Screaming (music)

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Barney Greenway performing with grindcore band Napalm Death. Barney at Klubi Tampere 2009-02-18.jpg
Barney Greenway performing with grindcore band Napalm Death.

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.

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.

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.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Contents

Genres

Classical and experimental music

Although screams are often suggested in stories performed in the grand opera tradition, they were never performed literally, always being sung. The first significant example of an actual scream in an opera is in Alban Berg's Wozzeck (1922), where the eponymous character screams "Murder! Murder!" in the fourth scene of Act III. Even more strikingly, Berg's unfinished Lulu , written mainly in 1934, features a blood-curdling scream as the heroine is murdered by Jack the Ripper in the closing moments of the final scene. In Mascagni's 1890 Cavalleria rusticana the final line "They've murdered Turiddu!" is spoken, not sung, and often accompanied by a scream.

Grand opera opera genre

Grand opera is a genre of 19th-century opera generally in four or five acts, characterized by large-scale casts and orchestras, and lavish and spectacular design and stage effects, normally with plots based on or around dramatic historic events. The term is particularly applied to certain productions of the Paris Opéra from the late 1820s to around 1850; 'grand opéra' has sometimes been used to denote the Paris Opéra itself.

Alban Berg Austrian composer

Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer of the Second Viennese School. His compositional style combined Romantic lyricism with twelve-tone technique.

<i>Wozzeck</i> opera by Alban Berg

Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925. The opera is based on the drama Woyzeck, which was left incomplete by the German playwright Georg Büchner at his death. Berg attended the first production in Vienna of Büchner's play on 5 May 1914, and knew at once that he wanted to base an opera on it. From the fragments of unordered scenes left by Büchner, Berg selected fifteen to form a compact structure of three acts with five scenes each. He adapted the libretto himself, retaining "the essential character of the play, with its many short scenes, its abrupt and sometimes brutal language, and its stark, if haunted, realism..."

Other composers have employed screaming in avant garde works in the twentieth century, typically in the post-World War II era, as composers began to explore more experimental compositional techniques and nonstandard use of musical instruments (including the voice). Composers who have used shouting or screaming in their works include Luciano Berio, George Crumb, Gyorgy Ligeti, Charles Mingus, Meredith Monk and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The use of hoarse vocals in choral and orchestral works continues today in some productions such as film scores; mainstream examples include some works by Don Davis and Wojciech Kilar.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

Musical instrument History and classification

A musical instrument is an instrument created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for ritual, such as a trumpet to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications.

Luciano Berio Italian composer

Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.

Experimental music genres often feature screamed vocals if vocals are employed in the music, as a form of alternative expression rather than conventional singing. The song "Paralyzed" by the outsider musician the Legendary Stardust Cowboy is a prime example of the use of screaming vocals in experimental music. Noise music is notable for screamed vocals, examples being the well-known noise artist Masonna and the vocalist Maja Ratkje.

Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.

Outsider music Music genre

Outsider music is music created by self-taught or naïve musicians. The term is usually applied to musicians outside the music establishment or exhibit childlike qualities, especially those who suffer from intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses. The term was popularized in the 1990s by journalist and WFMU DJ Irwin Chusid.

Norman Carl Odam, known professionally as the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, is an outsider performer who is considered one of the pioneers of the genre that came to be known as psychobilly in the 1960s.

Blues

Kansas City blues musicians began shouting in order to be heard over music in the loud dancehalls. The shouted vocals eventually became a characteristic for these bands. Key members of this movement include Big Joe Turner and Howlin' Wolf. One of the first known songs to utilize screaming vocals is said to be Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" (1956).

Big Joe Turner American blues shouter

Joseph Vernon "Big Joe" Turner Jr. was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to songwriter Doc Pomus, "Rock and roll would have never happened without him." His greatest fame was due to his rock-and-roll recordings in the 1950s, particularly "Shake, Rattle and Roll", but his career as a performer endured from the 1920s into the 1980s.

Howlin Wolf American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player

Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin' Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. The musician and critic Cub Koda noted, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits." Producer Sam Phillips recalled, "When I heard Howlin' Wolf, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'" Several of his songs, including "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful", have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".

Screamin Jay Hawkins American musician

Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins was an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You", he sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock.

Rock and roll

Rock and roll (before the advent of heavy metal and punk rock) employed occasional brief screaming bits. In the 1950s, one principal screamer was Little Richard, beginning with his "Tutti Frutti" (1955)."Love Me" was a screamer in parts for Elvis as well as "Any way You Want Me" just to name two from '56. And even earlier in '55 at Sun on numerous cuts like "Trying to get To You" Elvis used his scream. Elvis Presley also screamed some of the lyrics to Jailhouse Rock in its original 1957 recording, although recordings of live performances of the song in Presley's later career featured him strictly singing the words, probably due to him moving toward more mature songs.

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Little Richard American pianist, singer and songwriter

Richard Wayne Penniman, known as Little Richard, is an American musician, singer and songwriter.

