The Different Genres of Heavy Metal – Part 3

The third and the final part of our blog to understand the different types of Heavy Metal that exist begins with Sludge Metal and includes Alternative Metal and Avant-Garde Metal. As we have seen in our previous blogs, there are many nuances of Heavy Metal music that take this highly popular music form into wildly different directions, so strap on your guitar and get ready for a musical ride.

Sludge Metal

Many of the sub-genres of Heavy Metal music are depicted by their category name. And Sludge Metal actually describes this form of Heavy Metal quite accurately. Sludge Metal is a variation of Doom Metal and has many common threads including the prevalence of distorted sound. The subject matter of many of the songs is also controversial such as drug abuse, although the words are often difficult to understand as they are often simply screamed. If you want to listen to Sludge Metal, then Acid Bath, Eyehategod and Crowbar are excellent examples.

Alternative Metal

Alternative metal is a combination of Metal and Rock mixed together. Alternative Metal is far different to many types of Heavy Metal as it tends to be far more tuneful and is lighter in format than other genres. This type of music challenges traditional Heavy Metal parameters and experiments with typical structures of the genre.

Avant-Garde Metal

As the name suggests, Avant-Garde is composed and played in a similar fashion to Alternative Metal. It plays with the structure of traditional Heavy Metal music and introduces many other musical styles. Sometimes the end result can be quite chaotic and very bizarre. Few bands play this format and the ones that currently do are Sunn, Celtic Frost and Boris.

Funk Metal

The term Funk Metal is almost a contradiction, and the end result of this collaboration takes Heavy Rock into another sphere entirely. Funk Metal can be almost soulful and jazzy which is a world of difference from traditional Heavy Metal music. This sub-genre first appeared in the 1980’s and it really is closest to Thrash Metal of any of the other sub-genres. Mordred and Rage Against the Machine are good examples of Funk Metal.

Nu Metal

In a nutshell, Nu Metal was meant to be a passing fad that would fade quickly into the distance. But bands such as Deftones, Linkin Park and Korn have kept this genre alive. Nu Metal is a blend of hip-hop with Alternative Metal. The main focal point is that the lead guitars have a detailed integration with the rappers.


The last sub-genre of our Heavy Metal blog is Metalcore and it is an intense form of Heavy Metal that incorporates hardcore punk. The vocals are growling, the guitar riffs are heavy and the overall sound is highly distorted. Examples of bands playing Metalcore are Bullet for My Valentine, Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.

The varied types and sub-genres of Heavy Metal music show just how varied this musical form can be. It is quite amazing how other forms of music can be incorporated with such a distinct type of music, but the plethora of famous bands currently doing this proves the case.