The Different Genres of Heavy Metal – Part 1

Heavy Metal is a wide term used to describe multiple musical styles, there are so many sub-genres of this famous style that many fans are simply overwhelmed on how to describe the music that they love.

Plenty of the sub-genres sound similar, such as Black Metal or Doom Metal, and to be honest who cares what you call your favorite band?

But the real truth is that there is a huge difference between Heavy Metal genres and the bands that play the music. Most purists will say to forget about names and tags, and simply enjoy what you like no matter what it is called. This statement to a huge extent is true, and this blog will try to identify the different nuances of this huge music genre and help to differentiate between them.

Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal is the granddaddy of all subdivisions that everything else derives from. Heavy Metal was the original form of this highly popular music that originated from the first and original metal bands. Nearly all these groups are derived from the two British bands that started off the whole genre, namely Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Examples of bands that fit this sub-division are Judas Priest and KISS.

Thrash Metal

Thrash Metal was one of the first variations from Heavy Metal and this genre started to open up more avenues for the overall Metal scene. Basically, it is played with greater speed, has a higher intensity, features complex individual guitar solos and riffs. Thrash Metal is highly energetic and one of its other main features is that the lyrics are purposely off pitch, sounding almost like a scream. Bands that fit into Thrash Metal are Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth.

Power Metal

The high vocals and clear instrument playing define Power Metal and it is completely different to other forms of Heavy Metal. Power Metal is often the beginner’s way into Heavy Metal as a whole. As it is melodic and often crosses over to mainstream pop charts and film soundtracks. Bands that fit into this category are Hammerfall, DragonForce, Kamelot and Helloween.

Symphonic Metal

This genre is a mix of symphonic music combined with raw Metal, bands that play Symphonic Metal are Epica, Nightwish and Within Temptations. The genre incorporates symphonic string instruments overlaid with keyboards that is combined with Metal music, giving a classical overtone to the whole song.

Glam Metal

Glam Metal is just as much about the image of the band than the actual music they play and is sometimes called Hair Metal. It was highly popular in the 1980’s but has waned a little over the past few years. It was a consequence of the times it was thought of, and since those days have long gone, so has Glam Metal. It incorporated the style and fashion of the most outrageous Heavy Metal bands of the 1980’s and embellished upon it. Artists that typified Glam Metal are Motley Crew, Van Halen, Dokken and, of course, Alice Cooper. In part two of this blog we look at even more sub-genres of Heavy Rock music, including Black Metal and Death Metal.