"He hates crime, he hates due process. He apparently hates his vocal chords, 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). Has nothing to do with Growling Gut. 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 duet.
— UGO on Christian Bale's Batman
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Alucard from Hellsing has a deep voice in all adaptations, and can switch from smooth and cultured to a bone-chilling, bestial growl when he's angry, fighting or feeding.
- Kaidou Kaoru from The Prince of Tennis. How a fourteen-year-old has rumbly bass like a grumpy avalanche is beyond us.
- Quincy in Bubblegum Crisis.
- Vegeta, in the first English dub of Dragon Ball Z, as voiced by Brian Drummond. Christopher Sabat as well, if less so.
- As well as both English versions of fellow heel turned villain Piccolo.
- Croquet in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- Lucy from Elfen Lied provides a female example of this trope.
- Naruto's Gaara as voiced by Liam O Brien. It sort of works, but it's still quite strange in Part I considering at the time Gaara was twelve.
- Neil Kaplan's voice for Madara Uchiha also qualifies.
- Garterbelt in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
- Raoh from Fist of the North Star in the animated adaptations.
- The initial Big Bad of Digimon Frontier, Cherubimon, sounds like this, even during the flashbacks to before his Face-Heel Turn.
- John Swasey's Crocodile from One Piece sounds reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series' Two-Face at times.
- Patrick Seitz's version of Dio Brando from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure sounds like he eats gravel for breakfast, making him sound a lot like another villainous vampire he plays.
- 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. It also grew exaggerated in between films. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne spoke in an intense whisper as Batman, only growling once when intimidating captured crooks. In the following films he does it all the time, even when speaking with people who know his identity.
- 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 Escape from L.A., 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 '90s, 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 Mad Max 2: 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 half crazy snake and half 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.
- In Birdman, the protagonist's Imaginary Friend (played by Michael Keaton) speaks in a deep, growling voice that's reminiscent of Batman. Keaton described it in an interview as a "bastardization" of his Batman voice.
- 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'.
- Justified in Halo: Shadow of Intent. Rtas 'Vadum has had half his mouth sliced off in battle, so he has to speak from deep in his throat to make up for it. (This is an Informed Ability in the context of the games, as in Halo 2 and Halo 3 he has seemingly no trouble speaking.)
- 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.
- Doctor Who:
- In Seasons 12-14, the Fourth Doctor - who usually speaks in a pleasant velvety tone - will suddenly launch into a disturbing, almost animalistic gravelly voice when being alien. Eek. Mostly dropped as a Character Tic after he becomes Lighter and Softer from Season 15 on.
- Played for Laughs in the Fourth Doctor Adventures audio drama "Destination: Nerva", in which, while trying to get the attention of a character named 'Dr Foster', he launches into his stomach-churning growl voice to say "Dr Foster, have you ever been to Gloucester in a shower of rain?!".
- Fargo: in the second season, Bear Gerhardt speaks with a deep, raspy voice that could shake the fillings out of your teeth.
- The Undertaker changes his voice to speak in this manner when playing the "Deadman" persona of his character. As the more down-to-Earth, less-fantastical "American Badass," he uses his natural voice, which would also probably qualify for this trope.
- Vince McMahon, as his character became more and more fiendish and vindictive, would resort to growling when angry, especially when using his catch phrases (see his page for examples).
- A rare female example is Stephanie McMahon, who likely takes it from her father. She does it only very rarely, however.
- Triple H goes through this, especially after aging into his mid-40s.
- Brian Pillman had a voice like this due to multiple childhood bouts with throat polyps.
- Macho Man Randy Savage was (amongst many other things) very well known for his distinctly deep and growly voice, most commonly associated with the words "Oooooh Yeah!" and "Snap into a Slim Jim!".
- Trekkie Monster from Avenue Q.
- 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.
- Supposedly, part of the reason Snake's voice got so guttural is because as the actor aged he found it harder to do the voice properly.
- Apparently, the drastic upgrade in Snake's growling from Metal Gear Solid 2 to Metal Gear Solid 4 was David Hayter's idea; he thought that Snake's voice would completely fall apart as he prematurely aged. His voice for Naked Snake/Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3 is almost as growly, but still young-sounding, while his older Big Boss voice for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is as harsh as Old Snake's but doesn't sound as sickly.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden becoming this when he's in "Jack the Ripper" persona.
