Subgenres Of Metal

The purpose of this article is to give answers to all of your questions connected with metal.

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Australian War Metal

Also referred to as Satanic war metal or simply as war metal and originating from Australia, it is characterized by a fusion of death metal rhythm section with 1980s thrash-style guitar riffs and vocals, particularly influenced by European thrash bands such as Sodom, Kreator and Coroner. The style also borrows its image and lyrical themes from early Black metal. Exponents of Australian war metal include Bestial Warlust, Destroyer 666 & Gospel Of The Horns.

Baroque Metal

Soft metal with a high influence from baroque musicians such as Johann Sebastian Bach. The best example is Alex Masi.

Black Metal

Considered to be the most extreme subgenre of metal. The genre has its origins in early thrash/speed metal and is often (but not always) characterised by Satanic or occult lyrical themes, usually 'screamed' out rather than sang. Venom and Bathory are credited with pioneering the genre. Other notable black metal artist include Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Satyricon and Mayhem.

Blues Rock

Most important early heavy metal performers were rooted solidly in blues rock: Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin.

Christian Metal

This category can be any style of metal featuring explicitly Christian lyrics or themes. Examples include Stryper and Mortification.

Circus Metal

Incorporates circus or carnival elements in music or performances. See Mr. Bungle, Dog Fashion Disco, Secret Chiefs 3, Vicious Hairy Mary, Headkase and Darth Vegas.

Comedy Metal

Features pronounced humor and comedy. Comedy metal may have been unwittingly created by the film This Is Spinal Tap in the mid 1980s. Besides Spinal Tap, other comedians parodying metal have included UK project Bad News (featuring comedians from The Young Ones) and US comedian Bob Rivers. Comedy metal has also been created by metal musicians themselves, with some achieving commercial success (most notably Green Jelly and Scatterbrain). Comedy metal can be varied in humour, from being blatantly offensive and politically incorrect (such as Anal Cunt and Pungent Stench), to more middle of the road humour (such as Canadian band Zimmer's Hole and GWAR).

Death Metal

An extreme style of metal with low-pitched guitars and growling, often incomprehensible vocals. Lyrical themes of early death metal often centered around gore horror (hence the term), although the genre has since diversified. Examples Bolt Thrower, Mortification, Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Entombed. Also see Melodic death metal.

Doom Metal

Inspired largely by the lumbering dirges and stoned, paranoid darkness of Black Sabbath, and one of the very few heavy metal subgenres to prize feel and mood more than flashy technique, doom metal bands include Candlemass, Cathedral and Anathema.

Epic Metal

Incorporates high fantasy and related elements. Examples of epic metal include Manowar, Virgin Steele, Cirith Ungol, Omen, Medieval Steel, Bathory, DoomSword.

Extreme Metal

Not a specific genre but a broader definition of some heavier and aggressive styles of metal including black metal, death metal, doom metal, grindcore, hardcore and thrash metal.

Folk Metal

A style incorporates folk music instruments or themes. Skyclad is probably the most known band in this genre. See Subway To Sally and In Extremo.

Gore Metal

Subgenre that bases most lyrical inspiration on gore/horror and anything to be considered macabre and "Dark Taboo", Generally revolving around something sickening. Bands linked with this subgenre include: Mortician, Exhumed and quite obvious from the band-name Cannibal Corpse.

Goth Metal

A fusion of the bleak, icy atmospherics of goth rock with the loud guitars and aggression of heavy metal, finding the middle ground between the two styles in a melodramatic sense of theater and lyrical obsessions with religion and horror. Bands include Theatre Of Tragedy, Paradise Lost, Lacrimosa, Tristania, My Dying Bride and Type O Negative.


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), Carcass and Extreme Noise Terror.

Grunge Metal

Sometimes seen as distinct from grunge itself, although combining elements of both grunge and metal. Prominent grunge metal acts include Alice In Chains and King's X.

Hair Metal

Also referred to as glam metal or cock rock, it was a commercially popular style of metal in the 1980s. It features feel good anthems and flashy costumes. Bands include Mtley Cre, Ratt, Skid Row, Poison, Dokken, Greg Howe, Vixen and Cinderella.

