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Metal: Defining The Subgenres

September 22, 2009 2 comments

Metal is a genre that has far too many different sounds within it to squeeze under one common adjective. So, we make up new ones. Metal has the most sub-genres of any other musical type, and it’s an extremely lengthy list. People often question exactly what kind of Metal certain bands are, and it never really is easy to classify one. Well, I’m here to try my hand at explaining each of these sub-genres, and hopefully give you a better understanding of what makes them all different from each other.

This list is taken from the Wikipedia list of Heavy Metal sub-genres. Most example bands also taken from lists on Wikipedia. The descriptions of each, however, are of my own work.

  • Black Metal
Black Metal is typically very fast music, more often than not has higher-pitched screams, and tries to create a very dark atmosphere. Lyrical themes can vary from 16th century poetry to a musical biography of a serial killer. A quick way to describe Black Metal is “medieval.” Example bands include; Cradle of Filth, Moonspell, and Celtic Frost.
  • Death Metal
Death Metal is what one typically thinks of when they imagine modern-age Metal. Powerful and repeated drum patterns, thrashing guitars, and very deep, growling vocals are the norm. Lyrics are again variable. Example bands include; Cannibal Corpse, Death, and Morbid Angel.
  • Doom Metal
Doom Metal is… complicated. Like Black Metal, Doom often strives to create a very dark or depressing atmosphere. On the contrary; it’s typically slower, something it shares with Gothic Metal. Despite the often slower speeds, it’s still very powerful music, with raging drums and maybe a ripping guitar solo every now-and-again. Example bands include; Skepticism, Internal Void, and My Dying Bride.
  • Drone Metal
Drone Metal is basically Doom Metal, except it focuses largely on drones, which are notes sustained throughout most of a song. Example bands include; Sun O))), Black Boned Angel, and Burning Witch.
  • Folk Metal
Folk Metal is what you would get if musicians from the Medieval period came to modern times and found out what electric guitars were. Go listen to some folk music, imagine that on an electric guitar, and *poof*, you have Folk Metal. Example bands include: Alestorm, Subway to Sally, and Orphaned Land.
  • Glam Metal
It’s pretty much every single hair-band ever. Glam Metal is what we saw a lot of in the ’80s, and is what pioneered what we know as Metal today. Example bands include: Motley Crüe, Poison, and Murderdolls
  • Gothic Metal
Very similar to Doom Metal, and often mistaken for Black Metal. Gothic Metal is often very slow, and has a large inclusion of piano parts. Unlike Doom Metal, however, it’s not exactly heavy. It’s very calm and moody. I tend to get depressed while listening to it. Example bands include; Moonspell, Paradise Lost, and Evanescence.
  • Groove Metal
It’s Thrash Metal. End of story. Example bands include; Metallica, White Zombie, and Black Sabbath.
  • Industrial Metal
A cross-over of the Industrial genre, Industrial Metal incorporates a lot of synthesizer work, and overall tends to have a very electronic sound. Example bands include; Nine Inch Nails, Static-X, and Dope.
  • Metalcore
Punk Rock/Thrash Metal/Extreme Metal. The end. Example bands include; Killswitch Engage, Zao, and Underoath.
  • Neo-classical Metal
Beethoven meets Death Metal. Example bands include; Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Symphony X, and Rhapsody of Fire.
  • Nu Metal

Nu Metal is often a cross over of metal and Alternative Rock, and it’s not uncommon to hear some turntable scratches. Example bands include; Linkin Park, SlipKnot, and Hollywood Undead.

  • Post-Metal

Post-Metal is a very emotional type of Metal. It’s basically the metal version of Post-Rock, whatever the hell that is. Example bands include; Neuosis, Cult of Luna, and Isis.

  • Power Metal

Power Metal is what you get if you tried to play a techno song on an electric guitar, and threw in a random solo in the middle. High-pitched vocals, pounding double-bass, and crazy solos are all around here. Example bands include; Dragonforce, Blind Guardian, and HammerFall.

  • Progressive Metal
A bizarre twist of Progressive Rock and Metal. Prog. Metal is very unusual and unique to the rest. Odd time-signatures, a huge variety of lyrical themes, and many other little things make it an interesting sub-genre. 
  • Speed Metal

Speed Metal is, as it’s name implies, very fast-paced. It’s instrumentals are like thrash metal sped up times-100. Example bands include; Motorhead, Annihilator, and Accept.

  • Stoner Metal

You are legally required (not really) to be on drugs while writing Stoner Metal. And that’s what it all sounds like. It’s quite possibly the closest thing you can get to a drug-trip outside of actually smoking crack. Example bands include; Acid King, Electric Wizard, and Sons of Otis.

