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SmallPoxie
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:19 am 
 

Everyone knows that voices can either age like wine or age like milk.
The voice of Barnes seems to be the case of the latter. When did he started to sound strange (and bad)?

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Terri23
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:53 am
Posts: 2742
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:23 am 
 

Was he ever good? Cannibal Corpse was always about quality riffs, rather than Barnes' pig squeals.
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Metal_Jaw
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:57 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:01 am 
 

Terri23 wrote:
Was he ever good? Cannibal Corpse was always about quality riffs, rather than Barnes' pig squeals.



^ This.

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Zerberus
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:29 pm
Posts: 1792
Location: Denmark
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:28 am 
 

Come on, Barnes was great on the old CC albums.
I also rewatched Centuries of Torment recently, and on the live recordings of Barnes from back then he sounded great as well.

Like the CC guys mentioned on the same DVD, it was around the time that Barnes started SFU and was dismissed from CC that his vocals had recently started to deteriorate pretty badly.

I think his vocal style has always been marred by him never having good technique, and it just started to catch up to him. Combined with his excessive smoking, it's just a recipe for disaster. You can hear it pretty clearly in his normal speaking voice nowadays too.
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wizard_of_bore
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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:17 pm
Posts: 677
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:09 am 
 

Back when he was in CC, I thought he was great. Then Corpsegrinder from Monstrosity took over vocals and its like a world of difference. I love the old CC albums, but Barnes sounds like shit compared to what Corpsegrinder does. I was really against anyone replacing Barnes and I wouldn't even give Vile a chance. I finally did and now its my favorite CC album.
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~Guest 923966
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:25 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:24 am 
 

Zerberus wrote:
I think his vocal style has always been marred by him never having good technique, and it just started to catch up to him. Combined with his excessive smoking, it's just a recipe for disaster. You can hear it pretty clearly in his normal speaking voice nowadays too.

Indeed.

Corpsegrinder clearly takes care of his voice as he still sounds very much like he did on the ''Vile'' record.

Chris Barnes on the other hand hasn't taken care of anything, and seems to have been riding on the old media glory of his CC days and think he doesn't need to.

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draconiondevil
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:21 pm
Posts: 162
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:38 am 
 

I'd say The Bleeding is where his voice started to go. His vocals for the most part aren't too bad but on that album he started developing the bark that he's known for now. He did still sound decent for the first few SFU albums that came after The Bleeding bu that's where it started, in my opinion.

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Gunslinger21
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:11 am
Posts: 322
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:01 am 
 

Six Feet Under have put out some really killer albums dude, particularly: Haunted, Death Rituals, Undead, Unborn, Crypt of The Devil, etc. Those albums all feature some killer riffs/songs, and some of them are even a bit more technical which is a side the band hasn't explored much. The rest of the albums in my opinion are basically average. Not too bad, but man, this last album is fucked. It has killer musicians, some killer riffs/drumming, but man, those vocals are just fucked at this point. If that is the best he could do then I'm kinda dissapointed. I'm actually a big fan of Chris Barnes but I really do agree that his vocals ruined what should be a killer album, and would be otherwise.

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Zerberus
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:29 pm
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Location: Denmark
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:31 am 
 

Gunslinger21 wrote:
Six Feet Under have put out some really killer albums dude, particularly: Haunted, Death Rituals, Undead, Unborn, Crypt of The Devil, etc. Those albums all feature some killer riffs/songs, and some of them are even a bit more technical which is a side the band hasn't explored much. The rest of the albums in my opinion are basically average. Not too bad, but man, this last album is fucked. It has killer musicians, some killer riffs/drumming, but man, those vocals are just fucked at this point. If that is the best he could do then I'm kinda dissapointed. I'm actually a big fan of Chris Barnes but I really do agree that his vocals ruined what should be a killer album, and would be otherwise.


The weird thing about SFU and Chris Barnes is how uneven his vocal performances have been over the years.
For a while in the 00s his vocals were total garbage, then for Undead, Unborn and COTD his vocals got noticeably better. Then it was back to his old shitty vocal style...
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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:31 am 
 

It was definitely going by The Bleeding - iirc, he pitched things up on that album to match the music the rest of them were playing, but the Created to Kill demos make it pretty clear that his voice was in bad shape even by that point. I think it's the classic combo of bad technique + substance usage (smoke in general is horrible for vocal health) + heavy touring and living life hard while on tour.

