We’re all familiar with heavy metal; a genre of rock music that developed between 1969 and 1974. Bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin epitomized the overall sound by coupling highly-amplified distortion pedals and grueling guitar solos. Of course it wasn’t all just about volume and verve. Heavy metal was as much a mood as it was a kind of music. It had a distinctly masculine feel with theatrical aspects and an elaborate emphasis on energy. Today, there’s as many sub-genres of metal as there are overnight pop sensations. Here’s ten of the most obscure.
Nu metal (also referred to as new metal, neo-metal, or aggro-metal) used to get a lot of bad press when it first burst onto the music scene in the late nineties. Bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot all cashed in on the ’emo’ phase. Ironically, nu metal is not metal at all as it evolved from rock influences. The music is typically repetitive with angst-ridden lyrics and throaty vocals.
Glam metal is a sub-genre of hard rock and heavy metal with a dollop of modern pop and punk thrown in for good measure. It’s generally a mish-mash of good old-fashioned hard rock, incorporating the swaggering style of seventies celebrities, like Marc Bolan and David Bowie. The typical glam rock sound is loud and lurid, peppered with big guitar riffs and repeated chanting.
8. Folk metal
Folk metal has gained popularity over the last few decades. It came out in the mid eighties in Europe. The harmonies and tunes of power metal, were combined with traditional, instrumental folk music to create a poignant story-telling style. It’s primarily influenced by Celtic and Medieval themes and is more an off-shoot of progressive rock which centers around a mixture of mythical and mystical musings.
7. Crust punk
Crust punk evolved in the mid eighties in the UK. It’s sound lends towards dark and depressing lyrics that ponder on all things political and social. Bands such as Amebix, Axgrinder, and Deviated Instinct are responsible for the ‘crustie’ collective who typically dress in black and denim that’s swaddled in badges and patches. The music mixes basic punk with banjos, acoustic guitars and even ukuleles.
6. National Socialistic Black metal
National Socialist black metal is usually performed by musicians who are Nazi empaths. They express their ideology through their lyrics and overt imagery. Some bands blend their beliefs with satanic rituals. Varg Vikernes is said to be the man behind this genre, even though he now claims that his interest was born out of a love for black metal and nothing else.
5. Viking metal
Viking metal is a combination of heavy and black and Nordic folk music. It’s lyrical and musical focus is based around Norse mythology and the Viking era. Some common elements include a ballad-style pace with a loud chorus crescendo. The genre relies mostly on folk instrumentation to exaggerate the theme. Emphasis is put on the use of keyboards to produce extra drama.
4. Stoner metal
Stoner metal does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a genre of metal music designed for marijuana fans. Whether it’s folk, heavy metal, reggae or rap, stoner metal is more a lifestyle than an actual musical mode. Repetitive, resounding patterns and sound waves play a large part in the die-hard stoner’s metal repertoire.
Avant-garde metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music. Experimentation is at it’s epicenter. Musicians use unusual and unconventional instruments and vocal variances. It sprung from progressive rock bands like Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. There’s a Gothic feel to its elaborate and intricate detail.
2. Teutonic Thrash Metal
Teutonic thrash metal is a genre of music that started in Germany in the eighties. The genre also gained momentum in Austria, and the Czech Republic. The biggest band to make a splash on the Teutonic thrash metal scene was Coroner; a highly technical bunch of musos from Switzerland. They earned a reputation for their deep lyrics and exceptional guitar work.
1. Djent metal
Djent enthusiasts are a new breed of progressive metal musicians who have started a virtual online community. It’s said to be inspired by bands such as Sweden’s tech-savvy Meshuggah who created the term ‘djent’ over ten years ago. Its innovative sound has spawned many bands to create and compose music using recording equipment at home. They then swap their songs on internet forums.