Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

20 Best Collaborations in Metal

Don’t you just love it when your favorite artists join forces and sing together? It’s even better when they also happen to perform together at various festivals or tours, doubling the fun! Putting this list together was an extremely difficult task, but after much consideration here are some of the most well-known and surprising collaborations, plus some that you might have missed:

Within Temptation ft. Tarja – Paradise (What About Us?)

This collaboration is such a big dream come true for many fans of the symphonic metal genre, as two of the most well-known voices – Sharon den Adel and Tarja Turunen – have finally collaborated together on a song and the dual vocalization part is the icing on the cake. The song itself has a rather environmental edge to it, describing a post-apocalyptic world that is “not our paradise.” The subsequent performances at Hellfest 2016 and Masters of Rock 2019 only strengthened the song’s popularity.

Epica ft. Floor Jansen – Sancta Terra

Granted this is not an official collaboration, only a live one, as Floor Jansen makes a guest appearance on EPICA’s “Retrospect” concert, but this feature has sparked a newfound love for this song among fans of the genre as the voices of the two vocalists blend together incredibly well to bring a new dimension to the lyrics. The added orchestration and choirs also breathe new life into the arrangements and make it sound majestic and bombastic. 

Floor Jansen ft. Henk Poort – Phantom Of The Opera

Last year NIGHTWISH vocalist Floor Jansen took part in the Dutch program “Beste Zangers” [eng: Best Singers] where she covered many different songs ranging from the Latino piece “Qué Se Siente” to the operatic “Vilja Lied,” to the pop anthem “Shallow.” However, the song that won the world over is the duet with Dutch tenor Henk PoortThe Phantom of the Opera” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical of the same name. Theatrical, dramatic, wonderful, and over-the-top are simply not enough to describe this collaboration as the two embody their characters (Christine and the phantom) perfectly, and bring this song to life flawlessly. 

Kamelot ft. Simone Simons – The Haunting (Somewhere In Time)

KAMELOT have had many guest appearances from such vocalists as Elize Ryd, Alissa White-Gluz, Jennifer Haben, and most recently, Lauren Hart. However, the collaboration with EPICA’s front lady Simone Simons on “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)” is the most iconic of them all. The way Simone’s delicate vocals mix with Roy Khan’s deep voice gives not only more depth and texture to the lyrics, but also a very melancholy vibe to the music. A real gem.  

Apocalyptica ft. Lauri Ylönen & Ville Valo – Bittersweet

This is probably one of the best collaborations to have happened on the Finnish metal scene. Ville Valo’s suave and grave delivery contrasts and complements Lauri Ylönen’s intense and dramatic vocals while the backing orchestration is dark and ominous. How much more Finnish can you get? “Bittersweet” is a deep dive into the blue and white heart of melancholy.

Amorphis ft. Anneke Van Giersbergen – Amongst Stars

Such a bombastic, melodic, and majestic track this is. Between the magnificent vocals of both Anneke Van Giersbergen and Tomi Joutsen you really get transported to another world altogether, while the melodies from the guitars and drums fill you with joy and serenity, making for a neat juxtaposition of darkness and light. The fact that harsh vocals are only used a few times during this song, to emphasize key elements of the storyline, gives some more heaviness and volume to the song, without taking anything away from its sonic beauty.  

Delain ft. Marco Hietala – The Gathering

Marco Hietala has been a constant guest singer when it comes to DELAIN, being featured on almost all the tracks from their debut album “Lucidity” (2006) and on selected tracks on many of the subsequent albums. He was also part of the “Danse Macabre” tour, and the EP “Hunter’s Moon” features the live performance from Utrecht. “The Gathering” hails back to DELAIN’s debut and is one of the most beloved songs in their catalogue.

Orphaned Land ft. Hansi Kürsch – Like Orpheus

The video is a masterpiece in itself, describing the incredible power that music has to bring us together regardless of any social criteria, and giving us an escape from our everyday life. Now, when you combine such a story with the incredible vocal work and beautiful instrumentals, you really get something special. Mellow and subdued guitars and drums can be heard in the background, while a layer of oriental melodies add texture to the music as Kobi Farhi and Hansi Kürsch sing together to bring peace to the listener. The sparse use of growls only accentuates the beauty of this song.

Sabaton ft. APOCALYPTICA – Angels Calling

Never has the sound of two bands merged better than on this track (at least in my opinion). The thickness and darkness coming from APOCALYPTICA’s cello work fits superbly, not only as backing orchestration for SABATON’s tale of war and suffering, but as an instrument on its own, taking the music to a whole new level by enhancing the mood and atmosphere of the lyrics with passages that are at times mellow and serene and at times energetic and full of life as Joakim Brodén’s deep voice soars above everything as he delivers the lyrics with gravity and fervor. Oh, and that guitar solo is just superb.

Avantasia ft. Candice Night – Moonglow

At this point, with whom hasn’t Tobias Sammet collaborated for his metal opera project, AVANTASIA? Among the many talented guest musicians just from his latest two albums include Sharon den Adel, Hansi Kürsch, Mille Petrozza, Michael Kiske, Marco Hietala, Jorn Lande, and Geoff Tate. However, the most surprising collaboration came with the title track of his 2019 opus “Moonglow,” which feature the bright, warm vocal talents of BLACKMORE’S NIGHT’s leading lady Candice Night, who brings a sense of calm and serenity to the music. 

