TV Tropes Needs Your Help
View Kickstarter Project
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here
and discuss here
"He hates crime, he hates due process. He apparently hates his vocal cords, too."
A character who speaks with a deep, throaty rasp, characteristic of Chain Smokers. 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.
Often overlaps with Evil Sounds Raspy
and Evil Sounds Deep
(but not always).
For music, see Harsh Vocals
for the use of growled vocals and Basso Profondo
for someone whose voice is simply extremely low. May also be half of a Soprano and Gravel
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- 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
- Rorschach from Watchmen.
- George C Scott's characters, most notably Patton and Buck Turgidson. Only in rare occasions did Scott avert this trope and speak in a relatively mellow voice.
- The Dark Knight Saga's Batman speaks this way, partially to conceal his identity. This has its origin in the comics, where Batman is stated to disguise his voice while in costume, although other interpretations of Batman's voice, such as Kevin Conroy's, were nowhere near as extreme.
- Clint Eastwood characters, especially his westerns and his later roles, such as Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino.
- Vincent Valentine in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and its game sequel, Dirge of Cerberus.
- Marv from Sin City.
- Joe Cabot, Reservoir Dogs.
- Lawrence Tierney generally, although not so much when he was younger.
- Snake Plissken from Escape from New York and LA, although there's a bit of a Clint Eastwood hiss in there, too.
- The Beast from Beauty and the Beast is a heroic example.
- Character actor Michael Wincott is known for his gravelly voice. He is probably best known for his villain roles in The Nineties, such as The Crow, Strange Days and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
- Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels.
- Edgar Frog from The Lost Boys movies.
- The Humungous in The Road Warrior: his voice sounds just as devastated as what little we can see of his face looks.
- Any character played by British actor James Mason.
- Karl Urban in Dredd.
- In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra The Doctor's voice is one part crazy snake and two parts Darth Vader, and he even manages to drop it an octave lower when he upgrades to Cobra Commander.
- Tom Waits, whenever he acts in things like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' or Seven Psychopaths''. Unsurprisingly, his singing career is best-known for the Harsh Vocals.
- The Kurgan in Highlander, probably because of his botched beheading.
- Fenrir Greyback's voice is described this way in the Harry Potter books. The audiobook version by Jim Dale does too.
- The Warhammer 40,000 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'.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wesley but it's justified in the aftermath of his throat-slitting. He adopts a sotto voice for the remainder of the show, and the scar remains visible for a long time.
- Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a raspy voice.
- 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.
- Hudzen 10 is this as well, so as to mask the actor's strong Scottish accent.
- 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...
- 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. 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.
- Yukio Yamagata, who was therefore quite an appropriate choice for the wild-animal-themed Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger theme.
- If John Casey of Chuck slips into this, you'd best be ready to run, because it means you've just pushed his Berserk Button (of which there are many). Chuck also affects one when masquerading as an assassin who also perpetually speaks with this.
- Manfred von Karma from the Ace Attorney series (both versions).
- Nearly every single Chaos unit in Dawn of War, but Khorne Berserkers really take the cake.
- Krosshair in Donkey Kong 64.
- King K. Rool in the same game.
- 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 inFAMOUS 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.
- Garland (Garr) sounds like this when fighting in Breath of Fire III.
- "Visions" from Rock Band 2 deserves special mention here. Absurdly guttural, nigh incomprehensible lyrics. Sung by a woman, no less!
- Shadow Teddie, in Persona 4:the Golden, speaks in a deep growling bass.
- 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, Grunt and the rest of the krogan also have slight rasps to their voices.
- Ghouls in the Fallout universe speak this way, due to their decomposition (even the women, though they have a slightly higher register). Chris Haversam, a perfectly normal human who believes he is a ghoul, speaks with a similar rasp; as you first hear him over a PA it leads you to believe he actually is a ghoul. 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.