- 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. However, as of Fallout 4 a ghoul's voice varies from sounding growly to sounding like any other human.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Aiden Pearce, the Anti-Hero protagonist of Watch_Dogs, speaks with a gravelly voice.
- Sol Badguy of Guilty Gear, particularly in the English dub of Xrd, where he sounds like Steve Blum.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the male Bounty Hunter has an intensely gravelly voice that is occasionally mistaken for Steve Blum. Blum himself voices several characters, most notably Sith Inquisitor companion/love interest Andronikos Revel.
- The Villain Protagonist known as Not Important in Hatred.
- Eric Bane in Dark.
- The Monster and The Girl: Kenrick's speech bubbles are extremely frayed, rough edged, and a bold type face is used.
- Dr. Stein from Blood Stain is implied to sound like this. More than one character has commented on his voice, one describing it as "sandpaper polishing a rusty can". This is communicated visually through his speech bubbles. Unlike those of the other characters, his are black with white writing, and tend to become jagged or gain a red outline when he's angry.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: Commander Badass is described as having a voice "like gargling tar." He claims that this is actually one of the only things that gives him unabashed happiness, as he can always go to the drive-through and try to convince the clerk he's Beetlejuice and Tom Waits on a road trip.
- In The Chronicles Of Taras, Ghost (A sixteen-year-old girl) speaks with a throaty rasp described as sounding like she "swallowed a bag of thumb-tacks".
- The How It Should Have Ended video on The Dark Knight:
Superman: Wait, is that your stage voice?
Batman: [growling] Yeah? What about it?
Superman: Yeah, well, are you gargling marbles or something? I can barely understand you.
- Ultra Fast Pony: Sweetie Belle. She used to sing for a Death Metal band, and she sounds the part.
- Jacks Films' "Your Grammar Sucks" drinking specials, where Jack puts on the persona of a bro-dude named "Chad Broseph Huntington". note Keep in mind, the drinking part always comes in after a few minutes of standard Your Grammar Sucks material, probably to not freak out or confuse anybody who's watching an episode of YGS for the first time. Especially with YGS 51....
- One of the defining trats of Joji Miller's persona, Filthy Frank, to the point where you have to wonder if it hurts his actor's voice at all.
- 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.
- The Metal Masked Assassin as well, especially in The Doomstar Requiem. Fitting, as he's voiced by George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher.
- 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 tries to do this as The Coon, but it comes out more like a raspy hiss.
- 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.
- Megatron gets this voice full-stop for the film series. Likewise for Soundwave, whose voice wasn't vocoded this time.
- On the newer TF side of things, Transformers Prime has Megatron reprised by Frank Welker with Vocal Evolution, Starscream voiced by Steve Blum, and Dreadwing voiced by Tony Todd. The second season also introduced Hardshell, an Elite Insecticon voiced by David Kaye (imagine a more growling Beast Wars Megatron).
- If Hardshell counts, so does Transformers Animated's Lugnut, with whom he shares his voice actor.
- 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.
- The first two seasons Dan Castella used a much deeper voice for Homer.
- 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.
- Hephaestus in Class of the Titans
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Sean Connery, at least post-James Bond, or around the time he grew out his facial hair, whichever came first.
- 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
- No humans or any other living creatures on Earth hold a candle to the sound of a whale, as evidenced on the album Songs Of The Humpback Whale, which showcases nothing but these sounds.
- Vin Diesel, whose deep voice shines through in all his roles, particularly Riddick, who sounds even deeper and more guttural than usual in his internal monologue, and The Iron Giant, where his voice work had less computer assistance than you'd think.
- Crocodiles and alligators. Their growls are deep and rather terrifying, which is good because if you hear one you should run.
- Famed Pinball designer Steve Ritchie often provides his own deep voice for callouts in his games, either as antagonists (Black Knight 2000) or announcers (The Getaway: High Speed II, No Fear: Dangerous Sports). Video Game fans might know him better as the voice of Shao Kahn from the Mortal Kombat series ("Finish him!").
- The late great Mako Iwamatsu.
- Julia Roberts.