SBR Top 7 Male Vocalists of 2021

We like to celebrate the dark art of extreme vocal styles at Scream Blast Repeat, but our favourite singers have the range as well as the rapacious pitch. 2021 saw legends like Devin Townsend and Mike Patton release records and also witnessed the return of Bruce Dickinson.

The sub-genre with an abundance of talent appears to be in the deathcore scene. Few modern vocalists turn heads in extreme music, but Will Ramos of Lorna Shore got the attention of everyone with a You Tube account and an algorithm set to metal in 2021. The man who established himself as one of the finest vocalists of his generation in 2019 also returned with a new Whitechapel record. Phil Bozeman gets better and better on every release, in line with the development of his band.

At the other end of the spectrum, Einar Solberg (Leprous) and Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract) continue to calibrate their vocal range and technical prowess to new levels of virtuosity. The world of progressive metal houses the finest singers in the world bar none, many of whom should be back in the fray in 2022.

For now, here are the SBR top seven male vocalists of 2021…

7. Scott Ian Lewis (Carnifex)

The deathcore genre might not be to everybody’s taste, but few can dispute it produces some of the most versatile and innovative vocalists in heavy music. Carnifex and their frontman are veterans of the scene, but Scott Ian Lewis is one of the finest growlers and fry scream maestros in contemporary extreme metal. As we said in our review of the latest Carnifex album: “Few bands can match this level of brutality and keep you on the edge of your seat.” The steel pipes of their vocalist are a big part of this triumphant delivery.

Read the original SBR review of Graveside Confessions by Carnifex here.


6. Michael “JJ” V. Wahntraum (Harakiri for the Sky)

While Between the Buried and Me beat them to the accolade of best double album of 2021, there’s no doubt Harakiri for the Sky can take their place in the elite. Are they black metal, post-hardcore, post-metal? A big part of this conundrum is the transcendent aggression of their frontman, As we noted in our review of Mӕre, “J.J. unburdens his heavy soul like a confessor who outgrows the need for his priest and discovers God in himself through confronting his demons and turning them into tools of self-realisation.” One wonders how his gullet will ever produce intelligible words again after his throat shredding performance on this record.

Read the original SBR review of Mӕre by Harakiri for the Sky here.

5. Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth)

We must have at least one superstar in our top seven, and who better than extreme metal’s most outspoken and distinctive vocalist, Dani Filth? The man whose range lies “somewhere between a pig squeal and an aggressive power metal transgression” surprised us all this year when he announced the likelihood of a future collaboration with fellow Suffolk native, Ed Sheeran. While the prospect of this duet might not get the pulses racing, Cradle’s thirteenth album showcases Dani at his blood-thirsty best.

Read the original SBR review of Existence is Futile by Cradle of Filth here.

4. Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract)

Tesseract vocalist, Daniel Tompkins, might be the most technically-accomplished singer in rock and metal. He’ll probably secure the number one spot in 2022 if/when his band release their much-anticipated fifth album. We had to include the Englishman in our top seven after his phenomenal vocal gymnastics on Tesseract’s PORTALS record. Though boasting no new material, the live-in-the-studio album deserves a place next to Depeche Mode’s 101 and Nine Inch Nails’ And All That Could Have Been as a run through the band’s back catalogue and introduction to those that have yet to discover the genius of Tesseract. And, yes, it looks like Daniel will be expanding his more aggressive style on the next LP…

Read the original SBR review of PORTALS by Tesseract here.

3. Will Ramos (Lorna Shore)

The last thirty seconds of Lorna Shore’s ‘To the Hellfire’ is that moment in 2021 when you stopped what you were doing with mouth agape and a frown brewing on your face. Will Ramos’ vicious death grunts are unlike anything ever heard in extreme metal. As we advised our readers: “Imagine a flu-ridden tyrannosaurus rex giving birth and reacting to contraptions that become more agonising by the second.” It won’t be making radio anytime soon, but it marks a new frontier in extreme metal voice art. The new vocalist of Lorna Shore is the man that can take the band to the next level.

Read the original SBR review of …And I Return to Nothing by Lorna Shore here.

2. Jake Dieffenbach (Rivers of Nihil)

Jake Dieffenbach was quite the colossus on the Rivers of Nihil 2018 breakthrough record, but now he can produce an emotive croon to match the jaw-dropping power of his harsh vocals. The band’s latest album, The Work, is “a reminder that extreme music can articulate a linear narrative with the same efficacy as the prog rock albums of yesteryear.” Dieffenbach’s baritone whispers and monumental roars are the foundations holding the music in place and guiding the arc of the storyline. Prog metal has a new warrior.

Read the original SBR review of The Work by Rivers of Nihil here.

1. Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel)

They don’t sound like a deathcore band these days, but Whitechapel’s embrace of prog metal mirrors the evolution of their frontman’s voice. Nobody enunciates the death growls with as much clarity as Phil Bozeman, yet his exploration of the gravel-throated Kurt Cobain technique and four-octave range of Maynard James Keenan shows that the Tennessee native will not rest until he redraws the boundaries of his comfort zone. Does anyone have better-oiled pipes than Bozeman in 2021? We don’t think so. This man is on another planet.

Read the original SBR review of Kin by Whitechapel here.