Tutti Frutti (song) original song written and composed by Little Richard, Dorothy LaBostrie, Joe Lubin

"Tutti Frutti" is a song written by Little Richard along with Dorothy LaBostrie that was recorded in 1955 and became his first major hit record. With its opening cry of "A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom!" and its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, it became not only a model for many future Little Richard songs, but also a model for rock and roll itself. The song introduced several of rock music's most characteristic musical features, including its loud volume and vocal style emphasizing power, and its distinctive beat and rhythm.

By the 1960s, the first take of John Lennon's recording of "Twist and Shout" for Please Please Me was the only take, since Lennon's voice was torn up, partly by the screams that peppered the song. Lennon, inspired by Arthur Janov's Primal Scream therapy, screamed in his later songs "Mother" and "Well Well Well" on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band .

Heavy metal

While occasional screaming has been used for effect in heavy metal since the genre's dawn in the late 1960s (with singers such as Robert Plant, Ian Gillan and Rob Halford employing the technique frequently), screaming as a normal method of lyrical delivery first came to prominence in heavy metal as part of the thrash metal explosion of the 1980s. [1]

Thrash metal was influenced both by heavy metal and by hardcore punk, the latter of which often incorporated shouted or screamed vocals. The first instance of screaming used as a constant delivery of lyrics was Chuck Schuldiner of the band Death. Musicologist Robert Walser notes, "The punk influence shows up in the music's fast tempos and frenetic aggressiveness and in critical or sarcastic lyrics delivered in a menacing growl." [1] It should however be noted that the vocal delivery of thrash metal is incredibly diverse; some bands such as Anthrax use much cleaner vocals, early Metallica uses very hardcore punk influenced vocals while other bands such as Slayer use more "evil" shouts and yells, bearing little resemblance to hardcore punk. More recent bands within metal's various subgenres, such as Carnifex, are known for making use of multiple variations of both screaming and growling.

Screaming in some subgenres of heavy metal music is typically demanding and guttural. The death growl is common in death metal.

Separate forms of extreme metal vocalization can be found in black metal, which has a higher-pitched sound, and deathcore, which uses either a low growl or a high pitched scream.

Death metal, in particular, is associated with growled vocals. Death metal, which tends to be darker and more morbid than thrash metal, features vocals that attempt to evoke chaos and misery by being "usually very deep, guttural, and unintelligible." [2] 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." [3]

Music 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, they sound as if they had gargled with hydrochloric acid." [4]

The progressively more forceful enunciation of metal vocals has been noted, from heavy metal to thrash metal to death metal.

Black metal

Black metal music in particular has a definitive "screaming" style which constitutes a vast majority of the genre's vocal work, though this is done in varying degrees. Some black metal acts use this approach as a simple rasping sound, but others use a louder, more "grim" scream to emulate the cold, evil, and frightening atmosphere black metal would portray. Vocalists like Ihsahn of Emperor, Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved and Pest of Gorgoroth use loud screaming in their vocal work, while other vocalists take differing approaches; for example: Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir once used a style on par with loud roaring around the band's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant days, and Pasi of the Finnish band Darkwoods My Betrothed used a style that sounded more like wailing mixed with the genre's present screams.

The American black metal group Wolves in the Throne Room employ long shrilling screams influenced by Gorgoroth's early works. [6]

Some folk noir bands (often ones that have come from the black metal scene originally) use guttural growls and shrieks occasionally, mostly for dramatic effect. Examples include Empyrium and Uaral.

Metalcore

Metalcore is a genre that employs both screamed and clean vocals. Screaming became more of a traditional standard for the genre in the early 1990s with bands such as Earth Crisis and Converge who also took use of this vocal style frequently. A few bands employ a dual vocalist set up, one who performs traditional sung vocals, while another is dedicated to just screamed vocals, such as The Devil Wears Prada.

Deathcore

Like metalcore, deathcore is known for its use of aggressive screaming, though at a much more extreme rate. Screams range from the low death growls of vocalists such as Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel, to the high pitched screams from the likes of Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin. Some bands relating to the deathcore genre perform what is called "pig squealing", which is a squealing vocal technique resembling that of a pig. Early albums by deathcore bands such as Job for a Cowboy and Despised Icon employed the use of pig squeal vocals, but abandoned it on later material.

Alternative and nu metal

Alternative metal and nu metal bands sometimes employ screaming as well. Jonathan Davis screams in most of Korn's earlier songs. American nu metal band Otep frontwoman Otep Shamaya is also known for her usage of death growls as well as high pitch screaming. Serj Tankian occasionally performs both exhale and inhale screams, which are especially notable on System of a Down's first two albums. Limp Bizkit sometimes uses screamed vocals, especially on songs from their first album. Some bands combine screaming techniques with clean vocals to create a concrete sound with a noticeable change in tone, Chino Moreno of Deftones, who is famed for combining his high-pitched, aggressive screams with his calm and melodic singing, is a clear example of the concept alongside singers such as Corey Taylor of Slipknot.

