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Heavy Metal Genres


This is a genre influenced by thrash metal and death metal. It takes its name from the sound of the atonal guitar riffs combined with blast beats from the bass drum. The vocals are similar to death metal.
Examples: Carcass, Napalm Death, Nasum, Pig Destroyer, Terrorizer

Hair Metal
Also called pop metal and hairspray metal, this genre is very melodic and mass appeal. Some of the most commercially successful and critically despised bands came from this genre. They wore a lot of makeup and had huge teased hair, thus the name. They received a lot of radio airplay and chart success in the late '80s and early '90s until grunge rock destroyed it.
Examples: Poison, Ratt, Warrant, Winger, White Lion

This genre is currently very popular and combines heavy metal with hardcore. They use the musical style of heavy metal, especially melodic death metal, and the shouting vocal style of hardcore. Breakdowns are also heavily utilized.
Examples: As I Lay Dying, God Forbid, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall

New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM)
This genre has influenced almost all metal that has followed it. These were the metal pioneers that took the original sound of groups like Black Sabbath and took out the rock and blues influences to make the traditional metal sound that we're familiar with today.
Examples: Def Leppard, Diamond Head, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon

Combining heavy metal riffs with hip-hop influences and rapped lyrics, this genre became very popular in the late '90s through the early 2000's and then fell from favor. There are a few bands of this style still doing well, although most have come and gone.
Examples: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Slipknot

Power Metal
A very melodic form of metal that utilizes soaring guitars and strong vocals, usually in a higher register. It's also an epic style, with long songs and many lyrics about mythology, fantasy and metaphysical topics. Most power metal bands also have a keyboardist.
Examples: Blind Guardian, Fate's Warning, Helloween, Jag Panzer

Progressive Metal
A mixture of heavy metal and progressive rock, this genre utilizes many of the characteristics of avant-garde and power metal. The song structures are complex, using many time signatures and key changes and are usually long. The lyrics are epic and often progressive metal albums are concept albums, utilizing a main theme that runs throughout.
Examples: Dream Theater, Evergrey, Fates Warning, Queensryche

Thrash Metal
This genre evolved from NWOBHM and became heavier and more extreme. It's characterized by fast guitar and double bass drum with aggressive but understandable vocals. Some of the most popular bands in metal started as thrash bands, although most evolved as they went along.
Examples: Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer

The Future

The great thing about heavy metal is that it is continually changing, evolving and improving. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more extreme, something new comes along. Whether you prefer the melody and complexity of power metal or the aggression and intensity of death metal, it's all part of this widely encompassing genre called heavy metal.

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