During the years I worked at Q101, we were cautioned against using the word “metal” on the air. It was every bit as taboo to the alternative station as saying “fuck,” though much less fine-able.

The fact is, I was born in Chicago and have lived in the area all my life. This is a rock town, and the second you venture past the all-too-cool hipster enclaves, you’ll find metal’s heavy hand pushing Satan’s dark agenda forward.

This coming week on my podcast, I’m joined by Turisas, who I describe in my intro as both folk metal and Viking metal. If you’re paying attention to their music, you’ll hear power metal and symphonic metal in what they do, too. After producing my show, I got to thinking that, for the cautious or uninitiated, metal can be totally overwhelming–it certainly can’t be defined by one particular band. Metallica is not the same as Cannibal Corpse is not the same as Baroness.

If you’re one of those people who can’t quite commit to metal, here’s a quick (see also: not in any way definitive or comprehensive) cheat sheet to a handful of sub genres, along with two of my favorite examples of each:

NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal)

Iron Maiden “Die With Your Boots On”

Diamond Head “In The Heat of the Night”



Symphonic Metal

Rhapsody of Fire “Silent Dream”

Kamelot “Ghost Opera”



Power Metal

Hammerfall “Bloodbound”

Dragonforce “Through the Fire and Flames”



Folk Metal

Folkearth “Naglfar Sets Sail”

Tyr “Regin Smidur”



Prog Metal

Opeth “The Grand Conjuration”

Dream Theater “Pull Me Under”



Thrash Metal

Overkill “Hello from the Gutter”

Testament “The New Order”



Death Metal

Death “Empty Words”

Entombed “Evilyn”



Black Metal

… not the same thing as Death Metal.

Gorgoroth “Gorgoroth”

Emperor “I Am the Black Wizards”



…and there you have it. Like I said, this is a surface-skimming list, and not intended to be a metal bible. I hope that, at the very least, it inspired you to wave the devil horns more freely in your daily life.


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4 responses to “METAL”

  1. manofmuchmetal says :

    Hi! I found it very interesting to read which specific genres and sub-genres you chose to highlight here – as you say, to delve even deeper may have taken weeks! Even more interesting is your choice of examples for each genre – are these personal favourites of yours, or are they based on other information? To not see Metallica or Megadeth mentioned in the thrash section was a surprise, albeit refreshing! Cheers, Matt

    • administrator says :

      Metallica and Megadeth were so obvious that I chose not to include them. I realize that Maiden was an all-too-obvious choice for NWOBHM, but …

      These are mostly personal preferences–and again, not meant to be all-inclusive.

      • manofmuchmetal says :

        Agree with the comment about Metallica & Megadeth – but many people still use them as their only reference-points when referring to metal, so kudos for going in a different direction. Maybe you could make it into a regular feature and go more underground with each post?! I’d find that interesting certainly! Cheers

  2. Jamie Kinman says :

    It’s even harder now with bands merging other genres into metal. KoRn were one of the first with their dubstep album, Enter Shikari are also doing similar. More recently you’ve got bands like Hacktivist who’re a djent/grime band which is two polar opposites in terms of music. Lest we forget the ever increasing in popularity, Crossfaith and Issues!

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