Metal 101 – Guide to Metal by Metalheads.


received_314788095746055Hi, I’m Chasing Destinos oldest child, Tenorsaxicorn, My SO Catsandguitarguy and I are going to walk you through different metal genres and the best bands in them.

Some bands are in several genres because it’s almost impossible to make several songs in one genre. Without being incredibly boring and hard to listen to the same band for long periods of time. There are so many bands it’s almost impossible to list them all so we’re going to list the bands we recommend or the most famous and popular ones from it.

T- My favorite genres of metal are metalcore, post-metal, deathcore, prog, nu-metal, and grunge. I also enjoy some rock, emo, and alternative music. But this is about metal so I won’t get too into detail about those.

C- My favorite genres of metal consist of a little of everything, I listen to a lot of metalcore, nu-metal, deathcore, post-hardcore, Viking metal, death metal, melodic death metal, black metal, folk metal, and tons more…

There are some genres that have changed over the years and they end up giving the different styles different names because they become their own things entirely. Such as traditional metal and new traditional metal or grunge and post-grunge. Some genres, such as folk metal, end up developing completely new concepts and origins to create their own genre. That’s where Viking, pirate, Celtic, and pagan metal comes from. So even if they seem like they’d be the same because of their similar names, they’re not. At the end of the list, we’ll explain the difference between Heavy metal, new traditional and traditional. Let’s get into it!

Alternative Metal

Alternative metal is a mix between alternative rock and heavy metal, it doesn’t have an immediately identifiable sound. Alternative metal features clean and melodic vocals, influenced by those of alternative rock, in contrast to other heavy metal subgenres.  Later bands frequently incorporated vocal styles that alternated between clean singing, growls and screaming.

The bands that are more on the alternative side we recommend would be; Avenged Sevenfold, Breaking Benjamin,  Linkin Park, Seether, and Three Days Grace.

The bands on the metal side we recommend are; Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Godsmack, Stone Sour, System of a Down.

Black Metal

Black Metal is a heavier genre of metal featuring shirking vocals, heavily distorted guitars, unusual song structure, and a heavy emphasis on atmosphere. The artists commonly sport corpse paint and have stage names sometimes based on authors. Bands in this style are mostly Norwegian.

The most popular bands in this genre are; Behemoth, Cradle of Filth, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon,


Deathcore is a combination of death metal and metalcore, sometimes with hardcore punk influences. It uses death metal riffs and blast beats with the metalcore breakdowns. They have down-tuned guitars.

T&C – Bands we recommend are; Impending Doom, Carnifex, Whitechapel, Emmure, and Chelsea Grin.


Usually uses low tuned and heavily distorted guitars, death metal is a more extreme subgenre of heavy metal with elements of hard rock and heavy metal. The vocals are usually heavy growling or screaming and the lyrics usually include extreme graphic actions. There are powerful drumming features with abrupt key and time changes.

Traditional heavy metal bands; Black Sabbath, Iron Maden, Megadeath, Metallica, Pantera, Slayer.

New traditional heavy metal bands are; Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodem, Ghost, Gojira, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Six Feet Under, and a lot more.

Melodic Death Metal

Melodic Death Metal is a subgenre of death metal that uses highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal, the style originated and developed in Sweden and the United Kingdom.  The vocal style typically combines harsh screaming and growling with melodic singing, with some artists emphasizing one of these techniques over the rest.

Some melodic death metal bands are; Children of Bodom, Dark Tranquility, Insomnium, and In Flames.

Symphonic Death Metal

Symphonic metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music which combines the heavy drums and guitars of metal with different elements of orchestral classical music, such as symphonic instruments, choirs and sometimes a full orchestra. Often feature classically trained female vocalists, it is not uncommon for them to feature a second vocalist preforming growls.

Some examples of the best symphonic death metal bands are; At the Gates, Cradle of Filth, Kamelot, Opeth,

Folk/Viking Metal

Folk metal is a combination between heavy metal and traditional folk music, containing older folk instruments and to lesser extents traditional singing styles, they commonly contain six or more people in their line-up.