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Gunslinger21
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:11 am
Posts: 322
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:51 am 
 

Zerberus wrote:
Gunslinger21 wrote:
Six Feet Under have put out some really killer albums dude, particularly: Haunted, Death Rituals, Undead, Unborn, Crypt of The Devil, etc. Those albums all feature some killer riffs/songs, and some of them are even a bit more technical which is a side the band hasn't explored much. The rest of the albums in my opinion are basically average. Not too bad, but man, this last album is fucked. It has killer musicians, some killer riffs/drumming, but man, those vocals are just fucked at this point. If that is the best he could do then I'm kinda dissapointed. I'm actually a big fan of Chris Barnes but I really do agree that his vocals ruined what should be a killer album, and would be otherwise.


The weird thing about SFU and Chris Barnes is how uneven his vocal performances have been over the years.
For a while in the 00s his vocals were total garbage, then for Undead, Unborn and COTD his vocals got noticeably better. Then it was back to his old shitty vocal style...


Yeah man. I don't know what it is but I notice this pattern with musicians and atheletes in particular. They can have an amazing run of success and then suddenly fall off the wagon, and it doesn't matter either young or old.

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SladeCraven
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:24 am 
 

Chris fits well on the first few albums but by The Bleeding he was starting to get a little rough for me. I respect him for his invaluable contribution to the guttural style of vocals, but there are so many vocalists that do it much better. I'm not over the moon about George's highs, but he is a much more dynamic vocalist if we're doing apples to apples.
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draconiondevil
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:21 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:36 am 
 

SladeCraven wrote:
Chris fits well on the first few albums but by The Bleeding he was starting to get a little rough for me. I respect him for his invaluable contribution to the guttural style of vocals, but there are so many vocalists that do it much better. I'm not over the moon about George's highs, but he is a much more dynamic vocalist if we're doing apples to apples.


George's highs on the albums from Vile to Evisceration Plague rule imo. On Torture he started doing a raspier high scream and IIRC more recent Cannibal albums don't even have many of those highs at all. I think he just can't do it anymore, which is fine because he is 50 now and his lows are still as killer as ever.

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Eradicatedseraphim
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 5:42 am
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:47 am 
 

Definitely the bleeding is when you could start to hear the gutturals taking his toll and the squeaky SFU vocals he’d be renowned for
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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:51 am 
 

George is definitely showing his age, but he's 50 and has been touring for a living for decades, it's inevitable. Even if you see coaches and avoid heavy substance usage, his voice in 2021 is not going to be what it was in 2001 no matter what he does. The difference is that he still sounds good and can do his parts (there are probably a few songs that he would struggle to pull off live these days, but they don't play them anyways), whereas Barnes' vocals are terminal and he is well past the point of ever being able to put on anything resembling an acceptable performance again.

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SladeCraven
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 1:51 pm
Posts: 536
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:55 am 
 

I'm a big fan of George and respect the hell out of him managing to make it through the insane amounts of touring Cannibal has done over the years and still manage to crush his vocal parts live, I've just never been super into his sound on higher range stuff. Just personal taste, but definitely not a cuss. George is the fucking man, in my book.
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Firmament1
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:40 am
Posts: 44
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:25 pm 
 

Terri23 wrote:
Was he ever good? Cannibal Corpse was always about quality riffs, rather than Barnes' pig squeals.

Yes he was. Yeah, admittedly, his high screams were never good, but his growls were pretty great.

I'd say that it started noticeably declining around The Bleeding. His voice sounds a lot more strained there. His voice sounded pretty busted in like, the 2000s, but in the early 2010s, he suddenly started sounding pretty decent again, and... Well, now, it's worse than ever. And I can't see his voice making another comeback.

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Ace_Rimmer
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 2083
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:55 pm 
 

I prefer Corpsegrinder to Barnes at any stage but Barnes was pretty good on the first few, though for me his vocals on the debut were his best.

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Fearoth
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:09 pm
Posts: 107
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:29 pm 
 



Maybe it was just a bad day, but I don't know of anyone who enjoys the "EEEE" thing he does and I'm starting to think he just does it to troll us at this point. But I guess people still go to Six Feet Under live shows.

Even his lows are no where close to how they used to sound:


but he's 53 and after decades of (weed?) abuse it's to be expected

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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:53 pm 
 

I agree with basically everybody with working ears who says he started truly sucking on The Bleeding and never recovered, but man have you ever heard isolated vocal tracks from Tomb? Dude was pretty fucking rough already by the third album.

