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Thread: I used to hate growled vocals, now I love them.

  1. #1
    Member Just Eric's Avatar
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    I used to hate growled vocals, now I love them.

    For years I was adamently opposed to anything but the cleanest of clean vocals and was not shy about voicing that opinion. After all, growled vocals are silly, not musical, ruin many good songs, and are damaging vocal cords at an alarming rate, right? Wrong.

    I finally realized that by blindly, or deafly, denying myself this music based on the sound of the vocals was the same as those who won't listen to Prog because it's not danceable or is too complex. If I give these vocals a chance, even though it may take repeated listens (sound familiar?), I may grow to appreciate them (sound familiar). After all, we are the fans who pride ourselves on perseverance when listening to music, the fans who recognize and even respect music that is difficult to "get" with a single listen. Why should this new trend in extreme vocals be any different than anything else I encountered as an adventurous music fan? Did I shy away when violin started to invade rock music, or Baroque harmonies, or classical song structures, or synthesizers? No, of course not, I am anadventurous open minded listener and needed to give these trends every opportunity they deserve. Thank goodness I did as that has not only set my music listening habits for years but opened up numerous styles, genres, artists and more.

    So, my question to the board is how many others have followed suit and now embrace extreme vocals? If I may be so bold, I know Frank, Alex, and Cone (chalkpie, adewolf, wideopenears) have. There must be more .... speak up, let us know your experience with extreme vocals.
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  2. #2
    I have only been exposed to Opeth's growls. They are powerful when mixed with straight vocals. I can't understand the lyrics but I don't mind.

    Please, when discussing this subject, don't go on rants against them. I'm curious to hear from those of us who are open-minded about it and are still forming an opinion.

  3. #3
    I use to hate growl vocals & I still hate growl vocals !

    The only song where they dont bother me is DT's Octovarium .

  4. #4
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    I've grown to accept growled vocals, but I'd have to say that I still prefer clean vocals.

  5. #5
    Nope. Still don't like em & will never get how some people understand what's being said underneath some of the most extreme examples.

  6. #6
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Haven't heard much growled vocals, I must admit. I guess I'm not sure off hand why someone would growl instead of sing? And asking honestly, what is the appeal? The idea sounds cheesy and incomprehensible to me right off, but I'm always ready to be 'shown the light' as they say...

  7. #7
    I don't like growled vocals even more today.And i don't start the thread.

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    I can put up with them when they are mixed with clean vocals as with Opeth. But mostly, I can't distinguish one growler from the next and I can almost never discern the lyrics without following along with them in the liner notes.

  9. #9
    I decided to give Opeth a chance after hearing a very limited amount of growling in Beardfish (very small sample). I like Opeth quite a bit, but everything that's been posted here (recently and back in the day) does nothing for me. I don't mind extreme-ish vox, but the music has to be worth my time, too. So I'm ok with Fantomas (those are some extreme vox) because I like the music, too. Same goes for Opeth. I guess I need to check out more Dilinger Escape Plan as I really like the EP they did with Patton a few years back.

    But most extreme/death/black/tech metal just doesn't do much for me. I suppose what I'm saying is it has nothing to do with the vox.
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  10. #10
    Member Just Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    Haven't heard much growled vocals, I must admit. I guess I'm not sure off hand why someone would growl instead of sing? And asking honestly, what is the appeal? The idea sounds cheesy and incomprehensible to me right off, but I'm always ready to be 'shown the light' as they say...
    Why growl instead of sing ... mostly because the vocal style evolved as part of the genre and fits with the music. Other reasons would be to compliment the aggressive tone of a song or because it is how you sing naturally. Whenever I hear aggressive music, whether it's grindcore, death metal, or other, and the vocals are clean it sounds odd to me - clean vocals aren't part of the genre aesthetic.

    Ironically, the history of growled vocals comes from Rock and what was once a style used for effect became the style for several fledgling Metal genres.

    Here is a passage from the Death Growl wiki -

    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. Though humorous in intent, the 1972 novelty song "C Is For Cookie" by Cookie Monster features deep, guttural, gurgling growls which may have influenced modern death metal vocalists.[9] 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".

    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" (1969) and the beginning of "Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)". Punk rock bands like The Clash and the Stiff Little Fingers also regularly employed gruff sounding vocals, however nothing like the death growl common in metal music today.
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  11. #11
    Member Just Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    I decided to give Opeth a chance after hearing a very limited amount of growling in Beardfish (very small sample). I like Opeth quite a bit, but everything that's been posted here (recently and back in the day) does nothing for me. I don't mind extreme-ish vox, but the music has to be worth my time, too. So I'm ok with Fantomas (those are some extreme vox) because I like the music, too. Same goes for Opeth. I guess I need to check out more Dilinger Escape Plan as I really like the EP they did with Patton a few years back.

