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Guttural Growler

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"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, old people, and many tomboys. 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). Not to be confused with Growling Gut.

For music, see Harsh Vocals for the use of growled vocals, and Badass Baritone and Basso Profundo for someone whose voice is simply low. May also be half of a Soprano and Gravel duet.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Rorschach in Watchmen. His speech bubbles are ragged and frayed. He also uses clipped syntax, and several characters note his eerie monotone voice.

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed due to his youth, but ever since facing Moltres on Mt. Ember, Ash in Traveler has much a much deeper and gravelly voice due to smoke damage to his throat; he also has a hard time raising his voice above a certain level. When they meet, Brendan asks if Ash gargles with sandpaper due to how gravelly it sounds.
  • Ultra Fast Pony: Sweetie Belle. She used to sing for a Death Metal band, and she sounds the part.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • 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.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Gregor Clegane, especially in Season 4, to the point of sounding animalistic.
    • Unlike his father who has a Badass Baritone, Robb has a much raspier voice.
    • Rickard Karstark has a very raspy voice.
    • Robett Glover has a raspy and intimidating voice.
    • Viserion and Rhaegal have a raspy roar compared to Drogon's. This is more pronounced after Viserion becomes a wight.
    • In direct contrast with his smooth and tranquil tone when speaking normally, Euron switches to a brutal, coarse guttural tone in battle, whether it be to bark commands or just roar like a madman.
  • 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.
  • Hannibal's The Great Red Dragon, till he–unsuspectingly–loses his voice box.
  • 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 Donaghy'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.
  • Hank Voight from Chicago P.D. has a deep bass growl that sounds like he gurgles glass shards for fun. Notable because that's actor Jason Beghe's actual voice, thanks to damage to his vocal cords sustained after an automobile accident in '99.
  • 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.
  • Charles Vane possesses Zach McGowan's deep, gravelly, voice in Black Sails. Despite it, and Vane's rather barbaric appearance, Vane himself is actually rather clever and erudite, speaking often on issues such as freedom and the value of strength.
  • 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?!".
    • Twelfth Doctor definitely has this.
  • Fargo: in the second season, Bear Gerhardt speaks with a deep, raspy voice that could shake the fillings out of your teeth.
  • Brazilian MTV show Garganta & Torcicolo had the first character, aptly named "Throat" because of this. (the voice actor also did the other one - Portuguese for wry neck - with a high-pitched voice made the duo - see a sample here - basically a reverse Soprano and Gravel) The voice actor would credit this role for when he did the local version of Treebeard, which apparently impressed the distributors, who even thought the voice had an added filter!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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!".
  • Goldberg spoke this way when doing promos, as his real voice is rather non-threatening.


    Video Games 
  • Sergei "Eater" Brynner from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy . A few of his squadron members also qualify.
  • Conrad Marburg of Alpha Protocol speaks in a deep, gravelly monotone. Another Jim Cummings role.
  • 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.
  • Despite only speaking in Voice Grunting, Kazooie has a very clearly squawky and gravelly voice.
  • Ruck from Bastion.
  • Thomas Connor from Bendy and the Ink Machine.
  • Caleb from Blood.
  • Garland (Garr) sounds like this when fighting in Breath of Fire III.
  • Eric Bane in Dark.
  • Nearly every single Chaos unit in Dawn of War, but Khorne Berserkers really take the cake.
  • Agent Brown in the Detectives United series.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, though it's made clear in the opening of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that he is, in fact, a chain-smoker. His voice actor's natural voice doesn't sound all that different, oddly enough...
  • The Ancient Reptilian Brain in Disco Elysium. If you succeed at singing Karaoke in the Whirling-in-Rags, The Detective will sing an entire song in the Ancient Reptilian Brain's voice, to moderate applause.
  • Kroc in Donkey Kong 64.
    GET OUT!
    • King K. Rool in the same game.
  • Samuel Hayden from DOOM (2016), aided by some mechanical distortion.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has the DLC The Descent, which introduces the very growly dwarf Lieutenant Renn. It's David Hayter basically using the same voice he uses for Solid Snake.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Argonians throughout the series tend to have very raspy voices.
    • Every male Dunmer (Dark Elf) in Morrowind speaks in a very low and gravelly voice. In contrast to the guards in later games, Dunmer guards in Morrowind actually sound quite intimidating.
    • Skyrim:
      • One of the default male voices is rather deep and growling and is generally associated with particularly brutish characters like Farkas or Arnbjorn. The actor providing this voice is "Popeye" Vogelsang, the lead singer of the band Your Favorite Train Wreck.
      • In the Dawnguard DLC, the Morrowind Ascended Extra Ensemble Dark Horse, St. Jiub, makes an appearance as a spirit in the Soul Cairn. Unlike the rest of the Dunmer in Skyrim, he still has the same low, gravelly voice he had in Morrowind.
    • In the series' background lore, the Imga, a minor race of intelligent "ape men" native to Valenwood who idolize the Altmer (High Elves), are said to speak with very gravelly, baritone voices. Despite this, they attempt to speak with perfect enunciation and courtly manners to impress the Altmer.
    • This is also the case for the Giants. When speaking in their own language, it is said to sound like an incomprehensible string of grunts and roars. Some Giants have learned some basic Tamriellic, however, though they still speak it in a very deep and gravelly voice.
    • Every dragon who has spoken thus far in the series has done so in a deep, booming voice.
  • 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.
  • Takkar The Beastmaster in Far Cry Primal has a low, serious, gravelly voice appropriate for a Caveman Hero. A lot deeper than his enemy Warchief Ull.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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.
    • Auron from Final Fantasy X.
  • William Afton is this in Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, as he speaks in a creepy, growling voice. Since he used to speak more clearly in the opening of Sister Location, it appears that all that time rotting in that Springlock suit didn’t do his vocal cords much good...
  • Marcus Fenix and the Locust Horde from Gears of War. Marcus has the gravelly 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.
  • Sol Badguy of Guilty Gear, particularly in the English dub of Xrd, where he sounds like Steve Blum.
  • The Villain Protagonist known as Not Important in Hatred.
  • 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.
  • Torn and Damas from the Jak and Daxter series.
  • Kyle Katarn started talking this way when Jeff Bennett took the role for Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
  • Herschel Biggs from L.A. Noire. Makes sense when you know who his actor is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • While Mortal Kombat has no shortage of growlers from Sub-Zero to Shao Kahn, one standout example is Noob Saibot as he appears in Mortal Kombat 11, where his voice sounds like he's speaking in a permanently hoarse whisper.
  • Kurodōji from Onmyōji sometimes lets out this kind of sound when he's not laughing or hissing instead. Yes, he is a child.
  • A few of Overwatch's heroes fall under this category, namely Reaper, Soldier:76, and especially Roadhog.
  • Shadow Teddie, in Persona 4:the Golden, speaks in a deep growling bass, which stands out from Teddie's normally high-pitched voice.
  • 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.
  • John Marston from Red Dead Redemption has an iconic one courtesy of his voice actor Rob Wiethoff, while Sadie Adler from the prequel provides one of the rare female examples.
  • Resident Evil:
  • "Visions" from Rock Band 2 deserves special mention here. Absurdly guttural, nigh incomprehensible lyrics. Sung by a woman, no less!
  • Painwheel, from Skullgirls, is another female example of this trope.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • 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.
  • Bowser from Super Mario 64 onwards, but not in Super Mario Sunshine. He regained this type of voice in Super Mario Galaxy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rexxar and Mannoroth in Warcraft III.
  • Aiden Pearce, the Anti-Hero protagonist of Watch_Dogs, speaks with a gravelly voice.
  • Victor Lazarin of WildStar. Unsurprising, considered he's voiced by Jim Cummings.
  • Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher.
  • World of Warcraft.
  • In Japanese version of Tenchu, Rikimaru has an intense raspy voice, while the English dub version of him has a softer voice in comparison thanks to Adaptational Nice Guy treatment.

