How the hell??? (Vocal Question)

How in the world do people do this or this?

I have a pretty large vocal range, i can sing from a baritone to King Diamond but no matter how much i try i cannot replicate the sounds in the first two videos i linked to. Well, i take that back, i am probably around the right note, but i cannot make it sound as clean as those vocalists.

Are they using a breath-in technique? Much like this? I’ve heard thats really bad for the voice box though.

Any instructional videos or tips on how to do this?

(Sorry for linking so many videos, but i doubt most of you guys are black metal buffs, and it was just easier to show than tell)

Are you assuming it’s not done electronically?

You’re talking about the “cookie monster” vocals?

I know that folks like Phil Anselmo of Pantera, who has (had?) the type of range you describe and was one of the first folks to do the cookie monster thing (thankfully in very small doses) - well, he was pretty trained. He couldn’t’ve hit Cemetery Gates type high notes without a lot of training. So I have assumed that it is like any other rock vocal technique - there are ways to do it that sound cool and trash your voice and there are ways to do it that sound cool and keep your voice in shape (Phil has abused alcohol and drugs and trashed his voice that way…)…
…all I got for now. I would assume that if you searched on youtube for Cookie Monster vocal lessons, there would be a few to look through. Folks post on youtube to share their knowledge on pretty much anything these days…

I have seen these guys live, and the screams sound different, but very similar to the record. I have no problem believing its not done electronically.

Holy shit. That was the first time I’d ever heard Cradle of Filth, and I hope it will be my last.

Sorry to threadshit, but I’m in shock.

…and I agree with you - if we are discussing Cookie Monster vocals, they are not done electronically. Any thoughts on my previous post? Have you looked on line at all when you have been researching this?

and **jjimm **- no worries; YMMV and all…

They do it by sacrificing their vocal cords. The techniques necessary to use a death growl range from damaging, to devastating. The best you can hope for is proper breath support reducing the chance of damage, but over time pretty much everyone who uses this technique a lot will damage either their vocal cords or the mucus membranes which protect them.

Any time I’d start doing it my voice teachers or choral directors(if I was in a group) would tell me to knock it off and certain vocal competitions will count off for it if they hear it. While it did allow me to hit notes I couldn’t hit otherwise, my throat was always sore afterwards, so I don’t do it anymore.


It’s basically making scary monster noises. Similar vocalizations are used in movies, cartoons and the like. As to how they manage to do it all the time, the lead singer of Finntroll recently answered a similar question on their board.

Being burly and broadchested like Corpsegrinder helps. There’s a technique to brutal metal vocals, and I don’t think the good vocalists get enough credit for being able to maintain a consistent and unique sound. Generally you want the vocals to come up from the chest as opposed to the throat.

You can’t tell with this live video, but on Cannibal Corpse’s studio albums, the vocals are brutal yet clear and understandable.

Also, most black metal vocalists should lose their voices for having such fruity vocals.

There’s a lot of different techniques that get used depending on the type of screaming/growling/yelling you want to do. A lot of them (the lower pitched ones especially) rely on using the “fry” register of the voice. (A register where the vocal cords go slack and other portions of the throat vibrate to produce sound…a decent example of the sound is the noise made in The Grudge) In essence it’s still yelling/screaming but the vocal cords don’t come into play as much.

Needless to say you need EXCELLENT breath support to be able to produce anything of appreciable volume.

There’s a vocal coach in New York named Melissa Cross who’s been trying to teach techniques to do this and more “traditional” rock singing w/o trashing the vocal cords QUITE as much. She has a DVD series out called “The Zen of Screaming” which is pretty interesting.

Kinda like Lonnie Liston Smith. He seems to find a crack and ride it.


The key point in knowing if you’re doing it right or not is that you can scream like that for an entire set and STILL be able to sing at the end of it. It’s considered good practice to go for some total vocal rest the next day (no speaking, singing, or noise making in general, at all. If you want to communicate something write it down.) but that’s good practice in ANY touring situation, abusive vocal style or not.

Earlier this year I saw Machine Head finish off a set of music with vocals like this (Youtube Link) with a cover of Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name.

Not something he could pull off night after night if he were screaming “wrong”