Talk:Death growl

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  1. January 2006 – End 2006

Pig squeals[edit]

I cleaned up article and took part about pig squeals out. They are definatly not growling so they don't belong here.

Added Mark Jansen[edit]

Mark Jansen is indeed a key death grunt/scream vocalist, I added him.

Added Sean McGrath & Ross Sewage[edit]

These two inpaticular are essential to the development of the death grunt/scream vocalizations, I added them.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Impaled Incision (talkcontribs) 14:19, 16 May 2007 (UTC).

According to who? Cite a source or gain consensus instead repeat adding those vocalists. --Leon Sword 03:37, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Growled vocals[edit]

No sources have shown "death grunt" to be the most common term for this vocal style, so, for now, this page should be titled "growled vocals." Jon138 21:32, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Based on what criteria is growled vocals the best term - I didn't see any discussion reaching consensus? All articles link to death grunt anyway. try starting up some discussion first before taking such drastic measures. Spearhead 21:57, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I have taken out the line about using the diaphragm because it is not correct. The diaphragm can only be used for inhaling, as, like all muscles, it can only contract in one direction. It is the intercostal and abdominal muscles that are active in the expiration phase of breathing or singing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

And,....George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse?[edit]

Corpsegrinder (Actually lead vocal in Cannibal Corpse) can be considered as an example of very extreme death grunt?,...I think that his voice is very brutal,...Thanks for your attention. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dcamposurquiza (talkcontribs) 14:23, 26 January 2007 (UTC).

No...there are thousands of people using the death grunt. The short list on this page is supposed to only contain some vocalists that played a part in it's development. Isilioth 11:30, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

New list of artists[edit]

It seems unproductive to have a list of key vocalists and yet have no separate list of other people that also use this style in their music. At the moment, these names are added to the existing list and almost immediately removed – a separate list would give these names a home, without being overly trivial. I imagine that such a list might be quite long and eventually require a separate article, but not so long as to be completely useless. The only argument against another list that I can think of is that there may be a few artists who only border-line on death vocals. I suggest that from this point on, rather than removing anonymous entries they should instead be added to a new list (if appropriate). — Lee J Haywood 21:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead - I proposed that long time ago, but no one seems to be interested in doing it, altho I'm not sure a list is necessary. Maybe a category would be more suitable. Anyway the list would be long, including all singers of death metal and grindcore bands as well as lots of gothic metal, doom metal and probably other singers. Spearhead 21:32, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
A category is a sensible alternative, but it would suffer from giving a long list of people without the names of the groups that they belong to. Now that I think about it, a few people will have used these vocals in several groups – but then lists can handle that too, see for example List of female television actors. Thanks. — Lee J Haywood 22:09, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Looking through some of the discussions above, I'm forced to recognise that I'm not familiar with enough artists to make such a list by myself. I had hoped to use the edit logs to gather together other contributions, but the repeated renaming of the article seems to have truncated its history. Also, I can see now that such a list would be almost as difficult to keep clean as the list of 'key' vocalists – as there would be argument over who should truly be on it and who doesn't count... Personally, I'd be more interested in a list of bands than people, but that seems out of touch with this article. — Lee J Haywood 11:26, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Added Ross Dolan. Again. Undone. Again.[edit]

Someone who thinks he or she knows everything there is to know about death metal keeps deleting Ross Dolan (Immolation) from the list using revisions. Please don't. The man has a very distinct and easily recognizable voice and is also one of the very few vocalists who can pronounce his lyrics clearly while utilizing a very deep growl. He's been an influence for well over a decade now. I think that removing him and at the same time keeping guys from fringe bands like Mourning Beloveth on the list isn't very prudent and subjective to the extreme. On the other hand, if you want to be anal about control: go ahead. It isn't that important. Harachte 00:59, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Is he a "Vocalists essential to the development of the growl"? "a very distinct and easily recognizable voice" isn't a good reason. "is also one of the very few vocalists who can pronounce his lyrics clearly while utilizing a very deep growl" is also not true - there are several examples, such as Dave Ingram Karl Willetts, Nick Holmes and POV. "He's been an influence" is debatable. If I think of Immolation, I think more of the guitars and drums, not the vocals that are only in a reach of 2.5 notes or so. "He is also notable for having extremely long hair" (from Ross Dolan is also a silly statement to add. Spearhead 15:47, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


