How does Bruce "compare" to similar vocalists?

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
Iron Maiden is one of the very few bands I listen to with a higher registered vocalist, so I have no idea how he compares to the current generation of power metal/heavy metal vocalists, and was curious as to what people's opinions were.  Personally, i don't think I've ever heard anyone, regardless of age, hit the notes that Bruce can hit without doing falsetto.  But again, I'm not up to speed on newer generation of vocalists.

Tim "the ripper" Owens and Mike Kiske had/have great voices, but neither seems to have the sheer power of Bruce's lungs.  I ask the question because i'm curious:  is Bruce REALLY that good, or is it my bias as an Iron Maiden fan?
 

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
I think he is that good and has great variety in his voice.  He may not have the power he did early on, but he can use the variations in his vocals to help tell a story, which is what a singer should do. 

Listening to this duet really says it all about his voice (in a non-Maiden song)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksZ1f-U1KiA
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
chaosapiant said:
Iron Maiden is one of the very few bands I listen to with a higher registered vocalist, so I have no idea how he compares to the current generation of power metal/heavy metal vocalists, and was curious as to what people's opinions were.  Personally, i don't think I've ever heard anyone, regardless of age, hit the notes that Bruce can hit without doing falsetto.  But again, I'm not up to speed on newer generation of vocalists.

Tim "the ripper" Owens and Mike Kiske had/have great voices, but neither seems to have the sheer power of Bruce's lungs.  I ask the question because i'm curious:  is Bruce REALLY that good, or is it my bias as an Iron Maiden fan?
Rob Halford. For example, the B5 in Dissident Agressor is pure full voice. As is the G#5 in Run of the Mill and he still to this day sings some high notes in his classic style without resorting to a distorted falsetto, both live and in studio. Nostradamus comes to mind, as well as a number of renditions of Devil's Child 2008 (and 2007 with Breuer), Touch of Evil during Angel of Retribution tour  etc etc.  I love me some good belting.

Ralph Scheepers highs are similar to that of Robs. It's belting as well. And Geoff tate.

Ripper, who is in my top three, after Rob and Bruce (followed by Geoff), does a lot of brutally distorted falsetto though - But in the earlier days ´he did more clean hights.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
Yax said:
Rob Halford. For example, the B5 in Dissident Agressor is pure full voice. As is the G#5 in Run of the Mill and he still to this sings some high notes in his classic style without resorting to a distorted falsetto, both live and in studio. I love me some good belting.

Ralph Scheepers highs are similar to that of Robs. It's belting as well.

That is possibly my favourite scream in heavy metal - and definitely my favourite from Rob Halford.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
Eddies Wingman said:
That is possibly my favourite scream in heavy metal - and definitely my favourite from Rob Halford.
Indeed! It's a great scream - Although not in my top 10 Halford screams - But probably my favorite clean scream. I fucking love his 70's style of high singing though (like "Graaaand canyons" - that's singing, not screaming).

Edit: Speaking of Ripper and Scheepers, here's a duet from Scheeper's solo album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVZFSND-usU
 

Black Thunder

Ancient Mariner
Eddies Wingman said:
That is possibly my favourite scream in heavy metal - and definitely my favourite from Rob Halford.

B5 in full voice? The same note Kiske hits at the end of Dr. Stein. And he still has a perfect voice.
 

Yax

Ancient Mariner
Black Thunder said:
B5 in full voice? The same note Kiske hits at the end of Dr. Stein. And he still has a perfect voice.
I think the timbre of Kiske's scream in Dr Stein is inferior to the one in Dissident Agressor. Just personal preference though.
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I'm not a music major, but compared to a B5, what is the highest note Bruce is capable of now?  For example, the highest note I can hear is "westard the tide" in The Talisman.  What range is that?  I also think Rob has a great voice, but he doesn't seem to have the power or thickness of Bruce's voice.  Again though, it's all personal preference there, Rob is incredible regardless.
 

Black Thunder

Ancient Mariner
Yax said:
I think the timbre of Kiske's scream in Dr Stein is inferior to the one in Dissident Agressor. Just personal preference though.

To me, Kiske has a better voice - and he kept it for nearly 25 years.

For the screams, they are identical, so there's no need for me to compare them.

His highest full voice note is in Where Eagles Dare, E5 I think.

His highest note ever is in Gangland - F5 or G5 (you don't remember it because it lasts 1 second or so) - Ahhhh!! Come On!

Westward the tide... not sure... a couple of A4s, perhaps.
 
