Screaming: For Real

Grab your balls and give screaming your all.

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Ok. So, one of the most coveted of all musical feats: The larynx shredding sound of a scream. Adding emotion, power, and depth to any song, this astounding ability is one of the most strived to by anyone who has ever listened to Finch or The Used and is in a band. There are many articles describing all the scientific and well-thought out (overly thought out if you'd ask me) 'how to do' steps to screaming. And while these articles provide some-what useful information to beginning vocalists, to some other, less 'read and then do' people, who are more the 'just f--king do it' type, some valuable information is lost. I'm the type B person, I've got the just do it attitude, and I'm going to offer my experience in screaming and things that I have learned in becoming 'fluent' in this trait.

Like most others working to perfect screaming, I started out listening to my favorite bands with screaming, Finch and The Used. I lisened to Bert and Nate's voice, trying to picture in my head what those sounds might look like. If you can imagine, soundwaves, from voices, a normal talking voice being a smooth sound, a few ripples here and there, a deep bass tone would be very smooth, no ripples, and a scream such as those found in many songs, and the kind most people try to obtain talent to do, is Very rippled, in pieces it may appear. Shredded, diced, chopped, whatever. I'd try right off just yelling, like you would to say hey oto a friend across the parking lot... close, but no stogey. I then resorted, after many weeks of frustrating pains in the throat and headaches, to reading articles online, how to scream. There were a few articles depicting what to do and many different roads to the same goal. To make a long story short, none worked. One interesting 'tip' I read said to 'let the microphone do the work, let IT give you the volume, all you need to do is make the sounds and the speaker will amplify it." Well hell yeah! All I have to do is make the sounds and the MIC does everything! Sound too good to be true? Yea, it is. I'm sorry guys, no, it doesn't work like that. It's called a 'scream' for a reaosn. You have to scream. Seems like a 'no shit' kind of problem to me, but I suppose not for most aspiring vocalists. You know how to project your voice, everybody has yelled at one time or another, the only thing left to do is get the 'rippled/chopped' sound in there.

I decided one day with my band that we should cover 'What It Is To Burn' by Finch (kickass song and CD). I showed them the chords and we started playing. I skipped the first screaming part in the intro because I 'knew' I couldn't do it, and didn't want to embarrass myself. Well, as the song moved on, the band gradually got harder and harder into the song. Right at the interlude where Nate screams "She Burns", I went for it. I pushed my voice as loud as possible and moved my vocal chords just right, and I just let go. I screamed then and finished the song. My drummer even exclaimed, "Dude I did not know you could scream!' and all I could think was 'Hell, me either!" But that's all I can say to anyone wanting to scream, Just go for it. Scream. Think about that word, what it means. Project your voice as loud as possible, and move the pitch up to notes that you can't hit, your voice will crackle out and you will have your scream. Surprising as it may seem, it doesn't hurt (at least for myself, I can't speak for everyone) and you can still retain your singing voice, granted, high notes will sound alot rougher, but the next day you will be fine.

  • Scream/Yell - Project Your voice to the max.
  • Go for notes you can't hit.
  • Take big breaths, it takes alot of air to scream.
  • Make sure your chest is open, don't slouch over, give yourself at least half a chance to get it right and maintain good posture.
  • do not over do it, your voice will be sore and you will be sorry (first day that I could scream, I over did it wayy too much).

    That's all the advice I can offer, it's hard to explain a technique that even I am not sure how I do, but I try. Good luck with further practicing of these steps and keep being into music - it's the only thing on Earth that can keep some of us on the ground.

    Have fun and God Bless (who ever your's may be).