If anyone wants they can use this template {{User Metal Singer}} on their user page... it looks something like this:

Metalsign.jpg This user growls in a heavy metal band. Musical note nicu bucule 01.svg

. Asics talk Editor review! 18:52, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Joe Wolfe, Blue Jensen and Nikfuk[edit]

I believe that Joe Wolfe of Heinous Killings, ex- Clean Flesh, Erotic Incisions, should be added to the list of pioneers of the death grunt. He has proven himself as to having the lowest guttural vocals with his most recent release, Hung with Barbwire by Heinous Killings. Along with Joe Wolfe, I think that Blue Jensen of Guttural Secrete should be added for having very unique, low, gurgle vocals, and having a rapid rate of delivery. Nikfuk, the vocalist of Sikfuk, should too be added most notably for his lack of lyrics. It has been said, that Nikfuk does not write his lyrics down but rather writes down vocal patterns for performance and recording purposes.

The following are websites that have recordings of the musicians:

Blue Jensen - Joe Wolfe - Nikfuk -

These three very influential vocalists should be added to the list of death metal grunters. They are the sound of the new wave of death metal. Thank you for taking the time to read my claim and more importantly listen to the links i have provided, and hopefully make the changes to the list. 06:33, 6 March 2007 (UTC) a helpful metalhead

Also Wayne Knupp of Devourment should be added to the list. Though Knupp's work was predominatly in the mid-1990s, he was one of the first to use ultra low guttural vocals. His tone has become the benchmark for brutal death metal vocals, since his leaving Devourment.

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

I really don't see why this article is titled death grunt when most people know the vocal style as growling. I see people objecting to the use of the term death grunt in the discussions, people use growling in the discussions, regardless of the title of the page, and in most magazines, newspapers, e-zines etc. growling is by far the most commonly used term.

I saw google results was mentioned in a discussion about the topic, but to get somewhat valid results you have to know how to search. Here's some results from google, using quotation marks to make sure the words are used in the right context, and putting a minus sign in front of "wikipedia" and "" to try to minimize any biased search results caused by this very article. It's not entirely unbiased, as there are other web sites wich have wikipedia articles on them, but it nevertheless gives a reasonable picture of which of the two terms are the most commonly used:

"death growl" -wikipedia : 10.600 results "death grunt" -wikipedia : 850 results

"death metal" growling -wikipedia :186.000 "death metal" grunting -wikipedia  : 49.900

"death metal growling" -wikipedia : 3.110 "death metal grunting" -wikipedia : 440

"death metal" growl -wikipedia :111.000 "death metal" grunt -wikipedia : 34.900

"death metal vocals" growl -wikipedia 14.900 "death metal vocals" grunt -wikipedia : 946

And finally, the meaning of the words themselves gives quite different associations to the vocal style. Growling is defined by as: "To utter a deep guttural sound of anger or hostility", and by the American heritage dictionary as: "The low, guttural, menacing sound made by an animal". Right in the vein of the aggressive nature of death metal. Grunting, on the other hand, is defined as "to utter a deep guttural sound, as a hog does" Pigs wallowing in the dirt is not what first comes to my mind when I listen to death metal.

