Author Topic: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread  (Read 4659 times)

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Offline Scar

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Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« on: August 20, 2016, 01:32:08 PM »
Is there anyone here who actually enjoys MP's vocals??

For me, it's a mixed bag. Some of them are pulled of nicely: POW, Strange Deja Vu, War Inside My Head, As I Am, Honor thy Father, The Root of All Evil, CM, TCOT....

Some of them....no: ANTR, AROP, TGP, TSF.....

But, there are more songs that are pulled off well. His backing vocals makes the presence much more filling....anyone else?
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Offline Ravenfoul

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2016, 01:54:37 PM »
I'd agree it was a mixed bag. MP's vocals on other projects are actually pretty great, too. His harmonies in Flying Colors are great, or at least, I think he does some in FC?

For DT, I actually like TGP lol. War, As I am, Strange and Constant Motion. Did he do vocals in TCOT??

I wasn't a fan of ANTR or AROP either, unfortunately. I think it's good to have an appreciation thread for this, because IMO it did add a layer of depth, even if it was inconsistent every now and then. Mike's a very musical dude at the end of the day.

Offline Scar

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2016, 01:59:29 PM »
I'd agree it was a mixed bag. MP's vocals on other projects are actually pretty great, too. His harmonies in Flying Colors are great, or at least, I think he does some in FC?

For DT, I actually like TGP lol. War, As I am, Strange and Constant Motion. Did he do vocals in TCOT??

I wasn't a fan of ANTR or AROP either, unfortunately. I think it's good to have an appreciation thread for this, because IMO it did add a layer of depth, even if it was inconsistent every now and then. Mike's a very musical dude at the end of the day.

Agree. :)

And for TCOT, I'm not sure if it counts, but he growls, "I!"
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Offline ChuckSteak

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2016, 02:13:49 PM »
With all due respect, I think he should keep his mouth shut and play drums.
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Offline Adami

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2016, 02:14:36 PM »
He's an okay vocalist. I think his main strength (vocally) is coming up with cool and interesting harmonies/melodies. If he just found other people to sing all of them, it'd be cool.
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Offline millahh

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2016, 02:20:44 PM »
When I think of MP's vocals, the one thing that keeps popping into my head is the "but there may not be on" line from the Live Scenes performance of ACoS, where he sings it in major instead of minor.  Which may not be fair to his overall body of work, but it is what it is.

I may not always be a huge fan of them, but I do appreciate that they mixed it up from time to time.
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Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2016, 05:26:06 PM »
He's an okay vocalist. I think his main strength (vocally) is coming up with cool and interesting harmonies/melodies. If he just found other people to sing all of them, it'd be cool.

Exactly, like the queen vocals in PoW. Which are awesome, and sad he didn't do them live.
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Offline red barchetta

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2016, 05:48:16 PM »
I think he's a good singer and his input of doing the backing vocals live was important. It's really missing now and it gives less harmonies to the band live. It easily shows.
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Offline CoT67

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2016, 01:46:09 AM »
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Offline Bertielee

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2016, 01:49:23 AM »
MP had great ideas for harmonies and a very musical ear. Yet, I just can't stand the color of his voice in DT, because it didn't mesh very well with JLB's voice IMO.

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Offline Mladen

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2016, 03:41:10 AM »
Mike was great about hearing a cool vocal harmony and finding a way to get it on the album. Some of my favorite Dream Theater vocal harmonies are on the final Portnoy-era albums. As far as songs where his vocals are more dominant go, I've grown to enjoy the controversial section of A Nightmare to remember. I'm not too sure about some of the others, though.

Offline McNugg

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2016, 05:30:21 AM »
I really enjoyed the lead vocal parts he sung in "Set Us Free" from Transatlantics The Whirlwind.  He sounded good in that I thought, especially since it was a lead vocal part.

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2016, 08:36:56 AM »
MP had great ideas for harmonies and a very musical ear. Yet, I just can't stand the color of his voice in DT, because it didn't mesh very well with JLB's voice IMO.

