How To Sing Like Bobby Liebling of Pentagram
I still remember the first time I heard the crushing intro riff of Sing Of The Wolf from Pentagram's first official release, "Relentless". Catchy, Crunchy, Deep, Dark and oh my god... that voice!
Hearing such heavy music with clear, crisp, multi-layered clean singing was just such a breath of fresh air in the 90's when everyone else seemed to get be getting more aggressive and further and further away from 'real' singing - and I've been a lifelong Pentagram fan since.
At my vocal studio I get asked about all kinds of singers, mainly the 'big' singers like Jon Bon Jovi, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Adele and also a bunch of pop stuff I have to admit I just don't enjoy - so I decided it was high time that I started sharing the singers that I loved and doing vocal tutorials and illustrative covers from the artists and bands that truly led me to my career as a professional singer.
Let me start by sharing this cover of Broken Vows from 1987's Day of Reckoning, and then we'll talk about what I learned from the process of putting the cover together for the BVS vocal channel and how you can apply some of these concepts and some of that classic 'Bobby style into your own singing.
The Three Things I Learned From This Cover
Before doing this Pentagram cover, I went back and listened to all of my old Pentagram albums and a bunch of the original 70's stuff that sadly never made it to an official release - Lazy Lady, Walk In The Blue Light, Starlady and so many other incredible songs that were lost in time for so many years.
From this massive listening session, I realised one very stark reality about why I loved Bobby Liebling's singing so much - it wasn't about the range, or the distortion, or the vocal pyrotechnics.
Almost all of Bobby's singing is absolutely clean, clear and sung without distortion or aggression.
That's right - you might think that this isn't such a great thing when it comes to such incredibly heavy and crushing songs; but there's just something spine tingling about the way Bobby repeats "Live Free and Burn... Now You're Gonna Learn" in Live Free and Burn, or that catchy refrain in Sign of the Wolf "And I don't know how but it's happening to me"
I realise why after all these years I just go NUTS for heavy music with great, clean, melodic singing that doesn't delve into power-metal theatrics - this was exactly what I wanted to do when I was a beginner singer, before becoming obsessed with range, and compression and vowel modification; sing with flair, personality and power.
Let me share with you the three things that I learned from singing this Pentagram cover;
#1 - Bobby Sings absolutely clean over these brutally crushing riffs
#2 - He ducks the consonant sounds in SUCH a sinister way unlike any other singer
#3 - He was a master of doubling the vocal track on Pentagram albums
How I Learned To Sing Like Bobby Liebling
Alright, you've checked out the cover and the vocal tutorial - you've listed your OWN three things that you love about uncle Bobby's incredible voice; and you want to get started learning how to sing.
Let me tell you exactly how I've been able to develop the stylistic choices and ability that allows me to sing Pentagram songs with ease, while also still sounding "like me" - you'll notice from my other covers and vocal tutorials that I'm also able to do the same thing with Layne Staley, Jon Bon Jovi, Mark Lanegan and so many others at the same time without being 'stuck' singing in one style.
You might also notice from quite a few of my videos, in particular the Mark Lanegan cover I released recently where I'm singing down to a B1 that I'm actually a baritone with quite a low voice naturally.
Do you want to know how I built the strong foundation that allows me to make so many stylistic choices with ease?
The Four Vocal Fundamentals.
That's right - it's not some fancy schmancy vocal mode, or belting, or vowel modification; just these four simple but powerful vocal fundamentals;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
By raising the soft palate to create Height In The Vocal Tract, singing up into the bones of the face to create Forward Placement, balancing your air/compression/support to sing "All In One Flow" while aiming for a balanced and Mixed Tonality - you really do open up a world of vocal range, stylistic choice and just an unearthly amount of power and high notes in your singing voice.
And with these powerful fundamentals comes the ability to make all kinds of cool choices - not just to sing one classical vowel while sounding like an Opera singer.
For me personally, The Four Vocal Fundamentals have been an absolutely life changing experience.
Aren't you excited to see how much they're going to improve your singing voice too?