Metal is pretty popular on Spotify. In fact, you might remember that it has the most loyal fans of any genre, according to a study done by the streaming service. In fact, it’s getting more popular, as metal’s share of overall Spotify listening has increased 13% from 2014 to 2015. They categorize 91 different genres of metal, and while they don’t break down every single one of them, their blog, Insights, listed the top 25 genres. Even though they list less than a third of the genres (“Heavy Christmas” is one of them), it’s pretty exhaustive, and many of them overlap.Here are their descriptions of genre, some of which might seem a little “music 101” to any metal fan. Clicking on the genre will bring up a Spotify playlist of the genre.
Alternative Metal mixes the heavy guitars of metal with elements of alternative rock. Emerging in the early ’90s, alternative metal includes melodic vocals and unconventional, experimental sounds or song structures (example: Disturbed).
Nu Metal is a form of alternative metal combining groove metal and thrash metal, with elements of grunge, hardcore, hip hop, funk, and industrial. It’s a hybrid synthesizing many disparate elements, in other words — just about anything goes, so long as it’s modern metal that incorporates influence from other genres (example:Drowning Pool).
Hard Rock uses distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often pianos or keyboards to give an extra edge to traditional rock. It has roots in the mid-’60s and influences from garage, blues, and psychedelic rock (example: Ted Nugent).
Metalcore, or metallic hardcore, blends extreme metal and hardcore punk. Its sound is distinguished by its emphasis on breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages when the audience can mosh (Parkway Drive).
Speed Metal originated in the late ’70s to mid-’80s from the NWOBHM (new wave of British heavy metal) and hardcore punk. It’s characterized by extreme speed, staccato drumming, single-note riffing, and technical guitar solos. Speed metal spawned thrash metal and power metal (King Diamond).
Industrial Metal takes inspiration from industrial, heavy metal, hardcore punk, and dance music. It usually centers on repeated metal guitar riffs, with samples, synthesizers, sequencers, and distorted vocals (Marilyn Manson).
Progressive Metal is a combination of prog rock and heavy metal that originated in the UK and the US in the late ’80s. Progressive metal fuses the aggressive sound of heavy metal with the more experimental, complex structures of progressive rock, using classical and jazz compositional techniques (Queensrÿche).
Power Metal is a melodic form of heavy metal and speed metal. It features fast guitar hooks and bass riffs, as well as guitar solos, keyboards, and high male vocals. Its sound is generally upbeat and anthemic, unlike the doom-like or aggressive sound of other metals (Avantasia).
Glam Metal is a fusion of hard rock and heavy metal. It features pop-influenced melodies and hooks combined with hard rock and heavy metal elements from the ’70s. Glam metal musicians are known for their long hair, tight clothing, and excessive accessories (Poison).
Melodic Death Metal is extreme heavy metal that originated in the ’90s. It combines fast, harmonic guitar riffs from the new wave of British heavy metal with death metal elements such as distorted guitars, blast beats, and fast drumming (Misery’s Crown).
Neo Classical Metal is heavy metal that is influenced by classical music. Neoclassical metal does not use classical composition techniques, so much as it plays classical themes in metal style and emulates the frills and flourishes of Baroque music, with very technical playing, especially by the guitars (Symphony X).
Gothic Metal shares sonic elements with heavy metal and doom metal, and also derives textures from gothic rock. The genre originated during the early ’90s in Europe, originally as an outgrowth of death-doom metal (Sirenia).
Gothic Symphonic Metal blends the dark themes of gothic and the hard rock guitars of metal with the grandeur of symphonic classical music. Delicate, usually female vocals contrast with the distorted guitars (Leaves’ Eyes).
Stoner Rock is rock with a slower tempo, low-tuned guitars, heavy bass, and melodic vocals. It incorporates elements of heavy metal, blues rock, psychedelic rock, hardcore, and doom metal (Orange Goblin).
Not bad – except we’ll dock them a point for spelling “deathcore” wrong.