In the late 1960s, a new form of rock music called ‘Heavy Metal’ emerged. Simply called ‘Metal’, this genre of rock music had its roots in acid rock, blues rock, and psychedelic rock. The bands involved in heavy metal used vocals with thick and massive sound. Other features included extended guitar solos, loudness, and emphatic beats.
The lyrics and on-stage performances exuded machismo and aggression. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath were three of heavy metal music’s immensely famous pioneers. They were all founded in the late 1960s. Later, many sub-genres of this form of music came into existence. Here are the some of heavy metal’s best sub-genres:
1. Avant-garde Metal
This sub-genre of heavy metal music is also known as ‘experimental metal’ and ‘avant-metal’. It is closely related to progressive metal. You can find influences of progressive rock and death metal in this form of rock music. The use of experimentation and innovative avant-garde elements are two of its prominent features.
Avant-garde metal also features non-standard and unconventional sounds, vocal techniques, instruments, playing styles, and song structures. This form of music has enjoyed great popularity in cities like Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Oslo, and Tokyo.
2. Death Metal
It is an extremely heavy metal sub-genre. Death metal emerged in the mid-1980s from the musical structure of early black metal and thrash metal. This form of rock music employs distorted and low-tuned guitars played with tremolo picking and palm muting techniques. It is also characterized by deep growling vocals with some aggressive and powerful drumming.
Double kick and blast beat techniques are also employed in death metal. Some of the lyrical themes used in this form of rock music include political conflict, nature, religion, and philosophy. Over the years, death metal has diversified into different sub-genres, such as death-doom, deathcore, and death ‘n’ roll.
3. Glam Metal
The early form of this heavy metal sub-genre evolved in the 1970s from the glam rock movement. It is also known as ‘pop metal’ or ‘hair metal’. Glam metal is heavily influenced by the fashion and image of glam rock. It uses pop-influenced hooks and riffs of guitar. Some of the early glam metal bands include Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Ratt, and Quiet Riot.
This sub-genre of heavy metal saw a decline in its popularity during the early 1990s. As a result, many of the successful bands were disbanded. This made their audiences move to other forms of popular rock music. Then, in the late 1990s, glam metal surfaced once again with several successful reunion tours of former bands.
4. Groove Metal
Yet another popular sub-genre of heavy metal music, groove metal came into existence during the early 1990s. It had great mainstream success in the 1990s, which continued well into the 2000s. Groove metal is inspired by traditional heavy metal and thrash metal.
Some of its features include screaming, heavy guitar riffs, down-tuned guitars, and syncopated rhythms. The popularity of groove metal in the 1990s can be attributed to bands like Machine Head and White Zombie. Pantera, a heavy metal band from Texas, is considered to be the pioneer of this heavy metal sub-genre.