Blargle graaaah ruggl RAKZCH BLAHHHH!
April 18, 2006 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn everything there is to know about the vocal technique found in metal and hard rock wherein the singer makes his/her voice get all 'raspy'.

From more subtle users like Danzig up to the Chris Barnes' and Chuck Billys... What's this technique called? How does a singer get to the point where they can do this every night for months and months? Is it a talent you have to be born with (Halford)? Why do I start spitting out chunks of throat after two minutes of trying? Why do some singers seem to lose this ability (Danzig, again)? Etc. Two-fisted horns of rock to whomever can educate me on a topic thats been bugging me for a long time.
posted by BruceL to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's called "Cookie Monster"! I read a good article on it not long ago. Back with a link shortly, but you might like to google that phrase along with "death metal".
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:17 PM on April 18, 2006

See also "death grunt."
posted by Zozo at 5:23 PM on April 18, 2006

You can be trained in how to do it. Here are two NPR stories about a vocal coach specializing in The Zen of Screaming:
* Queen of the Scream: Vocal Coach Melissa Cross
* Learning to Scream, on Cue and in Key
* Melissa Cross site [Warning: Flash & audio]
posted by mkhall at 6:09 PM on April 18, 2006

It's really worth clicking on that WSJ article just to see the picture of the deathmetal Cookie Monster.

The article mentions an instructional DVD, The Zen of Screaming, that might be exactly what you want.
posted by Aknaton at 6:11 PM on April 18, 2006

(Having failed to preview)
Said DVD is by Melissa Cross.
posted by Aknaton at 6:12 PM on April 18, 2006

Those singers probably aren't screaming, by the way. If they just screamed until their voices broke up, they'd hurt themselves. They're probably using what linguists call creaky voice, a vocal technique that involves holding the vocal cords slack so that they vibrate more slowly. If you sing in a very loud creaky voice, it sounds like a scream.

Everyone is physically capable of using creaky voice — there are actually languages where a quieter, less extreme form of it is used as a speech sound. But not everyone knows how to, especially if they don't speak a language that uses it. If I had to guess, I'd say that's what Melissa Cross was teaching in her DVD.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:42 PM on April 18, 2006

I saw melissa cross on conan the other night and her tip was to scream at about 1/3 as loud as you can to save your voice.
posted by psychobum at 7:00 PM on April 18, 2006


"Cookie Monster"

Just awesome. Thanks everyone.
posted by BruceL at 8:17 PM on April 18, 2006

Not death metal, but Ami Yoshida (of Cosmos & Astro Twin in Tokyo) uses what she calls the "howling voice" solely singing while inhaling. Pretty riveting live, and quite harsh.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:23 PM on April 18, 2006

This tutorial might be of some use.
posted by flod logic at 9:02 AM on April 19, 2006

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