Starting a band? Check the most 100 overused words in metal band names first

Posted by on February 28, 2014


It’s hard to come up with an original band name nowadays. Sure, you have your bands with names like Meshuggah and Vildhjarta and other band names that are unique based on the fact that they’re hard to pronounce, like Eluveitie (it’s El-vay-tee for the record). But there are always words you see popping up in band names that are the norm. Hell, nine times out of ten you can identify a band as a metal band because they have a name like Deadly Grave (actually, a Google search yielded no bands by that name, so have at it). The folks over at Invisible Oranges are aware of this, so they took it upon themselves to compile a list of the 100 most overused metal band name words.

To accomplish this, a search was done on The Metal Archives for words that are commonly used in metal band names like “black” or “dead”. The valiant researchers followed these basic steps to compile results:

—The most basic criterion was that a word had to return at least 100 entries for consideration. All of the words on the list do.

—Since many metal band names use combined words, like “Goatwhore,” we used asterisk wildcards before and after each search term, as in *death*. This method produces a fair amount of data noise; for instance, searching for *fall* will turn up Fallujah, who don’t really have the word ‘fall’ in their name. I opted for this method because it produces bigger numbers, which is fun, and it excludes fewer true hits.*

—I mostly tried to avoid three-letter words, since three-letter sequences are too common as ingredients of other words. I made exceptions for four words that I consider indispensably metal: “god,” “war,” “rot,” and “ash.” For these words, I attempted to even the playing field by removing the first wildcard — I searched for “god*” instead of “*god*”, and so forth.

—For time/sanity’s sake, I chose to eliminate words that only made it above the 100-entry mark if you searched for more than one variant of them. This removed combinations like “grey + gray” and “nuclear + nuke” from consideration.

—We stuck to words that can stand alone, grammatically speaking. The sole exception is “necro,” which got a dispensation for the same reason that “war” and the other three-letter words listed above did.

We chose to list to top 10 words and the amount of entries they have from the results. They are as follows:

1. Death – 1,184 entries
2. Black – 1,157 entries
3. Dark – 1,094 entries
4. Blood – 924 entries
5. Dead – 741 entries
6. Hell – 704 entries
7. War – 731 entries
8. Necro – 632 entries
9. Soul – 538 entries
10. Night – 520 entries

Not all that surprising, is it? Any average metalhead could probably tell you there’s a load of bands with the word “death” in their name, but it’s a bit different when you have an actual number attached to it. You can check out the full list of band names here.

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