The Science of Metal Screaming (Part II)


Evan Hamaoka, Casual Contributor

Before reading this, check out Part I here.

For the sake of demonstration, listen to “Kingdom of Tyrants” by death metal/grindcore band Cattle Decapitation. (Don’t worry about the name, the band’s guitarist and vocalist are both environmentalist vegetarians who protest animal cruelty and “live…life with as much compassion as [they] can for others, the environment and…animals.”) Like much of the band’s material, it talks about how humans are destructive, despicable creatures and laments animals subjected to slaughterhouses. You may hate the instrumental, but focus more on Travis Ryan’s vocals. 

0:07 — Low, vomitous death growl.

0:24–0:38 (“Murder the day…upon the muddy ground!”) — Unhinged high screams (most likely with tunnel throat techniques).

0:39–1:02 (“The soil is tainted...disease taking it all.”) — Low/mid growls with emphasis on pronunciation. Ryan’s speaking voice is also present in a lot of these.

1:03-1:08 (“Once we are freed, we’ll starve again.”) — Sing-screaming with an incredibly high note.

1:09-1:12 (“Instinctive mutation.”) — Low growl, with some of Travis’ voice present on the low end of the mix.

1:13-1:18 (“Once we are bled, they’ll start again.”) — More sing-screaming.

1:19-1:22 (“Unnatural burden.”) — Low growl, again with voice present.

1:23-1:40 (“AAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhh”) — Some beautiful, melodic sing-scream harmonies with a high, atonal screech layered beneath it in the mix.

1:40-2:34 (“Here in the garden, we know not what we do… If we were promised heaven, then WHY ARE WE IN HELL?”) — An unholy chorus of scream-singing erupts forth! Travis takes off his human suit, revealing himself as a demonic legion of pirate banshees standing at a precipice against the wind, sing-screaming their war declaration. Also, he can replicate this perfectly live. 

2:40-2:50 — Another piercing high screech that slowly turns into a mid-scream as Ryan restricts air passages through his false chords.

2:51-3:06 — (Similar high techniques as 0:24-0:38.)

3:07-3:44 (“This room, to be a cemented tomb…justified hatred for you humans, justified hatred on your worthless lives!”) — Low/mid growls with lots of variation, for example “slows to a crawl” is barely pronounced, in a style reminiscent of slam metal. 

4:01–4:35 — (Same techniques and lyrics as 1:03 to 1:22.)

4:37–End — An impressive mid-scream using fry techniques. Again, he shuts his throat (and closes his mouth) towards the conclusion, similar to 2:50.