D

Deleted member 7164

Guest
Bruce Dickinson, the Air Raid Siren, low tenor, 4 octaves (C#2 B5) one of the best hard rock / heavy metal singers.

1.- Lower note C#2:s from "Believil".
2.- A G2 and sustains a Bb2:s from "Fear of the Dark".
3.- A E2:s from "Dance of Death".
4.- E3:s from Acoustic Song.
5.- A high low note B3/ E4/ B4 from Hallowed be thy Name".
6.- A B4 with a trill to C#5 from The Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
7.- A B4 from Quest for Fire.
8.- A powerful B4 from Powerslave.
9.- Another B4:s from Rime of the Ancient Mariner
10.- A highest full voice note B4 to D5 from Twilight Zone.
11.- Rising voice B4 to D5 from To Tame a Land.
12.- A D5 from Die with your Boots On.
13.- Another powerful D5 from Total Eclipse.
14.- E5:s in head voice From Jethro Tulls cover Cross-eyed Mary.
15.- Another E5:s in The Duellists chorus.
16.- A highest sustained full voice note D5 to E5 from "Where Eagles Dare".
17.- A full voiced D5/ F#5 and a high pitch G5 in live version of Where Eagles Dare.
18.- A B4/ C5/ E5 from "Children of the Damned".
19.- E5:s in falsetto from "Quest for fire".
20.- F#5:s from Gangland.
21.- A high pitch F#5/ G5 from live version of 22 Acacia Avennue.
22.- A rising voice A3/ B3/ C4/ D4/ E4/ G4/ A4/ G5 from Run to the Hills.
23.- A G4/ B4/ G5 from the ending to "Run to the Hills".
24.- A high pitch G4/ G5 from Aces High.
25.- A high Pitch G5 from Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
26.- Great scream, a high E:s/ F#5/ G#5 falling to G5 in the beginning of this live version of Where Eagles Dare.
27.- A solid sustained and full voiced C#5 and then a G#5 with trill to A5, with a very wild and wide vibratto on Bb5/B5! from "Flight of Icarus".
28.- A high pitch F#5/ G5 from Flight of Icarus live version.
29.- A high pitch G5:s and G#5 from Remember Tomorrow live version.
30.- A High pitch A4/E5/G5 from Back in the Village.
31.- A G5 and A5 from Back in the village.
32.- The horror scream A5 scream from the classic "Number of the Beast".
33.- Another A5 from Gangland.
34.- Sounds to me like a A5 from To Close to Rock.
35.- Great scream!, to me it sounds like a A5 from Wrathchild live version.
36.- A powerful A5 from Take it Like a Man.
37.- Another A5 from Take it Like a Man live version.
38.- The highest note for Bruce Dickinson, a B5! from Gangland.

3.5 octaves (C#2-F#5) in full voice and 4 octaves (G5-B5) including falsetto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcw-J2QQjDo
 

Ranko

I'll shoot the gunner first!
Nice one, Zare. Can you find info on James LaBrie from Dream Theater, or at least share the link here? LaBrie's highest note is an F#5 from Learning to Live, from what I've managed to find (mostly on YouTube videos).
 

Black Thunder

Ancient Mariner
Here are some ranges from vocal giants:

Chris Cornell:

