Heavy Metal Subgenres

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Heavy metal has diverged down many roads and created many genres in its wake.
Let us examine them.

Power metal is a close cousin to traditional heavy metal.
It's faster than the standard stuff, becauseof Thrash and
Speed metal influence. Power metal is structured around
power chord rhythm guitar, simple but fast drumming and
lead melodies and harmonies. Many power metal bands
are neo-classical, borrowing heavily from Baroque in terms
of Harmony and non-Pentonic (Diatonic and Chromatic) scales.
The vocals are generally sung in a high voice or hollared and
preformed in the traditional metal pomp. Power metal ranges
from very simple to extremely complex. Power Metal attempts
to "empower" the listener.

A b*****d offshoot of thrash, death metal began as an
extremely intense, and low tuned version of its thrash
predecessor. Death metal is more rythmically complex
than Power metal, but was initially far less sophisticated
in terms of melody. Death metal often makes use of
exotic scales and changes time on on a dime. The
music is heavy, and essentially a wall of sound bent
on pulverizing the listener. The vocals are growled or
shrieked depending on the mood of the band's vocalist.
In more recent times, Death metal's become far more
melodic and generally artsier. Incorporation of strings,
piano, harpsichord, soprano vocals and full orchestra is
not unheard of. The trick is to keep it intense, even while
you intergrate other qualities.

A solemn and emotional (often dirge like) form of metal
having close links to Death Metal. The point is to inspire
emotion rather than pulverize than listener. Doom metal
often makes use of female vocals (often sopranos) and
classical instuments to further stimulate emotions- usually
grief, sorrow and feelings of solitude and beauty. Often
times, growled vocals are used to create a contrast in atm
osphere, but their inclusion is not neccessary. Doom metal
is heavy, without being brutal. Related to Gothic Metal.

What you get when you mix doom metal (or any other genre
of metal) with gothic rock or music aspects. Often like a
cross between the Fields of Nephlim (or The Swans, or Dead
can Dance) and death/doom metal. Expect melancholic
lyrics, nasal vocals, female vocals and a softer, gentler
rythmic quality- downtuned, but mellow. Gothic Metal can be
quite beautiful- or quite annoying.

A very debatable genre, since all other sub-genres can
be said to possess "progressive" elements. As a concept,
any band trying to push the boundaries of music can be
considered progressive. As a genre, it is tied to the progressive
rock of the seventies (less ballsy though), originating in Great
Britain. In this regard, expect time changes, longer song
structures than conventially expected, and complex key changes.
Prog metal stresses melody and rhythmic technicality.
What seperates the genre form the others is expressly melodic
vocals. Whether this qualifies it as a seperate genre from
all other "progressive" metal bands is debatable.

A genre that defined underground metal in the
eighties, thrash formed the basis of death metal.
Here, the doublebass rumble first became popular
(death metal use this effect to great advantage),
as did low tuning, palm muting and general
intensity. Some thrash was rather complex, but
most was extremely simple and primitive by today's
standards. Thrash took punk's aggrssion, amplified it
and attempted to create art from white noise and fast
tempos. Vocals were rough but not growled.
Good stuff, but again, primitive by today's standards.

Originally, it simply designated "satanic" bands-
or bands that used satanic imagery. Today, it's
an intense genre related closely to death metal.
The new wave came out of Norway and spread
throughout the European continent and Britain.
Black metal, in its purest form, is extremely fast
(sometimes mid tempo), tremolo based, trebly
(rather than downtuned), often makes use of
keyboards (to create atmosphere) and makes
use of controversial imagery. Vocals are shrieked almost
exclusively. Like death metal, black metal has
moved towards more artsy terraine- using neo-classicsim,
jazz elemenrts,industrial and noise, and many folk influences.

Some Terms:

TECHNICAL METAL- any metal that is exceedingly complex-
time changes, counterpoint, polyrhythms, etc. Stresses
complexity over all else.

DOOM/DEATH- simply a combo of both genres.

DARK METALl: Usually black metal, with more melody and less
overt "satanic" imagery.

BLACK/DEATH: A combo of both.


VIKING METAL: Folk influenced metal concerning Norse mythology.

EXTREME METAL: A term used to describe death/black/doom influenced
bands that are not neccessarily death/black/doom
themselve. Opeth's a good example of this. The vocals
are usually distorted and atonal, but the music varies greatly.
This genre title will probably take over the black/death names-
as many of those bands no longer adhere to their genre

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