"It's an art form unto itself," I once said to Ervie a few months ago. Ervie, bless his goofy heart, agreed that while it's not his thing, it certainly is a special talent.
I speak of screaming, of course.
There are many things that Mrs. TK and I don't agree on: Olives, for example. I've yet to be able to get her to see the genius of Big Trouble in Little China. She doesn't get my addiction to t-shirts. I don't get her addiction to furniture. I can't handle spinny carnival rides - she treats them like she's going down a kiddie slide. But one of the big ones is music - specifically, what she calls "angry screaming music." She doesn't see that it is an art. It's a skill. It's not just anyone who can scream non-stop for a 3-5 minute song. It's even harder to do it set to a rhythm. Harder still to do it for a 90 minute concert.
I fucking love it. I was once discussing "Collision Course," the Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration album with my friend Chris.
"I dig Jay-Z I guess, but I can't stand Linkin Park," remarked Chris "I kinda like 'em... actually, really I just like the screamy parts," I said. "There's a fuckin' shock," he replied.
Clearly my reputation precedes me.
It's true though. I like all manner of screamers, if they can do it right. By "do it right," I mean not just scream or roar themselves into a cacophonous, incoherent fury, such as Napalm Death, or a lot of death metal, for that matter. Chester Bennington of LP, while his band is kind of lame, gets a pass for being a truly outstanding screamer. I like those who can actually use the scream as an instrument, to play off of the harmonies in the song. I realize that Mrs. TK is never going to appreciate it, because she doesn't like the music type in general... hell, none of my friends really do (which is why Boo and I need to spend an evening getting hammered and talking about metal some time). But I like punishing guitar chords with a wailing lead and pounding, rapid-fire double bass drums and yes, a good screamer layered on top of that. One of my favorite things? Bands with two singers, so they can do that "one guy screaming/one guy singing" thing, a la Thursday's "War All The Time" album.
Thursday, incidentally, is what the kids and the Wikipedia folks call an "emo-core" or "screamo" (one of the most hysterically funny tags ever) band. They're terribly earnest and have really angsty lyrics like:
"Rupture the wall around my heart I feel so lost, I've been shaking, you can't save me"
I know, right? Terribly cheesy. But I forgive all of this, because right at the beginning of that verse, when lead singer Geoff Rickly begins to tearfully sing out "Rupture..." another band-mate screams out "RUPTURE!!!" simultaneously and it just fucking... works. It's almost beautiful. For the record, I'm not talking about your regular, Metallica-esque heavy metal shouting, or just singing real loud. I'm talking screaming. Like, borderline agony screaming. I know it sounds weird but I'm telling you - there's a certain magic to it.
So. With that excessively lengthy introduction, here are some of my favorite screamers.
Marilyn Manson: "Rock is Dead," from Mechanical Animals (say what you will about these guys, but they know how to entertain and he knows how to scream)
Murder By Death, "Devil in Mexico," from Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? (interestingly, this isn't a metal or hardcore band, and they rarely scream. But when they do, such as in the end of this song? Chills, I tell you. Sadly, I couldn't find a video.)
Nine Inch Nails: "Happiness in Slavery," from Broken (the grand master, never to be replaced: Trent Reznor)
Hope you've enjoyed. Scream 'til that shit hurts, people. That's when you know you're doing it right.