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Fabio Lione's Whistle Notes?

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Hello everyone, lovely community here :)

I've been lurking occasionally, though I ended up having to create an account just to see posts so I decided... eh why not start posting too?

I've always been wondering something about Fabio Lione's voice. For those who don't know, he's an Italian vocalist who fronts mostly power metal bands like Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine and more recently, Angra. Fabio Lione has usually been remembered for his fairly flamboyant style, especially his very wide vibratos (which he used to great extent on every other Rhapsody Of Fire song). This was quite a contrast from the approach used by his Angra predecessors, namely Andre Matos and Edu Falaschi, both of whom were far more straightforward (fewer bells and whistles, so to speak). That said, Fabio did a pretty good job filling those shoes.

Thus, I was quite puzzled when I heard clips of how Fabio Lione would sing the really high notes in some of the older Angra songs. I'll raise the following clips for the song, 'Angels Cry', for reference. The notes (they're all C#5s??) in particular are highlighted with timestamps:

1.) Andre Matos


A - 1:35

B - 5:30

2.) Edu Falaschi


A - 1:43

B - none (audience singing)

3.) Fabio Lione


A - 2:26

B - 6:19

If you paid attention to how Andre and Edu sang the C#5s as opposed to how Fabio sings it, there seems to be a very large change in tone when Fabio sings it. I was guessing it was whistle register but that seemed a little weird, could it be a stylistic decision to just jump straight to a C#6 in whistle? It's not like he can't handle C#5 notes - the chorus is full of them and he can handle those.

There are some other examples with other songs from the same period ('Carry On' comes to mind, with the F5-G#5s at the end), though good clips for all 3 singers for that song are a little hard to come by at the moment. In general, we rarely hear him sing notes in the higher 5th octave ranges, and I'm wondering if there's a reason for that. What do you guys think?

Edit: Not sure why the the first link doesn't embed, hmm.


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3 awesome vocalists! Good question, and might just come down to a stylistic choice. Fabio Lione sings with a more "belty", operatic tone, while Edu and Andre sang the song in a more light, "heady" tone. I think that if Fabio wanted to do those 5th octave notes, it would take more effort to belt those than sing in a light head voice, so he goes with the whistle tones.

By the way, nice profile picture, Michael Kiske is great!

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That would explain things, though I wonder what kind of sound he'd have if he went with the 'heady' tone. That'd at least be a little closer to what the other vocalists have done.

And yeah, I fully agree they're all awesome vocalists. And thanks. I really like Michael Kiske's voice - he's a major inspiration for me (on top of Andre Matos, John Arch, Alessio Garavello, and of course Geoff Tate :) among others).

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I was also very surprised when I heard Fabio scream like this. I think it sounds awesome and ultra-violent! He did it in Rhapsody too, but not very often. Here's a live and a studio example:





I don't think it's a stylistic choice, it's probably the safest way out for him.

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Really cool performances! Those screams in the Rhapsody clips do sound a bit Gillan-ish, or even Paul Di'Anno-ish (especially in the introduction of 'Killers'), though those never seemed high enough to even be in the whistle register. These are really cool notes but they're quite beyond my current understanding.

I can't quite understand how he might be doing it out of safety reasons, given that he's a very accomplished vocalist and those notes aren't exactly very high if you go with a headier placement. Then again, the screams do sound cool, but personally my preference lies more with the cleaner Andre and Edu tones :)

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To my ears he usually sings with a very chesty tone similar to Dickinson. When you do that for a longer time, it may be more difficult to lighten up to get to the very high notes. Dickinson himself admitted  that at a certain point in his early career he had to focus either on the chesty sound, or on the light, very high stuff, and he chose the first one (he doesn't do much head voice singing over D5). I think it may be a similar case with Fabio. When you listen to him singing "Nothing to Say" you can hear that he's having hard time letting go of vocal weight there in the chorus part. For some reason he finds release in the whistle voice screams.

If you want to learn this stuff, you should turn to Jens, he's got these type of sounds down. CHeck out his video:


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That's really cool stuff, definitely sounds like something useful for metal vocalists!

I checked out a clip of 'Nothing To Say' and you're right, he does seem to struggle with some parts, and that certainly corroborates well with what you said about him not letting go of the vocal weight up there.

Where did you find Bruce Dickinson talking about making the choice between the two sounds?

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Safest way?! haha youve got no clue then how hard and demanding that transition is to dolive with a blasting band when youve belted alot of tunes. Thats a choice he does, vocal wankery at it's finest to be honest, It's way way way easyer just to go with it and nail that C#5 then doing what he does in that clip :)

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  • 8 years later...

I confirm that it is extremely hard to do. Specially live. It is whistle, but with distortion. Harder than regular pop whistle. 

What I've been wondering is... Did he discover the sound on his own or does he work with the best vocal coach in the world? 

Does anyone know who his vocal coach is? (if there's any) 

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