Viking metal is a style of heavy metal music characterized by a lyrical and thematic focus on Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age. Common elements in their songs include a slow-paced and heavy riffing style, anthemic choruses, use of both sung and harsh vocals, a reliance on folk instrumentation, and often the use of keyboards for atmospheric effect.

C – The bands I highly recommend are; Amon Amarth, Arkona, Enslaved, Heliung, Moonsorrow, Turisas, and Tyr.

Pirate Metal

Pirate metal is a subgenre of heavy metal often characterized by its use of pirate mythology in the music and sometimes their stage performances. The lyrics often include pirate jargon and various music genres, such as thrash metal, speed metal, and folk metal may be combined with traditional-sounding songs like sea shanties.

Two bands in pirate metal are Alestorm and Swashbuckle.


Grunge is a fusion genre of alternative rock, punk rock, and heavy metal. Bands mainly focus on utilizing either punk rock or heavy metal in their sound. Lyrics are typically angst-filled and introspective, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, concerns about confinement, and a desire for freedom.

The most famous bands in the grunge scene are; Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots.


Post-grunge morphed into a more clearly defined style that married the sound and aesthetic of grunge with a tone less intense and less abrasive than grunge.

The most commonly heard of using post-grunge are; Creed, Foo Fighters, Matchbox Twenty, Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, and Seether.


Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. The first industrial artists experimented with noise and aesthetically controversial topics, musically and visually, such as fascism, sexual perversion, and the occult.

Some Industrial would be Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and Slipknot.


Metalcore is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Metalcore is most known for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Singers typically perform screaming or the death growl. But more recent bands have incorporated standard singing, usually during the chorus or bridge.

T&C the bands that we recommend the most are; Asking Alexandria, August Burns Red, Beartooth, Bring Me the Horizon, Famous Last Words, and Parkway Drive.


A subgenre of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal music with elements of other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, funk, industrial and grunge. Nu-metal rarely features guitar solos, it is heavily syncopated and based on guitar riffs. Many nu metal guitarists use seven-string guitars that are down-tuned to play a heavier sound.

T&C- Bands we recommend for some Nu-Metal jams are; Disturbed, Deftones, Korn, Slipknot, System of a Down.


Post-hardcore is a descendant of hardcore punk that maintains the aggression and intensity of hardcore punk but emphasizes a greater degree of creative expression initially inspired by punk rock, post-punk and noise rock. Typically featuring very fast tempos, loud volume, and heavy bass levels.

T&C- Bands in the post-hardcore scene we like; Alesana, Bring me the Horizon, Dance Gavin Dance, Falling in Reverse, Famous Last Words, Silverstein, Underoath.


I know I know don’t kill me, please. Emo is a style of post-hardcore and is an alternative rock music genre characterized by an emphasis on emotional expression, sometimes through confessional lyrics. There is also screamo, which is a more aggressive form of emo music.

Bands with the reputation of being emo bands with the most post-hardcore style; Black Veil Brides, Green Day, Pierce the Veil, and Sleeping with Sirens.


If you are more of a softie who doesn’t like the crazy hardcore bands then progressive rock or progressive metal would be your thing. Progressive rock’s scene is sometimes limited to a stereotype of long solos, overlong albums, fantasy lyrics, grandiose stage sets and costumes, and an obsessive dedication to technical skill. Progressive rock had poetic lyrics and uses technology for new sounds.  Progressive metal is a fusion genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock which combines the loud aggressive sounds and amplified guitar-driven sound.  Prog was made for listening rather than dancing to it.

Prog rock bands; Kansas, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Rush.

Prog metal bands; Animals as Leader, Deftones, Mastodon, Opeth, and Tool.

Thrash Metal

A subgenre of metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach taken from hardcore punk.

Popular thrash metal bands are; Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Testament.


2 responses to “Metal 101 – Guide to Metal by Metalheads.”

  1. This article is very well written. I learned a lot and it is nice to see that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  2. Great post! I’ve reviewed a number of bands that fall into some of these subgenres, and it’s been confusing at times for me to describe their genre, especially if they don’t identify it themselves. I will save this for future reference!

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