    Visual Novels 
  • Manfred von Karma from the Ace Attorney series (both versions).
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Implied with Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin once he gets serious and reveals himself as a Heavy Metal guitarist. The usual textbox beeping becomes something like raspy, low amp feedback or guitar gallops, and he starts talking very much like he'd sing what he plays, heavily implying he's growling like a metal vocalist.

    Web Animation 
  • Strong Bad on the Homestar Runner website, though it has been toned down over the years.
  • 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.
  • Eddie at The LMV; Eddie talks like this. He has admitted that this is the biggest reason why he barely gets any solos.
  • Amaroq and the Sheriff of Hollow in No Evil have deep and growly voices. Lampshaded in the outtakes videos:
    Sheriff: We're gonna have us a growl-off.
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Cody has this kind of voice. Although there is nothing menacing about him to warrant it.
    • Killer Monster has this kind of voice to make him more menacing.
  • Dreamscape: Drake's got a very quiet, growly voice to reflect his serious and powerful nature.
  • Red vs. Blue once featured an intimidating-looking, deep-voiced process server. As his voice actor demonstrated, it's a voice that comes from deep in the throat (to the point most fans thought he had some filter in).

    Web Comics 
  • The Monster & 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 El Goonish Shive, The Rant for this strip implies Noah does this as "The Child Left Behind".
  • Parodied in the Bravoman webcomic. Anti-Bravoman tries to do a gravelly voice to go along with his Anti-Hero shtick... but he can't hold the voice for too long because it hurts his throat.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
    • Two-Face also qualifies, especially the Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham City versions.
    • Kevin Conroy would pitch shift his voice to a lighter, sing-song Bruce Wayne and a deeper, gravelly Batman. Vocal Evolution over the course of more than 20 years, including other animated shows and video games, offers a variety of styles of different intensities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In The Tracey Ullman Show shorts and the first few seasons, Dan Castellaneta used a much deeper voice for Homer which was supposedly a Walter Matthau imitation; he switched to the current voice because he had difficulty sustaining and putting emotion in the original voice.
    • Marge and her sisters all have incredibly gravelly voices for women, the latter two moreso due to being chain smokers.
  • 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 Super-Heroes; his voice gets even deeper and raspier when he enters his more bestial form.
  • Hephaestus in Class of the Titans
  • Rick D. Wasserman's Hulk/The Green Scar from Planet Hulk. His voice rivals Lou Ferrigno's tenure as the Hulk.
  • Steven Universe: The three-way (technically four-way) fusion Alexandrite is a rare female version of this... half of the time. When she speaks from her normal human-like mouth it's a Contralto of Danger but when she speaks from the second tyrannosaur-like mouth on her neck, her voice becomes rough and raspy.
  • Gwen from Total Drama is a female example, being a tomboy with a voice raspy enough to make one think she has a chronic sore throat, though Vocal Evolution eventually sets in and makes this a downplayed example (and her singing voice is quite lovely, from what we hear of it).
  • Another female example of this trope comes in the form of Miss Muriel P. Finster from Recess. And apparently, she's had that type of voice since her Hippie Teacher days in the 1960s.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks:
    • As one would expect from a grumpy feline, Dr. T'Ana speaks with a raspy voice.
    • The Taxors communicate through guttural tones, and they ferociously growl when angered.

    Real Life 

This page is done? Well, that just gravels my voice.


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