I think the whole idea of wikipedia is undermined if one or two persons are governing the titles, what terms to use and the content of the articles. I haven't seen any good arguments to why this article should be titled death grunt, other than "I have always known it as death grunts" wich is irrelevant and purely anecdotal. But to follow that argument I will say that I have always known it as death growls, and I heard it back in 1908, so I am right and you are not. The second argument was: "why change it anyway... every thing seems to link here and the most dominant terms are mention in the first line". And that was the end of discussion. In other words, the message was "yeah, maybe it's wrong, but why change it? If we spread the disinformation to as many people as possible, for a long enough time, someday it will become truth" Which is commonly known as propaganda. I'm sorry, i got a bit carried away there, but I hope you get my drift. I hope someone change the title of the article, or that there at least will be a decent discussion without "I heard" or "I have always" in it. --Anabiose 00:20, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I support that death grunt be moved to death growl. I aggree with Anabiose, every reference to this singing technique I have heard or read has been "growling" or "growled vocals" or the most common, "death growl". I had never heard of the term death grunt until I was redirected to this page. I think the article should be moved to the most common name used because it's definately not death grunt. A reference that is currently being used in the article, [1] never even mentions death grunt only growling. Oh and by the way, if you look at the archived talkpage you will see that a number of people have suggested before that the page be moved to death growl.--Leon Sword 04:56, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
SupportPomte 21:14, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

This article has been renamed from death grunt to death growl as the result of a move request. --Stemonitis 06:23, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Opeth's Singer...[edit]

Can someone please tell me why he keeps getting added to the list? What did he do that was so important?? The Key Vocalist section is supposed to contain only "Vocalists essential to the development of the growl and the bands they represent". Wow, Mikael used clean vocals as well as growls. But what did he contribute to the development of the growl? Nothing. If I were to record an album with me growling and rapping, would that make me "essential to the development of the growl"? I will continue removing his name from the key vocalist section. Isilioth 09:16, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

In the article, it once again reads: "Stainthorpe was one of the first to combine growls and clean-singing, a technique which was developed further in large part by Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt. In gothic metal, the growls are typically contrasted by female operatic vocals." What makes using both growls and clean vox in a song a "technique"? If I was to growl and vomit, would that also be a special "technique"? Also, what does gothic metal have to do with this article? Uhh...I see no reason for that be mentioned... Isilioth 09:20, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Because if you are going to put in a section talking about clean Vocals and Growls together at all, He is one of the bigger influences. If you have that part at all, Then Include him. Dont want him in it, Get rid of that particular peice. If not, Stop whinging like a little girl and leave him there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:20, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

There is more important growl-singers than this short list[edit]

Why the hell Devin Townsend and Amorphis singer Tomi Koivusaari are not in the list. They are also most important growlers. Justin Broadrick also must be in the list.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:08, 16 May 2007 (UTC).

Who is an important growler is a matter of opinion, and the short list is for "key vocalists", not for "people who use growled vocals". By the way, sign your posts. --Leon Sword 22:19, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Glen Benton?[edit]

Considering some of the others on the list, I think the frontman of Deicide would fit right in. While he didn't exactly invent the death growl, "Deicide" was released in 1990 and I think is a pretty influential death metal release. Any opinions? Demonofthefall 11:22, 20 May 2007 (UTC)


What about Nergal from Behemoth? Isn't he a key death metal vocalist too? Bopash4 09:44, 29 May 2007 (UTC)Bopash4

Nope. Behemoth didn't exist until 1991, and initially they were a black metal band, Nergal's vocals included. Wasn't until 1999's "Satanica" that the band changed their sound to blackened death metal. (Admittedly though, Nergal is imo a damn fine death metal vocalist, probably a favourite of mine.) Demonofthefall 12:11, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Key Vocalists[edit]

The list of key vocalists needs to be cleaned up - the first two entries, Angela Gossow and Quorthon need to be placed in the correct alphabetical order. Also, the wikipedia article on Quorthon states that his full name is Ace Thomas "Quorthon" Forsberg - the entry here should probably also be expanded to show the full name, as with George 'Corpsegrinder' Fischer, and so forth.

Also I'm not sure what the purpose of the list is when most of the people in the list are discussed in the main article itself. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy 07:33, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Mentioned Inhales, Powerviolence vocals need mentions[edit]

I sure hope this doesn't get deleted again. The technique is invaluable to the history grindcore and pornogrind.