Agreed.  He's not much of a singer, but when he does little moments with Flying Colors, Transatlantic or Neal Morse, I am usually fine with it, but for some reason, they usually didn't work well in Dream Theater, when he would sing lead, since, like you said, his voice didn't mesh well with JLB's at all, so when they would do call and response stuff, it just didn't sound good; the chorus to Constant Motion is a good example. The harmonies in the studio were usually fine (like in Fatal Tragedy).

Offline Infinite Cactus

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2016, 10:03:52 AM »
I loved hearing more live harmonies when he was in the band. The issue for me, has always been the color of his voice in comparison to James. In the mid range, JP and Mike can sound similar to each other, which makes their harmonies blend very well. I think the best stack is from low to high, Mike, John, then James. That way you get MP's rougher nasally voice blending with JP's smooth, yet similar sounding voice, then James' super smooth slightly nasal voice. This creates a very deep and textured sound. It also works pretty well when MP has to sing lighter, and is in the middle of JP and James. It's really just when he sings higher than James, or just him and James with no JP that it doesn't seem to work as well. But Beautiful agony, is wonderful. Forsaken sounds clean and great. Prophets of War is awesome since it's a wall of John and Mike. A Rite of Passage is a very weird stack of harmonies.

/rambling about harmonies like I'm on the Beach Boys Forum.

Offline Mosh

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2016, 10:12:33 AM »
I really enjoyed the lead vocal parts he sung in "Set Us Free" from Transatlantics The Whirlwind.  He sounded good in that I thought, especially since it was a lead vocal part.
Doesn't Neal Morse arrange those parts for him? I find stuff he does with NM flatters his voice more than a lot of what he did in DT.

That said, I do actually miss some of the backing vocals from MP in DT. The chorus of The Bigger Picture really felt like it needed some MP backing vocals, for example. I also don't dig the backing tracks they're using live, but it's also hardly noticeable when you're actually at the concert anyway.

As for the vocals themselves, I agree that it's mostly a mixed bag. When he's doing harmonies with JLB or some call and response sort of thing, those are usually really good. It doesn't work as often when he's taking more of a lead vocal role.

I don't mind the controversial ANTR section. I think the hate it gets is really over exaggerated. 


Offline Madman Shepherd

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2016, 10:13:50 AM »
While he was in the band he always drew a little controversy (nothing like after he left) and one of the hot issues was his vocals.  I always dug them for a bit of a contrast from James's voice, even though I have always loved everything about James's voice. 

When Mike left and James started to handle all of the vocals in the studio again, I realized how much I didn't miss Mike's backing vocals.  I think that some of them work fine but the majority probably would have worked as good or better if James just handled it all.  To me, Mike's vocals never really seemed to be a detriment (I didn't even have a problem with the "cookie monster" vocals) but I'm glad that James is doing it all again. 

Offline 425

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2016, 02:28:35 PM »
I really like MP's voice for what it is—which is (IMO) a very good backing voice and a decent occasional lead voice.

I completely agree with those in the thread who said he came up with great ideas for vocal harmonies and melodies. I love what he did with Prophets of War, for example. I think he also did have some moments where he was a good counterpoint to or blend with JLB. For example, The Root of All Evil, the verse "never could have just a part of it."

I also like the Nightmare to Remember growl section.

And I agree that his voice in Transatlantic sounds quite good, better than with Dream Theater. Absolutely love the chorus to Set Us Free, like that he gets his turn on the Whirlwind main theme in Out of the Night, and I absolutely love the sections where they show off all four voices (Black as the Sky, Stranger in Your Soul, Suite Charlotte Pike).

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2016, 03:49:24 PM »
I'm not the biggest fan of him singing but I think his awfully loud back vocals on LSFNY really add something to that release :D Love how raw he and JLB sound, truly *live*, without (many) overdubs.
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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2016, 08:29:34 PM »
I liked his voice when singing harmonies to JLB.

