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Phil Anselmo technique/lack thereof?

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One singer who never ceases to fascinate me is Phil Anselmo. I've heard him do just about everything I've ever any male singer do (except maybe sing in light falsetto) and I've heard him do it all fairly well. But he stopped doing most of it by the time he turned 25. By that time he'd mostly abandoned his head voice technique in favor of what was usually straight up screaming. Probably due to his lifestyle and inability to replicate everything live as well as a stylistic decision among the band.

In a lot of these threads we talk about whether or not people are singing in CVT overdrive and usually it comes down to high+powerful =/= overdrive. So I'm trying to figure out whether Phil is belting or not in certain clips. His rasp and studio production can make it really hard to determine. The fundamental frequency also disappears sometimes without me even noticing it when it happens. I know he shouldn't be able to belt extremely high, he is after all, a bass baritone as far as I can tell. A C5 in a live clip of the Goddamn Electric chorus had me fooled for a while but I determined that it had to have been a head voice of some kind. I think if he coul I caught a Bb4 that I'm 90% sure was belted in a live version of Cowboys from Hell. He goes back and fourth in the shouted sections of Cemetery Gates. He goes back and fourth a lot. Not always because he has to, but to change the emphasis sometimes. I'm wondering how high somebody with his voice type can belt. Bb4 sounds like the ceiling so far. That's my own ceiling and I believe my voice is higher than his. I'm afraid to keep pushing it up, but I like the sound. It's about as raw as it gets. I do not believe that it can be perfectly replicated through twanging, but Anselmo comes pretty close at times.

I don't know what the status is these days but Anselmo has shown that he was at one point capable of twanging as high as F#5 and possibly A5 in earlier works. His range was colossal and he does know how to sing. He's a singer who makes the active choice not to use technique that he has had access to. Or maybe he just has a sophisticated screaming technique? And if so is it worth attempting to analyze?

A while back somebody on here tried to start a thread about false chord screaming. I don't believe this forum has many experts on the subject. I've learned how to vary the degree of pitchlessness and a few different ways to imply fundamental frequencies. Some using the vocal cords and some using overtones. I also worked it up to a relatively high volume without hurting myself, although it is a balancing act not to at times. If you hurt yourself, not only should you not attempt it, you wont have much success if you do attempt it. Most technique based systems people use are a little restrictive or not in depth enough. What Phil Does is he goes back and fourth between false chord screaming and singing. He might sound like a grunting drunken asshole to people who aren't fans, and in many live clips he is exactly that; he was pretty consistently inconsistent in his worst years. But I've found his overall style particularly difficult to dissect and replicate.

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Yeah he was a great singer. Sorry, what was your question again?

Actually, since Phil sang in many different ways, you might want to post a clip and point to a vocal section that you'd like to understand better. However, I personally think that Phil wasn't really doing anything that no one else was doing. He was simply a great heavy metal singer, using all the techniques we've talked about many times here before. In cvt terms I think he used a lot of overdrive and mln with distortion. In other words, he sang mostly fairly loud, but switched the heavyness from his chest voice out for an increase in twang as he went up in pitch. Where he exactly switched into pure twang configurations probably depended on the day. In Phil's mind I would guess that he simply screamed his lungs out but realized that if he had to sing high notes (often around E5 or even up to A5), they had to be very twangy. I've listened mostly to the album "Cowboys from hell" and he didn't sing much in his passagio - more below it and then a lot higher. So as good as he was, he wasn't displaying a real connected voice there, but that was just his choice. Maybe he could do it but he did little of it - i.e. stayed a lot in the chest register and then did some extreme high screams every now and then. Still, it doesn't take away anything from him. That album contains some of the best heavy metal singing in history, IMO. Cheers.

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I watched all 7 parts of the interview. And it was quite enlightening. I don't mean just the cautionary tale against drug usage or any substance abuse. I mean what he finds of value to discuss. He wasn't concerned with this or that technique of music production. It's about the direction of your heart and what inspires you. The audience question portion, with a number students being musician students, they weren't all that concerned with technique, either.

As for how he speaks, I hear the cajun in his speech. And when he talks, it reminds me of Jim Dandy from Black Oak Arkansas. For those of you who don't know, "Cajun" is what people from Louisiana, specifically the New Orleans area, call themselves.

It could be that technique was not that important for him to discuss. Or, that while what he does works for him, it would not necessarily work for another voice. And I agree with him. I hear the Pantera influence in today's bands. I hear influences from before their "Cowboys from Hell" album, when I used to listen to them. It was hard to find their stuff on regular radio because of the language. I can't mention the title of one old song because of the profanity in the title that was my favorite Pantera song.

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Anselmo was one of the first singers I got into that used aggressive vocal distortion and wierdly enough I swear he is one of the most talented at it simply because he can scream/grunt/howl in such a way as to create melody. I often find myself hummin along to Pantera tunes (semi-occluded practice while workin is the norm now, good job my co-workers are cool about it :P). Cant say that much for a lot of the new age screamers, its all fry and in yer face consonant spitting to me.

I've thought for a while now that I can hear different 'vocal acoustic spaces' in Anselmo's singing which sound remarkably similar to those used when forming certain vowels in a certain pitch range. I guesstimate that he probably uses techniques learned for clean open throated singing with whatever tight-throated config ya need for that distortion sound. A bit like a dirty guitar goin through a talkbox, or somethin.

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