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A death growl (or simply a growl) is a vocal style (an extended vocal technique) usually employed by death metal singers but also used in other heavy metal styles, such as metalcore.Death growls are sometimes criticized for their "ugliness". However, the harshness of death growls is in keeping with death metal's abrasive music style and often dark and obscene subject matter. The progressively more forceful enunciation of metal vocals has been noted from heavy metal to thrash metal to death metal.
Vocalists are capable of producing a variety of extended technique sounds. These alternative singing techniques have been used extensively in the 20th century, especially in art song and opera. Particularly famous examples of extended vocal technique can be found in the music of Luciano Berio, John Cage, George Crumb, Peter Maxwell Davies, Hans Werner Henze, György Ligeti, Demetrio Stratos, Meredith Monk, Giacinto Scelsi, Arnold Schoenberg, Salvatore Sciarrino, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tim Foust, Avi Kaplan, and Trevor Wishart.
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
Death metal, in particular, is associated with growled vocals. Death metal, which tends to be lyrically and thematically darker and more morbid than other forms of metal, features vocals that attempt to evoke chaos, death, and misery by being "usually very deep, guttural, and unintelligible".Natalie Purcell notes, "Although the vast majority of death metal bands use very low, beast-like, almost indiscernible growls as vocals, many also have high and screechy or operatic vocals, or simply deep and forcefully sung vocals." Sociologist Deena Weinstein has noted of death metal: "Vocalists in this style have a distinctive sound, growling and snarling rather than singing the words. Making ample use of the voice distortion box."
Death growls are also known as death metal vocals, guttural vocals, death grunts, growled vocals, unclean vocals, harsh vocals, and also jocularly as Cookie Monster vocals.
Cookie Monster is a Muppet on the long-running children's television show Sesame Street. He is best known for his voracious appetite and his famous eating phrases, such as "Me want cookie!", "Me eat cookie!", and "Om nom nom nom". He eats almost anything, including normally inedible objects. However, as his name suggests, his preferred food is cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are his favorite kind. In a song in 2004, Cookie Monster revealed that, before he ate his first cookie, he believed his name was Sid or Sidney. Despite his voracious appetite for cookies, Cookie Monster shows awareness of healthy eating habits for young children and also enjoys fruits and eggplant.
|“||To appreciate the music, fans first had to accept a merciless sonic signature: guttural vocals that were little more than a menacing, sub-audible growl. James Hetfield's thrash metal rasp was harsh in contrast to Rob Halford's heavy metal high notes, but creatures like Glen Benton of Deicide tore out their larynxes to summon images of decaying corpses and giant catastrophic horrors.||”|
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Voice teachers teach different techniques, but long-term use will still take its toll if done incorrectly – these techniques are designed to reduce rather than eliminate harm. However it has been shown by many vocalists (ex. Christian Älvestam) that long-term use of these techniques can occur without causing harm to the voice.[ citation needed ] The techniques usually involve using the diaphragm and air pressure on the throat to form the sound, similar to forms of overtone singing. As a person tries to squeeze their throat, the sound gets less intense (usually used for higher growls/screams to decrease tension on chords). Some vocalists (ex. Danny Worsnop, Oliver Sykes) tend to use too much pressure on their throats and thus have vocal cord problems/defects. The Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands reported in June 2007 that, because of the increased popularity of growling in the region, it was treating several patients who had performed the techniques incorrectly for edema and polyps on the vocal folds.
Gunnar Christian Älvestam is a vocalist, lyricist, guitarist, bassist and drummer for several bands from Sweden. He is, however, best known as the former vocalist for the Swedish metal band Scar Symmetry. He currently performs with several bands, including Solution .45 and Miseration, and has made several guest appearances for other music bands. He is most known in the metal community for possessing both an extreme clean singing range and an ability to make powerful growls.
Overtone singing – also known as overtone chanting, harmonic singing, or throat singing – is a type of singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out of the lips to produce a melody.
Growled vocals may have been a part of Viking music. In the 10th century, Arab-Spanish Sefardi Jewish merchant Abraham ben Jacob visited Denmark and commented on the local music as follows: "Never before I have heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings in Slesvig. The growling sound coming from their throats reminds me of dogs howling, only more untamed."