  • 137 comments sorted by best / new / date

      LastRockShow
      lol i like to think of the way The Used & Finch scream as "Bitch Screaming". not a bad article tho.
      ILIKEMUSICALOT
      Yeah, I'm glad you agree on Dashboard's Chris Carraba and his vocal abilities. He really does put emotion into his voice, no matter how much you want to say he whines.
      guitardude98
      do you have to grab your balls....is that really necessary? what if your a girl..do you have to have a sex change to scream?
      SURFraptor7
      Screaming is like an art. There is perfect times to do it and such. Bands like you claim as talented who scream the whole time are not. Screaming is meant to express an emotion. You do it at climaxs of songs to show you are really stressing what you're saying at that moment. To do it all the time. There is no emotion. It's just overkill on a scream to try to sound "cool."
      The bands that I listed arent talented because they scream. They're talented because their music is awesome (at least its a lot better than The Used or Finch). I listed those bands because this is an article about screaming and their singers are the best screamers I have heard... and screaming is not an art, its a scream, you just do it. I screamed when some dude kicked me in the balls, but that wasnt an art... but I see where you're coming from anyway
      chokeme
      i agree with the 'some bands make it sound like crap', but, i do love taking abck sunday, ont for their screams, but for the singing and music. Senses fail is a band who's screaming, in my opinion, is terrrible. I haerd a live version of 187 and about wanted to kill myself, it was THAT bad.
      vanceboy
      screaming messes up ur voice after awhile. and FINCH owns. however, some bands make screaming sound so gay, like Taking Back Sunday. I hate them, they sound like wooses trying to push their balls out or something.
      yoshi413
      Oh, and the thing you said about Chris Carabba and Steven Tyler sounding cool. For 1: Dashboard is awesome, and 2: people say I sing like Steven Tyler. lol V^_^
      yoshi413
      This article actually pointed out the simple physics I needed. Thankx. V^_^ Oh, and for the record, Emery is AWESOME!!!
      chokeme
      So your saying to scream you have to scream....no shit ----- Yea..I've read aa couple articles saying that the volume doesn't come from you, that you are supposed to let the microphone get the volume for you, all that You are supposed to do is just make your voice sound right. I was discreditting that info. Otherwise , yea, it's a pretty 'no shit' type of deal. A pepperoni pizza has pepperoni's, yea.. And to all others... screamign for the most part is cool, I don't listen to most other bands listed here, call me what you will, I don't realy like them. I'm not gonna give advice on how to do this that and the other on shit I have no clue about, i listen to Finch and the used and that was the scream sound i was going for. So, i typed an article after finding out how. If you think some other scream sounds better, write one about it. It makes no difference to me. ----- Screaming is like an art. There is perfect times to do it and such. Bands like you claim as talented who scream the whole time are not. Screaming is meant to express an emotion. You do it at climaxs of songs to show you are really stressing what you're saying at that moment. To do it all the time. There is no emotion. It's just overkill on a scream to try to sound "cool." ----- very true.
      estoril
      good screaming comes in the form of davey havok of AFI..... listen to death of seasons and if you dont think hes a good screamer then i take it back with that said, most of the time, screaming is gay
      ILIKEMUSICALOT
      SURFraptor7: Finch and the Used, huh... How about any metal band where all the lyrics ARE screaming... but good article anyway... I have been wondering about how to scream and whether Im any good at it... I liked it [POSTED: 09 July 2004 - 15:51]| Screaming is like an art. There is perfect times to do it and such. Bands like you claim as talented who scream the whole time are not. Screaming is meant to express an emotion. You do it at climaxs of songs to show you are really stressing what you're saying at that moment. To do it all the time. There is no emotion. It's just overkill on a scream to try to sound "cool."
      mcmacbuttwipe
      this is a pretty good article, and i think it does clear up the myth that you have to do anything special to be able to scream. i have had trouble explaining to people how i scream, they just didn't get it when i said 'you just have to put your all into it'
      SURFraptor7
      I think some better examples for "good screaming" would be the singers from Chevelle, Underoath, Emery, and Dead Poetic. Those are all great bands.
      chevellerox2005: my girlfriend is friends w/the guitar player from emery. they are awesome