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~Guest 923966
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm 
 

^ just hearing how he sounds there immediately reveals that he didn't do the growls properly at all... it sounds like his vocal chords are being strained to all hell.

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henkkjelle
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:54 pm
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Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:00 pm 
 

He sounds like that one time you tried death growls and thought it sounded surprisingly well, only to end up with a ripped throat for the rest of the week.

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SilverSpring2018
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Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:43 pm
Posts: 107
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:51 pm 
 

The voice thing I think is fairly recent. My sense is most people just find Six Feet Under super boring. It hasn't necessarily been his vocals. He sounded good on Torture Killer's Swarm!, but Six Feet Under's output at that point was already boring by comparison.

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Hexenmacht46290
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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:30 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:56 pm 
 

Maybe I should ask this in the musician’s forum, but how do you do growls, and other harsh vocals properly? I saw Dying Fetus, in 2018, and John Gallagher still has it, live and on the albums. And in interviews, his voice sounds pretty normal. He only does really low growls. So I’m wondering, how does one do it correctly? I’m guessing good diaphragmatic breathing?
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interstellar_medium
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:00 pm 
 

^I wrote my take on proper technique here:
viewtopic.php?p=2962189#p2962189

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draconiondevil
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:21 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:14 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
I agree with basically everybody with working ears who says he started truly sucking on The Bleeding and never recovered, but man have you ever heard isolated vocal tracks from Tomb? Dude was pretty fucking rough already by the third album.



Holy shit I can hardly believe that's real. Sounds way worse without the rest of the song. Thanks for ruining Tomb for me lol.

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Turner
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:49 pm 
 

Agreed that Barnes was never exactly the focal point of CC while he was there - early Cannibal Corpse was a band that was good enough to succeed despite a shockingly-average singer, kinda like Vio-lence. Six Feet Under doesn't really have the chops to prop him up. It's amazingly C-grade. I saw them live once and all they played was like AC/DC covers or something haha. To be fair it was cool, I was drunk as shit and it was just what I needed at the time, but it's definitely not the well-oiled machine that CC has been. It's like the death metal version of Paul Dianno's solo band... no one really cares, but he's somehow still there on the basis of something he did 30 years ago haha.

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From_Wisdom_To_Mabt
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 4:04 am
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:23 pm 
 

Terri23 wrote:
Was he ever good? Cannibal Corpse was always about quality riffs, rather than Barnes' pig squeals.


Did you really just call his vocal style "pig squeals"? That style is vastly different from the guttural style...

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blackmantram
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:50 pm 
 

I've probably said this a million times before in here, the chat and fucking everywhere, but six feet under is the most boring band ever conceived under the "metal" banner and the only reason for their "success" is the fact that it's fronted by Barnes AKA former CC vocalist and the single most overrated individual in metal ever.
That said, I don't think he ever did anything wrong in CC and I actually consider his time with the band (or rather the other way around) among the best in death metal. Sorry I've got no direct answer for the thread's question, for me, I just don't really care about Barnes as an individual at all regardless of his vocals skills (which are really not outstanding anyway. In CC he just gets the job done)

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Flugeldufel
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:41 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:30 pm 
 

I was in high school when Tomb and The Bleeding came out. At the time, it wasn't just his vocals, but his lyrics too. They were the most disgusting things my friends and I had ever read, and it added to the image of Barnes being a complete psychopath. The complete package, therefore, overshadowed whether he was any good or not, cause it was just so extreme at the time. We treated Deicide with a similar awe and shock, because they were SO SATANIC. Like the other side of the coin from Cannibal.

Of course I look at it differently after all this time, but I still love those early albums for what they are.

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Lord_Of_Diamonds
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:42 pm 
 

Gunslinger21 wrote:
Yeah man. I don't know what it is but I notice this pattern with musicians and athletes in particular. They can have an amazing run of success and then suddenly fall off the wagon, and it doesn't matter either young or old.

It's because they're pushing the body to its breaking point. You do sports or other rigorous physical activity, there are very few who can do it sustainably, because the body just isn't built to be used like that so often. That's why, when a lot of pro athletes hit middle age, they retire because their bodies finally force them to slow down. Same with death metal vocals: it's the vocal mechanism being used in a way that it's not designed to be used, so if you do it really often for extended periods of time, you're gonna experience some decay. Some people get really lucky with it, like George Fisher or Dio (not death metal, but he still sang in an aggressive metal style). But... not everyone's as lucky as George Fisher. Like Chris Barnes.