  • Thrash Metal
Fast, aggressive, and heavy. Everything you can think of when it comes to metal. Wailing vocals, slamming double-basses, and, well… thrashing guitars are what define this genre. Example bands include; Pantera, Megadeth, and Anthrax.

So, that’s it. Every single sub-genre of metal… and that only took me an hour to write. Fun. This post was originally meant to be a review of the new Five Finger Death Punch album, War Is The Answer, but I’m not feeling all that great, and my head just said “no” to listening to a metal album. Maybe tomorrow… assuming I have time.


Categories: Metal, Misc.

What The F*ck Is Up With Modern Music?

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment
Who here remembers the days when MTV actually was “Music” Television? Back before it was flooded with boring reality shows and only an hour or two of music a day? MTV used to be the shit. Hell, it’s the place where I first saw Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which, as you all know, is arguably the greatest music video ever (Zombie MJ is awesome). But, does anyone really watch MTV anymore? Except for stupid drunk college students who are too hung-over to care what’s on T.V.? 
So, that brings a question: When MTV actually does show music, what do you see, or maybe I should say, hear? Do you hear melody, maybe some harmony, some smooth vocals, a powerful message, and a great beat? No. No you don’t. What do you hear? I don’t know what’s in your ears, but I hear this: 

“And if she tell you ‘yes’/Found another chick that tell you ‘yes’ and bail for sex/I bet that will be freaky/What’s bad are you kinky?” – Juelz Sanatana’s “Freaky”.

I’m not kidding you, either. Rap and hip-hop (There’s a difference?) are all you hear anymore. Whether it be on T.V., or on the radio. I can’t seem to find any quality music that takes real talent to produce anymore. Not on the mainstream, at least. 

Even at school, as I walk through the parking lot on my way home, I hear at least six cars a day blasting some god-awful rap as loud as they can. You want the best part? All I can hear is the bass. Even if I’m walking right next to the car, and the windows are opened, I can still only hear bass. Nothing else.  Really? That’s supposed to be enjoyable? I love my music loud, yes, but I want some layering to it! If it’s so loud that all you can hear is the bass, then what’s the point? A lot of dumbasses like that also seem to enjoy driving around my neighborhood blasting the same crap. 

Another thing; Why does every rap song I ever hear sound exactly the same? It’s always “Random Stereotypical Black Guy 14” talking really fast into a microphone about how he smacked his bitch up, smoked a shit-ton of crack, and shot some cops all at the same time. Sure. That’s enjoyable. I’d rather listen to Cannibal Corpse (see previous post). I know exactly why it’s all so similar.

After a bit of research, I’ve come to the understanding that most rap artists just walk into the studio and “lay down some rhymes”. There’s no writing, no planning, and really, no thought processes. It’s just, “I’m gonna go talk into this microphone about some random crap and get paid to do it.” When that’s all the technique one puts into their song writing, of course they’re going to end up plopping out the same shit over and over and over again. Humans have the tendancy to believe that they can always come up with something unique and random on the spot, but they really don’t. Believe it or not; whenever someone you do something “random”, you probably just did the same thing you did the last time you tried to be random. That’s why rap is always the same thing. These “artists” behind the microphone don’t seem to understand what “art” is in the first place. Art is a thing that takes time, and it cannot be rushed. And it certianly can’t be done in an instant.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Dude, you listen to Death Metal. That’s just wailing and screaming and pounding on a double-bass all day. How is that any different than what rap artists are doing?” Allow me to explain: The primary difference between Metal and Rap is the presence of melody. Very few rap artists actually take advantage of melody or harmony. We don’t see that in Metal. Do you think those rythym guitarists are just there to be a back-up in case the lead screws up? No. They add melody, and a whole new layer to the music that I’ve yet to hear in rap. As for the screaming; Look, this may sound rediculous, but roaring isn’t easy. Especially to keep it up for an entire set (Cradle of Filth, anyone?). I don’t know anyone that can’t talk really fast into a microphone, but I’ve yet to hear one of my friends do a death roar as spectacularily as Dani Filth or Fernando Ribeiro.

Then there’s the idea of instrumentals. Something rap often lacks. Metal requires great skill in guitar or drum playing (Unless, of course, we’re looking at a vocals-only member), as metal often incorporates far more complicated rythyms than a lot of other genres. About the drums; look, I know double bass may sound stupid, but it is not easy. Especially when you have a more complicated rythym to pound on the rest of the drums with. It requires some extreme coordination.