Hard Rock

A progression from blues rock and early psychedelia and a precursor to heavy metal. It was pioneered in the mid to late 1960s by artist such as Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf, with British bands such as Led Zeppelin, Cream and Free developing it further. It is hard to distinguish hard rock from early heavy metal, some artist such as Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Queen and AC/DC fall into both styles.


Originating as extreme and chaotic version of punk rock but crossed over into Heavy metal due to its similarities in heaviness and aggression. It was also a pivotal influence to thrash metal and later grindcore and Metalcore. Some artists, most notably Suicidal Tendencies and D.R.I. crossed over styles from hardcore to heavy metal. Other notable hardcore acts include Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Black Flag and Minor Threat.

Ice Metal

Incorporates sounds, imagery and themes related to ice zones, specifically Scandinavia. See Sonata Arctica.

Industrial Metal

Features elements of dance music, techno, and heavy, distorted guitars. Synthesizers and drum machines are heavily used in this sub-genre. Well known industrial metal acts include Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Rob Zombie/White Zombie, Fear Factory and Rammstein.

Math Metal

This term was reportedly coined by Mudvayne frontman Chd, and features bands such as Meshuggah and the noisy, grindcore and jazz influenced band by the name The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Melodic Death Metal

An offshoot of death metal, featuring melodic guitar riffs (sometimes acoustic), and in some examples occasional 'clean' singing. Death and Morbid Angel are primary influences of the genre, which has been developed further by predominately Swedish bands such as Entombed, At The Gates, Opeth, In Flames and Katatonia.


This style is a fusion between hardcore and thrash Metal. Notable metalcore artists include Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage.

Neo-Classical Metal

Incorporates elements or melodies from classical music, especially works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Niccolo Paganini. Yngwie J. Malmsteen is a perhaps known proponent of this branch of metal, classical elements were used in heavy metal and hard rock date back to Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Eddie Van Halen's innovations in the late 1970s.

New Wave Of British Heavy Metal

Often abbreviated as NWOBHM, the term is used to describe British metal artists that emerged in the late 1970s/early 1980s in the wake of the 'original wave' of British metal artist such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. NWOBHM was hugely popular and is influential to virtually all sub-genres of heavy metal since. Major artists included Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon and Diamond Head.

Nu Metal

Features a pronounced hip hop influence, and guitar technique is often different from "traditional metal." Some argue nu-metal is a misnomer, stating the genre has very little to do with heavy metal. See Korn, Papa Roach, Staind, Slipknot, Orgy, Drowning Pool, Machine Head and Limp Bizkit.

Opera Metal

A genre of metal including operatic vocals. An example would be Nightwish.

Oriental Metal

A sub-sub genre of death metal and incorporating influences from Jewish tradition and eastern music. See Salem and Orphaned Land.

Party Metal

Also referred to as Pop metal, it features lyrics celebrating drinking, rock or metal music, sex, and related topics. The style often overlaps hair metal and hard rock. Notable artists include Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Queen, KISS, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Andrew WK and some Judas Priest ("Living After Midnight", "Heading Out To The Highway," "Hot Rockin").

Power Metal

Features fantasy or science fiction themes. The most famous bands include Helloween, Blind Guardian and Hammerfall, all of them continental European, and Jag Panzer coming from the US.

Progressive Metal

Combining elements of progressive rock and heavy metal. See Dream Theater, Symphony X, Stratovarius and DragonForce.

Speed Metal

Speed metal has its origins in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with bands such as Motorhead, Raven, Venom, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest often combining heavy metal with the speed of punk rock. The style often overlaps Thrash metal, although speed metal is regarded as being more melodic. Other notable speed metal acts include Watchtower and Racer X.

Stoner Metal

Also referred to as stoner rock, it overlaps with doom metal, and features heavy, sometimes slow and sludgily distorted riffs and the obvious influence of psychedelic music and more importantly the 1970s fuzz-distorted metal of Black Sabbath and Budgie. Exponents of the genre include Cathedral, Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nebula, Fu Manchu and Monster Magnet.