1. 0:00 - We'll start with his low register. Here Chris is going down to G♯2s and speaking G2s in the demo version of "Beyond the Wheel" which is tuned half-step down from the original.
2. 1:11 - Next is the studio version of "Beyond the Wheel" with solid A2s, few subtle D2s and one fry G♯1.
3. 1:39 - Easy G2s from "Time" a song from his solo album Scream.
4. 1:57 - Strong F♯2s from "Other Side of Town" also from Scream.
5. 2:50 - Solid lows around E♭2 in "Entering".
6. 3:14 - Cornell's lowest full voice note, really strong B1 from an interview while imitating low speaking!
7. 3:26 - Time for Chris Cornell's powerful high register! First clip features him hitting powerful D5s in "The Day I Tried to Live".
8. 3:39 - Powerful D5s from "Face Pollution".
9. 4:10 - Great D5 from "Room a Thousand Years Wide".
10. 4:19 - "Hands All Over" with pack of D5s.
11. 4:36 - Bunch of high notes topping at D5, the song is "Blind Dogs".
12. 5:02 - Powerful E♭5 from Santana's cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love".
13. 5:10 - Powerful E♭5 screams from "I Awake".
14. 5:30 - Slide up to great E♭5 in "4th of July".
15. 5:44 - Powerful E5s from Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike", the other voice is Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam.
16. 6:17 - Short E5 from "Louder Love".
17. 6:22 - Powerful E5 from Temple of the Dog's "Call Me a Dog".
18. 6:35 - Great glissando up to powerful E5 from "Entering".
19. 6:51 - Soundgarden's cover of Beatles' "Come Together" with powerful E5.
20. 7:01 - Clean highs up to E5 in "Mind Riot".
21. 7:07 - "Gun" with an impressive F5.
22. 7:15 - Really powerful D5 with trills up to F5 from "Spoonman".
23. 7:25 - Impressive F5s from "Black Rain".
24. 7:49 - "Beyond the Wheel" with powerful D5s and E♭5 and occasional trills up to F5.
25. 8:49 - He can sing it live once again! (This is the live performance from Seattle.) Here he sustains the same notes and even does the trill up to F5, his voice has recovered really well!
26. 9:34 - Great F5 from "Outshined".
27. 9:43 - Really powerful D5s with one trill going up to F5 from the vocal track of "Jesus Christ Pose".
28. 10:10 - "Birth Ritual" with high notes topping at F5.
29. 10:36 - Really powerful F5s from "Slaves and Bulldozers".
30. 10:56 - Great F♯5s from "Four Walled World".
31. 11:11 - Powerful F♯5s from "Holy Water".
32. 11:32 - "Let Me Drown" with powerful F♯5.
33. 11:39 - Glides up to G5s in full voice in the live cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning", the high note in the studio version is falsetto.
34. 11:57 - Impressive G5 in Temple of the Dog's "Reach Down"
35. 12:04 - Mindblowing ending of Temple of the Dog's "Say Hello 2 Heaven" with Cornell topping at G5.
36. 12:20 - Cornell wailing along with the guitar hitting powerful G5s, the song is "Power Trip".
37. 12:38 - Slide up to great G5 in "Face Pollution".
38. 12:44 - Glissando sliding up to powerful G♯5 in "Heretic", there are also two slides down but they sound processed."
39. 13:00 - Falsetto time: "Jesus Christ Pose" with Chris sliding up to powerful falsetto G♯5 (he switches to it around E5-F♯5) and landing down, the low note is processed.
40. 13:20 - "Full on Kevin's Mom" with glissando up to A5.
41. 13:24 - Cornell going up to G5 and then into falsetto A5 in "Cold Bitch", really powerful notes!
42. 13:45 - Here's the studio cover of "Smokestack Lightning" with the powerful G5, this time in falsetto (Amazing switches down to full voice occuring there!).
43. 14:03 - A5 and G5 in falsetto, the song is "Face Pollution".
44. 14:12 - Time for Cornell's highest note ever, falsetto E6 in the background screams of "Kyle Petty (Son of Richard)".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYXyW3lCxyc

Jeff Buckley:

-=Recorded Range In Full Voice=-
C#2 - A5

Song List:
1. C#2 - (A1) vocal fry
2. Dream Brother: F2 - F#2
3. Dream Brother: G2
4. You & I: A2
5. Strange Fruit: C#3
6. Grace: E3
7. What Will You Say: B4
8. Grace: B4
9 - 11. Mojo Pin: C5
12. Dream Brother: D5
13. Vancouver: D5
14. Grace: D#5 - F#5
15 - 16 . Grace: E5 - G5
17. Grace: E/F5 - G#5
18 - 19. So Real: E5 - F#5
20 - 21. Lover, You Should've Come Over: F#5
22. Kanga-roo: F#5
23. Kanga-roo: F#5
24. Kanga-roo: F#5 (falsetto)
25. Kanga-roo: G5
26 - 27. What Will You Say: G5
28 - 29. What Will You Say: G#5
30. Night Flight: G#5
31. Grace: A5 (full voice)
--Falsetto/Whistle Register--
32. Sweet Thing: A5
33. Grace: B5
34. Kanga-roo: C6 - B5
35. Monologue - False Start, Apology, Miles Davis: C6
36. The Way Young Lovers Do: D6
37. Gunshot Glitter: Eb6
38. Interview: F#6

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKzB-yncJ64

Michael Kiske:

Future World - EP (1987)

Starlight '87: F#5/G5

Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I (1987)

I'm Alive: F#5
A Little Time: D5
Twilight Of The Gods: B4 - E5/D5/E5
A Tale That Wasn't Right: D5
Future World: E5 - F#5
Halloween: E5 - F#5

Dr. Stein - EP (1988)

Victim Of Fate '88: E5 - E5

Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II (1988)

