World Metal Alliance Founded 1992
World Metal Alliance Online 2000
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© 2010 World Metal Alliance. All rights reserved.





What is the World Metal Alliance?

The World Metal Alliance is a non-commercial organization of heavy metal fans and heavy metal musicians founded in 1992 in order to protect, promote and preserve heavy metal music. The World Metal Alliance has always been the combined voices, opinions and views of our members.

Here you'll find thousands of heavy metal fans and heavy metal musicians networking and coming together in a spirit of unity and mutual respect that is rare on most online heavy metal communities. Our heavy metal forum provides a place for discussions about music, politics, and almost everything else including heavy metal band promotion, heavy metal album reviews, and polls to determine winners of the World Metal Alliance Heavy Metal Awards.

And since we are one of the only non-commercial heavy metal forums on the web, our boards are free of annoying pop-up and banner ads and the bias and influence that comes along with accepting paid advertising from bands or record labels. That's one of many reasons our Heavy Metal Board and Political Board have grown to become top ranked on the web and sets the standard by which all heavy metal forums are measured.




What are Heavy Metal Genres?

Anyone who thinks Heavy Metal is dead, or dying, obviously isn't aware of how many genres it has spawned, or how large this extended family of music styles has become. Over the past four decades Heavy Metal has evolved into many entirely unique entities. The following is a brief overview of several Heavy Metal genres summarizing their defining characteristics and their relationship to other genres. At the end of each summary is a link to a topic on our Forum where World Metal Alliance members have posted the band that they feel defines the genre. We invite you to join and add your favorite bands to these ever growing lists and help further refine the definition for each of Heavy Metal's many genres.

Black Metal

Black Metal is among the three extreme Heavy Metal genres, along with it's progenitor Thrash Metal and close relative Death Metal. Typical characteristics of this genre include: ultra fast tempos, atypical song structures, highly distorted often mesmerizing tremolo picking and shrieking vocals. It emphasizes a dark atmospheric dread even more so than the other two extreme genres, one of the only qualities it has in common with it's tempo antithesis Doom Metal.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Black Metal Band

Classic Metal

Classic Metal (not to be confused with neo-classical metal) is also known as traditional metal. Unlike the other genres, this term is defined more as an era of heavy metal than any particular style. Since the term heavy metal has long since become a broad term covering all metal genres, the term classic metal, or traditional metal, is now used to refer to the earliest heavy metal, before it splintered into various style specific genres.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Classic Metal Band

Death Metal

Death Metal is among the three extreme heavy metal genres, along with it's progenitor Thrash Metal and close relative Black Metal. Typical characteristics of this genre include: extremely fast rhythms, tempo changes, complex song structures, heavily distorted guitars, harsh low-pitched or growled vocals and drum blast beats. It became prominent in the mid 80s, and primarily built on the foundation of Thrash Metal's complexity and speed.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Death Metal Band

Doom Metal

Doom Metal first evolved as a separate genre during the early 80's, but it is strongly influenced by the early 70's works of Heavy Metal's founding fathers, Black Sabbath. It is by far the slowest of the genres, with the exception of it's off-spring Drone Metal. Typical characteristics of this genre include: extremely slow tempos, and down-tuned guitars with massively dense distortion. It aims to evoke a sense of dread, desperation and gloom and is credited for spawning Gothic Metal, Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal, and Drone Metal.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Doom Metal Band

Drone Metal

Drone Metal is the direct descendant of Doom Metal. The style emerged in the early 90's combining the slowness of Doom with drone, and minimalist music. Typical characteristics of this genre include: extremely slow tempos, long minimalist song structures, heavily distorted and reverberated guitars, sparse growled or screamed vocals, and lack of prominent beat or conventional rhythm. The primary trait that separates it from Doom Metal is the use of drones, which are notes and chords that are sustained and repeated throughout each song.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Drone Metal Band

Folk Metal

Folk Metal is a genre that combines folk music with heavy metal. It evolved in Europe during the 90's and has spawned several subgenres including Celtic Metal, Medieval Metal and Oriental Metal. The defining characteristic of this genre is the use of traditional folk instruments and in most cases, traditional folk music vocal styles. Pagan Metal is closely related but considered a separate genre due to it's extreme form and emphasis on lyrics rather than instrumentation.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Folk Metal Band

Glam Metal

Glam Metal aka: Hair Metal is a genre primarily defined by the flamboyant visual style of several heavy metal bands in the late 70's and early 80's. It emerged primarily in the United States, and particularly on LA's Sunset Strip. It remained popular though the 80's and early 90's. Although the genre's defining trait is mostly visual (high teased hair, make-up and spandex) other commonalities include commercial hard rock song structure, high pitched melodic vocals, bass root note rides, prominent drum beats and short melodic guitar solos.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Glam Metal Band

Gothic Metal

Gothic Metal combines the dark melodramatic elements of gothic rock with the aggressive amplified power of Heavy Metal. The genre emerged in the mid 90's first in Europe and later the United States. It is often considered an off shoot of Doom Death, a genre that combines Doom Metal and Death Metal. It is generally characterized by moderate to slow tempos, thick distorted guitar, melodic slow solos, melodic vocals, heavy use of echo, moderate to slow rhythms, often incorporating symphonic strings and ethereal sounding keyboards.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Gothic Metal Band

