My research in musicology focuses on the phenomenological, psychological, and sociological tendencies of metal music and its subgenres. Recently, I have been investigating the harsh vocalization prominent in many styles of metal to better understand its aesthetic function and its value as social commentary. Noting similarities between metal and Gothic literature, I coined the term “Sonic Gothic” to identify elements of Gothic modality as represented through musical elements as well as lyrical content. Harsh vocal qualities of extreme metal music subvert traditional practices of Western popular, classical, and jazz singing, and contribute to the genre’s ability to critique society and undermine power hierarchies. To emphasize the visceral impact of the aggressive vocal style, I conducted a poll that asked college students majoring in music to respond to a subset of harsh metal music vocals known as “growling.” A better understanding of how these vocals are received and perceived can give insight into their current, and perhaps future, role in the musical landscape. Additionally, we can learn under what musical and lyrical conditions harsh vocals are more accepted. I created a survey using a five-point Likert scale, which featured audio and video samples of three vocal performances–growling, standard (or clean), and a combination of the two–to gather information about how students respond and the extent to which they found the vocal qualities suitable for the accompanying music. After providing the participants with the lyrics to a previously heard sample, the data showed that an understanding of the lyrical content had a positive effect on perception of the growl as a musical device. Furthermore, despite many participants having a slightly negative reaction to the growling, they noted that the style fit well within the accompaniment. The results of this poll lead me to believe that metal’s role as a legitimate means of pushing contemporary vocal techniques and critically examining societal norms is overlooked. I aim to conduct a larger research project investigating the intersection between sonic Gothic in metal and the phenomenology of screaming in music and how it relates to current vocal education.