The Guide To: Heavy Metal

Where'd they all come from, and when, plus some cool bands.

Ultimate Guitar
Most people know that they all sound different (duh, lol). But very few people know where all the music evolved from, or how. Here I'll go over how bands like Black Sabbath got their sound, all the way to Children Of Bodom, Megadeth, and yes sadly Metallica.

Heavy Metal

Having no better name for it, bands like Black Sabbath, AC/DC (ok now true metal there but you get the idea), and the like fit in here. Most of these bands got their sound from early Rock 'n Roll, blues, and jazz (very slightly on the last one). Black Sabbath actually is hailed as the creator of Metal, and before "creating it" they played 12-bar blues in bars in england (seriously).

Brittish Heavy Metal

Later on them crazy Brits inspired by like likes of Black Sabbath began to emerge. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden etc... Mainly they were more musical and melodic, and invented the idea of two guitar players playing seperate parts and harmonizing. Bands of the second wave are much lesser known... Diamond Head one of Metallica's influences being one of the better known. Not really much difference except they took twin guitar parts up another step having a dedicated lead and rhythm players (though they sometime switch duties in the song, which is still done today).

Speed Metal

FAST... loud... aggressive took the lessons learend by Brittish Heavy Metal and second wave bands, combined it with the speed of hardcore punk (yes metal has its origins in punk... live with it) won't give any examples because most of these bands evolved to thrash later on anyway.


Speed metal soon turned into thrash, thash took the same ideas but added technicality to the songs (in some cases), and giving more leeway for tempo changes and long solos. Examples... pretty self explanatory. (80s) Metallica was probably the best known thash band, along with (80s) Megadeth, and Slayer. Anthrax was deeper rooted in Speed and Hardcore since they came from the East Coast. Second and third wave thrash bands like Teatsment, Exodus, Overkill, Death Angel, Canada's Annihilator, and believe me... countless others drew upon their influences and added in some cases.

Death Metal

Mainly influenced by dark thrash like Slayer came about in the early 90s... and yes Venom was earlier but as a general rule. Death is considered by many to be the true fathers of the genre (hence the name). Cannibal Corpse *cough*crap*cough* (no offense to their fans), Morbid Angel, and a slew other other bands (only genre I can think of with more than thrash). However the genre got so popular a lot of bands that really weren't that great were getting signed in the 90s, making it a lot harder to find good stuff... I'm sure all these bands have their fans though (I try not to judge). Second wave stuff either goes in one of two directions, adding a hint of progressiveness to their music, or amping up the aggression to the next level. A few first wave bands redefined their sound like Death to be more melodic while others went the opposite way. I like both but go check them out for yourself.

Black Metal

Also branched off of thrash basicly the European form of Death Metal. Sometimes more melodic, other times more violent. Bathory, Emporer etc... like Death Metal their music thrives on the chaos you can create with instruments (not a bad thing). Second wave bands here sadly took much of the music waaaaaaaay too seriously. From church burnings to murder... they got it all.

Death and Black Crossover

Children Of Bodom being a well known one. Not having the seriousness of their forebears but the melody and aggression remaining they can often be one of the more insteresting genres.


Taking all the lessons learned so far and infusing it with Prog Rock, these bands came about. Either being extremely melodic, technical, or catchy. Dream Theater, later Death albums, Control Denied (rest in peace Chuck), and many others.


Not that popular... but very cool stuff. Takes Progressive another step further. One guy playing guitar for a whole cd... can it get any better! VERY VERY Technical stuff. Yngwie, Vai, Satch, or my personal fav. Michael Angelo Batio (awesome guy saw him live.... godly). Borrows from jazz, blues, anything! This is just an overview... now go and listen to METAL!