To talk lyrics: A lot of metal artists actually put thought and time into their lyrics. Despite the stereotypes, it isn’t all just “FUCK THE WORLD!”. There are actually some very interesting lyrical themes spread throughout the sub-genres. For instance; Cradle of Filth’s last album Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder, was about 15th century serial killer Gilles de Rais. No, I’m not shitting you. Let’s see a rap arist make an entire album about that with their “writing” style. And no, “Yo dat man Gilles, he came and killed a buncha bitches” doesn’t count.

Please, people, turn off the rap bullshit. It’s getting old. Here’s to real music!

Categories: Misc., Rants

My Top 5 Album Covers (For Now)

August 16, 2009 2 comments

Oh, the essential album cover. It’s quite possibly the most important part of an album outside of the music itself. It’s the one thing that can make someone browsing the local music store go, “Hm… this looks interesting. I think I’ll buy this,” and end up putting fifteen more bucks in the artist’s pocket. Always nice. I, personally, cannot stand to go without the album artwork being displayed on whatever media player I’m using – on or off my computer. So, I’d like to visit some of my favorite album covers, and why they captured my interest to the point of listening to the album.

#5 – The Black Parade


My Chemical Romance’s third album was definitely their best work, and it had the oddest covers of the three. The little Skeleton-Drum Major dude was rather a cheerful guy, considering he was dead. The inside covers look even stranger, and the way the tracks are listed on the back is creative and unique. It’s a little misleading, as I wouldn’t expect an album with that guy on the front to potentially save my life with it’s awesomeness.


#4 – Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder
I’ll be blunt: I have no fucking idea what’s going on here. Cradle of Filth’s eighth studio album makes as little sense as it’s cover, but damn does that cover catch your eye. The five-faced dude in the center, and the numerous monsters and disturbing children surrounding it make one creepy-ass scene.

#3 – Ultra Beatdown

While many criticize Dragonforce for the fact that all of their songs sound almost exactly the same: It’s fun music. Their 2008 release, Ultra Beatdown, features that armor-clad chick with the huge-ass gun. Guns and boobs, what else do you need to make customers – at least male ones – pick up your album? I know it grabbed me. This was a fantastic album, too.

#2 – Year Zero

Trent Reznor (A.K.A. Nine Inch Nails) may quite possibly become one of the most influential figures in modern music. His daring acts, such as releasing his last album for free, have led him not only to the top of the headlines, but also to the top of the sales charts. Year Zero, the album before his free one, was an extremely impressive endeavor. The strange alien hand-thing coming from the sky that holds the spot on the cover is complicated, and makes… pretty much no sense. But it’s cool to look at.

#1 – Crack The Skye

To put it simply: I love Mastodon. As I explained in my review of this album (previous post), their bizarre mix of different genres brings an amazing sound, and some of the most impressive things we’ve seen from metal artists in the last decade. Crack The Skye‘s album art caught my attention from the moment I saw it heading their MySpace page. It’s colorfulness and bizarre artwork well represents the album itself, and confuses you, just like the album. Were I looking at this in a store, even if I had never heard of Mastodon before, I still would have bought this album simply because of how crazy it’s cover was.

… so, that’s it. For the record; I’m gone at band camp till Thursday. So no posts until about Friday, maybe Saturday. Not sure yet. G’bye, kids!

It Starts.

August 9, 2009 Leave a comment

What starts? Hell if I know.

Oh, wait, this blog starts… yea, that was it.
In that case; Greetings, my miniscule amount (Zero as of this post) of readers! This is I Hate My Life and this Music Tells Me Why, a blog dedicated to the dark, stingy, and sometimes depressing music I listen to! No, I’m not a totally goffik Satan-loving-blood-drinking moron, don’t worry.
Now, what music is that, you might ask? Anything heavy, double-bass filled, and loud, pretty much. My iPod is populated with almost every subgenre of Metal, even the completely random “Blackened Death Metal” (Seriously, WTF?). That doesn’t mean I wont open myself up to other genres, however. I’m a huge fan of Alt. Rock bands like My Chemical Romance, Evanescence, and Papa Roach. Punk Rock is also a personal favorite of mine, with bands like Green Day and The Offspring. Otherwise, though, I don’t listen to much, Michael Jackson works his way into the mix here-and-now, but he’s the only exception I’ll ever make for Pop.
My brain tells me that at this point, you’re thinking, “What the fuck is this kid saying?” Well, I have your answer! … sorta.
This blog is all about the music that plagues my ears every day, good or bad, and will consist of many things: Album reviews, general news, some random features or “Top 5s”, all complete with my own personal opinion on the subject matter, because you all really care about that… right? Some personal non-musical things will be littered about, as well. When will the first REAL post be? Soon enough. Probably later tonight when I can’t hear Fallout 3 calling me from the next room.
The first actual post will be a review of the album Evangelion by BEHEMOTH.
Categories: Misc.