List of heavy metal genres

From Academic Kids


A number of overlapping heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal music in the late 1960s. Please note that these definitions are often quite arbitrary. While some fans have firm notions of what defines genres and sub-genres -- and which performers best exemplify those styles -- others reject such notions as useless or even worse as limiting.

  • Dark metal -- A style combining Black, Death, Doom Metal and other forms of extreme metal, bands of this genre rely (as the name might suggest) on a dark atmosphere with synths, occassional female vocals and/or folk elements that don't quite fall in the category of similar underground metal subgenres. Artists include Rotting Christ, Bethlehem, Crematory, early Tiamat and early The Gathering
  • Grindcore -- Influenced by thrash metal, and also hardcore and punk, that takes its name from the "grinding" sound made by the atonal riffs 'grinding' into one another. The style is characterized by a vocal style similar to death metal, rapid fire "blast beats" from double-kick drums and short songs. Exponents of the genre include Napalm Death (regarded as pioneers of the style), early Carcass and Extreme Noise Terror. There are grindcore bands that are more hardcore than metal, but most bands today are heavily influenced by death metal.
  • Thrash Metal -- incorporated hardcore punk's speed with traditional metal. Slayer!, Overkill and early Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth. As is true for many of the terms in this list, the moniker "thrash metal" was not always embraced by its supposed representatives; early on, Metallica referred to themselves as "power metal" (conflicting with the above definition of this term). Conversely, many more or less obscure bands, like Kreator, came up with equally obscure classifications for themselves, such as hate metal. Such labels were often soon forgotten or reused for something else.
  • Viking Metal -- Unlike what most people think, this is not just metal with Norse-themed lyrics. Instead, this is a fusion between old Nordic folk music and Metal. The lyrics are usually about Vikings, but it is not mandatory. The genre is pioneered by Bathory. Other bands worth noticing are Thyrfing, Enslaved and Falkenbach.

Other metal genres

These genres are not generally acknowledged as metal genres.


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