(TheBRHM.com) I’m big on vocalists in rock and metal. The right singer can help bring everything together for a band and add life to lyrics.
It’s time for a Genre Challenge! Here, I take five musicians and put their talents in a genre outside of what they’re known to perform. Let’s get into five Black rock singers and what genre I’d love to hear them perform.
Jada Pinkett Smith
The lead singer of Wicked Wisdom and for a time—I’m guessing—Wicked Evolution, Jada Pinkett Smith has some pipes and stage presence. With Wicked Wisdom, she mainly performed nu-metal and started in the middle of the genre’s popularity during the early 2000s.
I’d say she would be a great fit in this new wave of traditional heavy metal—or metal that is a modernized version of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden’s sound. I’d also love to hear her in a conceptual project which I believe she would smash out of the park.
A legend in hard rock and metal, the late lead singer of Thin Lizzy had a voice that was inspired by Jimi Hendrix. There was a bluesy sound to his voice as the base but he would show that he could bring some edge with 1976’s Johnny the Fox and onward.
And when I say “onward” I mean Lynott and the boys ramped it up here and there but didn’t really deliver an out and out heavy album until the final release Thunder and Lightning in 1983.
Phil Lynott had a solo act, so we know what direction he was heading as an artist post-Thin Lizzy. However, I felt he would’ve hit it out of the park had he gone full on into just old school heavy metal.
Hell, he even showed that he could keep pace with early speed metal. He was versatile even when dealing with personal demons—much like late Exodus lead singer Paul Baloff.
What can I say about Militia Vox that I haven’t said before on ThyBlackMan, folks? She’s probably the most consistent and versatile artist on this list aside from the final entry.
There are very few metal genres that she couldn’t rock and even then she’d tackle it anyway. She came to my attention as Judas Priestess’ lead singer and showed off some ridiculous vocal chops covering Judas Priest tunes.
I’ve made it known that Priest is my all-time favorite metal band and lead singer Rob Halford’s vocal style on the majority of the songs that they covered is no joke.
We’re talking peak Metal Gods-period Priest, folks. Not only did she deliver on those songs, she got the nod from Halford himself. Enough about that because she has other vocal inspirations and all of them are known for explosive power vocals and range.
So, what genre would I love to hear her perform? Power metal…and even that would probably be too easy.
The lead singer of the now ended God Forbid helped establish the vocal sound of metalcore along with Trivium’s Matt Heafy and others during the late 90s and early 2000s.
A powerful vocalist, I can see Davis delivering the goods in thrash metal or even death metal. I can also see him adding another dimension to a band that plays more traditional metal or power metal.
For a challenge or an interesting approach, put him on the hypothetical concept album with Jada and Militia…where they all handle the songwriting and story themselves.
There has to be some difficulty here, right?
Katon W. De Pena
Like Militia Vox, Katon is someone who has performed in rock and heavy metal for years. Actually, he’s the longest tenured singer on the list.
Heading up Hirax for most of its roughly 25-year run, Katon W. De Pena has plenty of work showcasing his vocal ability. The guy can hit wails, screams, shrieks, and clean growls.
He’s always been at home in speed and thrash metal. Anything fast such as power metal, death metal, and maybe even black metal wouldn’t be a deep stretch for him.
However, I’d still love to hear him rock it in power metal. His vocals are tailor made for it. For challenge sake, I’d say pair him with a doom metal band or a prog rock act.
Just something different and—in doom metal’s case—slower. He’s done mid-tempo before but I’d be up from Katon providing his singing ability to something plodding and looming.
How about you? What kind of music would you like to hear these singers perform? Also, drop some suggestions for Black singers and I’ll run them through the Genre Challenge.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.