Who Is The Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalist Of All Time? PHILIP ANSELMO Weighs In

May 16, 2020

Who is the greatest heavy metal vocalist of all time? Philip Anselmo — a vocal great in his own right, with bands such as PANTERA and DOWN to his name — makes the case for JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford in a video uploaded by Revolver magazine earlier today. Check it out below.

"Hands down, Rob Halford," Anselmo said. "Absolutely." He then hesitated for a few seconds before also giving major props to late BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and HEAVEN & HELL singer Ronnie James Dio. "Dio. Ronnie James Dio — my Lord, what a powerful presence. [Rob and Ronnie] both — if you were standing on the side [of the stage], they were the loudest freaking thing on that stage. If you went around the front, they were the loudest thing on that stage. So it was amazingly powerful."

In a 2010 interview with Antiquiet, Anselmo said about Dio: "Ronnie James Dio was probably one of the coolest motherfuckers in the biz. A lot of people could say that and just be talking nice, but I'm being very sincere here. PANTERA first did a gig with BLACK SABBATH and Dio in '93, I believe. It was in Italy. He was just the most down-to-earth motherfucker. He toked weed with us after the gig, he sent 'War Pigs' out to me. He was just a very, very engaging person. Really, really sweet, real down to earth. He kept in touch throughout the years, and DOWN ended up playing some shows with SABBATH and Dio a couple years ago. Once again, I just wanna let everybody know that this guy was just one of the true good guys of this entire fuckin' business, man."

Back in 2014, Anselmo told Rock Scene that Halford was a huge influence on him when he first started developing his singing style.

"I don't think I started maturing as a vocalist till I was 15," he said. "And then after I started to mature, everything happened really quickly, and my range grew mightily. And it was quick, it happened quick. By that time, I'd started jamming with older guys, whatnot, and I would come home from school every day and practice JUDAS PRIEST's 'Unleashed In The East' front to back and do it the way Rob Halford did it.

"People who think Rob Halford uses falsetto are sadly mistaken; that's a full-out voice, and that's how I learned," he continued. "And I never had falsetto; I've always sang full out. Eventually, when I found and wanted and needed to find my own identity, I purposely kind of abandoned that style because, in my mind, it had already been done before and done the best it could be.

"There's only one Rob Halford," he added. "I know there's some other guys that could sing very well and whatnot, but that style, I thought, had been done to death, and heavy metal needed a new attitude, I guess, brought to it instead. And it was already there; there was already the first METALLICA record and SLAYER, for sure and whatnot. And don't get me wrong, Tom [Araya] could hit those high falsetto notes, but that's not what SLAYER was about; it was more about aggression, especially vocally. So it was all happening around me. I just needed to get that perfect blend, man, of hardcore attitude from bands like AGNOSTIC FRONT, CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER… shit… obviously BLACK FLAG and… so many others. It's unbelievable how many influences I used and incorporated. I even used death metal moments and whatnot, cup the mic, shit like that, for effect. So I always evolved."

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