Let's say you've got a line in your song that you really want to emphasize. Really
emphasize. Or maybe it needs to be "edgier" and "gritty". What's a musician to do?
Cue the Metal Scream.
This can come in a few different flavors:
- A hoarse, bellowing mid-register sort of roar, as exemplified by Phil Anselmo and Jens Kidman.
- An animal-like, extremely low-pitched growl, as exemplified by Chris Barnes and Frank Mullen.
- A phlegmy, almost gagging sort of scream, of mid to high pitch, as exemplified by Dead and Anders Friden.
- A very loud, high-register "clean" singing style, done either as a single scream or short burst, or to construct an entire melody. (it even warrants an article on The Other Wiki) Rob Halford is the standard by which all other users of this type are measured. Vibrato (like Geoff Tate) or some degree of harshness (like Eric Adams) may be added for flavor.
This is found most often in Heavy Metal
songs, especially with Type 4. Type 3 is almost exclusively associated with Black Metal
and forms influenced by it, but can also show up in metalcore or Death Metal
, especially Melodic Death Metal
. Types 1 and 2 are becoming increasingly common in some alternative rock movements. Types 1, 2, and 3 are often referred to collectively as Harsh Vocals
Often a part of a Big Rock Ending
. Compare Careful With That Axe
, where the singer unexpectedly screams with the intention of surprising the audience. The Metal Scream is used for emphasis or to develop a heavier tone for the song; it's only Nightmare Fuel
for those not into the genres likely to use it. When combined with melodic or "clean" vocals, it's Soprano and Gravel
Compare Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
for the nonmusical equivalent. Or see here
for the non-human variation.
This trope is often, if not regularly combined with Big Word Shout
- The first low-pitched, death metal scream...was recorded in 1966, 20 odd years before Death Metal existed, by The Who in "Boris the Spider". In this case though, it was John Entwistle doing the screaming. There's also Roger Daltrey's wonderful, climactic scream in "Won't Get Fooled Again", which effectively sums up this trope in the page quote.
- Billy Idol's White Wedding. "WAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOWWWW...It's a nice day to...STTAAAAAAART AGAAAAAAAAAAIIIN..."
- Relient K uses this trope in "I So Hate Consequences", "Which To Bury, Us or the Hatchet?", and "Life After Death and Taxes" (YOU ALREADY FORGAVE ME!!!!). It's backing vocals, so it's hard to notice, but it's still surprising due to their genre.
- Interesting to note that these backing were provided by the lead singer of christian death metal band The Showdown.
- The Smashing Pumpkins, "X.Y.U." (from the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album): "AND INTO THE EYES OF THE JACKAL I SAY KAA-BOOOOOOOOM!!"
- "I Want It All" by Queen had this trope, in the acapella section of the song right at the beginning. Dragged out to about a full minute at the last section.
- Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" has one towards the end, possibly ruining the mood of the song.
- Steven Tyler does it often. One of the most famous is "Dream On" (see Live-Action TV, below). There's also the ending of "Amazing", the chorus of "Walk This Way" on the Run-DMC version, and at least thrice (start, before the solo and coda) in "Falling In Love (Is Hard on the Knees)".
- "Angel", "Back in the Saddle", "Rats in the Cellar", "Same Old Song and Dance", "Toys in the Attic", "Crazy", "Draw the Line"... hell, let's just say Aerosmith in general.
- Whitesnake does this a bit, with "Still of the Night" being the most notable one. A scream before the softer "bridge", a scream going out of it, and a couple here and there for good measure. Also notable are the falsetto notes partway through "Here I Go Again", which sound kind of like David Coverdale inhaled a balloon full of helium just before he tackled it.
- Alice in Chains starts their second album, Dirt, with one of these, and several more are present throughout the album.
- The third track from Dirt, "Rain When I Die", has some epic choruses.
- Arguably, John Lennon's scream at the beginning of "Revolution" and Paul McCartney in "HELTER SKELTER" (da-na-na-na-na-na-na-nuh).
- "Revolution" is John's song, but the scream at the beginning is Paul. 
- John's screams were more primal, but Paul was especially expert at two particular screams: the "Jet Harris yell" (first heard in "Cry for a Shadow") and the Little Richard screams (mostly in his Little Richard covers).
- Another great John Lennon example is "Well Well Well" off the Plastic Ono Band album, which features Lennon screaming the word "well" at the top of his lungs for about two minutes; the whole album is notable due to it having been made after John's primal scream therapy.
- Kurt Cobain was an expert in going from "regular singing" to "shouting your lungs off". Great examples are the "YEEEEEAH YEEEEAH" in "Lithium" the last chorus of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," and of course "Smells Like Teen Spirit," where he goes from singing the verses in an easy, mellow tone, to nearly incomprehensible shrieking during the chorus.