Hedeby was an important Danish Viking Age trading settlement near the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula, now in the Schleswig-Flensburg district of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is the most important archaeological site in Schleswig-Holstein.
In Hildegard of Bingen's 12th-century allegorical morality play Ordo Virtutum, the role of the Devil uniquely does not employ melodic singing, but is performed in a manner which Hildegard specifies as strepitus diaboli and which is often taken to mean a low and growling voice.
Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.
Ordo Virtutum is an allegorical morality play, or sacred music drama, by St. Hildegard, composed c. 1151, during the construction and relocation of her Abbey at Rupertsberg. It is the earliest morality play by more than a century, and the only Medieval musical drama to survive with an attribution for both the text and the music.
In 1966, The Who released the song "Boris the Spider", which featured death growls sung in basso profondo by bass player John Entwistle. This can be considered one of the first uses of death growl in popular music.
The use of growling, "monstrous" vocals for ominous effect in rock music can be traced at least as far back as "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins in 1956. Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells, Part Two," from 1973, contains a section from 11:55 to 16:30 featuring extensive use of guttural vocals which are very close in style to the modern "death growl", however this effect was created by manipulating tape speed.
In 1969 and the early 1970s, the song "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson is notable for its heavily distorted vocals sung by Greg Lake. The songs "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath and "One of These Days" by Pink Floyd both contain brief passages of ominously growled, low-pitched vocals (in both cases studio-manipulated) against a heavy background of rock riffs. Other examples are Roger Waters' screams in some Pink Floyd songs, such as "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" (1967), "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (1968). Punk rock bands like The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, and 999 also regularly employed gruff sounding vocals, however nothing like the death growl common in metal music today. On the other hand, the low, raspy, aggressive pitch of Lemmy from Motörhead was not unlike the growl and can be thought to presage the current style.Kate Bush employed raspy guttural vocals on the track Get Out of My House from her 1982 album The Dreaming
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The advent of the growl as it is used today coincided roughly with the gradual emergence of death metal, and it is thus difficult to pinpoint a specific individual as the inventor of the technique. Different vocalists likely developed the style over time. The band Death (and its precursor Mantas) with its two vocalists—initially Kam Lee and subsequently Chuck Schuldiner—have been cited as among the first (although Schuldiner would eventually switch to a more high-pitched screeching). Possessed are also considered by some to be one of the earliest bands to employ growls, as are Necrophagia and Master. Around the same time, bands such as Hellhammer, with Tom G. Warrior on vocals, and seminal act Massacre also employed a variation of the growl. Massacre vocalist Kam Lee's growls were highly guttural, low pitched and unintelligible compared to other death metal vocalists of the mid 1980s. This influenced the British Grindcore band Napalm Death. The vocalists from Napalm Death—consecutively Nic Bullen, Lee Dorrian and Mark "Barney" Greenway—further developed the style in the late 1980s, adding more aggression and deeper guttural elements to it, while also speeding up delivery of the lyrics. Another vocalist who gradually deepened his voice into the growling used today on death metal and grindcore was Chris Barnes, original vocalist of Cannibal Corpse, in the band's video biography, he states that he wanted to sing as high as Rob Halford, but his voice was too low pitched for that. So he started trying to blend it with the other instruments, coming up with a dark and really low guttural voice that became his signature. While Chris Barnes had a low voice, Matt Harvey of Exhumed could scream very high and always used "high vocals" in their songs. Frank Mullen of technical death metal band Suffocation was renowned for his innovative form of the death growl back when Suffocation's debut album Effigy of the Forgotten was released, with some sources claiming that it was the blueprint for the modern form of death growls.
Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as: thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.
Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath", "Children of the Grave", "Electric Funeral" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England, the United States and Sweden defined doom metal as a distinct genre.
Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional heavy metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a faster, lighter, and more uplifting sound, in contrast with the heaviness and dissonance prevalent for example in extreme metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally "powerful" sound. The term was first used in the middle of the 1980s and refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe, South America and Japan, with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.
