The vocals are more often than not the most memorable aspect of music - the words we learn and sing back to our friends, the vocal melodies that we find ourselves humming in the shower, and the pure emotion that a good vocalist is able to convey.
Rock and metal music in particular rely on powerful vocal techniques that only few can achieve, pushing people to their physical limits. Here's our list of 12 of the very best vocalists to have come from the world of heavy tunes:
Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
The voice of a generation, Chester Bennington packed the innate ability to convey emotion in his vocals like not many others could. Whether it be through melancholic crooning or blood-curdling screams, Chester could be both heard and felt with a huge impact.
He also had an effortless control over his vocals, being able to deliver some mind-blowing live performances over the years. Also, remember that insane 17-second scream in 'Given Up'? Yep, he pulled that off live too.
Even though Chester tragically passed away in 2017, his legacy will live on forever!
Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle etc)
Mike Patton is an absolute freak. We mean that in the best possible way of course, after the man has treated us to some of the most absurdly-talented vocal performances of all time in his many projects spanning Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Dead Cross, Fantmas, Tomahawk and heaps more.
It doesn't seem like there's anything this man can't do - we've heard him rap, yell, scream, shriek, croon and basically everything in between over the last 25-odd years, and a 2014 study over at VVN Music found that Mike Patton actually had the highest recorded vocal range in music at a staggering 6 octaves. Add to that his Mondo Cane album covering Italian pop music from the 50s and 60s, and you simply have one of, if not the most diverse and incredible vocalists of all time.
Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad)
Another all-time great from the metal realm, Devin Townsend has one of the most powerful voices you'll ever hear! Devy's thunderous fry screaming is matched equally by his beautiful, almost operatic clean singing, and it just makes it look so effortless.
He's an impeccable live performer with complete control over his voice, and doesn't take any shortcuts around his most difficult notes either.
The fact that he's maintained such an impressive voice for over 25 years is a testament to his technique. Could you imagine Strapping Young Lad with a different vocalist at the helm? We can't either. A mad genius, and one of a kind!
Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio never had vocal lessons, but said he'd built up a solid breathing technique through playing the trumpet in his childhood years.
He didn't boast the vocal range of someone like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), or the extremely high-pitched wailing style popular in metal around that time, but he had such a distinct flavour of his own with a raspy power that added to the epic nature of his lyrics.
It's a style that's incredibly hard to replicate, and one that made Dio the undisputed legend that he is. Rest in power!
Lzzy Hale (Halestorm)
Lzzy Hale sits firmly in the conversation for greatest rock vocalists of all time, constantly pushing herself to new heights with each new release. An explosive power, energy and vocal distortion lifts Halestorm's rock anthems to an entirely new level, and it's almost impossible to not stop what you're doing and take notice.
A top-shelf performer and an inspirational figure for aspiring female musicians - what's not to love?
Chino Moreno (Deftones)
Can you find us anyone who sounds like Chino Moreno? Chino's instantly-recognisable voice is a huge key factor in Deftones' unique and unmatched sound, with haunting whispers, banshee shrieking and ethereal passages that transport you to another realm altogether.
The vocal melodies you get on a lot of Deftones tracks are also pretty off the beaten path and not what you'd expect to go over the instrumentation, and for someone who has had no formal vocal training, he just makes it all work so well.
Chino also sports one of the highest-known vocal ranges at a very respectable 4.5 octaves, equaling the likes of John Bon Jovi.
Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
Is Bruce Dickinson the best metal vocalist of all time? You could easily make the argument for it; that insanely high vocal range and quasi-operatic style has been the cornerstone of Iron Maiden's unrivalled legacy over the years, and the madman continues to absolutely slay past the age of 60!
He's also another entry to this list who has never received formal vocal training, which is kind of mind-blowing considering how flawless his execution is. Some fans aptly call him the "Air-raid Siren", and it's very easy to see why.
Amy Lee (Evanescence)
If we're talking singing voices, then Amy Lee just simply can't be ignored. From the delicate and smooth 'My Immortal' to the powerful 'Bring Me To Life' and countless other bops from their catalogue, Amy just oozes a natural vocal talent that has made her an icon in many different circles around the music world.
Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down)
Phil Anselmo's voice is basically the sound of testosterone, but there's still a huge vocal range behind that insanely-deep speaking voice of his. What makes Phil so great is how easily he's able to go from sounding like he'll beat you up for your lunch money on a track like Pantera's 'I'm Broken', to hitting some sky-high operatic notes at the end of 'Cemetary Gates'.
An astonishing voice which made Pantera one of the most legendary bands to have been born into the heavy music world.
Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour)
Anyone who has ever listened to Slipknot can tell you what an absolute beast of a vocalist Corey Taylor is. He's able to go from terrifying screams to melodic clean vocals at the drop of a hat, and he's often showcased that he's not just the loud mouthpiece of the nu-metal band, but can also hold his own as a singer too.
His solo acoustic performance of Slipknot's 'Snuff' is a beautiful testament to his diverse ability, and his status as one of the best vocalists in metal today.
Rob Halford (Judas Priest)
The Metal God himself, Rob Halford has one of the most powerful voices to ever grace a musical recording. Painkiller is the gold standard for metal vocals, but Halford has also been known to sing blues, thrash metal and ballads with perfect execution.
He might not be at 100% of his glory days, but cut the man some slack - find us another 69 year old who can still belt like Rob! Their latest album Firepower came out in 2018, and is the perfect example of why the man will go down as a musical legend.
Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer)
Maynard's vocal style is layered and complex, just like a lot of the music he's involved with, but he always seems to have a knack for getting the exact right mood the song is calling for.
Tool's 'Sober' is a great showcase of Maynard's dynamic range and ability to hit a range of notes in quick succession, but he's also given some amazing performances with A Perfect Circle and Puscifer too. A super unique and irreplaceable voice.
Jonathan Davis (Korn)
Mikael kerfeldt (Opeth)
Serj Tankian (System Of A Down)
James Hetfield (Metallica)
There are so many other great metal vocalists out there - what would your list look like? We'd love to get your takes.