How Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan Learned to Scream
Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan is a treasure trove of disgusting gutturals, gurgles, growls, belches and shrieks. As one of extreme metal's most dynamic vocalists, as evidenced by the band's new album Death Atlas, we asked him how he learned to do it all in the first place.
Everyone starts somewhere and for a lot of extreme metal's powerhouses, it's a childhood bedroom or somewhere within the confines of the family home. If this sounds a bit silly, it's because it kind of is, especially because nobody nails it the first time and it takes a while to properly develop the capabilities. Travis Ryan knows that as he explains tracking some sick vokills on his mom's karaoke machine in his youth.
His primary source of inspiration was the dueling vocals of Carcass' Jeff Walker and Bill Steer, who traded serrated snarls and deep belches on early albums such as the calculated slop pile that is Symphonies of Sickness. Taking it way back to his Anal Flatulence project (edit: nice, dude), he recalled trying to ape Carcass by multi-tracking his vocals on that same karaoke machine. He got the results he was hoping for, but realized he was cupping the microphone to get the effect. Now, he's not to keen on the technique. "Any motherfucker can sound brutal," he said of cupping.
Starting with 2012's Monolith of Inhumanity, Ryan expanded his range and adopted a strange melodic style — not quite clean singing, but definitely not a growl of any sort. He attributes this style to boredom and wanting to do more, but that he'd also hear melodic overtones while playing onstage when the sound reverberated throughout the venue.
Watch the full video above and learn from one of the best to ever do it. Oh, you'll even find out why he does that weird thing sticking his tongue out of the side of his mouth. It's not for show, folks.
See Travis Ryan in the Top 25 Extreme Metal Vocalists