Poll

How do you feel about the use of harsh or growling "cookie monster" vocals in music?

I love them and wish all bands would use them
11 (10.3%)
I think they're OK
25 (23.4%)
I can take them or leave them
14 (13.1%)
I'm not a fan but I still listen to some bands who use them
40 (37.4%)
Hate them and won't listen to bands who use them
17 (15.9%)

Total Members Voted: 107

Author Topic: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?  (Read 1934 times)

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Offline TempusVox

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #175 on: February 22, 2021, 12:51:45 PM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone. Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong. 
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Offline wolfking

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #176 on: February 22, 2021, 12:55:12 PM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone.Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong.

I never quite understood why this comes into the argument when there's a dislike for harsh vocals.  It's not as easy as some think.

Offline NoseofNicko

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #177 on: February 22, 2021, 12:55:56 PM »
Growling is really hard actually. I can do it but not for a whole song, I lose my voice at some point.

Offline kingshmegland

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #178 on: February 22, 2021, 01:25:55 PM »
Growling is really hard actually. I can do it but not for a whole song, I lose my voice at some point.

It absolutely is.  I just don't want it through a whole song.  I was it to emphasize a moment of anger, aggression in a song.  Sort of like what a guitar pedal does for a guitar.

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Offline cramx3

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #179 on: February 22, 2021, 01:26:25 PM »
Growling well might just be as difficult as singing cleanly well.  I'm not a singer though, but I can't come close to doing growls or screams without losing my voice.

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #180 on: February 22, 2021, 02:38:26 PM »
There is a correct way to do Growls that won't damage your voice. It's guttural and comes from the Gut area, making it a low sound, almost like the throat singers. It's how the Hu does their vocals. And how Females can do growls.

Also, it is not easy to go out and constantly do those type of Growls without damaging your vocals. To me, it's why I think Mikael stopped doing Growls all together. As it is not helping his voice, and he has done damage that he doesn't want to do any further, and he also could just want to sing more clean as he is older and doesn't feel angry. Of course he'll still do them live, but even people here say he has lost his growl power, and that could be because of him not feeling angry anymore and doesn't want to mess up his vocals anymore than he has.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #181 on: February 22, 2021, 02:42:15 PM »
Whether you agree with it or not, saying, "I don't like death growls because they aren't melodic enough," is a fair and valid criticism. 
For sure, and so are "I don't like metal music because it's heavy" and "I don't like prog because it's complex and intricate", which was the comparison that Dedalus made and that for some reason kirks disagreed with as a comparison.


I think I mis-read something here. 


Both of those are valid reasons for not liking metal music and not liking prog.     You guys are right.  I was wrong.  Sorry about that, Dedalus, I'm not even sure why I replied that way.  :facepalm:

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #182 on: February 22, 2021, 03:03:21 PM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone.Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong.

I never quite understood why this comes into the argument when there's a dislike for harsh vocals. It's not as easy as some think.


Not as easy as many people think?  Yes, I 100% agree with that. 


But I think singing melodically and in key with good timbre, timing and resonance is VASTLY more difficult than making cookie monster noises.  For one thing you do not have any issues whatsoever with pitch if you're growling.  It's impossible to hit a bad note because there aren't any notes - they're all the same.  That aspect alone makes melodic singing more difficult. 


Offline ariich

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #183 on: February 22, 2021, 03:07:32 PM »
Whether you agree with it or not, saying, "I don't like death growls because they aren't melodic enough," is a fair and valid criticism. 
For sure, and so are "I don't like metal music because it's heavy" and "I don't like prog because it's complex and intricate", which was the comparison that Dedalus made and that for some reason kirks disagreed with as a comparison.


I think I mis-read something here. 


Both of those are valid reasons for not liking metal music and not liking prog.     You guys are right.  I was wrong.  Sorry about that, Dedalus, I'm not even sure why I replied that way.  :facepalm:
All good, and I did actually wonder if perhaps you'd misread Ded's post so good to have that cleared up! :tup

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #184 on: February 22, 2021, 03:23:59 PM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone.Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong.

I never quite understood why this comes into the argument when there's a dislike for harsh vocals. It's not as easy as some think.


Not as easy as many people think?  Yes, I 100% agree with that. 


But I think singing melodically and in key with good timbre, timing and resonance is VASTLY more difficult than making cookie monster noises.  For one thing you do not have any issues whatsoever with pitch if you're growling.  It's impossible to hit a bad note because there aren't any notes - they're all the same.  That aspect alone makes melodic singing more difficult.

I think of Growls as more of a Technique.