I also think it is important that someone mentions the ridiculous vocals that powerviolence bands use. I really don't know what to call them, I've always refered to them as hort vocals. I do think they should be mentioned as a variation because they are infinitely differint from the death growl itself, but are used constantly by powerviolence and powergrind bands. 19:02, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Louis Armstrong[edit]

This is the singing voice used by Louis Armstrong, isn't it? He should be mentioned somewhere among all the death metallurgists. Flapdragon 13:35, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Um sorry man but... that's just funny —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Louis Armstrong uses a different growling style as well as many other jazz and blues singers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Hillarious. (talk) 07:43, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Hurt voice[edit]

"Growls can be obtained with various voice effects, but the effects are usually used to enhance rather than create, if they are used at all. Voice teachers teach different techniques, but long-term use eventually wears the voice out, so any technique is actually for "less harm", not for harmless vocalization."

I happen to know that the death growl is one of the easiest extreme vocal technique to perform without injuring the voice. I'd recommend somebody give me sitation on that.

Ok, to expand on my earlier post as I was pressed for time. The death growl technique is a rather easy technique to perform. Basically you sing out of your diaphragm and do absolutely nothing with your throat. The only articulator you use would be your tongue which you push to the roof of your mouth. This is why damage when performing this technique (if you are doing it right, look not to Barney Greenway [Napalm Death] for a proper death growl) is minimal, possibly even less than clean singing. Other screams such as metalcore/emo/punk screams and black metal shreiks cause varying amounts of damage, because they use various degrees of the true and false vocal chords to articulate the sound, while no death growler should ever have to be replaced if he takes care of his voice and doesn't shoot up too much coke.

I'm wondering about this, too. I don't have any real information with which to back it up, but I've been using a death growl for years now and honestly haven't noticed any effect on my voice or health in general except for a sore throat for a day or so after long practices or in cold weather. Like the above poster noted, most other musical voices, like black metal rasps or that awful "screaming" seem like they would be much worse. I know it's not submissibile as part of the article, but a friend of mine has done noticeable damage to his voice singing in a scream band for only a year or so. Seems like we could remove it unless anybody has something they can cite otherwise. --Col.clawhammer 07:56, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

The article now lists a source that says that supposedly death growls hurt your voice... It also says that death growlers often use vocal fry or false vocal chords. I've always just used my daiphragm and shaped the soundes with my mouth. It works pretty well and I don't get any kind of sore throat and the sound is pretty great. It comes out sounding very low and gutteral. Of course if you are using vocal fry while death growling you are gonna f--- your throat up. But honestly, that's negligable since vocal fry is neither necessary to death growling nor is it recommended. Dunno though. I still think it should be removed, but its not my call. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

The link to polyps doesn't mention them being on vocal chords at all. Perhaps the proper term is vocal nodes? I came to wikipedia today to find info on this, and can't find anything. Also, having just gone to a Tuvan throat singing workshop today, I'd question the whole damage thing. Like most singing, some ways of doing it wear down the voice, and other ways don't. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The link to polyps doesn't mention them being on vocal chords at all. Perhaps the proper term is vocal nodes?
The proper term, as far as I know, is nodules. Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure if death growls really hurt your voice or not. I've started doing them here recently and my vocals are fine. Screaming I'm not so sure of though. However, and I know it can't be used, but I know this guy who's vocals are just fine and he screams for my bestfriends band. So yeah, I don't know how he does it but it doesn't seem to hurt his vocals.Emo777 (talk) 19:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Melissa Cross' DVD series "The Zen Of Screaming" could be a good source. A very low Vocal fry is widely accepted among professionals to be the only safe method of Rock rasp and Death growls according to the DVD. Because the screaming is created via amplification through microphone. Not through raising the voice. When amplified you get that growl or rock rasp. Depending on what you try for. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Growling Vocals - a Brazilian Study[edit]

I'm student of Speech Therapy [Logopedie] in Brazil. I'm researching about 'grunten' or growling vocals [death grunt/death growl] used by Death Metal singers. I would like to know if you have some articles about death growl/growling vocals. I'm have difficulties because many terms exist in english to define this type of voice, while that in portuguese the term exists only is "gutural". However, have no studies about this theme in Brazil. You also can indicate scientific sources about my theme? I will be much grateful.

