1. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Harsh Vocals

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Swiveltaffy, Sep 14, 2014.

    Yo,

    This is gonna probably seem like an odd question, and I don't expect much results, but does anyone on this forum practice metal vocals? More specifically, growls, screams, distortion. Complete bullshit thread, so feel free to disregard.
     
  2. Jaro
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    Jaro Active Member

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    Does yelling at other drivers count?
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've been an amateur singer for a number of years, and I've never practiced metal vocals. I think they usually sound like shit. That's probably why I don't listen to metal. Endless shrieking does not good music make.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I once honestly gave it a try, but really - I love metal music but the pig squeaks and over-bass-y growls found in a lot of Doom Metal just sounds rather cute and silly to me now.
     
  5. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ha! I guess if you get really pissed.

    @minstrel People usually have that notion, but I'd say that growls/screams have a potential for musical expressivity that other vocal types don't possess.

    @Lemex I find pig squeals unfavorable. The very bass-y growls can be overdone, but I think in moderation they have their place. Essentially, I don't like it when the growls/screams are the default setting, vocally, and don't offer much in the way of expression. For instance, you have a Cannibal Corpse song "Hammer-Smashed Face," and it's pretty over the top and, well, musically and emotionally, boring. Sure, it sounds "brutal," (and I'd lie if I said it didn't sound so) but it isn't ideal, to me. At that point the style of the music just becomes some setting on a dial. I'm trying to say that there's a time and place for all forms of musical style; it's when these styles stagnate and become some norm detached from their stylistic expression when I find them undesirable.

    Yeah, but the technique is kind of a pain. I think I'm getting it though. You have to compress the fuck out of your diaphragm. (I'm beyond amateur regarding singing and music, but it's progression.)

    ETA: Minus 10 points for saying forms of style and expression a thousand times.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Don't get me wrong, it can be an effective technique - Triviam's earlier stuff switched between the bass-y grunt/scream technique and traditional (understandable) singing, they made it sound pretty good. It's been spoiled for me in a big way because I used to love Norwegian Death Metal bands and bands like Cradle of Filth. But it was a phase for me and I can't pretend it was anything other than that.

    It doesn't sound 'brutal' to me anymore; honestly, it sounds anything but.
     
  7. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Lemex I get you. I've been slowly transitioning into them more, after getting into Pantera's later albums. I think some of their tunes really demonstrate the ability for these vocals to serve a wonderful role (cite "War Nerve," "Suicide Note Part 2," or "Living Through Me"). There are some other more experimental bands that implement these vocals for great affect, too. As well, the harshness and nonvirtuosic approach of punk music really adds to the direction of a lot of those bands. It's like a rejection, you know? I think it captures a truly primal state of the human mind, as well as the anger, the frustration, the denial.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    RIP Dimebag, things were never the same after he died.

    I don't think I'd agree beyond a certain point, but I certainly know why you think this. I suppose all metal is a rejection, but really - all music is. A demonic atmosphere comes with the sound of the music, and the growling vocals reflect that. I don't mean 'demonic' as in Christian demons strictly, though obviously with a lot of bands that is literally true.

    You are right earlier, it's better when it's mixed, like with this song:



    When Devin Townsends in the picture I get the 'harshness', but 'nonvirtuosic' is the last word I'd use to describe his playing.
     
  9. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm loosely familiar with him. Listened to what you provided, and I think it is a good example. When I meant nonvirtuosic, I was referring more to bands like Black Flag. Surely, I am not suggesting that they are talentless, but they do not pursue some conventional level of the technical. I don't know if I agree that all music is a rejection.

    I'm going to put a link to a song that I already mentioned in that "How do you do music" thread. Sorry for the repetition, but I think this song wonderfully captures the rawness and genuine human-feeling I'm getting at.

     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    When I hear the word virtuoso I think of some exceptionally talented musician like Eric Johnson or Mozart or someone like that.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'conventional level of technical', but a lot of metal guitarists are pretty accomplished. James Hetfeild came out with a song like 'Nothing Else Matters' and let's be honest, Metallica were never the most technical band in the world. Their drummer can't even play the drums!

    The song you posted does have a punk spirit, it reminded me of The Melvins, if you've ever heard of them. I do know what you mean.
     
  11. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have. When I said "conventional level of technical" (sorry for the bad wording; such seems to be my subconscious goal) I meant "the general way western society might view high technical ability." For instance, a four-octave tenor: virtuoso. Punk bands seem to reject these pursuits to present something raw and innate. (Not that my focus was on punk bands -- but yeah.)
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That's the punk ethos though, a rejection of everything 'civilized' in favor of barbarism. :p
     
  13. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh yeah, and I feel that becomes kinda existential (in a certain way) at a point.
     
  14. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I salute your musical intolerance, but beg to disagree: good music is good music reardgless of genre. ;) I'd say screams, growls, and shouts can be used to great effect to express a variety of emotions in a very organic way, for example:

    Frustration (Black Flag - Depression)


    Sadness and loss (Amon Amarth - Fate of Norns)

    (I always get chills at the cries in the part where the father mourns by his fallen son's body).

