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"He hates crime, he hates due process. He apparently hates his vocal cords, too."

A character who speaks with a deep, throaty rasp. This style of speaking gives the character an ominous or solemn tone, so it's usually the domain of Anti Heroes, protagonists of Darker and Edgier works, and villains.

For music, see Harsh Vocals for the use of growled vocals and Basso Profundo for someone whose voice is simply extremely low. Has nothing to do with Growling Gut.

Examples


Anime and Manga


Comicbooks

  • Rorschach in Watchmen. His speech bubbles are ragged and frayed. He also uses clipped syntax, and several characters note his eerie monotone voice.


Films -- Live-Action


Literature

  • Fenrir Greyback's voice is described this way in the Harry Potter books.
    • The audiobook version by Jim Dale does too.
  • The Warhammer 40000 Night Lords series describes The Exalted as having a voice like this, which is best demonstrated in the audio drama Throne of Lies.
    • It gets bonus points for having the only speaking role requiring the Legion's birth language and Black Speech for extra creepy and evil.
  • Butler from Artemis Fowl is described as having a 'gravelly bass'.


Live-Action TV

  • The Inquisitor on Red Dwarf. On the commentary, it's mentioned that the actor originally shouted all his lines, but was told to growl them because shouting made him seem less in control.
  • Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett qualify, such that when Arnett guested on 30 Rock, Liz Lemon said they could have a "talking like this contest". (Obviously audio would be needed here; when she said that, she was speaking low and raspy.)
    • In another episode, Liz Lemon attempts to mock Jack Donnaghy's voice and management style, but ends up slipping into a Batman impression.
  • Eliot from Leverage definitely qualifies.
  • The Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
  • Lurch from The Addams Family. Originally he was supposed to be mute. Then Ted Cassidy threw in a "You rannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng?"
  • Gleb Zheglov from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed.
  • Fans often complain about Chuck Bass doing this on Gossip Girl. His father was the same way...
  • Animal from The Muppets.
  • In Supernatural, Dean has become increasingly gruff over the seasons (seriously, listen to season one compared to season six). Castiel too is fairly growly, although this is on purpose; actor Misha Collins felt that as Castiel's natural voice shatters windows and makes people's ears bleed, his voice in his human vessel should be rather tough-sounding. (He has also confirmed that he and Jensen Ackles 'compete' during their scenes together to see who can sound growlier, although this may not be literally true.) Bobby could also be considered an offender, as could Crowley... it's pretty much just a cast full of BatVoice.

    Dean's growling voice was awesomely lampshaded at least twice: once in "The Real Ghostbusters" when a fan was pretending to be Dean, and once in "The French Mistake" when Jensen was playing Dean playing Jensen playing Dean. ("That's how he does it.")
  • Richard Harrow on Boardwalk Empire. Actor Jack Huston said that he figured the deformed veteran had had operations on his throat and jaw that would affect his voice, so he stuffed his mouth with cotton balls and came up with the voice for the audition.
  • Michael from Nikita has this as well, although this is actually how Shane West's voice sounds. Brilliantly lampshaded by Alex in Episode 1x16.
  • William Adama from Battlestar Galactica. This is how he got the callsign "Husker"
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Various monsters had guttural growler voices, but the most notable character who talked like this would be Goldar.


New Media


Theater


Videogames

  • Manfred von Karma from the Ace Attorney series.
  • Metal Gear Solid Solid Snake has a ridiculously guttural voice, especially in the fourth installment of the series. However, one could argue that his voice isn't like that just for the sake of it: he is both old and a lifelong smoker.
  • Marcus Fenix and the Locust Horde from Gears of War. Marcus has the gravely voice of a chain smoker, whereas the voice of the locusts pretty much are gravel and bass in and of themselves. This contrasts with the harsh windy whispery voices of the therons.
  • Torn and Damas from the Jak and Daxter series.
  • Alex Mercer from Prototype sounds like he's in serious need of some menthol tablets when he's yelling (which is often), though he has a deep voice to begin with. It's just clear that shouting in it requires effort.
  • Cole McGrath from In Famous is an excellent example. Yahtzee likened his voice to "a blender filled with gravel." It becomes noticeably less gravely in the sequel; he's still raspy but at a higher register.
  • Firion in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Strikes a good contrast with the cheery-sounding characters. Interestingly for this trope, Firion is about as far from "dark and edgy antihero" as one can get, being optimistic, caring, and fond of flowers. He's practically Moe.
    • Also Kefka at times. It's actually a bit jarring to hear him go from high-pitched, gleeful cries of joy at the prospect of maiming his opponent to snarling in a way that is most definitely NOT humorous.
  • "Visions" from Rock Band 2 deserves special mention here. Absurdly guttural, nigh incomprehensible lyrics. Sung by a woman, no less!
  • Thane from Mass Effect 2 has a perpetual rasp, which seems to be a racial trait for the drell, as Kolyat has a similar (if less pronounced) effect to his voice. Wrex from both games and Grunt from the second game have a bit of this too, as do the rest of the krogans.
  • Ghouls in the Fallout universe speak this way, due to their decomposition (even the women). Chris Haversam, a perfectly normal human who believes he is a ghoul, speaks with a similar rasp. It's averted in the case of Dean Domino of the Dead Money DLC, who seems to have kept his lounge singer voice after all these years. Super Mutants and Nightkin also apply.
    • Notably female Ghoul's have raspy but still clearly feminine voices, while female mutants have ridiculously deep male voices. Justified in that mutants well..... mutated, and are all genderless but masculine looking and sounding, even if the original person was a female, while ghouls are simply deteriorated people and retained their gender.
  • World of Warcraft.
  • The male Nosferatu in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines.
  • Sam Gideon, the protagonist of Vanquish, is a guttural growler.... that is completely eclipsed by Col. Robert Burns' dump-truck-full-of-rocks-in-a-giant-bass-drum vocalizations.
    • Consequently, Burns is voiced by none other than Steve Blum, who also did Grunt, as well as several other examples on this page as well.
    • Gideon Emery, who voiced Sam Gideon embodies this trope in many of his other video game roles as well.
  • The Nemesis, with his infamous "S.T.A.R.S" grunt before he tries to kill you.
  • Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher.
  • Caleb from Blood.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex Human Revolution.
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X.
  • Sergei "Eater" Brynner from Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy. A few of his squadron members also qualify.
  • Bowser from Super Mario 64 onwards, but not in Super Mario Sunshine. He regained this type of voice in Super Mario Galaxy.


