EDIT: Added technical guideline #11.
Ok, so I want to like heavy (thrash-like) metal, but after I started getting into it I realized that I don't actually like 99% of the metal out there.
Ultra TL;DR: Not looking for black/death/speed/sludge/goth/doom/stoner/glam/progressive metal or *core. Power metal likely not because of vocals.
Yes I HAVE listened to many of the major bands (Iron Maiden, Slayer, Motorhead, Kreator, Anthrax, Testament, Exodus, Overkill, Saxon, Sabaton, Nightwish, Panzer, Pantera, Rammstein). Some of them have newer stuff that I like (such as videos below) but their older stuff is muddy or with unintelligible vocals.
Other recommendations I've heard (and didn't like, for obvious reasons stated below): Gojira, Tool, Opeth, In This Moment, Dream Theater, Nevermore, SEX MACHINEGUNS, 3 Inches of Blood, Mercyful Fate, Ghost, King Diamond, Watain,Hammerfall, Manowar, Tyr
Before replying, a basic TL;DR and guidelines for suggestions:
- Don't make suggestions if you don't understand what I'm looking for and what my problem is!
- no cookie-monster metal, growling, plain yelling, or screeching
- no falsetto or smooth singing
- no long drum/chug lines. it gets too repetitive, and faster ones (speed metal-esque) put me on edge. Instrumentals should have original style/rhythm
- song-writing should be done by someone in/for the band and take into account what pitch the singer is using for that song... pauses in instrumentals should be used if needed
- in addition to other points, audio should not be 'muddy' ...that being when too much is being played at a high speed (especially at a close pitch and volume) that is all mushes together. vocals should be louder than the instrumentals!
- vocal style should be 'snarly'. An understandable yet throaty voice (sometimes higher than usual, but never too high or low... usually wider range of ups and downs), like some variety of madman
- enunciation should be clear. no slurring or mumbling. Along with the vocal volume, vocals should be recognizable over comfortable-volume speakers without concentrating on listening.
- looking for coherent style and consistent quality yet varied sound. This goes back to writing, every song should not sound the same
- little or no repetition (or slight repetition but with variations) is appreciated.
- more variance! Little or no reliance on fill patterns, more tone/mood/styles of songs, more possible instruments (and effects like pedals), etc. Should feel like the band has a dedicated writer who knows what they're doing, and should feel consistent enough to not feel like experimentation (see post 17 and 23 for more info)
Additional, less technical preferences:
- no bands that frequently do long songs and instrumentals (no more than 5 minutes)
- not interested history, fantasy, or religious themed bands
- looking for bands with mostly good stuff, not something I have to pick through with albums or individual songs too much
Note: The first metal band I listened to was Metallica (I wasn't crazy for it sound length+instrumentals was what drove me away). After that, I decided to listen to Megadeth after seeing/hearing the name quite a bit, and I loved it! Sadly it seems most Thrash is nothing like Megadeth. So Megadeth is the best example of what I'm looking for.
Normally a power metal band, but this song is much different. Particularly after 00:40 and when the vocals come in, though I don't like many of their other songs:
Similar to above with power metal:
Old band resurfacing with clearer songs:
And yet again (although I dislike the x9 usage or 30 seconds worth of "Liiike a batter-ing RAAAAAAM"):
Fairly average until the 'drop' at 3:10 with a vocal change (to what I like, besides the falsetto glam scream endings):
Most of these examples are chosen because of vocal style and clarity... obviously I don't have much choice here on examples, and most are one-offs/rarities for certain bands that just for some reason do something majorly different and hit a really good vocal style they do for almost nothing else.
I left off a newer song by Annihilator because it's an extremely cynical view on modern society (and hey, at least other thrash is somewhat over-violence like something you might see on a gory cartoon). I also left off Iron Maiden off... because while the remaster effort of their old stuff is really cool (and the stuff can be pretty catchy, especially some of the licks) but sometimes the vocals still aren't clear enough (sometimes dialect/slurring, especially in combination with the loudest parts of instrumentals). Also I really want to like 'From Here to Eternity' (that lick, the vocals are decent) but the main chorus gets so repetitive (it's two lines repeated a dozen times-with 'hell' being said and emphasised on 27 times-remove or reduce the chorus and it'd be great)!
Most of these new songs released by old bands were through their record labels like it was a timed release (like 2 or 3 bands release clear songs on the label channel in the same month) so maybe this is a label push? Maybe they're pushing for new artists like this?
Again, no half-hearted suggestions please, with the 'rejected' list, guidelines, and examples it should be more than enough. If you're a huge metalhead who likes it all and has no idea what I'm on about, feel free to just browse this for anything people recommend (even If I don't like it, maybe you will).
One-offs are acceptable, particularly if disclosed as such. I really like some of them (even though I wish there was more), and at very least it's more examples.