The Best Hard Rock Vocalists in Phoenix

Sydney Dolezal of Doll Skin.
Sydney Dolezal of Doll Skin. Jack Lue

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click to enlarge Christian Lee of Sectas. - KRISTEL REGALADO
Christian Lee of Sectas.
Kristel Regalado

Christian Lee of Sectas
Christian Lee picked up guitar around the age of 5, went on to mimic Dokken records, and later fell in love with the vocal styles from acts like Flotsam and Jetsam and Death Angel — all of which led to him becoming the guitarist/singer he is today. The trio Sectas are reminiscent of bands like Megadeth, Rush, and Led Zeppelin, a fusion of flamenco and progressive Spanish guitar with melodic vocals. In 2015, the band won the L.A. Music Awards’ Producer’s Choice Hard Rock Band of the Year. Lee’s style is all about balance: melodic vocals with rhythm guitar, bass, and drums, giving each instrument plenty of time to shine. He’s also adamant that he does not need to have a screaming vocal element in Sectas’ music in order to be categorized as hard rock or metal, contrary to the feedback Lee has said he’s received over the years.

click to enlarge Nate Butcher in As Thick As Thieves. - TAG PHOTOGRAPHY
Nate Butcher in As Thick As Thieves.
TAG Photography

Nate Butcher of As Thick As Thieves
As Thick As Thieves’ frontman Nate Butcher started his music career in Phoenix by DJing as part of the rave scene, all about the hip-hop and electro. He went on to front a 311-esque band (among a handful of others), and later recorded a solo song that a producer played for the band As Thick As Thieves. Butcher’s vocals are thick and throaty, yet versatile. For example, he can flawlessly pull off a cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” then immediately launch into an original As Thick As Thieves’ track, packed with drawn-out bridges and raw verses. The band members asked him to come on board, and they’ve since released an EP. They're currently working on new music, and have opened for bands like Dope and P.O.D.

click to enlarge Leon Lindon of Phoenix & Dragon. - SCOTT SANDRY
Leon Lindon of Phoenix & Dragon.
Scott Sandry
Leon Lindon of Phoenix & Dragon
Leon Lindon’s singing career began at a young age and was rooted in classical compositions. He went on to form an avant-garde theatrical rock group, and after that group released an EP and disbanded, he found his true passion in heavy metal. Taking a cue from his classical background, Lindon began studying the vocal styles of legends like Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio. Although the vocalist didn’t join Phoenix & Dragon until the start of 2016 (and recorded his first track with the band toward the end of that year), it was an ideal fit. The band were already known on the Phoenix scene for high-energy shows and intricate musical execution. Lindon brought a fresh vocal style to the act. Currently, the band is working on its debut full-length album, set for release in 2018.

click to enlarge Jason Payne of Sanitation Squad. - MICHAEL WESALA
Jason Payne of Sanitation Squad.
Michael Wesala
Jason Payne of Sanitation Squad
Formed after an Iron Maiden show in 2008, Sanitation Squad are desert hard rock at its best. Currently working on their second full-length release, the band's known for apocalyptic themes and lyrics centering on paranoia, disasters, and the chains that bind us all. Other band members provide backup vocals, and Payne’s lead vocal style is reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson, early Dave Mustaine, and Rob Halford. It’s an ideal mix of punk, rock 'n' roll, and youthful thrash metal.

click to enlarge Joe Cotela of DED. - JOE ORLANDO
Joe Cotela of DED.
Joe Orlando
Joe Cotela of DED
DED's Joe Cotela has a history of working in bands that gain traction quickly. The origins of DED trace back to the band The Cover Up, which led to Man Made Machine. While that band was gaining national attention, Cotela and the drummer decided to form DED along with two other musicians (formerly of Greeley Estates). Cotela’s vocal style offers a powerful, consistent layer over hard-driving instrumentals. His lyrics explore dark lyrical content about the human condition and horror imagery, and Cotela jumps from guttural screams to melodic wails. The band's first radio single, “Anti-Everything,” premiered on Sirius XM Octane, and the band embarked on a tour with Korn and Animals as Leaders in May 2017.

click to enlarge Dylan Neuman of Emerald Isle. - EMERALD ISLE
Dylan Neuman of Emerald Isle.
Emerald Isle
Dylan Neuman of Emerald Isle
Emerald Isle is a bit of a diamond in the rough. They won the 2013 Arizona Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, and since then, the band's progress has been slow but sure. The band incorporates the classic energy of heavy metal, the unpredictable electronic style of nu-metal, and a mix of raucous growls, screams, and soaring melodic vocals — courtesy of lead vocalist Dylan Neuman. While other members provide some backup vocals, Neuman's known for his ability to alternate between clean and heavy vocals, and he has learned from some of the best. His father is one of Arizona metal’s most charismatic figures: Prophet of St. Madness. Emerald Isle appeared at Anaheim’s 2017 Winter NAMM Show, released a video from their second album, 2016’s Lost Empires, and are currently working on new music.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise