Day 6

'Fantastically creepy' metal choir impresses America's Got Talent judges

Legendary music producer Simon Cowell compares the Growlers Choir to demons singing in a choir. The group received enough support from the show's judges to move on to the next round of America's Got Talent.

The Montreal-based Growlers Choir claims to be the only group of metal vocalists in the world

A member of Montreal's Growlers Choir performs onstage for America's got Talent.
A member of Montreal's Growlers Choir performs onstage for America's got Talent. (YouTube screenshot)

Legendary music producer Simon Cowell compares the Growlers Choir to demons singing in a choir. 

"It was so fantastically creepy," he told the Montreal-based group on the most recent episode of NBC's America's Got Talent after they stunned the judges with their rendition of O Fortuna by Carl Orff mixed with Brittany Spears' Toxic

"I'm all for going over to the dark side occasionally so I get it," continued Cowell. 

The group also received support from judges Sofía Vergara and Howie Mandel. Heidi Klum was the only one on the panel who wasn't a fan, but that support was enough to move the group on to the next round of the show. 

Composer, founder and choirmaster, Pierre-Luc Senécal told Day 6 host Saroja Coelho that receiving that praise from Cowell was a dream come true.

"I've known Simon Cowell as an American Idol, quite literally," said Senécal. "I always consider him to be a daunting figure, someone that all of us should fear. And it was part of my dream to impress him and to get a yes from him on America's Got Talent."

But it wasn't Cowell that was conjuring fear at the audition. Both the audience and the judges seemed nervous as the 13 singers started their performance, but as the set concluded, the crowd lept to its feet in support. 

It's visceral. It's also scary, at times creepy. It will not leave you indifferent,- Pierre-Luc Senécal

Senécal wasn't too surprised. He says he received an email from America's Got Talent asking them to audition, and he was confident his crew would impress. 

"We had a pretty good feel that they were convinced that this was going to work," said Senécal.

"We had previous experiences with so many different audiences, people who are not versed in metal, who just loved us, who were wowed by how powerful and how visceral a Growlers choir concert feels."

A growler is a musician who employs a vocal style usually associated with death metal bands — a deep, guttural, growling-like approach to singing.

One-of-a-kind act

Growlers Choir is made up of talented musicians from the Montreal area, many of whom are professionals who have their own choirs. The team includes producers, sound engineers, musicologists, and translators. 

"We take fantastic talents, people who already have a very solid vocal technique, and we hone those skills and we work with them a bit as if we were a school of growl to really harness that potential of the voice and to make it as safe as possible," said Senécal.

Senécal claims his group is the only choir of metal vocalists in the world, and whether people like the performance or are terrified by it, they will feel something. 

"It's truly unique. You've never seen anything like it. There's something vibrating in your body that you can't quite pinpoint. I'd say it's visceral. It's also scary, at times creepy. It will not leave you indifferent," said Senécal.

Senécal said hehas loved heavy metal since he was 15 years old, and when he finished university he decided it was time to start this choir. He wasn't really sure what it would sound or look like, but he didn't know of any other growler choirs in the world. 

He posted his thoughts on Facebook, and soon he had 40 singers who wanted to be a part of it. That led to the founding of the Growlers Choir in 2018. 

"Those are my people. They accept me no matter how weird I might be sometimes, and I accept them for who they are," said Senécal.

"I think that's the essence of metal, that we're just humans together, bonding over something and enjoying it together."

But the show isn't over for Senécal and his spooky singers. The group hopes to push on in the competition. 

"We have a number of ideas. We have a number of show possibility on hand that I can't share with you, unfortunately," said Senécal.

"But we certainly hope to share it with the world in the live broadcast of August." 


Written by Philip Drost. Produced by Pedro Sanchez.

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