Can We Stop Making Up New Metal Subgenres?

Categories: Metal Mondays

This is one way to keep it simple: melodic metal, extreme metal, and alternative metal. Every single band will fit into one of these categories, and then within them, there is no need to further categorize. It should all come down to how the fan perceives the music. Imagine the diversification at shows now that people aren't worried about fitting into a category. Of course, that will still occur naturally, but not just for marketing purposes.

Two genres I find particularly confusing: symphonic metal and nu metal.

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Caleb Haley
The 2013 Golden Gods Awards.
People can trace the start of symphonic metal way, way back; but the genre today was pioneered by Savatage with the album Gutter Ballet. It's known largely for being influenced by classical music -- but honestly, the majority of all heavy metal is influenced by classical music. Just because you can hear it a little more eloquently than in say, Iron Maiden, doesn't mean that it should be ostracized. Bands like Nightwish, Epica, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra all fall into this category, but one subgenre isn't helpful when it comes to conveying a full understanding of each band's style.

Then there's the much-loathed nu metal. I've always detested the basis of the genre . . . and maybe it's just the annoying sounding name. But some of my favorite bands reside within it in the industry's eyes: Korn, Deftones, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slipknot, Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit . . . even bands like Anthrax, Pantera, and Slayer have been described as nu metal. What?!

The only connecting factors between the more popular bands in nu metal are seven-string guitars and occasionally a turntable. But put Linkin Park next to Slipknot . . . or Limp Bizkit next to Deftones . . . or even Anthrax next to Fear Factory.

How is there any comparison here?

So take it for what it's worth. With the genres pared down there will still always be black-and-white disagreements and fans and bands hovering in the gray areas. But at least there'll only be three categories to have strong opinions about.

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1 comments
ub8658
ub8658

"Each of these subgenres may have a distinct sound, but they still all employ all the key components of heavy metal: distorted and chunky-sounding guitars, blistering guitar solos and riffs; pummeling double-bass percussion; melodic screamed or shouted vocals."

Well actually, no they don't all have these elements, which is the point.  All the subgenres you list have distinct elements.   I understand that from an outsiders perspective  you may not understand the elements of these genres   I also understand that for the music journalists, broad trends that are beyond a single persons control are easy targets for complaining  but the fact that you make the statement above just proves you don't know what you are talking about.  How about getting someone who actually understands what is happening in metal these days to write an article like this?

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