As a standalone singer, not so much.
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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2016, 06:48:15 AM »
I like his harmonies in the bridge section of "I Walk Beside You" live on Score.. Also gotta love the revolving microphone for his parts.   :metal
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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2016, 06:52:56 AM »
I liked his voice when singing harmonies to JLB.

As a standalone singer, not so much.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2016, 08:44:33 AM »
I always enjoyed his vocal parts.  There is only one I can think of that didn't really work for me (the "rooooooaaaaarrrr!" in ANTR).
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Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2016, 09:04:33 AM »
I always enjoyed his vocal parts.  There is only one I can think of that didn't really work for me (the "rooooooaaaaarrrr!" in ANTR).

Same here.

I find it funny people complain about DT using backing tracks, but forget they used them on PoW live with the backing vocals in the verses, those awesome high pitch MP vocals, which I expected him to do live.
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Offline Casino-95

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2016, 10:06:51 AM »
I just wanted to say that I love his vocals in the chorus of "Blind Faith" ("invisible," "predictable," "desirable," "regrettable").

Actually, I think all of his vocals on the 6DoIT album worked and enhanced those songs.

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2016, 12:01:27 PM »
MP had great ideas for harmonies and a very musical ear. Yet, I just can't stand the color of his voice in DT, because it didn't mesh very well with JLB's voice IMO.

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2016, 03:12:56 PM »
I always enjoyed his vocal parts.  There is only one I can think of that didn't really work for me (the "rooooooaaaaarrrr!" in ANTR).

Same here.

I find it funny people complain about DT using backing tracks, but forget they used them on PoW live with the backing vocals in the verses, those awesome high pitch MP vocals, which I expected him to do live.
Or people just aren't really aware of that. They rarely played that song and it wasn't on any live recordings.

Offline Lynxo

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2016, 02:20:37 AM »
I always enjoyed his vocal parts.  There is only one I can think of that didn't really work for me (the "rooooooaaaaarrrr!" in ANTR).

Same here.

I find it funny people complain about DT using backing tracks, but forget they used them on PoW live with the backing vocals in the verses, those awesome high pitch MP vocals, which I expected him to do live.
A couple of things:
- Those particular vocals would be impossible to recreate live, due to it being so many voices. Just about all other live vocals they ever did in those days were always live.
- Nobody was lip synching to that backing track so nobody tried to pass it off as live, when it wasn't. Which is what they do these days

As much shit as some people give MP's vocals, for the most part I thought he was an excellent backing vocalist. And his insistence to always to it proper live was always something that I respected. I don't really respect Petrucci when he's lipsynching but all I hear are layers of Labrie vocals. Or even worse, a single Labrie vocal seemingly coming out of Petrucci's mouth. (The Mirror on Breaking The Forth Wall.)
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Offline TAC

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2016, 05:50:54 AM »
You know what I liked about them? The fact that he took them seriously and worked to improve. I appreciated that.

There is only one I can think of that didn't really work for me (the "rooooooaaaaarrrr!" in ANTR).
This is how I feel.


I'm a huge Prophets Of War fan, and I thought his "rap" part (I know not technically rapping, but not sure how else to describe it) was awesome.
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Offline Scar

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2016, 06:42:17 AM »
For the growls, lemme ask you guys this. What did you think of Akerfeldt on ANTR? Do some of you dislike nightmare's growl overall or the tone Portnoy uses?
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Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2016, 07:17:09 AM »
More the tone. It's not even a growl more like simba trying to roar.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2016, 07:17:49 AM »
There is no growl on ANTR. If they had done a growl as MP originally suggested, I would not have liked it no matter who did it.
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Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2016, 07:27:35 AM »
There is no growl on ANTR. If they had done a growl as MP originally suggested, I would not have liked it no matter who did it.

I'm still interested in hearing the JLB vocals. If they do decide to play this live again, will JP mime that part?
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Re: Mike Portnoy's Vocals "APPRECIATION" Thread
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2016, 07:32:21 AM »
I think Portnoy made some nice backing vocal contributions to DT, i always liked when he sang backings together with Petrucci.