Like how easy it is to Hammer on and Pull off on guitar, while it is more difficult to Pick Sweep, or Tosin's Slap Guitar.  :biggrin:

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Offline Dedalus

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #185 on: February 22, 2021, 08:14:36 PM »
Whether you agree with it or not, saying, "I don't like death growls because they aren't melodic enough," is a fair and valid criticism. 
For sure, and so are "I don't like metal music because it's heavy" and "I don't like prog because it's complex and intricate", which was the comparison that Dedalus made and that for some reason kirks disagreed with as a comparison.


I think I mis-read something here. 


Both of those are valid reasons for not liking metal music and not liking prog.     You guys are right.  I was wrong.  Sorry about that, Dedalus, I'm not even sure why I replied that way.  :facepalm:

Don't worry!

I came to think that I had not written correctly (because sometimes I think I write mentally in my language, but using English, and it gets confusing  :lol), but as the ariich understood ...

 :tup

Offline RoeDent

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #186 on: February 23, 2021, 02:37:43 AM »
I don't mind them when used sparingly, but it has to be sparingly. Otherwise proper singing only. Also it's hard to take a vocal style seriously when it's named after a friggin' Sesame Street character.

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #187 on: February 23, 2021, 05:30:54 AM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone.Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong.

I never quite understood why this comes into the argument when there's a dislike for harsh vocals.  It's not as easy as some think.

Yeah, can we please stop degrading the things we don't like?

Offline Stadler

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #188 on: February 23, 2021, 07:33:36 AM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone.Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong.

I never quite understood why this comes into the argument when there's a dislike for harsh vocals.  It's not as easy as some think.

Yeah, can we please stop degrading the things we don't like?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I've been fighting that battle for years now.  I would respectfully say "don't hold your breath"!   :) :) It's as if it's genetically impossible for most humans to say "yea, that's of merit, I just don't like it."  I'm not speaking of anyone in particular here, just speaking broadly, but people seem to have this need to rationalize their feelings, that if they don't like it it or believe in it, it must be CRAP.    I know for me, I rarely have to think about whether I like something or not; it's instinctive or visceral, so I can't really take any intellectual credit for that. 

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #189 on: February 23, 2021, 08:09:02 AM »
^that's a really good point.  I definitely do not think about whether or not I like a piece of music.  The "liking" or "not liking" just...happens. 




I want to make sure I'm not bashing growling or harsh vocals.  That's not my intent with this thread.  I was genuinely interested to see if the age factor is actually a factor and I think it is.  I think if we had a poll of people who are 50 or older and a poll of people who are 49 or younger, both with, say 1000 participants in each, I think the older group would skew more heavily to "not liking" because harsh vocals are, relatively speaking, a fairly modern element.    I mean, yeah, they've been around for a long time, but I can still remember a time when most, if not all, of the bands using those types of vocals were considered "underground" but I think it's moved much closer to the mainstream in the last, oh, 20 years or so.  I mean, I saw Trivium - a group that is easily 50/50 on growls/clean vocals sell out the Comcast Center. 

I know it's not easy to do, which is probably one of the reasons I think 90% of the growling vocals I hear when I'm researching new music on Amazon.com sounds somewhere between ridiculous and awful.  Once in a great while I hear a band doing it in a way that doesn't make me just hit "next" on the list of bands I'm checking out.   So, yeah, I think it's definitely a talent.  But the very few and far between nature of finding really good ones kind of supports my theory that there are a large portion of bands out there doing this because they can't find a good vocalist.

I think really great growlers are even more rare than really great vocalists who sing all clean.   I've probably checked out 100 bands that use growls and with the exception of about maybe 4 or 5 of them I found the bulk of them to be worthless, and maybe 1/2 of the time the growling ruins what could have been some killer music with melodic vocals. 


Someone mentioned Jinjer - that's a perfect example.  Amazing music, unlistenable vocals


Offline bosk1

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #190 on: February 23, 2021, 08:17:16 AM »
There isn't an option for me.

I love them, but I don't wish all bands would use them because I love clean vocals too and obviously I don't want all bands to do the same thing.

This is kinda where I am.  They are perfectly fitting for some bands' music, and not others.  And some singers do various types of harsh vocals in much more pleasing ways than others.  For the spectrum of harsh vocals I like, on one hand, you have bands like Nightwish that is all about clean vocals, with any contrast coming from just aggressive belting from Marco.  But then you have the odd song (Yours Is an Empty Hope) where Floor growls out of nowhere, and it is pretty amazing.  It works because it is rare, and the part is written well into the song.  Or a band like Queensryche, where with Todd LaTorre, they a just sprinkled in here and there, but are not a main feature of the band's music.  I like that.  On the other end of the spectrum, you have a band like Jinjer, where the switching is part of their sound and their gimmick, and Tatiana growls like nobody's business.  I like both of those.  I also like bands like Trivium, where they use a pretty wide variety of harsh and clean vocals, from grunts, to growls, to screams. 