      yes they are
      SURFraptor7
      Finch and the Used, huh... How about any metal band where all the lyrics ARE screaming... but good article anyway... I have been wondering about how to scream and whether Im any good at it... I liked it
      chokeme
      Dashboard is absolutle amazing, his voice projects a different type of scream, it's good though. I really love his music. Steven tyler is also an amazing vocalist all around, i love his high picthed sing/scream.
      ILIKEMUSICALOT
      Finch's Nate has a great scream. I know this sounds weird but if any band has actual emotion in a scream, Dashboard Confessional does. Yes, it is weird in fact and I don't care if it sounds like CHRIS CARRABA is whining, he is, but he actually puts REAL emotion into it. Listen to number 10 on his CD, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. He crys when he sings that song and at the end, when he's screaming you can feel his pain, it's so badass. His voice chops and skips out because he can't hold his feelings in that he just starts crying while he sings. I mean Jesus Christ the guy can't even really sing that song in public to anyone anymore because he gets so upset. I heard he's only did it about four times. Even if you hate his voice and think his band sucks, give them credit for the amount of emotion he puts into his songs. Even if some of you bitch about him or his band, you must be a bitch for exactly what you did, you bitched.
      d0t.
      ok, first off, it is true that screaming too much ruins songs and your voice, but if you do it the right way, and the right amount it can make a song have much more meaning (if its an angry song). The best singers/screamers, and I mean both things, are scott anderson of finger eleven and maynard james keenan from tool/perfect circle(maynard sings in both bands) in my opinion those two men have THE MOST versitile voices in the world of music, the three bands are definitly my favorites, also a good kind of screaming is the clearer kind, which is really just extra projection, two good songs for that is "obvious heart" and "absent elements" by finger eleven. a good song for SCREAMING is "eulogy" by tool it has more real singing than screaming but its good, and a good song for growling is "the grudge" by tool, a song that over does screaming though, is "ticks and leeches" by tool, its one of the few tool songs i dont like. and like =bert= said people with high voices said, people with high voices should NOT scream, people like the guy from billy talent, he has a bad enough singing voice he shouldnt scream on top of it, the band is sh*t and the singer should die, and he needs to start singing from his diophram rather than his f*cking nose. but the guitarist is ok
      JimmyPage1969
      Robert Plant was a screamer before all those fags were just a gleam in the eyes of thier fathers.
      John Alexander
      The kind of screaming you're talking about is can be good, but there are also other ways of heightening your volume without resorting to a scream. A deep, controlled, yell while still in key something I find very powerful. Dave Matthews does it relatively often. "Rhyme and Reason" is the best example of that. I'm sure most don't like or listen to Dave Matthews, but give that song a listen, you might like it.
      Scottydont26
      Nobody does it like Rob Halford. Plus he knows when and how much to use it without overkill. Too much ruins so many songs and entire bands. If you want to see how good you are try singing half of the song Painkiller or the high part in Victim of Changes.
      chokeme
      dammit, I meant Muse, i have poblems with thinking, sorry.
      chokeme
      if i were you with a higher tenor type voice and had a very high range i would definitely say '***' to screaming. Do not try anything that could hamr your voice, a tenor range is hard to come by, especially a tenor that can actually sing, so keep your voice pristine and stick to singing. PLus, higher voices screaming sounds bad, listen to some old NFG song, i can't remember the title, it's on sticks and stones, it may be belated, i'm not sure, but he screams/growls sort of, yea, it sounds terrible, he sounded like a pissed off 6th grader or something. Stick to singing and keep improving your voice. Mest does rock.
      =bert=
      what aboot us with gay girly voices? i can hit notes of muse(best band in world)proportions and trying to scream your way crates a lot of bleeding ears in those around me.
      smilifile
      gr8 article, just shows there is no easy way to scream other than to just go 4 it
      TOMWAITSRULES
      why the *** would you want to ruin your voice and make your music sound like shit by screaming. real singing is so much better sounding. think of what pink floyd would have been if roger and david had just sat there screaming their ***in lungs out during songs like "The Final Cut" or "Dogs"
