‘Grey Members of a Congregation of Nightmare’: The Howls of Wolves in Horror and Heavy Metal Music, 26 September 2016


Amanda DiGioia received a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University in 2016. Amanda is continuing her graduate education at the UCL School of Eastern European and Slavonic Studies. Amanda’s Ph.D. thesis focuses on the construction of the female gender within the Finnish heavy metal music scene. Amanda has been published previously in the Metal Music Studies journal and has a forthcoming publication in the “Sonic Horror” edition of the Horror Studies journal.
Heavy metal artists adopt and adapt the howling of wolves to unite and excite their audiences, much as horror film directors use diegetic sound to extract the desired effect from their viewers. Among wolves, howling is a form of communication. Howling in heavy metal music is used as a literal sound and as a metaphor, ranging from certain sonic effects to vocalizations. Each heavy metal howl sound produced, whether it be real or synthetic, has lupine tendencies threaded within it, (the growling, wavering, and vibrato that are associated with the wolf’s howl). Horror film directors use howls to lead into a different emotion: fear. A wolf’s howl in horror films indicates that something wicked this way comes, often in the form of a werewolf or a nefarious monster. Whether it be in heavy metal music, a horror text, or in real life, the howl of the wolf is a source of communication to a wide audience.