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The use in music of vocals that are...well, harsh. Typically this refers to vocals that are growled, in attempt to make the music sound more "evil". This is commonly associated with extreme metal but shows up in other genres as well. See Soprano and Gravel for when this is paired up with cleaner, usually female, vocals. Compare Metal Scream, when the singer makes their vocals sound more intense by, well, screaming.

Please note that Harsh Vocals are not the same as Screamo, which is another genre of music entirely. Most metalheads will be rather upset if you refer to them as such.

Examples of Harsh Vocals include:
  • All Death Metal singers (The Other Wiki even this "Death Growl"). In the early years of the genre, "Cookie Monster" vocals were basically the only thing that separated it from just dirty, fast thrash. (in fact, a lot of Allmusic reviews of the genre use the words "Cookie Monster") Bands who go beyond strict use of deep growls (and perhaps occasional high-pitched screams) are often accusing of being sellouts and posers.
    • Cannibal Corpse Singer George Fisher has been growling so long that he can switch this voice on and off. while off, he sounds like he's been smoking eight packs a day.
    • Many Thrash Metal singers, get pretty close to death metal vocals, like Mille Petrozza, and Randy Rampage.
  • Epica's and After Forever's Mark Jansen
  • A female example - while not being actual growling, Magali Luyten's both singing and talking voice are very raspy.
  • Tom Waits gargles whiskey and broken glass.
  • Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones!
  • Captain Beefheart used this voice, among many others, quite often. However, unlike Tom Waits, it was nowhere near his natural voice.
  • Buster Poindexter (best known for singing "Hot Hot Hot").
    • Buster Poindexter is the psuedonym of former New York Dolls singer David Johansen.
  • The grindcore band Caninus affectionately parody the use of this vocal style in metal by having two pitbulls trade off on lead vocals.
  • Buzz Osborne of the Melvins' primary vocal style can be described as this. As with Captain Beefheart, his speaking voice is quite different.
  • Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister was one of the first people to sing exclusively with a throat full of gravel.
  • Terje Winterstø Røthing from Kaizers Orchestra when he's singing for his project, Skambankt.
  • Nils Frydakahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.
  • The lead singer of Skillet, John Cooper. Not only does he sing like this, it's his normal speaking voice.
  • Louis Armstrong.
  • Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Soulfly. ROOTS! BLOODY ROOOOOOOTS!
  • Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth.
  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins. When he isn't, y'know... screamin'.
  • Das Ich is a good example of this trope's use in darkwave.
  • Minoru Niihara of Loudness.
  • Hurricane Smith, best known for "Oh Babe What Would You Say"
  • PJ Harvey's song "Joy".
  • Albert Kuvezin's singing is all like this. This is a result of him being a VERY accomplished throat singer. Here's an example.
  • NWOBHM/Black Metal band Venom were perhaps the Ur Example of the "Cookie Monster" style.
    • They were the first to use it extensively. The vocal style was first used by The Who in their novelty song "Boris the Spider".
  • Dan McCafferty of Nazareth. His gravelly style is rather similar to that of Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, although both (especially Gillan) are capable of more melodic styles.
  • Carl McCoy of Fields of the Nephilim.
  • Another female example: Angela Gossow.
  • Infamously to anyone who's played Rock Band 2, Mallika Sundaramurthy from Abnormality (as in "Visions"), who is also a rare female example.
  • Mike Patton sometimes uses this type of vocal style in his music. But that's because he uses almost every vocal style in his music. His performance as The Darkness in the videogame of the same name essentially is Nightmare Fueled death metal vocals.
  • Nathan Explosion of Dethklok/ Metalocalypse. It's his normal voice.
  • Rare hip-hop example: Nicki Minaj uses these sparingly in 'Roman's Revenge'.
  • Not quite what's meant here, but Leonard Cohen did say, "Only in Canada could somebody with a voice like mine win Vocalist of the Year" when accepting the Juno Award for Best Male Vocalist in 1992.
  • Otep's Otep Shamaya does a lot of this, and is also another rare female example.
  • Most hellektro-industrial.
  • Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman mainly alternates between harsh vocals and a much smoother, crooning style - sometimes both get used within the same song for the sake of contrast. For a few musically Lighter and Softer albums in the mid-80's, he dropped the growling almost entirely.
  • Kamijo of Versailles doesn't do this very often, but there's still a few examples of this, such as in "The Red Carpet Day".
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