190 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Not very good. Shred encompasses more than just metal. And you didn't mention Blind Guardian with thrash.
    For eberyone who believed this, it's mostly rumours, not entirely fact, Black Sabbath is only the most well-know "fathers-of-metal" but there were many more. This article is extremely opinionated, most of it I have heard said on MTV (which isn't good scince MTV killed music), Death And Black Crossover? I think that would be known as Gothic Metal, which uses influences from the two genres, and you for got a few genres, like Epic, Symphnic, etc. and I agree with toobsok, but it's too late now to just say "the *** with catagories" the damage is done, so at least get it right.
    and to not put DANZIG in the black metal section was blasphemous
    Danzig is Hard Rock. They are in NO way Black Metal.
    For those of you who don't know AC/DC can be considered metal(heavy metal) because not only did they contributed to the flourishing and spreading of it but they were metal back in the day. Nowadays people like to classify them as hard rock(like Zeppelin) simply because much heavier and violent genres like Death, Black,and Thrash metal came about. Sabbath may have created it but without AC/DC all of those subgenres you metalheads are so excited about probably wouldn't exist.
    wow, i hate all these people that bitch about "this article sucks!!!" the article wasn't that bad, just a little opinionated, which i really could care less. all of you people that said "YOU SUCK!!!" should shut up. you just complain that he left out some bands thay u like. ***ing hypocrits.
    Ok, it's not a bad article, but it's too opininated again (and sadly Metallica...), u can't go around bashing bands that other people like....and every band has fans....everyone knows that (that's right, all of em). Plus, if u don't know much about metal, then don't write an article about "heavy" metal, this just makes ur respect level u even have ne now (no offense). For someone who knows nothing about heavy metal, this would be no use. And again, write the article normally, don't criticize and bash things when you don't know what the F*** you're talking about...actually u must have known what you were talking when you wrote the article. W/e I don't give a crap, if you think it's a good article, then I still don't give a crap, it's all ur opinion...people don't need ur opinions...and yes EvilGyroe, a list would be a lot better....if u just put a bunch of subcategories to metal and put a whole load of bands, I haven't seen that done, and it would give people something new to listen to, a new band to find out about.
    this article was a lot in the way of crap, maybe if you learnt how to spell and didn't stick your opinions in, it would have been half decent.
    hahahahahaha sum ppl got angry at what i said. OK i apologise if i offended anyone. oh wait you think i was being serious....or that i was bashing viking metal??? NO i was not. My point was that there is a lot of catagories and that annoys me.....NOT the music the CATAGORIES....certain bands have to be a certain things is what i was getting to. So plz don't go thinking i have anything against the "types" of metal i listed. cause i don't. and as for the "go back to listenin to motley crue u twat" comment...little over the top but i aint got anythin against you so i'll let it go. OH AND I AINT JUST BEIN A PUSSY....I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST THAT TYPE OF MUSIC.
    Alright a take it back
    the whole thing thing about the ***ing genre of metal is pissing me of thats like saying ganster rap is different then Latino rap. They both suck. and no one cares
    stop categorizing metal! it pisses everyone off! Metal is metal and thats all there is too it. I dont care if AC/DC is there, look at the time they were big in. Back in Black is heavy compared to other bands back then. Just stop categorizing bands, no one is ever right.
    That's really funny. A whole bunch of people complaining about the article being "too full of opinions," then giving their opinions. Oh, btw, "too full of opinions" is an opinion, dumbasses....
    its an opinion... 'Black Sabbath created Metal' is an opinion... its all quite subjective... further up i saw '[Black sabbath started as a jazz/blues fusion band]' i would like to clarify that they were not Black Sabbath back then, they were Earth/Polka Tulk during the late 60s, the psychadelia phase Britain wnet through. the article is a bit opinionated but EVERYTHING really comes down to opinion... some people won't agree with the classification given, others wont. This article is not 'The Gospel according metalhead4344', it is an opinionative categorisation of different subgenres of metal... interesting points, i have one question... I'm a sabbath fanatic, and don't know much more about metal, but where does Machine Head come in?
