
There's little place to go from there, one is 12-54 other is canibalizing my bass :D
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
I'm a musician myself and have used tons of different tunings, so I am quite aware. At this point it's a compromise between a slightly different guitar sound but more relaxed vocals, or the traditional sound we are used to but more straining from Bruce.

We need to consider that Harris gets his sound out of the low action, stepping down would fuck up that too.

I also think it would be a great experiment to do, but not as a permanent live thing. Because I don't feel Bruce straining has much to do with intonation but intervals and phrasing. (And touring schedule). When you take something like verses of TRATB it's the fast vocals and large intervals in vocal melody that are problematic, having those intervals peak at one step lower wouldn't do much.

Also to add that in ancient guitar.com interview Smith did in 2000 he said both him and Gers tried to downtune but it changed the sound much. So we're talking about just 2 guitars going drop and not a whole band going full D tuning, and per Smith it changed the sound "way too much".
 

jazz from hell

Ancient Mariner
We need to consider that Harris gets his sound out of the low action, stepping down would fuck up that too.
He'd perhaps need different strings, a new setup -- it shouldn't be a huge problem IMO. But I'd like to see Maiden experiment with tunings anyway.
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I think Bruce is singing as good now as he ever has. The tonal quality of his voice has changed but the talent hasn’t diminished one bit.
 
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