Eagle Fly Free: F5 - C5
You Aways Walk Alone: G5/E5
Rise And Fall: D5
Dr. Stein: E5
We Got The Right: E5 - E5/D5/C#5
Save Us: E5
March Of Time: E5 - E5
I Want Out: E5 - A4 - E5
Keeper Of The Seven Keys: G5/F#5 - E5

Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991)

Back On The Streets: B4/C#5
Someone's Crying: E4/F#4/G4/A4/B4/F5
Mankind: E5
The Chance: F#5 - E5
Your Turn: D5 - B4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jW_kRegxmA

Ronnie James Dio:

1. 0:00 - What is this? It's Ronnie in his twenties, crooning the song "Don't Take Your Love From Me" in the sixties. Note is B2.
2. 0:06 - Another B2 during a different section of the same song.
3. 0:11 - A last B2 during a repeat of the previous section in "Don't Take Your Love From Me".
4. 0:16 - Here's a barely-recognizable Ronnie from a few years later, first hitting a strained C5, then trailing down to a very bizarre-sounding B2. Song is "The Rape Of Andrea Lucia".
5. 0:23 - Several B♭2s in the backing vocal of "After All (The Dead)".
6. 0:51 - More B♭2s from the next verse of the same song.
7. 1:19 - The last verse of the song, with the same pitch once again.
8. 1:39 - Back to the crooning lows with a B♭2 from "Mr. Misery".
9. 1:46 - Several B♭2s from the ending of the same song.
10. 2:27 - A cover of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco", in which Ronnie sings down to A2.
11. 2:32 - Another A2 from the same song. You can hear how Ronnie had trouble with low notes back then!
12. 2:37 - Fast forward a few decades again, and we have a more aged Ronnie hitting a solid G2 in a cover of "Welcome To My Nightmare", which he follows up to with a few B2s.
13. 3:05 - Ronnie's lowest sung note: F♯2 in "Turn To Stone".
14. 3:22 - Another F♯2 from the next chorus of "Turn To Stone".
15. 3:27 - More F♯2s from the ending of the same song.
16. 4:00 - Ronnie's never sung his lowest notes, but his speaking voice shows room for more. Here he speaks down to a full-voiced C♯2(!) and a vocal fry F1.
17. 4:22 - Now we move on to the high notes. Here we have the last verse of the famous epic, "Stargazer", featuring some of Ronnie's most emotional singing to date. Top note is C5.
18. 5:09 - Some fantastic C5 singing from "Gates Of Babylon".
19. 6:15 - Sustained C5s from "Holy Diver", with falsetto E♭5 harmonies.
20. 6:41 - A powerful C♯5 from "The Mob Rules".
21. 6:46 - A strong C♯5 from "Caught In The Middle".
22. 6:51 - A soulful C♯5 from a live cover of "Mistreated", recorded in Munich 1977.
23. 6:58 - A great C♯5 section from the song "Turn Up The Night", with falsetto E5s in the backing harmonies.
24. 7:45 - The classic D5 from "Lady Of The Lake".
25. 7:48 - An excellent D5 from "Don't Talk To Strangers".
26. 7:53 - A nice D5 section from "Man On The Silver Mountain".
27. 8:15 - Belting up to E♭5 from a live performance of "Neon Knights".
28. 8:19 - An E♭5 from the beginning of "Slipping Away".
29. 8:22 - A live performance of "The Mob Rules", where he takes the intro note up to E♭5.
30. 8:31 - Here's where things start to get screamy for Ronnie, starting with the famous E5 from "Gypsy".
31. 8:37 - A live version of the same song, where he actually manages the same note in full voice, though he also cuts the beginning of it.
32. 8:39 - A screamy E5 from the beginning of "What Cost War".
33. 8:43 - Another E5 from the same song, this time a little sharp.
34. 8:48 - A final E5 at the closing of "What Cost War", this time a bit harsher than the rest.
35. 8:53 - Here we have Ronnie shouting his way up to an F5 from a live performance of "Neon Knights".
36. 8:58 - And now we've arrived at Ronnie's highest full voice note to date: a very screamy G5 from the song "Wild One".
37. 9:04 - Onto the falsetto register now. First off is a G♯5 from "Lock Up The Wolves".
38. 9:08 - Here's a live version of the same song, where he matches the same note in falsetto.
39. 9:12 - He also takes the falsetto G5 in "Lock Up The Wolves" up to a G♯5 during live performances.
40. 9:17 - Now we move on to live versions of "Wild One", where he takes the final scream up to a falsetto G♯5.
41. 9:22 - Another falsetto G♯5 from a live performance of "Wild One".
42. 9:27 - Here's a live version of "Gypsy", where Ronnie takes the opening scream up to a falsetto G♯5.
43. 9:34 - Another live performance of "Gypsy", this time with the top note of the intro being a falsetto A5.
44. 9:40 - A falsetto A5 from a performance of "The Mob Rules".
45. 9:45 - A VERY short B5 from "Die Young". Such high notes are rare on studio albums!
46. 9:50 - Another live version of "Wild One". This time he does the ending scream as a falsetto B5!
47. 9:55 - One final "Wild One" live performance, again with B5 for the scream, but with an extra B5 ad-libbed right after it!
48. 10:00 - One last version of "Gypsy", where Ronnie's voice cracks on the scale upwards, and he ends up hitting a falsetto A6!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvaeHL6KgKQ
 

