Different Types of Heavy Metal

Metal music is very diverse genre, with many sub-genres and styles that people should be aware of. Alternative metal, Black metal, Death metal and Metalcore are all different types of metal that are worth listening to!

It’s important to remember that metal is not only about the music. The imagery, clothing, brands and culture associated with Heavy Metal are all vital elements to keep the scene alive!

The term “Metal” itself refers to over twenty different genres of music, including Black Metal (instrumental), Death Metal (extreme vocals) and Power Metal!

The following list highlights six different genres of Metal that are very popular, and should be checked out!

Alternative Metal

Alternative metal is a form of heavy metal that often focuses on being ‘heavy’ as opposed to fast. It combines the intensity, power and anger found in hardcore punk with the speed and music theory complexity of classic metal. Many alternative metal artists are influenced by the heavy metal genre and its culture, and some may refer to themselves as “indie metal”. Alternative Metal typically features down tuned riffs, hard hitting drums and a prominent bass guitar. It was popularized in the early 1990’s through bands like Faith No More, Primus & Helmet.

Black Metal

Black Metal is an extreme sub-genre of metal music. It started in the early 1980’s through bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost & Venom. The music is very dark and often features satanic imagery. Many black metal songs are only around three minutes long – if that.

Death Metal

Death metal vocals are usually distorted or guttural sounding, making the lyrics hard to understand. Death Metal is a type of heavy metal that is generally harsher and more aggressive than other types. Death metal vocals are usually growls from the metal singers, which make it difficult for audiences to understand what they are saying. Death metal bands often have a guitar player that uses a high level of guitar skills, which often give a person a feeling of a roller-coaster ride with all the changes in the music.

Power Metal

The music of Power Metal is typically fast, with an emphasis on melodic interplay between instruments. Many Power Metal songs are motivational or inspirational (usually fantasy-themed), similar to the lyrical themes found in some Heavy Metal songs.

Industrial Metal

Industrial Metal is a genre of heavy metal that emerged from the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 20th century. It is characterized by a deliberately abrasive and often mechanical sound, in contrast to the traditional metal sound that was mostly based on blues with traces of jazz.

Industrial Metal drew on a number of different genres for its sound, including disco, hardcore punk, electronic body music, funk and grindcore. Industrial Metal is primarily associated with nihilism. It is very aggressive and nihilistic – it does not have any use for positive or uplifting lyrics, as it features social criticism and mass exploitation.


Metalcore is one of the more popular metal genres. It often features dark themed lyrics with a mix of strong vocals and aggressive musical sound. Metalcore is heavier than many other types of heavy metal, but it’s not as harsh as black metal. Some metalcore vocals are nearly indistinguishable from the screams that are heard in hardcore punk. It is worth checking out bands like As I Lay Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon & Killswitch Engage to really experience the diversity of this genre!

Additional Metal Genres

Above are just a few popular sub-genres of metal. There are many sub-genres of metal based around music from different parts of the world. For example, Folk metal combines native folk music with metal instruments and structures. Progressive metal often uses classical music structures, while Sludge Metal is usually very slow and heavy with distorted guitar riffs.


Metal is a diverse genre with many sub-genres and styles that people should be aware of. Alternative metal, Black metal, Death Metal and Metalcore are all different types of music worth listening to! Whether you’re into the aggressive sound or more melodic tunes – there’s something for everyone in this article about 6 different types of Heavy Metal.

Additional Reading

Metal is a diverse genre, featuring many sub-genres and styles. You can read about additional Metal genres here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heavy_metal_subgenres

You can find out more information about Metal music on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org

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