At the end of August, Pennsylvania hardcore/metalcore outfit Century released its third album, Red Giant. The group's emotionally-charged lyrics are given a fiery delivery via the combined efforts of vocalist Carson Slovak and bassist/vocalist Ricky Armellino. On this album they recruited some back-up to help on vocals. That back-up came from … Kevin Martin of Candlebox?
On the track “Oak God” (which you can listen to here), the song starts with Slovak and Armellino trading off intense barks. The track continues to build in intensity, and then at the two-minute mark, the soaring melodies of Martin kick in and he guides the song to a glorious landing. Reaching out to this icon of mid-'90s mainstream rock was a risky move, but it paid off here.
Other metal bands have taken the risk of bringing in someone from outside the firmly established metal realm to varying levels of success, as you will experience below with the top five WTF guest vocals in metal.
5. Soulfly – “Son Song”
Soulfly's 2000 album Primitive was an uneven proto-nu-metal affair loaded with guest stars. The list of names joining band leader Max Cavalera included Chino Moreno, Tom Araya, and Corey Taylor. The odd name that stuck out on the list though was Sean Lennon, who co-wrote this very personal tribute to family that has passed on.
4. Metallica – “The Memory Remains”
Lou Reed is not the first '60s art-rock icon that Metallica has worked with. On this single from 1997's ReLoad, Marianne Faithfull warbles her way through a nonsense chorus. The song was a hit on the mainstream level, but was seen by many hardcore metal fans as another example of the band turning its back on the sound that earned its fan base in the previous decade.
3. Rhapsody – “Magic Of The Wizard's Dream”
European fantasy-metallers Rhapsody (now Rhapsody Of Fire) scored the narration services of Christopher Lee for their 2004 album, Symphony Of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret. With a title like that, it just wasn't epic enough for Lee (fresh off of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy) to simply narrate. He also provides a golden throat on this power ballad. Very haunting, and we're not quite sure if it's in a good or a bad way.
2. Winds Of Plague – “The Warrior Code”
The Ultimate Warrior
Century isn't the only metal band this year to pluck a forgotten icon out of hiding. Halfway through SoCal deathcore group Winds Of Plague's new release Against The World, the breakdowns and cookie growls stop momentarily, replaced by a brief ramble from former WWF great, The Ultimate Warrior. Set against the backdrop of the band's crunchy riffs, “The Warrior Code” stands up well side-by-side with the ex-wrestler's bizarre promos from his heyday.
1. Black Sabbath “The Illusion Of Power”
Ice-T was no stranger to the rock world, having courted controversy in the early '90s with his band Body Count. But it was still jarring when Black Sabbath, one of the pioneers of heavy music, released its 1995 album Forbidden with a leadoff track featuring the rap icon. The legendary band had lost relevancy in the 1990s with Tony Martin on vocals. This desperate cry for attention did not end up helping matters. Ice-T drops in at the 2:27 mark of the above song. It doesn't quite work, but we are curious as to what a whole album with him on vocals would have sounded like. It would have been more interesting than anything else Sabbath did during the post-Ozzy/post-Dio years.