The small difference between athletics and death metal vocals is if you tear a muscle in one of your limbs, it'll heal itself eventually. If you blow your voice out, that's the only voice you've got and nothing short of hit-or-miss surgery will restore it to what it was before the injury.
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Kalaratri
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:19 pm 
 

I've never particularly thought Barnes' vocals were any good after he left Cannibal Corpse, so I'd say the entirety of his run with Six Feet Under was/is varying shades of bad. The Bleeding is where he first started to fall off though.

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doomicus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:38 pm 
 

I don't have anything of substance to add to this thread, but I wanted to voice that I bet hanging with Barnes is a riot. If anything, his persistence in putting out music is endearing.
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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:46 pm 
 

Turner wrote:
Agreed that Barnes was never exactly the focal point of CC while he was there - early Cannibal Corpse was a band that was good enough to succeed despite a shockingly-average singer, kinda like Vio-lence. Six Feet Under doesn't really have the chops to prop him up. It's amazingly C-grade. I saw them live once and all they played was like AC/DC covers or something haha. To be fair it was cool, I was drunk as shit and it was just what I needed at the time, but it's definitely not the well-oiled machine that CC has been. It's like the death metal version of Paul Dianno's solo band... no one really cares, but he's somehow still there on the basis of something he did 30 years ago haha.


Nah, I'd say that Barnes was a huge part of early Cannibal. Ask someone who started doing gutturals in the early to mid 90s about their influences and odds are almost guaranteed that Barnes and Cannibal will be mentioned first - the only one I can think of from that era who even approaches his early level of influence is maybe, MAYBE Joe Ptacek. He was objectively a massive player in the development of brutal death gutturals, and while he became a joke fast, that can't be taken away from him.

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Acrobat
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:52 am 
 

Years of heavy duty murdering have taken their toll on Barnes’ voice, whereas that poser, Corpsegrinder, has never even killed anyone.


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matras
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:11 am 
 

One factor I think people in general overlook when it comes to his voice, is the simply weird and awful production/mixing choices on most releases. His voice seldom feels like a part of the music in terms of production and is just up in your face. I think it would be far less meme-worthy if it was handled properly. And that comes from someone who actually think that SFU's got more than a handful of kickass releases.

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Zerberus
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:01 am 
 

matras wrote:
One factor I think people in general overlook when it comes to his voice, is the simply weird and awful production/mixing choices on most releases. His voice seldom feels like a part of the music in terms of production and is just up in your face. I think it would be far less meme-worthy if it was handled properly. And that comes from someone who actually think that SFU's got more than a handful of kickass releases.


Agreed. They tend to keep his vocals at the very forefront of the mix, pulling attention to it.
If they kept it a tiny bit more in the background and blended it more with the remaining audio it could probably do wonders.
I also wouldn't mind if they added a bit of reverb or something... Who knows, just shake things up a bit. The music in SFU is decent enough, just do something.
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FirebathDan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:23 am 
 

To me, personally, I find it very hard to believe people were talking about “proper” vocal technique at the time Tomb was recorded/released. I get the sense people just kind of went for it and the results were what they were.
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SladeCraven
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:30 am 
 

FirebathDan wrote:
To me, personally, I find it very hard to believe people were talking about “proper” vocal technique at the time Tomb was recorded/released. I get the sense people just kind of went for it and the results were what they were.


Agreed. Not that Chris was the first gutteral vocalist by any means, but he was definitely on the forefront of bringing that extreme of a growl to a wider audience. I have a hard time imagining him standing in front of a mirror and going, "I need to make sure I'm using good technique while I'm growling along to this music." I think he and others of the time just experimented to see what all the human voice was capable of that best fit the intensity of the music and it was only when that style became more prevalent (or in retrospect) that people started considering "technique."
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SmallPoxie
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:56 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:41 am 
 

Zerberus wrote:
matras wrote:
One factor I think people in general overlook when it comes to his voice, is the simply weird and awful production/mixing choices on most releases. His voice seldom feels like a part of the music in terms of production and is just up in your face. I think it would be far less meme-worthy if it was handled properly. And that comes from someone who actually think that SFU's got more than a handful of kickass releases.


Agreed. They tend to keep his vocals at the very forefront of the mix, pulling attention to it.
If they kept it a tiny bit more in the background and blended it more with the remaining audio it could probably do wonders.
I also wouldn't mind if they added a bit of reverb or something... Who knows, just shake things up a bit. The music in SFU is decent enough, just do something.


I really don't know if effects are the solution to fix a really broken voice. They could try though

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