- And then there's tourette's.
- A more impressive feat from Nevermind is the song, "Lounge Act," a song that sees Kurt basically screaming for almost the entire pushing that even more final verse, a full minute plus.
- And "Milk It".
- Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song".
- And "Whole Lotta Love". And "Rock and Roll". And "Dazed and Confused". And...
- Dave Grohl, often.
THEBESTTHEBESTTHEBEST "Best Of You" has probably one or two sentences that aren't yelled. He has stated that he chews gum during concerts because of all the screaming, and that he's afraid someday he'll sound like Lemmy.
- The song "Monkey Wrench" is a pretty impressive example. The last verse is screamed quite vigorously. When Grohl stopped to breathe, I have no idea.
- Also at the start of "Bridge Burning": "THESE ARE MY FAMOUS LAST WOOOOORDS!!!"
- Two examples from Guns N' Roses are Axl's "police siren" wail at the start of "Welcome to the Jungle", and near the end of "November Rain" before the final bridge begins.
- Their cover of "Ain't It Fun" ends with one.
- "There Was A Time" has a window-shattering scream around the 5-minute mark.
- Breaking Benjamin does this a lot, typically type 1or 2. Sugarcoat has psuedo-death growls.
- I WANT TO DIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEE!!
- Used in Green Day's song "She", and very awesome it is too.
- "Take Back" from the Nimrod album for a more guttural Type 3 during its chorus (which Billy Joe can pull off live) and "Letterbomb" from American Idiot at the start of the bridge.
- Billie Joe also screams "G-L-O-R-I-A" at the end of the song "Horseshoes and and Handgrenades" on 21st Century Breakdown.
- And the more informed fan will tell you that "Private Ale" from the "Kerplunk!" album has a metal scream after Mike say sarge-like nonsense.
- Another chick-at-the-start example: "I'm So Sick" by Flyleaf. Anyone who starts up the CD, then turns the volume up to hear the first line, is trying to reconstruct their ears after the second. For bonus points, get someone who's never heard this song before to try to sing it in Rock Band.
Mosley Sturm does this again at the end of "Cassie" (I...will...say...YEEEEEEEEESSSSS!)
- "Sorrow" has her screaming "Joy will come!" while in "I'm Sorry" she screams "I'M! DONE! HEALING!"
- Lacey also screams in the background on many songs on Flyleaf's second album, including "In the Dark" and "The Kind".
- Flyleaf's non-album track "Justice and Mercy" has screaming in the chorus.
- GO TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS! THAT THIS IS THE END!
- Linkin Park pre-Minutes to Midnight comes to mind as a version 2 and 3 (depending on the song; "Faint" is one of the worst offenders).
- "Given Up" from Minutes to Midnight has a 17-second long scream.
- "Across the Line" has an 11-second Type-2 scream.
- "Blackout" from A Thousand Suns also has it in the choruses.
- Rage Against the Machine — The "WRYYYYYY" from "Freedom" and the "YEAH!" from "Know Your Enemy"...and at least one line from pretty much every Rage song ever.
- Songs To Wear Pants To's "Lyrics To A Song" parodies the second type, with individual words getting agonizingly screamed in the middle of an otherwise gently sung melodramatic ballad. The person submitting the lyrics did want certain underlined words "stressed out" after all...
- The very first note of the very first track of Wolfmother's self-titled album is a savage Metal Scream. Way to wake up the listener.
- Red like to slip in at least one type 2 per song.
- "Instruments of Destruction" by N. R. G. (the Decepticon Theme Music Power-Up in Transformers: The Movie) has the last chorus screamed, followed by two long, drawn-out scream sequences.
- Melodic alternative band Manchester Orchestra has a 12-second Metal Scream about 1:45 into "I've Got Friends"
- "THE UNRESTRAAAAAINED UUUUUUUUSE OOOOOF EXCEEEEEESSIVE FOOOOOOOOOOOOOORCE" - the only distinguishable lyrics in KMFDM's aptly named 'The Unrestrained Use of Excessive Force'.
- Hot Hot Heat is a confusing, quasi-example because of Steve Bays' unique voice. Even when he is singing things straight, it often sounds near yelling. It isn't quite a scream, but it definitely isn't a normal vocal approach. Critics have tried to pin it down to bellowing, yelping, pleading... It isn't working.
- The Chevelle song Well enough alone starts with a pretty epic one.
- Mike Patton lets out an epic one in Mr. Bungle's Carry Stress In The Jaw.
- Done by Alter Bridge on occasion, especially type 2. For example, there's type 2 scream in "Metalingus" and a type 1 one in "Save Me".