Synth Metal

Soft form of metal strongly influenced by the sounds, forms and fashion of the 80's Synth pop, with synthethizers as predominant instruments and guitars only used in a clean, brilliant, bright way, in a second place. Best examples but not the only ones, are Sonata Arctica, Royal Hunt, Dark Moor, Wampas and Final Fight.

Thrash Metal

Incorporated hardcore punk's speed with traditional metal. Slayer, Overkill and early Metallica 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. It was not the big four, it was actually the big five, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, Pantera, and Metallica.

True Metal

This term was coined back in the 1980s by US band Manowar, but came into wider use in the 1990s, when genres such as alternative metal and nu metal began to emerge to distinguish more "traditional" styles such as power metal.

SID Metal

A recent genre of metal which uses a SID chip. The Swedish band Machinae Supremacy is said to be the founder of this genre.

Vedic Metal

Was reportedly started by Indian band Rudra which combined death metal with eastern spiritual and folk elements to create a totally new genre called Vedic metal. Other groups include Canyon and Supremo from India, Hellraiser from Thailand and Brisko from Indonesia.

Viking Metal

Pioneered by Bathory, this is music including Viking-themed lyrics, and sometimes acoustic guitars and folk instruments. See also Thyrfing and Falkenbach.


216 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Rexbeans wrote: This is the biggest load of horse shit i have ever read.. Who ****ing cares! When i listen to a band i judge them on that bands individual merits & thats it! I don't sit round like a faggy ****ing noob wondering about weather they are melo-death or maybe grindcore? Many moons ago bands used to have their own INDIVIDUAL sounds & that was that.. Nowadays the record companies have invented all these little compartments for things so they can SELL YOU the SHEEPLE more of the same over & over again.. More & more bands all doing the same thing as someone else.. Like all that EMO bullshit that came out a few years back, are we really expected to believe all these different bands from different places had exactly the same idea at the same time to make the same type of music? Nu-Metal was the same.. All of a sudden a bunch of bands turn up out of nowhere with a similar sound.. Wake the **** up people don't buy into all this subgenre bullshit it's just the record company executives way of getting more product on the shelves & selling more to nieve idiots who think it actually ****ing matters weather a band is this type of rock or that type of rock.. Think like an individual for once..
    I agree with you 100%. It's all just 'Metal' to me. I've never liked all these pedantic catergorizations of heavy bands.
    Slipknot is nu-metal... Not really on the first album but on the last.. Its dragging them down, theyre making boring-all the same music now. ahwell..
    this is the author and also i did take it from a encyclepedia, but did not take it from that one. i dont have alternative metal, i have grunge metal that doesnt, i have gore metal and that doesnt. i dont know why it says that is my source because i never saw that before this
    Good thing all genres of rock don't have 1000 some odd "sub genres". It's almost as if people come up with a new "sub genre" for every metal band that ever existed. It's almost comical.
    Captain Crunch
    can someone explain SID metal and Math Metal better? because if math metal like helps you do your homework and sounds cool at the same time then shit...
    fender rocker16
    hendrix and leppelin are not metal dumbass. (leppelin meaning led zepplin if you guys didnt already figure that out)
    Metal is so shit. It almost sucks as much as country, probably even more.
    hardcore is a subgenre of metal, and so is nu-metal, and metalcore, otherwise, they wouldnt have "metal" in their name, save for hardcore, which in an interview i saw with throwdown said that hardcore is heavily influenced by metal.
    luke89: You did the real metal genres well. BUT. Nu metal, hardcore, metalcore, are NOT metal. I suppose you can call them a sub-genre of metal, but they dont fit in with metal at all. Id take em out of the article and then youd have a good one. [POSTED: 25 November 2004 - 09:36]|
    And then people complain about articles being opinionated.... Nu metal IS metal like it or not.
    Hey Prospect you have the right to dislike metal but i don't see why you came on here just to dis the music. I don't like rap so when i see a written article about it i stay away, it's common sense man. Furthermore nothing is worse than country c'mon you've got to be kidding me.
    rocknrollmusic: is Insane Clown Posse part of circus metal??