Send me anything. Any help is valid. I'm very grateful for your attention and I hope your answer.

My e-mail:

More key vocalists[edit]

These guys need to be added:

I mean: these all are from the influential/important bands who play or played death metal and own their unique-style. PS. This is definitely NOT my opinion of POV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Then be bold... if it is not simply your POV, then add them with a citation explaining why they're important. Other editors of this page should possibly bear this in mind as well, as the article's beginning to look like a list in prose form with little or no actual information about death growling in it. Blackmetalbaz (talk) 19:54, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I removed a number of examples from the list of vocalists that mix death metal vocals with clean ones; it was getting overly long and beginning to sound like POV-pushing... I fail to see how many of the newer acts listed could be regarded as notable for this particular style; what we really want are those pioneers that popularised the technique. Similarly, the list of terms for death growls is getting ridiculous; I recommend we demand a source for each and every one or remove them. Blackmetalbaz (talk) 12:40, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed inclusion of Phil Anselmo/Pantera[edit]

I'm not quite sure who added him, but it definitely gave me a giggle this morning. Atonal crooning and screaming has no fundamental connection to the death grunt, and that's pretty much Anselmo's style just like all the other groove/post-thrash singers. We might as well add Rob Flynn, too, while we're at it! LOL --Danteferno (talk) 15:55, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

LOL I couldn't agree more --Kmaster (talk) 16:42, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Literature on this sort of stuff[edit]

Does anyone know of any books on the technical aspects of how the body works while singing like this? I know there is the Cross instructional DVDs, but they didn't really have what I was looking for. I am looking for books or other sources that are more focused on the actual sound, instead of just who sings what and general descriptions of the sound. Probably a stretch, but I thought I would ask anyways.

The article states: "Death growls are sometimes criticized for their ugliness". I would like to know where in this book it says that? I'm not criticizing, I just don't want to go looking through a 600 page oversized book to find it, and I need it for a reference. :) Ibanez Guy (talk) 07:16, 5 March 2009 (UTC)


I'd like to point out that the terms growls or growling, death metal vocals, death grunts and harsh vocals, guttural vocals or (uncommonly) unclean vocals respectively are not synonymous. Harsh vocals etc. are general terms for "extreme" metal vocals, death grunts etc. are obviously specific to the vocal style typically used in death metal. While the correspondence may not be perfect, black metal bands typically use a higher pitched vocal style, described as screams or rasps. Growls and grunts are also sometimes found employed as less specific umbrella terms for harsh metal vocals, but this is not entirely proper usage as they refer to low-pitched death metal vocals specifically. This is my personal observation of the usage of other metal fans. As original research, I cannot add all this to the article, of course, but I'd like to mention it here, at least. Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:27, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I think it's also worth mentioning that the terms clean and melodic vocals/singing are used as catch-all terms to describe non-harsh vocal styles in general when contrasted with harsh vocals. Even pop vocals might be used, though this tends to sound derisive. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:37, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
See also this interesting discussion, which reminds me that black metal vocals are also often described as "shrieks" and that another umbrella term could be "aggressive vocals". Rapped vocals are outside of the clean/harsh dichotomy, I think; they are not clearly harsh, so by default clean, but they are clearly not melodic, either; like Sprechgesang and spoken word parts, while they are vocals, one would hardly describe them as "singing", while harsh vocals are more readily described as a form of singing. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:05, 17 March 2015 (UTC)


An article about growling without a single mention of Angela Gossow? For shame, you sexist editors... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Actually if you notice Angela's technique (regardless of pitch) is much closer to screaming than it is to growling. (talk) 15:58, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Sexist because one vocalist who happens to be female isn't mentioned? Geez, what a narrow statement. Also, it's spelled as "what". Backtable Speak to meconcerning my deeds. 01:47, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
"Wat" != "what". It's Internet slang. Check Urban Dictionary or Know Your Meme, or something. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:50, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson[edit]