      chokeme
      uhhh yea, make that 'singing needs to be the majority' what the hell...
      ken20008
      Breaking Benjamin is a good example of emtional screaming that doesnt really harm your voice if u know how to do it. Yeah and i agree most vocalists that scream settle for a more melodic in their later career, like Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Chester from Linkin Park (just hear their new sound), Matt Shadows from A7X (more focused on melody now). Screaming harms yr throat no matter what, its only a matter of time now or later. I personally prefer to use it to emphazise certain lines and words, its better.
      ka0tix
      Screaming is like an art. There is perfect times to do it and such. Bands like you claim as talented who scream the whole time are not. Screaming is meant to express an emotion. You do it at climaxs of songs to show you are really stressing what you're saying at that moment. To do it all the time. There is no emotion. It's just overkill on a scream to try to sound "cool."
      It's easy to climax a song even when you scream the whole way through. Listen to Atreyu's Lip Gloss and Black or A Vampire's Lament. In LGAB, it comes with a guitar solo. In A Vampire's Lament, it comes through NORMAL VOCALS. Screaming is another form of expression, and a band should not be judged by whether or not they scream all the time. If they scream all the time, but they can make a good climax, that makes them a good band. But to say that a band sucks just because they scream all the time is unfair to the band. Let's say I play guitar, and someone else plays bass. Does that mean that the person who plays bass is wrong and isn't a musician? I think not. So, please, before you start saying things about how bands that scream all the time can't do emotion or make a climax in a song or insult screaming in any way, at least try to look at it from the point of view that the people who do like it look from.
      EddieWan
      I used to go for the "just let it out for best sound" approach. I was told I sounded pretty rad, and for a few weeks I was getting daily requests for screaming various songs from people who had heard me. But I got tired of the daily blow-outs. By the end of the day, my scream would sound like a train trying to stop. I got tired of not being able to actually sing a note after all of that. Screaming is fun, but it ruins the rest of your voice so that you can't actually do anything BUT scream. Sure, if you don't do it much, a full-blown scream isn't going to hurt you. But if you want to make a career in it, prepare to lose your abilities further down the road. The fun is only going to last a little while. Any big artist who ever screams goes through vocal problems no matter what they to do prevent it. Even if they deny it, saying it doesn't hurt them, it does. Look at some of the best screamers: Chester Bennington - Problems with voice, you can hear it in his live performances. Chino Moreno - bruised vocal cords, can't even sing the high parts to his own songs anymore live. Slipknot singer dude...commented himself that he had nearly lost his ability to sing because of the band. So my advice to whoever is reading this is: find a technique that doesn't ruin your singing voice. Experiment with it...don't think that total vocal blowout after a show is just an unavoidable side-effect to screaming. Constant screaming or rough singing that irritates your vocal cords will cause them to be protected by "nodes" which, though they protect the cords, do not vibrate well because they aren't elastic. Therefore, constant damage will cause your body to protect itself from further damage by causing your cords to lose their ability to further scream/sing. I was never one to sing with a rough quality, so I've always wanted to preserve my "clean" sound after an "overdrive". I've found a higher-pitch back-of-throat scream that works very well for me. It allows me to perform Hexagram by Deftones 3 and 4 times in a row and I can still sing high notes in other songs. I can also perform the high-pitched scream at the end of Bloody Cape by Deftones (God Help Me x12). It uses less air so you can do it longer. Bodies by Drowning Pool, anyone? 2nd part of advice to success at screaming without much damage is this: stop smoking, stop drinking, stop eating junk food. Stop smoking and it will give your lungs extra capacity to let out your technique. Alcohol robs your body of water, and your vocal cords constantly need lubrication to vibrate properly. Drink tons of room-temperature water. Drinking hot or cold water will make your throat hot or cold, therefore making your vocal cords swell up or lose proper blood flow. Vocalize/warmup every time you're going to sing/scream. And practice your technique before you record your songs, or you'll be locked into a bad habit when you tour. Sorry for the long post, I just saw lots of potential vocal injury in this thread.