    I have never heard anyone(that likes rock music, not rap or hip hop) ever say AC/DC sucks. I've heard people say Metallica sucks, Van Halen sucks, Led Zeppelin sucks, but never AC/DC. I've even hardcore goth people say they like AC/DC. They are simply the gods of Rock.
    Also, everyone you're not going to get anywhere making eachother mad and cussing eachother out on the internet. That is what the internet is for, it's for wussies and nerds trying to cuss other people out on the internet, but they can't really do it in real life because they don't have the balls. In conclusion, go out and play the guitar, bass, drums or singing, or anything you got. Stop fighting on the internet, you people are making yourselfs look completely retarded fighting like whiny ass nerds. And the article was alright.
    Bulll..shit. It's people like you that make metal look nerdy. People created new methods of playing because THEY WANTED TO BE UNIQUE not catagorized so people can say they know so much about that kind of metal....I mean there should be "rap metal" and "black metal" just because they're so different but not 1,000,000,000 catagories I mean ***.
    The Oceanborn
    I totally agree with EC Cutter, no one needs to know the difference between for example speed and thrash metal it's so much the same, both are fast and aggressive \m/
    Should have just wrote a list of metal bands you like.... which isnt many as we can see
    Oh and I'm not relly sure about this "second wave" of thrash including Exodus. Where did Kirk Hammet come from? That was right in the beginning of Metallica... so I think that one is a little off.
    For a Start thrash is a form of metal YouKnowYourRite and i still believe metallica retains there king of metal title but ac/dc is not really metal even though im from perth where they come from.
    Man f*** most of you lol people write articles and all u give em is s*** about the mistakes just take it read it say "bad article" and stop argueing over whos right ...
    Why the *** was this article written it actually hurts me to see so many people pissed off....yet at the same time i laugh and pitty most of you.
    Contraband time someone makes an article, can they plz research things....if I knew nothing about Heavy Metal, I could find out more.
    Can I ask you something? WHAT THE F***!!!..???.. You sit their and criticize great heavy metal bands like you F***.. invented it! Some one seriously needs to whip your F***.. A**! ..And by the way, I would love to see you make a song as half as good as Metallica, Canibal Corpse, and all of the other bands you bad mouthed. Go swallow large amounts of Anthrax- poser
    ^ ROFL! Yeah, don't bash Metallica; thats just a way to make a bad article WORSE... You didn't really define much in here, just gave examples and then called half of them crap.
    Where the FUCK does Led Zeppelin come into this you ***head. How can you mention shit like Sabbath and AC/DC and no ment Zeppelin?
    The only good thing here is the discussion, the article sucks big time. I don't think he researched anything, sounds like stuff he learned from his older brother or sth like that. And the discussion: I can tolerate AC/DC and Zepplin being considered metal, saying that metal started 2 yrs after Sabbath's debut, U can bash death or power or black... but I cant stand U guys calling nu-metal, well, metal. We gotta get a non-"metal"-containing name for that crap; suggestions? could be "Britneyspearsy hard rock".
    Unknown Soul
    didn't mention TOOL...u need to be shot. and what's up with saying you "sadly" mention MetallicA? u need to eat a stick of dynamite. (only joking around...i don't mean anything serious by that whatsoever...i'm just a huge MetallicA stuff, old stuff, it's all good to me.) yeah anytime an article like this comes up it's gonna be full of opinions. and just to add something to it...about speed metal having roots in punk...MISFITS - EARTH A.D. (speed metal bible)
    I think this guy should have kept his personal opinions to himself. Maybe then I would have read it all.
    Mr. Clean
    Not a bad article, of course it's opinion, it's a little hard for it not to be (and nu metal was completely skipped (but that's okay))
    Your ***ing article sucks. -10 stars. And why do you mock 'tallica at the beginning. Asshole
    This is an ok article but its hard to do one on this topic, because many of this can be an opinion. If you wanted to do this correctly and not have anyone saying that its onpinionated would be to take a whole day making a list of lots of metal bands and putting them in many different groups eg. you could put arch enemy in black, death, or a mixture or metal types