- The forgettable early 90s song "Baby I Don't Care" by Transvision Vamp had one of these right at the start of the song. By a chick. Cue power chords and Crowning Music of Awesome.
- Around the World by Red Hot Chili Peppers has one of these in the intro, and another partway through the song.
- Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace gets a pretty lengthy Type-2 scream at the end of "Riot".
- Tool is well known for the Type 2 version. In the song Jerk-Off from the EP Opiate, there's one near the end. Keenan stretches "GOLD" (at about the 6:59 mark of "The Grudge") for a full 25 seconds. There's also the "GOOD-BYE!!" in "Eulogy", which lasts a good 13 seconds. In "Third Eye", Keenan suddenly breaks into a series of four screams after the first two verses. ("IN! OUT! IN! OUT!!!", with the last "OUT" lasting 18 seconds.) Later in the song, he suddenly screams "PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE!!!" four times while the guitar, bass, and drums hit the same eight notes. At the end, he screams the same thing only he does this a whopping twelve times in a row!
- Keenan actually blew out his voice for a while recording the vocals for "Ticks and Leeches" because of all the screaming.
- Pick a song off one of the first two My Chemical Romance albums. Go ahead. And actually, pick any song they usually play live, for that matter...
- The Locust. Practically every song is a collection of three guys screaming the lyrics in a high pitched, glass shattering bray.
- Janis Joplin's version of "Piece of My Heart." WOOOOOOW!
- On most Escape The Fate songs, there is at least one type of screaming in either the background, or the breakdown. Several of their songs are entirely composed of differently pitched screams (e.g. The Guillotine).
- Loads of Jack Off Jill songs contain the first and second types, particularly on Sexless Demons and Scars.
- Hole's early records feature a lot of screaming. Notable examples include 'Rock Star', 'Burn Black', 'I Think That I Would Die' ("FUCK! YOOOOOU!") and 'Drown Soda'.
- Everything Else has one right after the solo of "What Can't Be Seen".
- GG Allin in his later years was either 1 or 2, depending on the album, but either way he'd milk it for all its worth.
- "Holy Touch" by Foxy Shazam has a scream near the end so high-pitched that it's hard to not mistake it for a guitar squealing.
- Moneen, otherwise an Alternative Rock band influenced by the Post Hardcore scene, manages to pull off a bloodcurling Type 3 in the vein of Black Metal on their Alexisonfire cover "Sharks In Danger".
- Slipknot uses Types 1 and 2 frequently, with the occasional Type 3 ("Get This" being a prime example).
- Eyehategod. Mike Williams' screams are often unintelligible and literally sound inhuman. The fact that he hasn't blown out his vocal cords and still sounds the way he did in the 80's and 90's is really saying something.
- System of a Down do this in multiple songs, notably in Prison Song.
- Geoff Rickly is no stranger to barely comprehensible screams.
- Multiple Pixies songs, but most notably "Tame" off of Doolittle, in which Black Francis Title Drops the name of the song with a powerful, high-pitched scream not once, not twice, not three times, but nineteen times, with only verses and bridge sections to break it up. It must be heard to be believed.
Got hips like Cinderella. Must be havin' a good shame.
Talkin' sweet about nothin'. Cookie, I THINK YOU'RE TAAAAAAME!
- Limp Bizkit does this in a few songs, especially on their debut album.
- Filter starts "So I Quit" with a #3 type "Motherfucker!!". (Only moderate screamery follows.)
- The Infamous Gokey Screech from the latest season of American Idol.
- He was trying to reproduce the competent Metal Scream from Aerosmith's version of "Dream On" (Slash told him that scream was very important). Steven Tyler pulled the scream off okay - hey, even Michael Johns did back in season 7. But Gokey didn't quite get it...
- Season 10 gives us James Durbin, who likes Heavy Metal, and can pull these off very well. Pretty much every song, in fact.
- In Monster Mash, one appears in both the song that plays during the "Monster Mosh Pit" sequence and Dracula's end-game Match Sequence (you'll know it when you hear it).
- In 3.5 D&D the Bard spells Shout and Greater Shout can be interpreted as this.
- Brütal Legend does it (along with every other Heavy Metal trope ever): when the Double Fine Productions' logo appears on start-up, it is accompanied by a randomly selected Metal Scream by one of the guest stars of the game (yes, including Rob Halford).
- RULES OF NATURE!! -throws Metal Gear RAY-
- Given the nature of the game's soundtrack (it acquired the Fan Nickname Heavy Metal Gear Solid for a reason) and the habit of firing up the song lyrics at clutch moments, this is hardly the only example. Stains of Time and It Has To Be This Way are good examples.