Again, for me, it just depends on whether or not it fits the music and sounds good to my ears.  That said, I can't think of a single band I like that rely on those types of vocals exclusively, and I guess even for those bands that use them a lot that I actively like, that is only a handful of bands (Epica, Trivium, Jinjer, for the most part).

Oh, and 51 years old.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #191 on: February 23, 2021, 08:27:43 AM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone. Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong. 

Okay, so how about Tatiana Shmayluk, Matt Heafy, Todd LaTorre, or Devin Townsend, for example?  All of those how incredible clean vocals.  And they are also recognized as having some incredibly powerful harsh vocals.  I don't get this argument.  If you don't like it, you don't like it.  That's fine.  But don't put it down by trying to argue that folks who vocalize that way can't sing.  Many can.  I would take any of those all day any day over, say, Bob Dylan.

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #192 on: February 23, 2021, 08:28:01 AM »
Just for the record, I'm 50 years old and love growling and any kind of harsh vocals when done right. But I'm sure the majority of my age group are not too keen on them.

But then I think it's not so surprising, the older you get the more your mind is set (generally speaking) and you have a harder time to adopt and adapt to new styles. When rock was young, the kids loved it and their parents saw the devil in disguise. When metal was young, the kids loved it .... and so on and so on.


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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #193 on: February 23, 2021, 08:35:21 AM »
^that's a really good point.  I definitely do not think about whether or not I like a piece of music.  The "liking" or "not liking" just...happens. 




I want to make sure I'm not bashing growling or harsh vocals.  That's not my intent with this thread.  I was genuinely interested to see if the age factor is actually a factor and I think it is.  I think if we had a poll of people who are 50 or older and a poll of people who are 49 or younger, both with, say 1000 participants in each, I think the older group would skew more heavily to "not liking" because harsh vocals are, relatively speaking, a fairly modern element.    I mean, yeah, they've been around for a long time, but I can still remember a time when most, if not all, of the bands using those types of vocals were considered "underground" but I think it's moved much closer to the mainstream in the last, oh, 20 years or so.  I mean, I saw Trivium - a group that is easily 50/50 on growls/clean vocals sell out the Comcast Center. 

I know it's not easy to do, which is probably one of the reasons I think 90% of the growling vocals I hear when I'm researching new music on Amazon.com sounds somewhere between ridiculous and awful.  Once in a great while I hear a band doing it in a way that doesn't make me just hit "next" on the list of bands I'm checking out.   So, yeah, I think it's definitely a talent.  But the very few and far between nature of finding really good ones kind of supports my theory that there are a large portion of bands out there doing this because they can't find a good vocalist.

I think really great growlers are even more rare than really great vocalists who sing all clean.   I've probably checked out 100 bands that use growls and with the exception of about maybe 4 or 5 of them I found the bulk of them to be worthless, and maybe 1/2 of the time the growling ruins what could have been some killer music with melodic vocals. 


Someone mentioned Jinjer - that's a perfect example.  Amazing music, unlistenable vocals

Now it's your turn to make a good point:  I think there are far more bands out there with fantastic music and subpar vocals, growls or not, than the other way around.   I rarely "don't like" a band because the guitar player isn't Yngwie or Eddie, but there are a ton of bands that I WOULD like if the singer wasn't the singer.   Hell, there are bands I like only parts of, because of the singer.  Michael Schenker; he's a top three guitar player for me, yet I don't own ANY MSG that doesn't have Gary Barden or Graham Bonnet or Doogie White on there in some capacity.  I have no real use for Robin McCauley or Michael Voss.  Yngwie is another one; I have all his albums with Jeff Soto and Joe Lynn Turner, and all his instrumental albums, but not interested in the 40 others with singers I don't like.

I think it's far harder to find a world class singer than it is any other instrument, and as such, bands have to sometimes be more... not creative, but maybe tolerant, when it comes to vocals.   

Offline bosk1

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #194 on: February 23, 2021, 08:42:30 AM »
I don't think that's surprising.  The vocals are usually the centerpiece, and what people notice first.  There is a reason the vocalist in the band is usually the frontperson.  And even where a singer is very talented, in general, people who don't like the band don't like it because they don't like the particular timbre or style of the singer a lot more often than, say, because of the guitar tone.
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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #195 on: February 23, 2021, 09:51:57 AM »
And while every decent guitar player has his own style, it's much easier to change the sound of your guitar, than to change the sound of your voice.