Western Animation

  • Metalocalypse's Nathan Explosion exaggerates this trope for laughs.
  • Shnitzel from Chowder, quite fitting since apparently he's made of gravel.
  • Froggo from Histeria!
  • Dr. Girlfriend, which leads to a few Transvestite jokes (though she's apparently just a heavy smoker).
  • Prolific voice actor Scott McNeil has this as one of his primary vocal archetypes, heard best in his roles as Dinobot, Wolverine, and other similar characters. To be fair, he's smoked for much of his life, which has helped him develop this voice, though he still warns his fans that they shouldn't follow his example.
  • Nearly any incarnation of DC Comics' Darkseid. Nearly every actor to voice him has pitched his voice way, way down (notably Frank Welker, perhaps best known as Fred from Scooby Doo). Even Michael Ironside in the DCAU was pitched down for the character's initial appearances on Superman: The Animated Series, although his later appearances have Ironside pretty much using his actual voice, which is growly and guttural already.
  • Dr. Claw in Inspector Gadget.
  • Kenny of South Park speaks like this while in his guise as Mysterion, except for a couple points where he's so surprised by something that he responds in his normal voice before correcting himself. ** Cartman does this to a somewhat lesser extent while as The Coon.
  • Transformers Generation 1: A number of characters (typically Decepticons) speak like this, such as Kup, Thundercracker, Blitzwing, Scrapper, Bombshell, the Dinobots, and Megatron. Soundwave is another, more subtle example, since his voice actor (Frank Welker) uses his "Dr. Claw" voice, but it is played through a vocoder to give it a musical quality.
  • Shadow Weaver from She Ra Princess of Power.
  • Homer Simpson (yes, that Homer Simpson) talks like this a lot in the Hungarian and French-Canadian dubs.
  • Alfe in The Problem Solverz, though he's anything but solemn.
  • Wolverine in the X-Men animated series.


Real Life

  • Tom Waits talks and sings with this kind of voice.
  • Canadian voice-over artist Bill Mitchell was famous (and much-imitated) for his throaty basso-profundo delivery, which will forever be associated with film trailers. He also did a good Orson Welles impression. His voice came about due to a childhood bout of mumps which affected his vocal cords.
  • Wrestler Brian Pillman had a voice like this due to multiple childhood bouts with throat polyps.
  • Miles Davis had throat surgery and wasn't supposed to talk for a certain period of time. However, he became so angry at someone that he started shouting, and ended up speaking like this for the rest of his life.
    • His voice wasn't that smooth to start with, and telling Miles Davis not to yell at anybody is like telling a fish not to swim.
    • The same thing happened to Bonnie Tyler. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise; her first song with the gravelly voice ("It's a Heartache") was also her breakthrough hit.
  • Canadian actor Michael Wincott. He is usually cast as the villain because of his voice.
  • One of voice actor Scott McNeil's more well-used voices. Examples include Dinobot and Lord Bale.
  • Almost anytime Steve Blum voices a particularly tough Badass (such as Wolverine or Jack Cayman) this often is the result.
    • His voice as Oghren is more guttural than most of his previous performances, and Grunt is more guttural and deep than Oghren.
  • Hungarian stage actor Szilveszter Szabo often ends up sounding like this, such as in this video of him as Tybalt in Romeo es Julia: a Musical.
  • Japanese voice actor Norio Wakamoto is infamous for this, combined with his characters being Large Hams.
  • The late Don LaFontaine was best known for this type of voice. You probably know him best as that voice that used to say "In a World" in ads for movies.
  • John Dimaggio is pretty much famous for this trope. Among his roles is the above mentioned Marcus Fenix.
  • Shozo Iizuka is another anime voice actor who often does this, especially when voicing lead villains.
  • Many aggro-EBM or Hellektro vocalists, such as Jens Kastel of Funker Vogt.
  • The techincal term for this is "vocal fry."
  • Corey Feldman. Even outside of the Lost Boys.
  • Harvey Fierstein.
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