Top 5 Metal Vocalists – By Conflicted’s Jason Orton

Conflicted's four-octave frontman gives us his list of the best voices in the world of metal.  

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


Conflicted is a progressive metal group with power metal influences hailing from Toronto, ON. Their newest full-length release, Never Be Tamed, hit US/Canadian stores on April 12th, featuring the award winning 4-octave vocals of Jason Orton. Never Be Tamed is full of addictive, musically adventurous songs featuring virtuosic performances delivered with a fire and passion. Based on their reputation for stunning live performances and a rapidly growing international fan-base, Conflicted was named "Best Metal Band" at the 2010 Toronto Independent Music Awards and also earned three prominent ImageFM Radio 2010 Annual Independent Music Awards.


With the band fixed on our radar, we reached out to Conflicted's wailing frontman to get his take on the best vocalists in the game, and some of his answers may surprise you. 


Jason Orton's Top 5 favorite metal vocalists:


It's quite exciting to write a blurb on my top 5. After all, if it weren't for them I might not have been inspired to do what I do, or how I do it. Vocalists have always made it or broke it for me as a listener – rooted as a Beatles fan, I have always been into melody, harmony and lyrics first. The rest of the song is just background for me as a listener. My top 5 vocalists have not only inspired me musically but have also inspired my life and future. I'd like to think that each of my favourite vocalists influences can be heard in the work I do with CONFLICTED.


5. IAN GILLAN (Deep Purple): I would say that if I were to put in to two words why I sing they would be IAN GILLAN (Deep Purple). I remember attaining a copy (from my mother's friends) of Machine Head when I was 12 years old. I must have listened to those intro screams on Highway Star a million times, wishing I knew how he did that! IAN GILLAN was also the first Jesus in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. His performance was incredible to say the least. IAN GILLAN is the most fearless vocalist I have ever heard. I have always kept IAN GILLAN close when performing live.


4. GEOFF TATE (Queensrÿche): Once I decided that I would become a singer I remembered back to a former band mate, a singer, telling me that GEOFF TATE was as close to perfect as possible. So along with taking vocal training I used to go to our band's rehearsal unit and sing "The Warning" CD through almost every night that the band wasn't rehearsing. GEOFF TATE's performance on Rage For Order has always been my favourite, but let's face it: Mind Crime was the band's "Sgt Pepper's". I remember watching GEOFF TATE's performance on video at the "Hear'n Aid" sessions. He was the strongest singer their. So inspiring for a young vocalist!


3. RONNIE JAMES DIO (Black Sabbath & Dio): He was the mastermind behind "Hear'n Aid". He, too, was a master. I met him once, many years ago. He was so small, but his heart and his voice were absolutely massive. He autographed my shirt but he didn't want to because he didn't want to wreck it. Can you imagine his autograph ruining anything? What a humble guy! My favourite aspect of RONNIE JAMES DIO was not just his voice but his lyrics. The lyrics to Heaven And Hell are in my opinion the greatest lyrics in metal.


2. ROB HALFORD (Judas Priest): Throughout the years there is one vocalist that I have been compared to more than any other. The funny or ironic thing is that I had been singing for a while before I really ever listened to ROB HALFORD. Sure I had heard Judas Priest and even owned a few of their CDs but was not a really big fan even though the vocals and production was always top shelf. I remember buying Painkiller before any of my friends just so I could say that I had it first. I popped it in and WOW….  the opening track blew my mind. Instantly hooked! ROB HALFORD is THE Metal God!


1. FREDDIE MERCURY (Queen): Finally, though never really thought of as a "Metal" singer because of the commercial success that Queen had, FREDDIE MERCURY is my all time favourite vocalist. This band has always blown me away. You really have to dig though to find the heavy stuff, but it's their. Stone Cold Crazy in my opinion sounds heavier by the original artists than ANY cover I've ever heard! What really grabbed me with FREDDIE MERCURY was the Night at the Opera album. Check out the vocal solo in "The Prophet's Song", the cutting lines in "Death on 2 Legs" and of course "Bohemian Rhapsody". Absolute brilliance without formal training.


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