I'm not an expert and am just passing through without a dog in this fight, but Charlie Patton and Blind Willie Johnson, both of whom recorded in the late 1920s, would be much earlier and far better examples of proto-growling than Screamin' Jay Hawkins' drunken gabbling. Take it for what it's worth, editors... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Skip Zipper (talkcontribs) 00:03, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Bad Vocals?[edit]

this should not be listed as a synonym for the growl, it does not mean the same thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Merge with Screaming (music)[edit]

I mean they're both pretty much the same thing. Should we consider merging the two pages under the one title screaming (music)? -- (talk) 08:16, 22 March 2011

I don't think they are the same thing, not that it isn't worth merging though because there are definitely some similarities. Just don't call the page Screaming (music). I don't know what you would call it. I just wrote a thesis on singing in extreme metal and I used the term "unpitched singing" (or "pitch irrelevant"), though that required some definition. What else could be an appropriate article title? The style of singing isn't exclusive to metal/punk, but would an title like "singing in extreme metal" (with an "origins in punk" and an "other uses" section) make any sense? I don't know, I'm just throwing ideas out there. Ibanez Guy (talk) 04:06, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Well I didn't mean exactly the same. I was meant to say similar. Yes in a way they're different, but I do think merging is a good idea. How about we merge the two in to a new page called maybe something like Harsh vocals, Harsh singing, Dirty vocals, Unclean vocals, etc... and on that new page we can have separate section between screaming, and death growl and their difference. You know what I'm saying? -- (talk) 06:03, 23 March 2011
I support Ibanez Guy's view. Just because those technics are different from the traditionnal "clean" (pitched) signing doesn't mean they are necessarilly similar, nor that they should be dealt as a general "unclean" categorisation. Alpha Ursae Minoris (talk) 22:25, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
But should consider merging the two pages with different title? Like I said earlier, we can separate them into two sections but on one page. -- (talk) 11:50, 23 March 2011
I would be in support of that, but I just don't know what to call it. But, I just don't know if any of those page titles are really accurate. I spent a lot of time reading up this subject, so maybe in the next few days I will see what terminology is used by relevant sources and see if anything is useful. Any other ideas on names? Ibanez Guy (talk) 19:06, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. How about titles such as, shout vocals? I think that couls work because bands with screaming/death growling is referred as shout vocals on various pages. But I know what you are saying we need proper sources that suggests that. -- (talk) 21:51, 24 March 2011
I've already addressed this problem under #Terminology. Among metal fans, the general term I've most commonly encountered is harsh vocals, which is opposed to clean vocals, i. e. regular singing. Harsh vocals are a subset of vocal extended techniques, speaking from the perspective of musicology.
The main problems with treating this subject from a scientific/academic point of view are: 1) Harsh vocals are predominantly used in underground popular music, which is even more underresearched than more mainstream popular music, 2) professional voice pedagogues (with the notable exception of Melissa Cross) refuse to touch this subject as they believe (this is perhaps a prejudice unjustified by experience) that harsh vocals are always harmful to the voice in the long run, 3) the subject could be researched in the context of musicology, the applied science called vocology, or phonetics (compare phonation, especially vocal fry, to see the intersection of vocology and phonetics, even though I don't think harsh vocals as used in extreme metal are based on the vocal fry phonation, while hardcore screams seem to be). Ideally, a researcher investigating the subject of extended vocal techniques in popular music, especially rock music (a narrowing down of the focus to harsh vocals in extreme metal would probably happen only in a second step), would be a trained musicologist, vocal pedagogue and phonetician. Without an expertise in all those fields, especially phonetics because of its science-based perspective, it would be very difficult to take this subject on in depth, I'd say. So perhaps you can interest a musicologist (with a specific interest in avant-garde and popular music), vocologist or vocal pedagogue, or phonetician with the necessary qualifications, to look into this subject whether it's worth researching – and I believe it is worthwhile, interesting and enlightening, in that it could further scientific knowledge of the human voice, especially in view of the prejudice against harsh vocals – even if in academia, being an expert on growled vocals may not be particularly status-enhancing (which is why I emphasise phoneticians, as they are likely to be more open-minded towards this subject). Sensibly, a researcher interested in this subject would collaborate with MC and professional vocalists employing extended techniques within the context of popular music. Given the increasing popularity and commercial relevance of popular music employing harsh vocals, being an expert on harsh vocals could also be useful from a monetary point of view. It's certainly so for MC.
You might also want to seek out an expert on music and voice (or phonetics) in particular on Wikipedia to get their opinion. (I've studied phonetics, but not really in depth – only as an addition to linguistics – and I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but you see where I'm coming from.) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:50, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