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington screamed in many Linkin Park songs, most notably the 18 second scream in the track "Given Up". Michael Barnes of Red has screamed in a majority of the songs the band has done, most notably in "Let Go", for 13 seconds straight. Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan is known for "insane" and "constant" screams. [7]

Hardcore and punk rock

Yelling and shouting vocals are common in a type of punk rock known as hardcore. Early punk was distinguished by a general tendency to eschew traditional singing techniques in favor of a more direct, harsh style which accentuated meaning rather than beauty. [8] The logical extension of this aesthetic is shouting, and in hardcore, vocals are usually shouted in a frenetic manner similar to rapping or football chants, often accompanied by "gang vocals" [9] [10] in which a group of people shout along with the vocalist (this style is very common in punk rock, most prominently Oi!, street punk and hardcore punk). [11]

Health concerns

Some vocalists who have employed musical screaming have had problems with their throats, voices, vocal cords, and have even experienced major migraines from screaming incorrectly. Some vocalists of metal bands have had to stop screaming, making music altogether, or even undergo surgery due to screaming in harmful ways that damage the vocal cords. One example is Sonny Moore, formerly of the band From First to Last, who had to leave the band as vocalist due to the damage it was causing to his vocal cords, which required surgery to repair.[ citation needed ]

However, with proper technique, screaming can be done without harm to the vocal cords. Melissa Cross is a vocal teacher who specializes in this, and has taught many vocalists such as Randy Blythe and Angela Gossow. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

Speed metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) roots. It is described by AllMusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

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 Hong Kong and Japan, with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.

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.

Metalcore is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Among other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumentation includes heavy guitar riffs often utilizing percussive pedal tones and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically perform screaming, more popular bands often combine this with the use of standard singing, usually during the bridge or chorus of a song. However the death growl is also a popular technique within the genre.

Discharge (band) British hardcore punk band

Discharge are a British punk rock band formed in 1977 in Stoke-on-Trent by Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright. While the band undergone several line-up changes throughout its history, the classic line-up from the early 1980s featured bassist Wainwright, drummer Gary Maloney, Anthony "Bones" Roberts playing guitar, and vocalist Kelvin "Cal" Morris.

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.

Deathcore is an extreme metal fusion genre that combines musical elements of death metal and metalcore and sometimes hardcore punk. It makes use of death metal riffs and blast beats, as well as metalcore breakdowns. Deathcore gained most prominence within the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and inland southern California, which are home to many notable bands and various festivals.

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.

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.

Death growl voice type

A death growl is a vocal style 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.

A number of overlapping punk rock subgenres have developed since the emergence of punk rock in the mid-1970s. Even though punk genres at times are difficult to segregate, they usually show differing characteristics in overall structures, instrumental and vocal styles, and tempo. However, sometimes a particular trait is common in several genres, and thus punk genres are normally grouped by a combination of traits.

Crossover thrash is a fusion genre of thrash metal and hardcore punk. The genre lies on a continuum between heavy metal and hardcore punk. Other genres on the same continuum, such as metalcore and grindcore, may overlap with crossover thrash.

Oceano is an American deathcore band from Cook County, Illinois. Formed in 2006, the band signed to Earache Records and released their debut album, Depths on April 7, 2009. Their second album, Contagion was released on November 9, 2010. Their fourth album Ascendants was released March 23, 2015. Their most recent album Revelation was released on May 19, 2017. It was their first release with their new label, Sumerian Records.

Heavy hardcore is a subgenre of hardcore punk that incorporates more music elements of heavy metal than traditional hardcore punk. Heavy hardcore features aggressive vocals, down-tuned electric guitars, gang vocals, and heavy breakdowns. Heavy hardcore bands tend to often get labelled as simply "hardcore", causing the term "hardcore" to be a vague term because the term "hardcore" also is used as a label on traditional hardcore punk, a genre played by bands like Minor Threat and Bad Brains.

Straight Ahead (band)

Straight Ahead was an American straight edge hardcore punk band formed in Queens, New York in 1984, by drummer and vocalist Tommy Carroll, guitarist Gordon Ancis and bassist Tony Marc Shimkin.

References

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  3. Purcell, Natalie J. (2003) Death Metal Music: The Passion and Politics of a Subculture. McFarland, p. 11. ISBN   0786415851
  4. Weinstein, Deena (1991). Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology. MacMillan, p. 51. ISBN   0669218375
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  7. Cristman, Greg. "Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan & Red Fang played Terminal 5 (pics, video & setlist) – East of The Wall playing Brooklyn". Brooklyn Vegan.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  8. Laing, Dave (1985) One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock. Open University Press. p. 54. ISBN   9780335150656
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  11. Cogan, Brian (2006) "Oi!". Encyclopedia of Punk Music and Culture. Greenwood Press, p. 146. ISBN   0313333408
  12. "Melissa Cross, The Zen of Screaming testimonials". melissacross.com. Retrieved 2011-04-22.