    Romantic yearning (Cradle of Filth - A Gothic Romance: Red Roses for the Devil's Whore)


    Happiness (SLOTHRUST - Happy Together)


    Fear (Gnaw Their Tongues - All the Dread Magnificence of Perversity)


    Anger (Clutch - Binge and Purge [from 4:50 onwards])
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UI9vhZycf0Y

    And, of course... satanic rapture :D (Abruptum - De profundis mors vas cousumet)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t3vyf4w-Rfc


    I can't growl myself, but I've done some punk shouting (kinda like Strap It on -era Helmet) for one track in one of my band's older recordings. It'd be neat to learn that skill, though (for it IS a skill :cool:).
     
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  15. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It'd be awesome to be able to growl, but maybe I should learn to sing first... I bought a DVD on learning to growl to @T.Trian and we did practice with it a bit to test out the techniques, and the notion that anybody can growl and sound good is oh-so-mistaken, if you ask me.

    One of my favorite growlers right now is Candice Clot from ETHS. Clean vocals aren't a must, I like a lot of all-growls-and-shouts bands, but in their music both styles work together nicely.



    You don't have to know French in order to appreciate their music.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  16. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm curious; how was the DVD? I'm learning, and I'm making progress, but extra help never hurt. I'm more worried that it would be similar advice that I could find on Youtube or something. Then again, I think a good six months of consistence practice will do me best.
     
  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you google Melissa Cross, you'll find the DVD(s). I bought the vol 1 because I felt there wasn't enough good, professional advice on the internet, and she seemed pretty accomplished and knowledgeable, having trained plenty of screamers and growlers, including such big names as Corey Taylor and Rob Flynn. I think vol 2 would be more useful to those who've already practiced harsh vocals, though. The first DVD focuses a lot on the basic stuff, but on the other hand, for someone like me, even the basics of singing are on a shaky foundation, so it was useful to me.
     
  18. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, a good deal of the information found on the internet (for growling/screaming at least) isn't very comprehensive. With some trial-and-error, though, I feel it isn't too bad. However, something more rock solid would be good. I'm still a big-time beginner, so I should probably consider it. Thanks.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Even as I was posting that, I was thinking, "I bet @T.Trian is going to jump all over me for this!" ;) Just remember that I'm old (53!) and I get to play the curmudgeon card every once in a while.

    I haven't listened to your links yet, but I agree that screams and such can be used to great effect. I prefer it when they are used for accent and contrast. My favorite band of all time is The Who; I don't think they're a metal band, but they're certainly a hard-rock band. Roger Daltrey is a very musical singer even in the hardest songs, and used screams to great effect - the climax of Won't Get Fooled Again, for example. But it's never about screaming 24/7 - I think that reduces the effect you're trying to achieve. It becomes the rule rather than the exception. It becomes run-of-the-mill, mundane, the normal state of things. The opposite of exciting, or even interesting.

    I don't really mind harsh vocals; I just mind them when they're the only vocals. Variety is a good thing. My favorite bands, even the hard rockers, go acoustic every now and then. :)
     
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  20. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Screams, growls, and shouts you didn't expect can certainly be very effective, though the effect is slightly different than when listening to, say, death metal.

    I think this Nirvana cover by the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is quite haunting due to her alternating between soft and sweet and bold and guttural. Tori Amos does this too.

     
  21. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is that a growling technique or more rasp/distortion? Either way, I agree.
     
  22. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I know, I was yankin' yer chain and thinking of replying more for those who might share your opinion but don't have curmudgeon privileges yet. :cool:


    That's my preference too. I listen to a lot of growl-only stuff, but in those cases it's always for the actual music, not the vocals (barring very few exceptions when it's both, like Agoraphobic Nosebleed). For some reason, in addition to the guy from Clutch (who really has earned his nickname of "Man of a Thousand Voices" or some such), most of my favorite singers who combine clean and growly vocals are women:

    Masha from Arkona:


    Lousine Gevorkian from Louna:


    Oddly enough, both are Russian. Maybe Russia is the promised land of the rare breed that is female singers who can not only sing well, but also growl/scream convincingly...
     
  23. Curupira22
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    Curupira22 Member

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    To the original question, me, honestly, no. I love the various genres but I have never successfully tried to mimic the style.

    As has been said, though, the vocal styling that features growls/shouts/screams/grunts etc is regarded more as an instrument than anything else. To me, the really impressive ones are those who can perform live, both heavy and melodic vocals. I know that a lot of metal snobs will suggest that such a thing detracts from the song but I disagree full heartedly, especially when the guy/girl singing is exceptionally good at both vocal styles.

    Perfect example is Chris Barretto of Friend for a Foe, (Formerly) Periphery and now Monuments, Devin Townsend (Who is a GOD!), Ihsahn who's screams are arguably crap compared to his cleans and Daniel De Jongh of Textures, formerly of Cilice.

    As for out-and-out metal vocals some of the best live I have seen are, Randy Blythe who is undeniably excellent, Rafal Pietrowski of Decapitated and Attila Csihar (Who is just frightening with Sun 0))))
     

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