For my part, I’m a musicologist (and I’m interested in popular music and metal most particularly). But my fields of research is not vocal techniques - still I got the basic musicological knowledge about it and got a decent (classical) vocal training as well. But my fields of specialization are music semiotics, hermeneutics, sociocritic and sociological approaches. (I'm also specialist of modern modal harmony and microtonal music.). I confirm, underground popular music are underresearched in the domain of musicology Anyway, what I can say is I’m not particularly happy with that kind of proposition of merging things to put this article under a greater subcategory. Also I’m not particularly convinced by such a common dichotomic terminology (clean/ unclean …)… Yes, while being useful such terms carry underlying normative connotations that can obscure a serious scientific approach. On an epistemological ground, I’m quite distrustful with such taxonomical attempts in the domain of music… Classical methodological practices such as classifying things under labels and arborescent subcategories - while being useful in terms of scientific approaches-can sometimes be serious pitfalls …. Traditional musicology has sometimes been plagued with such practices. I mean: putting musical aspects in little boxes like a lepidopterologist with a collection of butterflies can be a pitfall.

Musical techniques and styles, as multifaceted social practices, are in fact, difficult to deal in a taxonomic manner without using simplistic shortcuts. Taxonomy is inevitable, but still one should be prudent with it. In terms of aesthetics, musical practices and techniques are not always lawful and can’t necessarlly be discriminate in terms of discrete units that could be analysed independently. But I insist, I’m talking from a strict aesthetical point of view. The issue may be different when approached in a vocological and biological perspective, when focusing on more lawful aspects as biological constitution and performance.Alpha Ursae Minoris (talk) 20:45, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Fair call @Florian Blaschke, and @Alpha Ursae Minoris. I understand what you guys are trying to say. Yeah I suppose, screaming is more dealt with punk sub-genres such as, post-hardcore. and death growl is more dealt with more to the metal side (how about Shout vocals? that could refer to both, but anyhow). So are we dropping the subject here? Or is there still more to come... -- (talk) 08:02, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd say that good reasons against the idea of a merger have been brought forward.
By the way, I also think that the techniques involved are quite different. Hardcore punk screaming seems to be based on vocal fry (see also creaky voice), while metal grunts and rasps remind me more of pharyngeal or epiglottal trills, so perhaps they are based on the strident vowel phonation. Interestingly, there is also a phonation called harsh voice, which also seems to resemble metal grunts. There are also apparently similar techniques in non-European musical traditions, see Overtone singing, Tuvan throat singing (especially Kargyraa), and Inuit throat singing. It would be very interesting to know more about the commonalities and differences between all of these types of vocal techniques. Other forms of singing in popular music, especially rock, such as gruff and gravelly voices, should be integrated into the picture, as well, as they are vital for the development of harsh metal vocals, and they also demonstrate that there is a continuum of countless idiosyncratic vocal styles and techniques involved. The individuality of singer's voices (which every singer tends to develop all on his own, without tuition, and even trained vocalists in popular music experiment a lot with their voice and develop distinctive styles) is a hallmark of popular music, and I can imagine is what makes this subject quite complex in fact. Even among the vocalists employing harsh metal vocals, there is a stunning variety of approaches, and every vocalist sounds distinctive, or even employs several styles. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:08, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Early precedents[edit]

I've noticed that my addition of Mike Oldfield's "caveman" vocals in "Tubular Bells" has been removed by Blackmetalbaz in this edit. I'm not sure I understand his rationale. How is this example different from the others given? Is it the lack of guitar riffs? However, the other examples don't all have them, either, and I thought this article is about the style, regardless of genre. Or is it the fact that they are artificially distorted, not actually done with a special vocal technique? But that is also true of some of the other early examples. I ask for an explanation.