- Fallout: New Vegas has at least three Super Mutants that, oddly, speak in a normal human voice: Neil from Black Mountain, Marcus from Fallout 2, and an unnamed Super Mutant Master in Jacobstown. Raul the ghoul companion has a much less gravelly voice than other ghouls, one ghoul member of the Followers has a clear voice, and Jason Bright has an echoey synthetic-sounding voice (electronic voicebox?).
- Ulysses in Lonesome Road.
- World of Warcraft.
- Rexxar and Mannoroth in Warcraft III.
- The male Nosferatu in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
- Sam Gideon, the protagonist of Vanquish, as well as Col. Robert Burns' dump-truck-full-of-rocks-in-a-giant-bass-drum vocalizations.
- Painwheel, from Skullgirls, is a rare female example.
- 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. His voice actor's natural voice doesn't sound all that different, oddly enough...
- 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.
- Every single Dark Elf male in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind speaks in a low gravelly rasp that sounds not unlike Nathan Explosion.
- Argonians tend to have very raspy voices.
- One of the default male voices in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is rather deep and growling and is generally associated with particularly brutish characters like Farkas or Arnbjorn.
- Albert Wesker from Resident Evil 5 is given this kind of voice after sounding more like a posh-sounding Evil Brit in the previous games.
- The Narrator from Bastion.
- The Soldier class from Team Fortress 2 speaks in an iconic gravelly bark. He is shown smoking in canon, but his constant rasp is really attributed to his lack of an indoor voice.
- Black Doom in Video Game Shadow The Hedgehog.
- Leo from Anarchy Reigns has an interesting take on this. When he gets shouty, his voice does become strained but keeps a high register. This is most notable in the second fight against Jack, and it makes him sound feral, which ties into his lion motif.
- Victor Lazarin of WildStar. Unsurprising, considered he's voiced by Jim Cummings.
- Conrad Marburg of Alpha Protocol speaks in a deep, gravelly monotone. Another Jim Cummings role.
- Metalocalypse's Nathan Explosion exaggerates this trope for laughs, to the point that his normal voice sounds like a death metal growl. Somehow, when he's singing, it gets even more guttural. It must be heard to be believed.
- Shnitzel from Chowder, quite fitting since apparently he's made of gravel.
- Froggo from Histeria.
- The Venture Bros.: Dr. Mrs. The Monarch (formerly 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 is one of the most well known examples.
- 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, and the Dinobots. Soundwave is another, more subtle example, since his voice actor (Frank Welker) uses his "Dr. Claw" voicenote , but it is played through a vocoder to give it a musical quality.
- Mr. Anthony De Martino from Daria has this voice (with a vague New Yorker accent), he's also shown as a smoker in one episode which probably explains it.
- Shadow Weaver from She-Ra: Princess of Power is a female example.
- 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 '90s X-Men animated series.
- Chief Thunderhooves, King Sombra, and Lord Tirek in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Timber Wolf from Legion Of Superheroes, his voice gets even deeper and raspier when he enters his more bestial form
- Louis Armstrong is possibly the Trope Namer for musicians. Or at least the first one to record with this kind of voice.
- Captain Beefheart's voice was gravely and could produce Careful With That Axe sounds that could make a microphone explode.
- 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.
- 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.
- Actor/Musician Tone Lōc, known for the song "Wild Thing" got his voice due to the fact that as a child, his mother had him drink a concoction of hot tea and brandy.
- Canadian actor Michael Wincott. He's usually cast as villains 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, a villain, or both, this is often 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.
- Tony Todd
- Eric Adams sings in this voice in certain songs. He can do clean singing very well also in others.
- Benicio Del Toro
- Till Lindemann.
- Blues musician Howlin Wolf.
- Peter Cullen sometimes uses this kind of voice.
- Noam Chomsky.
- Jim Cummings
- Carl McCoy of Fields Of The Nephilim.
- Leonard Cohen
- Mark Lanegan