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”
Rhapsody of Fire “Silent Dream”
Kamelot “Ghost Opera”
Dragonforce “Through the Fire and Flames”
Folkearth “Naglfar Sets Sail”
Tyr “Regin Smidur”
Opeth “The Grand Conjuration”
Dream Theater “Pull Me Under”
Overkill “Hello from the Gutter”
Testament “The New Order”
Death “Empty Words”
… not the same thing as Death Metal.
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.