Writing this chapter is weird because my approach is different than the last chapter about country music. I have a pretty good handle on country music and like a variety of different kinds of country music. I don’t feel the same way about metal. I’m actually not a big metal fan. I’m very picky when it comes to metal music. I don’t like aggressive, screaming, and unrecognizable vocals. I’m also not a huge fan of the often horror-themed aesthetic that most metal bands present themselves with. Some might think this discredits my ability to make a post like this, but I think differently. See, I AM a person who doesn’t like metal music. That being said, here’s how I found some metal music I do like:
Start with the old stuff.
Metal evolved from the heavy metal movements of the late 60s and 70s. Bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and even Led Zeppelin paved the way for bands and artists like Judas Priest, and Motörhead. I feel like most people like these bands or at least some songs by these bands. It wasn’t until the 80s that the more aggressive sounds and subgenres emerged. Thrash metal burst into the mainstream off the success of bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth. Aside from perhaps Metallica, I feel like this is where we start to lose some people. A lot of people say they like at least some Metallica songs, but I don’t hear the same about Slayer or Megadeth. I also don’t hear the same about the early bands of the several more extreme subgenre movements around this time such as death metal and black metal.
I explain all of this to show you where these sounds evolved from. Also, these are all technically metal acts. Even if it’s not the screaming, loud metal songs you think of when you hear the word. Also, I’m a huge Led Zeppelin fan and I also have a soft spot for Motöorhead so I felt like some other people might enjoy learning that they helped lay the framework for future metal acts. Now on to the metal music I really fell in love with.
Try out alternative metal.
This is where we get into the metal the “true metalheads” say isn’t metal. Early alternative metal came from funk-rock bands mixing in heavy metal stylings to create funk metal. These bands include Fishbone, Faith No More, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
If you don’t believe me about the Chili Peppers, listen to this single off their very first album:
Other alt-metal pioneers that mixed hardcore punk and metal to become early alt-metal acts include Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden.
Perry Ferrell of Jane’s Addiction created Lollapalooza in the early 90s and helped alt-metal bands like Primus, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, and Alice in Chains gain exposure. Another band that Lolla helped was Tool. Tool became a major player in the alt-metal genre after their debut album Undertow was released.
Then in the late 90s alt-metal hit its peak with the emergence of a new subgenre.
Nu metal is the key.
Nu metal is defined as a subgenre of alt-metal that combines heavy metal with other genres such as hip hop, alt-rock, funk, and industrial music. Two of the earliest nu metal bands were Deftones and Korn.
Nu metal exploded with the release of Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory. Containing songs like “In The End” and “Crawling,” the album marked the peak of nu metal.
“Jared, all these bands and songs are old. I’m looking for newer music.”
Alright, here are a couple of newer bands and albums I’ve been listening to:
Ghost is a band that I’ve only recently discovered due to the critical success of their latest album Prequelle. They’re very theatrical and sometimes delve into non-metal sounds, but overall I would consider them a metal band.
Now for a band that is undoubtedly metal, but has recently changed their sound a lot:
Bring Me The Horizon is a metalcore band that has recently taken strides towards a more accessible sound by incorporating pop rock, electropop, and alternative rock into their latest album Amo. “MANTRA” is easily one of the heaviest songs on the album and I know a lot of people who would not consider it a metal song. In my opinion, the drums and other instrumentation makes it metal and it’s one of the few songs that singer Oliver Sykes actually screams on.
I hope this helped you gain a new appreciation for metal music. If you were already a metalhead, I hope it didn’t offend you with my opinions. If all else fails, I hope it was a good read. Stay tuned for the next chapter on pop music for people who hate pop. Thanks for reading.