      omertoscar
      Does this works in screaming like a static lullaby's vocal or like emery or alexis on fire?
      tremonti_#1
      Will's idea sounds a lot better, except i'm not a doctor and have no idea about the throat stuff. But i figure u try and read the atricles at the same time and good shit will occur.
      will65610
      Y'all want to know how to SCREAM, here it is. But first, you should realize screaming is the vocal equivalent of an Olympic decathlon. It's not easy to learn. Does anyone really think the high-school bully stands a chance in a professional boxing ring? Most of you sound young, and few seem to be singing-scraming regularly. If all your doing is scraming along to a CD once or twice a week, that's nothing special. But if you try to go for broke night after night for 18 months straight, your voice WILL give out and you may never scream again. If you just want to do hard-core style screaming all the time, this may not be an issue. Just cancel gigs when you have to, and forget about ever doing any other style with your voice. But if you want to pull off the stuff like Chester Bennington, Rob Halford, David Draimon, or Killswitch Engage, you'll have to practivce and give it some time. First, learn to sing normally WITHOUT a raised larynx. Reserve raising your larynx only for sounds you absolutely cannot make otherwise, and try not to let it raise into your mouth. Now, constrict the muscles around your Adam's Apple (like your gagging)--Feel it? Don't do that again. Constricting that deeply will screw your throat. Instead, try making a bluesy gravel sound at low volume constricting your throat higher and higher as you get more adept. The goal is to get the throat tension as far away as possible from the vocal chords. Finally, the tension should feel fairly high (but without raising your larynx), almost in the uvula (like your speaking German). Now, just practice getting louder and louder with that kind of throat tension, ALWAYS making sure your free from pain. It's an exercise, you'll have to build up the muscles. This will take time, but it's worth it. If you think this advise is too wimpy, oh well--listen to those who scream, not even Dez of Devil Driver sounds "gurgly", it's a very dry kind of friction you're after. Also, NEVER scream using the same body movement you do to clear your throat. If you listen to Killswitch Engage or Chester Bennington doing a serious scream, there's actually very little voice involved--almost just a white noise. This is because these guys have it down where they can produce that slightly-deeper-than-uvula throat tension WITHOUT even involving their vocal chords, thus zero vocal damage. Properly, they are using the ventricular folds to make the sound. It's sort of like yelling out a raspy "hhh". You can learn this by practicing what i wrote above while gradually letting the voice get breathier and breathier (i.e., more relaxed) while keeping the throat tension.
      Sympathy
      Noone needs an article - just take a cough drop and you can growl/scream for hours.
      Slasher_Sloth
      haha Alexisonfire has a pretty good screamer (god i tried screaming like him but it hurts!) same with Children of Bodom, Cradle of Filth, Demon Hunter (for a lower scream) etc. Yes it takes just as much effort, talent, skill, and work to scream as it is to sing (for all you screaming haters). Plus you shouldnt really let it all go, that can hurt your voice, just put 70% into it so you can still scream but not kill yourself in the process.
      DaddyTwoFoot
      The way death metal vocalists go so low is that they put their mouths right up to the microphone and cup their hands around it so no sound can escape. That also gives it the muffled sound. Pretty simple actually.
      DaddyTwoFoot
      Maynard James Keenan from Tool/A Perfect Circle is an amazing screamer, no doubt about that. Two singers that I'm surprised haven't been mentioned yet are Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. Trent Reznor is a just plain better singer than most of the guys out there these days, and his screams carry his anger like nothing else can. Go back and listen to Head Like a Hole for a while. Then you have Marilyn Manson, who sounds like an evil imp that was drawn brought out from hell. Then, one more to add would Be Kurt Cobain. Though his voice had a tendency to break while singing, he had possibly the most angry and confused screams ever to bless rock music. 'Nuff said.
      Arucard
      i hate those bands. its death and black metal vocalists i envy. like mikael from opeth
      NeverKnowing
      maybe his voice 'splits in half' because theres a recording underneath? jst messing, i like LP. and on papercut on LIT 'lie' isn't low at all. well its low for him. but that because he's an alto or something. if you can sing bass you can sing much lower than that.