Eddieson

Nomad
For example, the highest note I can hear is "westard the tide" in The Talisman
I am almost sure that note is a D5
 

SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
Ranko said:
Nice one, Zare. Can you find info on James LaBrie from Dream Theater, or at least share the link here? LaBrie's highest note is an F#5 from Learning to Live, from what I've managed to find (mostly on YouTube videos).

It's a G5 on the final "Oc-ta-var-I-UM!". He only hits it for a second on the album, but on the Score live album he holds it.

Edit: the G5 is really more of a scream. The F#5 in LTL is full voice, 100% clean.
 

Mosh

Powerslave
Staff member
Someone who hasn't been mentioned much is Geoff Tate. He is very similar to Bruce,especially in the high register.
 

Perun

After the war?
Staff member
Bruce sings in a completely different way from most other singers mentioned here. I'm not very good with technical terms, but Bruce sings from the stomach, while most others sing from the lungs or the throat. What I mean is that that is where they put the pressure... I wish I could explain it. Anyway, I prefer Bruce's way indefinitely. To me, the falsetto is a technique that sounds like horrible shrieking 99% of the time, and I am glad Bruce does it so very, very rarely. From the top of my head, I can only think of one instance in Run to the Hills. That is also why Bruce sounds more powerful than many other singers... there is more substance to his voice, it comes from deeper within.

Maybe I'm annoying some of his many fans here, but I have never understood to the slightest what people find appealing with Kiske. To me, when he sings clearly, he sounds like he has an infected throat, and all he ever does otherwise is shriek. He never goes lower than the top or middle of his lungs. I am not a good singer, but I have practiced several techniques as far as I could, and I found that what Bruce does is much more physically straining than what Kiske does. I can't hit either's high notes, but I felt that more skill is involved when doing it Bruce's way. With Kiske's way you just need to be loud, with Bruce's way you need physical stamina. The result is that Bruce sounds full and warm, while Kiske - in my opinion - has zero power in his voice. So I think Kiske is in no way comparable to Bruce.
 

Mosh

Powerslave
Staff member
Where do you get the numbers after the note name (E.G. B5.) I know the chords but I haven't heard of it as a note on its own. Do you mean its place in the major scale? (F#) Or am I missing something?
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
Perun said:
Bruce sings in a completely different way from most other singers mentioned here. I'm not very good with technical terms, but Bruce sings from the stomach, while most others sing from the lungs or the throat. What I mean is that that is where they put the pressure... I wish I could explain it. Anyway, I prefer Bruce's way indefinitely. To me, the falsetto is a technique that sounds like horrible shrieking 99% of the time, and I am glad Bruce does it so very, very rarely. From the top of my head, I can only think of one instance in Run to the Hills. That is also why Bruce sounds more powerful than many other singers... there is more substance to his voice, it comes from deeper within.

Maybe I'm annoying some of his many fans here, but I have never understood to the slightest what people find appealing with Kiske. To me, when he sings clearly, he sounds like he has an infected throat, and all he ever does otherwise is shriek. He never goes lower than the top or middle of his lungs. I am not a good singer, but I have practiced several techniques as far as I could, and I found that what Bruce does is much more physically straining than what Kiske does. I can't hit either's high notes, but I felt that more skill is involved when doing it Bruce's way. With Kiske's way you just need to be loud, with Bruce's way you need physical stamina. The result is that Bruce sounds full and warm, while Kiske - in my opinion - has zero power in his voice. So I think Kiske is in no way comparable to Bruce.

As someone who can't sing, and isn't musically trained, this explanation is what I was looking for.  I'm quite sure many vocalists can hit higher notes than Bruce, but the few comparable singers I've heard have nowhere near the fullness and body of his voice. 
 
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