Dark Sarah ft. JP Leppäluoto – Dance With The Dragon

This has got to be one of the best duets of the past decade, as the vocal performances of both Heidi Parviainen and JP Leppäluoto are well balanced, neither one outshining the other but working in tandem, adding to the storytelling and atmosphere with their deliveries. While JP
Leppäluoto has a very dramatic presence with his lower vocals, Heidi Parviainen brings light and serenity with her operatic vocals; when their vocals come together in the chorus – goosebumps are guaranteed. The backing instrumental is also perfectly executed, this song really feels like a tango.

Xandria ft. Björn Strid – We Are Murderers (We All)

The industrial feel of this song works well with both the lyrical content as well as with Dianne Van Giersbergen’s fierce vocals while SOILWORK’s Björn Strid’s gritty delivery during the chorus is simply menacing. The riffs are hefty and the drums are pounding so as to draw attention to the truthfulness of the lyrics. I do think this is the most different song XANDRIA has ever done, even though the chorus section, with the choirs and operatic vocals, is very much grounded into the symphonic metal tradition. It works very well as a wake-up call as well. 

Cradle Of Filth ft. Liv Kristine – Nymphetamine (Fix)

Probably one of CRADLE OF FILTH’s most accessible songs, Gothic anthem “Nymphetamine” features the lovely vocals from Liv Kristine (ex-THEATER OF TRAGEDY, ex-LEAVES EYES), who adds so much fragility and delicacy to the song, while complementing Dani Filth’s harsher approach incredibly well. The backing instrumental isn’t as heavy or aggressive as on any other tracks from CRADLE OF FILTH, but still carry the song in a doomy direction. Definitely one of the best songs in the “beauty and the beast” aesthetic.

Blackbriar ft. Ulli Perhonen – Snow White and Rose Red

Talk about fantasy and fairytales coming to life in symphonic metal. Based on the fairytale with the same name, the track builds on the strong bond between the two main characters, while the intensity of the music emphasizes the drama of them being separated and searching for one another. Zora Cock and Ulli Perhonen (SNOW WHITE BLOOD) play the main characters with such passion and emotion, their crystal clear voices blend well together and make the listeners invested in their narrative.  

The Rasmus ft. Anette Olzon – October & April

Presenting a superb dance between darkness and light, this song so just breezy and airy, leaving enough room for the two vocalists to shine. The atmosphere is very emotional and serene, going very well hand-in-hand with both the lyrics and the delivery. Anette Olzon’s warm voice contrasts superbly with Lauri Ylönen’s deeper vocals, really bringing to life this delicate song.

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy – Starlight

Before officially joining forces for what we already know under the moniker Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, former GUNS N’ ROSES and VELVET REVOLVER guitarist worked with many different artists for his solo debut album “Slash” (2010). Picking a best collaboration from that album is very tough as each song benefits from the talents of world-renowned vocalists (Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, Iggy Pop, Lemmy,or M. Shadows just to name a few) but since the feature with Myles Kennedy continued past that point we opted for this beautiful song.

Mark Morton ft. Chester Bennington – Cross Off

This song is very special simply because it features vocals from the late Chester Bennington (LINKIN PARK, DEAD BY SUNRISE, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS). It’s deeply bittersweet to hear his signature screams and melodic voice after his passing, because on the one hand, his vocals were some of the best in the business and, on the other hand, his talent will never again be heard in a new song. The fact that the video shows the mic stand with no one behind it highlights the fact that no-one could take his place.  

Phantasma – Enter Dreamscape

PHANTASMA was a match made in metal heaven. Charlotte Wessels (DELAIN), Georg Neuhauser (SERENITY), and Oliver Philipps (EVERON) were joined by other guest musicians to bring this ambitious project to fruition and they did an extraordinary job with the magnificent rock opera that is “The Deviant Hearts.”. With an overall sweet but bombastic style to it, this is everything and more one may expect from such creative forces as mentioned above. One of the most heartwarming melodies on this mellow record is definitely the duet “The Lotus and the Willow” while the heaviest is probably “Crimson Course.” Guest vocalist Tom Englund (EVERGREY) can be heard on “Enter Dreamscape” and “The Deviant Hearts,” while Cloe Lowery (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) sings on the ballad “Try” and Dennis Schunke (VAN CANTO) lends his vocals to “Carry Me Home.” It has something for everybody.

Ayreon – Everybody Dies

Featuring the who’s who of the power, progressive, and symphonic metal scenes, Arjen Lucassen’s project AYREON has become a household name among fans of these genres. The latest album, “The Source,” is the collaborative effort of such vocalists as Tommy Karevik (KAMELOT, SEVENTH WONDER), Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH), Tobias Sammet (AVANTASIA, EDGUY), Simone Simons (EPICA), James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER), Hansi Kürsch (BLIND GUARDIAN), Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X), Tommy Rogers (BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME), Mike Mills (TOEHIDER) and many others. Like actors in a play, they bring to life the origin story of the Forever race, the rise of machines, and the need to find a new home somewhere deep in space. Really an experience, as with any other album from AYREON.

Project Aegis – Angel in the Ashes

Composed by Matt Smith (lead vocalist of THEOCRACY) and released under the banner PROJECT AEGIS, Angel in the Ashes” is an all-star charity track meant to help raise funds to feed the homeless and refugee families in Greece. It features vocals of Rob Rock (IMPELLITTERI), Daisa Munhoz (VANDROYA, SOULSPELL), Vasilis Georgiou (SUNBURST, BLACK FATE), Leah McHenry (LEAH) and Matt Smith, and a guitar solo by Gus Drax (SUNBURST, BLACK FATE).

Side note: On 7 February 2020, PROJECT AEGIS released a new song titled “And the Rest is Mystery” with the profit going to Legacy Music, a nonprofit organization that provides music lessons to children and teens.

Written by Andrea Crow

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