    But most extreme/death/black/tech metal just doesn't do much for me. I suppose what I'm saying is it has nothing to do with the vox.
    I can certainly appreciate that. If the music didn't resonate with me there would be no need to embrace the vocal style.
    Duncan's going to make a Horns Emoticon!!!

  12. #12
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Eric View Post
    Why growl instead of sing ... mostly because the vocal style evolved as part of the genre and fits with the music. Other reasons would be to compliment the aggressive tone of a song or because it is how you sing naturally. Whenever I hear aggressive music, whether it's grindcore, death metal, or other, and the vocals are clean it sounds odd to me - clean vocals aren't part of the genre aesthetic.

    Ironically, the history of growled vocals comes from Rock and what was once a style used for effect became the style for several fledgling Metal genres.

    Here is a passage from the Death Growl wiki -
    Thanks, I think the growl in 'One of these Days' is pretty cool actually.

  13. #13
    Member PotatoSolution's Avatar
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    Only thing me like more than early Opeth is COOKIES!

    cookie-monster.jpg

  14. #14
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I like the growling, alternative take, of Supper's Ready.

  15. #15
    'aang 'hoot' Don Arnold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Eric View Post
    .......... So, my question to the board is how many others have followed suit and now embrace extreme vocals? If I may be so bold, I know Frank, Alex, and Cone (chalkpie, adewolf, wideopenears) have. There must be more .... speak up, let us know your experience with extreme vocals.
    Addressing the question you pose first, I have listened to a small smattering of extreme vocals ala CM vox, and while I can tolerate it in very small doses (such as in Beardfish), generally speaking, it ruins the music listening experience for me. So no, I do not personally embrace extreme vocals.



    Quote Originally Posted by Just Eric View Post
    For years I was adamently opposed to anything but the cleanest of clean vocals and was not shy about voicing that opinion. After all, growled vocals are silly, not musical, ruin many good songs, and are damaging vocal cords at an alarming rate, right? Wrong ...........
    However, referring to your opening remarks, written albeit for emphasis, I don't consider growling silly, nor unmusical. I appreciate there's a place for this style in music, just as there is yodelling, humming, la'ing, scat, rap, et al. I'm just simply not a fan of this style.

  16. #16
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Here my favourite:


  17. #17
    Member wideopenears's Avatar
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    To be clear, I am neither a fan, nor a hater, of "growl vocalizing,"--but I feel it is a legitimate expression of musical ideas and information, in certain settings and circumstances. I mean, I'm not much of a fan of bass guitar played with a pick, if asked, but I think it has it's place and is an effective way of making sounds in certain circumstances. I could say the same about scat singing, as well.

    However, I firmly believe there is nothing scarier, in the range of vocal techniques, than Tiny Tim's falsetto in Tiptoe through the Tulips.

  18. #18
    Member Wounded Land's Avatar
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    Honestly guys...like them or not, they are part of the new normal for metal and heavy rock in general. For the younger generation of musicians, there has never been a time in which heavy bands didn't do this. Seriously, it's been, like thirty years since this became popular in metal circles. In 2013, you might as well be asking why people have distorted electric guitars (obviously, de gustibus, etc. etc.).

    That being said, yes, it was Opeth who got me into them. I never liked the death metal that I had heard before them, but it was the combination of the clear, resonant death vocals (with excellent rhythmic and tonal variation, I might add) with the awesome music that had me hooked.

    Like anything else, sometimes it's done well, sometimes poorly. I don't have a blanket policy towards extreme vocals any more than I do towards distorted electric guitars ("Hey kid, you'll like this Mariah Carey tune...it has guitars in it!").

    NP: The Beatles Abbey Road

  19. #19
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozo-pg View Post
    I like the growling, alternative take, of Supper's Ready.
    What about Ripples?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    I use to hate growl vocals & I still hate growl vocals !
    I'm with brother Rufus.

  21. #21
    My gateway drug into extreme vox was Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. They allowed me to appreciate the more guttural sounds. I had never ventured beyond Damnation with Opeth until that point. Now, as long as the music is good the voice doesn't matter. A lot of songs just sound better with extreme vox. I have since been listening to Enslaved, Sigh, Dark Tranquility, Ihsahn and many more.

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  23. #23
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    What about Ripples?

  24. #24
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Eric, what about extreme vocals with several punk band (e.g., Dead Kennedy's)? I really like that but somehow can't get past the growl factor.

  25. #25
    Member Just Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozo-pg View Post
    Eric, what about extreme vocals with several punk band (e.g., Dead Kennedy's)? I really like that but somehow can't get past the growl factor.
    I never really got into Punk, but what I've heard has been very aggressive in nature and extreme vocals, be it screams, howls, grunts or other, would probably compliment the music.

    Just listened to Holiday in Cambodia, certainly not a love song, and enjoyed to intense nature of the performance.
    Duncan's going to make a Horns Emoticon!!!

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