Grindcore Metal

Grindcore Metal combines mid-80s crust punk with either Thrash Metal or Death Metal. The primary defining characteristics of this genre are extremely short chaotic song structures that defy standard time signatures. Vocals are growled rather than sung and lyrics usually focus on violence or gore, and sometimes politics or anarchy. Related subgenres include deathgrind, which is more influenced by Death Metal; goregrind, with lyrics focused more on gore; and the similar pornogrind, with lyrics focused on sex.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Grindcore Metal Band

Groove Metal

Groove Metal has also been called post-thrash, power groove or neo-thrash. It emerged in the early 90's as a variation of Thrash Metal. It is generally accepted that Pantera invented the variant when they decided to switch from a power metal glam format to something more visceral and raw. The sound is characterized by slow to mid tempo thrash riffs, down tuned guitars, blues based sonic solos, heavy emphasis on drum dexterity and harsh aggressive vocals.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Groove Metal Band

Industrial Metal

Industrial Metal evolved from industrial music and is influenced by many different Heavy Metal genres. It commonly uses sequencers, sound sampling, repeated guitar riffs, synthesizers, and effect processed vocals. Industrial music began to evolve into a Heavy Metal genre in the late 80's and gained much commercial success in the early 90's, particularly in the United States. As it continued to gain popularity late 90's, it was denounced by many early industrial music innovators and several prominent music critics who claimed it had become too generic.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Industrial Metal Band

Metalcore

Metalcore is a combination certain elements of punk, hardcore and Thrash Metal. Characteristics include: emphasis on melody, harmonized riffs and guitar solos (if any), double bass drumming, hardcore d-beats and melodic vocals that are sung instead of shouted. The distinguishing trait of this genre is the use of the breakdown, in which the song is played half-time, usually on open strings, or as low as possible. Although heavily influenced by Thrash Metal, the tendancy is to avoid Thrash Metal's staple palm-muted chug, vocal aggression and lead guitar solo.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Metalcore Metal Band

Neo-classical Metal

Neo-classical Metal is also referred to as shred metal. As the name suggests, it is essentially classical music played on modern instruments including distorted electric guitar, electic bass, drums and often keyboards. Song structure, scales and melodies are derived directly from classical music. The defining characteristic of this genre is highly skilled guitar soloing which utilizes advance playing techniques, commonly called shred. Although entirely instrumental songs are typical of this genre, vocals, if any, are usually clean and melodic.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Neo-classical Metal Band

Power Metal

Power Metal is arguably the most positive and inspirational of all the heavy metal genres. Overall song structure is very similar to Classic Metal with the fast tempos typical of Speed Metal. Other characteristics include an emphasis on strong power chord riffing, melodic lead guitar solos, and clean, high and often operatic vocals. Lyrics are often written to encourage the listener and tend to use sci-fi or fantasy stories to deliver the message of good triumphing over evil

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Power Metal Band

Progressive Metal

Progressive Metal, also called prog metal, combines the technical complexity and instrumental virtuosity of it's precursor progressive rock with the heavily distorted thicker tone of metal guitar. Songs tend to be long and structurally complicated with various odd meter tempo changes and intricate solo breaks that serve to showcase the dexterity of the musicians. With so much emphasis on instrumental playing ability the vocals are usually sparse and often seem more like an after thought than part of the song.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Progressive Metal Band

Speed Metal

Speed Metal emerged as a distinct genre not long after heavy metal first began. In the mid through late 70's, shortly after early bands established the newly distinct genre of heavy metal by making hard rock heavier, Speed Metal sought to take that new vehicle and drive it at a much faster tempo. By the early 80's, bands began to mix that speed with militant rhythms, darker themes and shouting vocals to create Speed Metal's off-spring, Thrash Metal. Although the 2 are often confused, Speed Metal is Classic Metal driving a fast car, Thrash Metal is Speed Metal driving a tank.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Speed Metal Band

Symphonic Metal

Symphonic Metal combines elements of Gothic Metal and Power Metal with opera and classical music. It differs from all other genres in that atmospheric keyboards are the primary focus of the composition rather than the electric guitar. In many cases an entire orchestra is used in the recording process and performing the music live. Many bands in this genre feature female vocalist and sometimes use a full choir for backup vocals. Lyrics are often similar to that of epic operas and cover a broad range themes including mythology and fantasy.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Symphonic Metal Band

Thrash Metal

Thrash Metal is the first of the three extreme heavy metal genres, the other two being it's direct descendants, Black Metal and Death Metal. Typical characteristics of this genre include: fast tempos, complex song structures, low palm-muted chugging guitar riffs, fast high-pitched complex solos, shouted aggressive vocals, and double bass drumming. It evolved from speed metal in the early 80's and dominated heavy metal for the first half of the decade. Recently it has been resurging as a prominent genre of newer bands.

For a list of bands that define this genre, or to add your own, be sure to see the following topic on our heavy metal forum:
Definitive Thrash Metal Band


© 2010 World Metal Alliance. All rights reserved.