Offline bluefox4000

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #196 on: February 23, 2021, 10:46:05 AM »
I'm 36 and not a fan of growls.  i don't know where that puts me but that's my age, lol Really HATED them in my 20's.  i have softened a bit.



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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #197 on: February 23, 2021, 12:34:05 PM »
^that's a really good point.  I definitely do not think about whether or not I like a piece of music.  The "liking" or "not liking" just...happens. 




I want to make sure I'm not bashing growling or harsh vocals.  That's not my intent with this thread.  I was genuinely interested to see if the age factor is actually a factor and I think it is.  I think if we had a poll of people who are 50 or older and a poll of people who are 49 or younger, both with, say 1000 participants in each, I think the older group would skew more heavily to "not liking" because harsh vocals are, relatively speaking, a fairly modern element.    I mean, yeah, they've been around for a long time, but I can still remember a time when most, if not all, of the bands using those types of vocals were considered "underground" but I think it's moved much closer to the mainstream in the last, oh, 20 years or so.  I mean, I saw Trivium - a group that is easily 50/50 on growls/clean vocals sell out the Comcast Center. 

I know it's not easy to do, which is probably one of the reasons I think 90% of the growling vocals I hear when I'm researching new music on Amazon.com sounds somewhere between ridiculous and awful.  Once in a great while I hear a band doing it in a way that doesn't make me just hit "next" on the list of bands I'm checking out.   So, yeah, I think it's definitely a talent.  But the very few and far between nature of finding really good ones kind of supports my theory that there are a large portion of bands out there doing this because they can't find a good vocalist.

I think really great growlers are even more rare than really great vocalists who sing all clean.   I've probably checked out 100 bands that use growls and with the exception of about maybe 4 or 5 of them I found the bulk of them to be worthless, and maybe 1/2 of the time the growling ruins what could have been some killer music with melodic vocals. 


Someone mentioned Jinjer - that's a perfect example.  Amazing music, unlistenable vocals

Now it's your turn to make a good point:  I think there are far more bands out there with fantastic music and subpar vocals, growls or not, than the other way around.   I rarely "don't like" a band because the guitar player isn't Yngwie or Eddie, but there are a ton of bands that I WOULD like if the singer wasn't the singer.   Hell, there are bands I like only parts of, because of the singer.  Michael Schenker; he's a top three guitar player for me, yet I don't own ANY MSG that doesn't have Gary Barden or Graham Bonnet or Doogie White on there in some capacity.  I have no real use for Robin McCauley or Michael Voss.  Yngwie is another one; I have all his albums with Jeff Soto and Joe Lynn Turner, and all his instrumental albums, but not interested in the 40 others with singers I don't like.

I think it's far harder to find a world class singer than it is any other instrument, and as such, bands have to sometimes be more... not creative, but maybe tolerant, when it comes to vocals.


The thing with singinging I think is that the physical piece has to be much rarer than the ability to learn, say, how to play a pentatonic-based guitar solo.   Given enough time and commitment to practicing I think I could probably teach ANY sufficiently motivated student to play a decent-sounding blues solo within 6 to 9 months give or take a month or two.


Compare that to singing.  No matter how many vocal lessons I take and no matter how much I practice my beatheing and vowel enunciation exercises and no matter how many scales I sing and how many songs I rehearse, the physical limitations of my particular vocal chords, throat, mouth, etc. are never going to change and I am always going to sound nasal and pitchy as fuck because I just do not have the physical attributes that produce a pleasant sounding singing voice.  No amount of practice will prevent my vocals from sounding mediocre at the very best. 

Offline wolfking

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Re: Harsh or Growling Vocals - Yes or No?
« Reply #198 on: February 24, 2021, 08:15:01 PM »
You might be right on the age thing. I'm an OG and I cannot stand the growling crap. Screams, shrieks, forceful and powerful vocals?- all day. Growls? -instant turn off. Show me you can actually sing, not growl into the microphone. Especially when the rest of the band is very talented, and the music and writing are strong. 

Okay, so how about Tatiana Shmayluk, Matt Heafy, Todd LaTorre, or Devin Townsend, for example?  All of those how incredible clean vocals.  And they are also recognized as having some incredibly powerful harsh vocals.  I don't get this argument.  If you don't like it, you don't like it.  That's fine.  But don't put it down by trying to argue that folks who vocalize that way can't sing.  Many can.  I would take any of those all day any day over, say, Bob Dylan.

Indeed.  Plus Bjorn Strid, Christian Alvestam, Dan Swano, Mikael Arkefeldt, Jari Maenpaa.  Heaps that do both amazingly well.  In fact all these guys would be more versatile than a lot of guys who only sing clean.