I’m a huge fan of all types of vocal styles, and this year was a bumper crop. From ethereal female singers to classic metal style vocalists, here are my top 10 favorites of 2016.
10. Vasilis Georgiou of Sunburst
Album: “Fragments of Creation”
Vasilis’ immense vocal style is reminiscent of Roy Khan (ex-Kamelot) and Henrik Båth (Darkwater). If that doesn’t interest you, I don’t know what will. Vasilis blows us away with massive range and the passion that prog metal is known for so well.
9. Jerzy Antczak of Georgius
Album: “String Theory”
Jerzy’s performance could very well have been my favorite of the year, but this position feels right somehow. His thick Polish accent and high energy mesh perfectly with the complicated vocal melodies he performs. If there is one major find for me in 2016, it’s Georgius.
Isgaard is, well, Isgaard. Her voice is truly unique in many ways, and her Kate Bush style of vocal inflections keeps me coming back for more. Isgaard is truly capable of some incredibly difficult vocal fireworks, and her newest album showcases that well.
7. Stefan Zell of Wolverine
Album: “Machina Viva”
When I first heard the new Wolverine album, I thought for a second that the singer had been replaced by Erik Rosvold of Cynthesis. It seems that Stefan’s vocals, or perhaps the composition of his vocal lines, has greatly matured and moved into the truly sublime realm. Stefan sounds amazing and his emotive style is something special.
6. Marjana Semkina of Iamthemorning
Marjana always delivers with her whimsical voice. With a spiritual presence and a poet’s heart, she delivers difficult lines to us with true passion. Not only are the vocal lines generally difficult, but the topics are also difficult from an emotional standpoint, and she makes us feel every bit of it.
5. Sean Thompson of Odd Logic
Album: “Penny for Your Thoughts”
When I first heard Sean’s voice, I knew that I was going to love this album. Sean has a buttery smooth voice with a unique high range. Not only that, but the vocal melodies he writes are incredibly addictive and will remain with you for a long time. I can’t wait to see what he is doing next.
4. Tom Englund of Evergrey
Album: “The Storm Within”
There isn’t much that can be said about Tom. He’s a legend. On Evergrey’s latest, Tom showed that he still has the range and especially the emotion to stand tall with anyone else out there. His ballads are still second to none.
3. Douglas Skene (and company) of Hemina
While Douglas is the lead signer, all of the band members sing. Their ability to harmonize really makes Hemina standout from other prog metal bands. However, Douglas himself has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard, featuring gravy lows and sublime highs.
2. Joe Payne of The Enid
It’s funny that Joe is on this list. Joe has a voice that simply sucks you in and doesn’t let go. However, I wasn’t a big fan of the latest album from The Enid. Joe is basically the only bright spot for me. Now that he’s left the band, I’m excited to see where he will land. He’s got the talent to become a sensation.
1. PJ Dourley of TILT
When TILT sent their debut to me, I had no idea that PJ’s vocals were going to be so damn good. PJ’s voice is velvety smooth, but it also has this character and personality to it that make it memorable. When I was trying to think of my favorite performances of 2016, PJ’s exceptional voice and interesting vocal melodies kept nagging me to place them first. So here they are.