Everything You Wanted to Know About Metal but Were Afraid to Ask

Categories: Metal
metal wench.jpg
W.B. Fontenot
Elena Vladi from Demona Mortiss

By: Jason Roche

The dark themes and strikingly gory album covers are one thing, but what makes metal inaccessible to many is its bounty of subgenres,from black to death to thrash, to say nothing of death 'n roll and pornogrind. Which is why, below, we've compiled metal's most popular subgenres into one handy guide, and thrown in some of their subgenres as well. This is by no means an exhaustive accounting of the discipline, but is a good start for anyone who doesn't know their Cannibal Corpse from their Cradle of Filth.

Traditional Metal

Notable bands: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne
Also referred to as "classic metal," this is what most folks imagine when they think of heavy metal. The guitars are loud and there's likely a blistering solo in every song, but the focus is on anthemic choruses. The vocals, meanwhile, tend to be melodic, with singers often hitting high registers.

Thrash Metal

Notable bands: Early Metallica, early Megadeth, Slayer
The pace gets faster with thrash metal, with guitars and drums galloping along at high speeds. The vocals are more snarled and shouted than sung, and lyrics are often unintelligible due to the quick pace of delivery.

Notable Sub-Subgenres of Thrash Metal:
Skater Thrash: Thrash blended with a hardcore punk approach and lyrics about non-serious topics like beer, pizza, and skateboarding.

Examples: D.R.I, Municipal Waste

Retro-Thrash: Thrash performed by newer bands who aren't influenced by any group after 1987, and the music is sometimes produced by their '80s heroes themselves.

Examples: Warbringer, Mantic Ritual

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