Goregrind is a fusion genre of grindcore and death metal. British band Carcass are commonly credited for the emergence of the genre. Goregrind is recognized for its heavily edited, "watery" sounding vocals and abrasive musicianship rooted in grindcore.
Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre.
A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.
Crust punk is a form of music influenced by English punk rock and extreme metal. The style, which evolved in the early-1980s in England, often has songs with dark and pessimistic lyrics that linger on political and social ills. The term "crust" was coined by Hellbastard on their 1986 Ripper Crust demo.
Melodic death metal is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The style originated and developed in Sweden and the United Kingdom around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal” scene.
Symphonic metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music which combines the heavy drums and guitars of metal with different elements of orchestral classical music, such as symphonic instruments, choirs and sometimes a full orchestra. Keyboards reminiscent of power metal are also sometimes featured.
Anders Fridén is the vocalist/lyricist of the Swedish metal band In Flames. Fridén was also the vocalist of Passenger, a side project.
Matthew Charles Sanders, also known as M. Shadows, is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He is best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and a founding member of the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. In 2017, he was voted 3rd in the list of Top 25 Greatest Modern Frontmen by Ultimate Guitar.
Gorerotted were a British death metal band formed in 1997 which split up in January 2008 and reformed with new members as The Rotted. Gorerotted's lyrics and song titles were largely inspired by horror films and serial killers. The band's song titles often incorporated humorous rhymes or puns such as "Cut, Gut, Beaten, Eaten", "Put Your Bits in a Concrete Mix", and "Only Tools and Corpses", a pun on the popular British sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, the latter beginning with a suspiciously similar introductory drumbeat to the sitcom's theme music.
World Downfall is the debut album by American grindcore band Terrorizer. It was released by Earache Records on November 13, 1989.
Scrolls of the Megilloth is the second studio album by Australian Christian extreme metal band Mortification. The band's most famous release, this album is full-on death metal, with the thrash metal roots barely showing, and possibly their most extreme album to date. According to AllMusic, the album "garnered the band some attention from the heavy metal underground" and contains "some of the most frightening vocals ever recorded." In 2010, HM Magazine ranked Scrolls of the Megilloth number 17 on the Top 100 Christian Metal Albums of All Time list with Van Pelt stating that "Though the band has been living it down ever since, this album raised the standard of Christian grindcore to almost unattainable levels."
The vestibular fold is one of two thick folds of mucous membrane, each enclosing a narrow band of fibrous tissue, the vestibular ligament, which is attached in front to the angle of the thyroid cartilage immediately below the attachment of the epiglottis, and behind to the antero-lateral surface of the arytenoid cartilage, a short distance above the vocal process.
Screaming is an extended vocal technique that is mostly popular in "aggressive" music genres such as heavy metal, punk rock, and noise music. In heavy metal, the related death growl vocal technique is also popular. Intensity, pitch and other characteristics vary between different genres and different vocalists.
Adam Agius is the vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and a founding member of the progressive metal band Alchemist. He formed Alchemist in 1987 while still in high school and is the group's only remaining original member. He also was the financial provider, director of show day and promoter for Metal for the Brain. His main band Alchemist went on an indefinite hiatus and as a result has started up a new successor project The Levitation Hex. The Levitation Hex also includes Mark Palfreyman and Scott Young of Alarum and Ben Hocking of Aeon of Horus. A tentative album is due for May 2012 with a tour later on to promote the album.
Paul Ryan is a guitarist and vocalist for the Kansas-based technical death metal band Origin. He is the only member who has been continuously in the band since he formed it in 1997 with fellow guitarist Jeremy Turner. On Decibel magazine's August 2007 list of the all-time top 20 death metal guitarists, he was #20.
Fuck the Facts is a Juno-nominated, Canadian grindcore band from Ottawa, Ontario, formed in 1998. They began in the late nineties as a solo recording project constructed by musician Topon Das. After many early recordings, including split tapes with groups from around the world, Fuck the Facts began developing a name in the underground with fans of grind. In 2001, the first full-length CD-R, Discoing the Dead, was recorded. The same year, Das would assemble a full band to continue with the project. The band has since coined the terms "bastardized grindcore" and "mullet-core" to describe their sound.