    no I.C.P. is not circus metal, they are not any type of metal, they are in genre called "Horrorcore" which is a sub genre of rap. ___.. -luv life, luv yaself, luv Jell-O
    Hey excelent article man! i never imagined that there where that much types of metal nice article you gat my 5
    all music is good imo and subgenre or not, if you like something, you like it, whether its a subgenre of a subgenre (hobbit metal?), it doesnt matter. personally i like all metal except hair metal, although my fav is black. so listen to what you listen to and bite your tongue...btw, nice effort, icetitan.
    eeWWW.. dragonforce, why are they there? theyre powermetal and they suck beans
    What? Opeth melodic death... Hmmm, nope I'm pretty sure there Prog/Death. Other than that good article.
    this is great! youve done really good since there are so many bad versions of this although even if you did copy this good work for putting it on. few things though, like opeth being more progressive death as most opeth fans would agree. also theres no point in saying opera metal or ice metal because both nightwish and sonata artica can be called power metal or somthing different if anyones offended.. which is likly. also, to those calling this crap for slight flaws, just think to yourself could you have done any better and if you can then put out a bigger better more accurate article devoid of opinions
    Excellent article, you really did your research, i had no idea that there were so many sub-genres of metal
    Wat a bullshit article. No wonder music is so ***ed up. Theres all this subgenre bullshit.
    Nice article, very very thorough. I only have one disagreement. It was the big four of thrash metal, not because they were the best or the most popular but because they were the first. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax (before they went all rap metal on us). Exodus is lumped with the second wave of thrash metal with people like testament. Furthermore Pantera didn't really emerge as a known band until the early nineties not the mid eighties like the big four. Still though really good stuff. I give it a 5!!!
    Everyone who bitches that Hardcore and Metalcore and Nu-metal aren't forms of metal are retards. Those kinds of music were influenced by metal therefore it is some form of it.
    Molodov look at my statement "Not a bad article.. but where's Linkin Park? haha.." Note the "haha" that's there to point out the linkin park comment was a joke. And I somewhat agree/disagree with you on the topic Slipknot.. I agree they are not "true" metal but they have many elements of a metal band..
    hey good job on the article many details that i really didnt even know about who the hell listens to oriental metal?
    And I somewhat agree/disagree with you on the topic Slipknot.. I agree they are not "true" metal but they have many elements of a metal band..
    That in no way makes them metal.
    Everyone who bitches that Hardcore and Metalcore and Nu-metal aren't forms of metal are retards. Those kinds of music were influenced by metal therefore it is some form of it.
    That is a dumb statement. Metal is influenced by rock n' roll which is influenced by blues. That does not make metal blues.
    Molodov look at my statement "Not a bad article.. but where's Linkin Park? haha.." Note the "haha" that's there to point out the linkin park comment was a joke.
    Ahhh, indeed.
    nd I somewhat agree/disagree with you on the topic Slipknot.. I agree they are not "true" metal but they have many elements of a metal band..
    They have more elements of nu-metal. Thus, they are nu-metal. I'm not going to further analyze Slipknot's metalness. THEY ARE NU-METAL.
    simce there are so many ***ed up genres im gonna start my own..I call it erling metal.
    just some guy
    .....i thought orgy was more industrial or know...with the keyboards and whatnot...
    i've got a Static-X industrial metal? anyway, good article...though i don't care much about subgenres as long as it's still metal. 5 stars.
    so many categories so little time.... good article but some categories like ice metal and circus metal are a bit unnecessary.
    hey fender rocker16, next time you think that Hendrix or Zeppelin aren't metal, read an interview with one of your douche, 2 power chord riff idols and see who they say "Inspired Them"
    I hate to sound like an *******, but I know I will, so here goes: That's quite possibly the most incorrect and inaccurate description of anything relating to Metal I've ever read.
    i dont like all these rules for whats metal, for me metal isnt something i can explain. I need to hear a song and then i can decide. BTW i liked the article anyway i didnt know metal was this expansive
    Cream, Jimi, and Led Zepplin may have influnced metal, but saying that they are metal is like saying that BB King is modern rock. Influence isn't the same thing. I like some metal, but those bands are way to talented to be metal