10 Metal Bands with Larger-Than-Life Vocalists


Rob Halford of Judas Priest

Rob Halford of Judas Priest – Story and photo by Anne Erickson

Here’s Audio Ink Radio’s list of 10 metal bands with larger-than-life vocalists

There’s something extra grand and powerful about being the lead vocalist of a metal band. The title comes with responsibility. Metal singers often have to sing, scream and growl, all in one song. They also have to possess a great charisma and slightly dangerous quality on the stage. In other words, they’re larger-than-life vocalists.

Often times, the success of a metal band, or band in any genre, rests heavily on that front person. So, having a larger-than-life lead vocalist can be of real benefit to a band.

Read on for 10 metal bands with larger-than-life vocalists, in no particular order, from shock rockers to straight-ahead metalheads. Send along your picks via Audio Ink Radio’s Facebook page here.

10 Metal Bands with Larger-Than-Life Vocalists

Corey Taylor – Slipknot, Stone Sour

Corey Taylor came up fronting Iowa masked metal band Slipknot. From the start, he had an intangible quality that simply made him stand out. As the years progressed, Taylor got even more interesting, as he released several best-selling books and started the melodic Stone Sour. There’s no denying Slipknot would never be the influential metal band they are today without Taylor at the helm.

Jamey Jasta – Hatebreed

Jamey Jasta made noise when he formed Hatebreed in the mid-1990s. But, he also makes noise off the stage. Jasta was one of the first guys to start a podcast, back when nobody knew what it meant to even listen to a podcast. Years later, his “The Jasta Show” podcast is one of the most popular shows in the music category.

Maynard James Keenan – Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer

Maynard James Keenan is one of the most enigmatic vocalists of his era. Not only is he mysterious on the stage, as he often stands in the back while performing with Tool and A Perfect Circle, but he doesn’t do a lot of press and, in general, keeps to himself. That mysterious personality serves him well, and it helps make him an eccentric, larger-than-life vocalist.

Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden

How many metal musicians do you know of who fly their own jet plane? One. That guy is Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. The fact Dickinson is a full-fledged pilot makes him a given for this list, but he also rules the stage in Iron Maiden and, most recently, released a best-selling autobiography.

Rob Halford – Judas Priest, Halford

Rob Halford has lived quite a life. He came up as one of the most celebrated frontmen in all of heavy metal in the 1970s and 1980s. He also told the world he was gay during a time when that wasn’t very common. His life is colorful, and Halford is a passionate guy, and that comes across in his music. His memoir, “Confess,” is also a fascinating read.

Tetiana Shmailyuk – Jinjer

Jinjer may not be a household name like Slipknot or Judas Priest. But, the Ukrainian metal band is one of the most buzzed-about in the genre, and their live shows are something to behold. Tetiana Shmailyuk is at the helm of Jinjer. Her onstage presence is huge and monstrous, despite her small frame, and her passion on the stage is unrivaled.

James Hetfield – Metallica

A band doesn’t become the biggest metal band in the world without having a larger-than-life vocalist. James Hetfield is that guy for Metallica. From his raw voice to gritty lyrics to fiery onstage presence, Hetfield is really the quintessential metal frontman. He’s fought some addiction demons over the years, and he’s been forthcoming about them, to boot. That makes us respect him even more.

Dave Mustaine – Megadeth

Dave Mustaine was the original lead guitarist of Metallica, and when they parted ways, he could have just given up or pouted. But, he didn’t. After conquering some addiction problems, Mustaine came back ready and determined to create the kind of thrash metal band that he knew he could launch. He did just that with the brutal Megadeth, which still release chart-topping music today.

Ozzy Osbourne – Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne, no doubt, is one of the most famed vocalists in all of heavy metal. Aside from his work in Black Sabbath and with his solo project, Ozzy is simply a personality. The world got to know him when the reality TV show “The Osbournes” ran on MTV. But, that was just the beginning. Ozzy and his wife Sharon are true pop culture icons. That’s rare in the metal game.

Michael Sweet – Stryper

Stryper have a well-known brand of high-octane 1980s heavy metal music. They’re also one of just a few successful classic Christian metal bands from that era. Michael Sweet is at the front of Stryper. He’s often known for speaking out on social media and giving his unfiltered thoughts. That spontaneous character and Sweet’s incredible musicianship certainly make him a larger-than-life personality.

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper

Okay, this list is supposed to include 10 names, but we have to add one more. Alice Cooper is obviously a larger-than-life vocalist. His live shows are legendary. The Coop has been thrilling and terrifying audiences for decades, and he keeps going with more live shows and releases. Without the shock-rock of Cooper, it’s possible bands such as Slipknot and Mushroomhead would never have seen the light of day. For that, Alice Cooper is nothing short of a trendsetter.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s comprehensive list of the 10 best punk bands of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Rock