Perhaps Eloy's The Zany Magician (1975) is a better example, even though it's not a stylistic element, but supposed to portray the eponymous crazy wizard, and does not seem to have been an influence on later bands. But it does feature heavy (for the time) rock riffs.

There's an even much more curious – and really early – possible historical precedent: The oratorio Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard von Bingen has a role for the Devil, and whatever he does, it's definitely not singing in the conventional sense and it's not pretty sounding. Sure enough, I don't know what exactly Hildegard wrote and what she intended for the role to sound like, and I've never heard any modern performance of it, but I have read a review of one on Amazon where the reviewer said that the performer doing the role of the Devil indeed grunts like a pig, interrupting the plainchant again and again, which the reviewer found rather disconcerting. The description in the article also suggests that the performer employs a form of unpitched singing. This is certainly suggestive. But also mind-boggling, especially if you remember that there are nuns performing soaring, angelic soprano vocals and choirs in the piece, the plainchant that the male performer keeps interrupting with his yells and grunts. A beauty & the beast vocal interplay à la Theatre of Tragedy or Tristania in the Middle Ages?! Again, it seems that truth is stranger than fiction.

I see that Alpha Ursae Minoris has chimed in in the meanwhile. Great! Do you happen to know any details about this? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 03:46, 6 July 2011 (UTC)


A Wall Street Journal article mentions Lemmy as a precedent:

Rather than argue this, I'll let WSJ's credibility in the metal community make a case for his inclusion. / edg 12:36, 19 July 2011 (UTC) Whether Lemon or the Wall Street Journal are credible is irrelevant, they are verifiable Syxxpackid420 (talk) 20:04, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Phonetic description[edit]

In Talk:Trill consonant#A laymans defintion, Tropylium confirms my above description of growling (at least the imitate-a-snarling-dog variant) as epiglottal trilling (in the case of death growling, then, as coarticulation). This means that there is even a non-standard diacritic mark (or even several) in the International Phonetic Alphabet (namely the one for strident vowels – well, actually, there are two possibilities –, or perhaps the one for harsh voice, or possibly the creaky voice one for the hardcore punk technique), which could be used to signal growling in scientific written notation. Neat! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:18, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

King Crimson?[edit]

"21st Century Schizoid Man" has no place in this article. Since when does adding a distortion effect to a NORMAL vocal make it a death growl? You might as well throw in The Beatles' "Revolution" if that the case. "Boris the Spider" is a much better example of a proto death growl. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:00, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Cookie Monster growl?[edit]

Does anyone else think the "death metal growl" invariably sounds exactly like the character Cookie Monster, from an American childrens' educational television program of the past? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Obviously yes, "Cookie Monster vocals" is a common nickname for this vocal style. This was actually noted in the intro, but at the time you posted this, it had been removed by an anonymous editor who apparently did not like the term and missed the fact that the cited source was originally precisely for this term, which in turn was due to an earlier removal of the term through a different IP editor, which had resulted in the loss of the association between the term and the cite, even as the term was reintroduced later. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:05, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

"Deadly howls" and "Black speech"?[edit]

I have never heard a death growl referred to by either of these names, and neither appears to be sourced. If a source for these terms can not be found, they should be removed from the page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:39, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Good point. Both were added by IP users without any justification, so I've removed both terms. "Grim vocals", on the other hand, is occasionally used, especially for black-metal style vocals, as black metal is often described as "grim" by fans. But this usage seems to be rare, probably too rare to be worth mentioning.  Done --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:47, 15 February 2015 (UTC)