Black Metal Vs Death Metal Vs Thrash Metal

Non-metal listeners usually associate metal music with thrash and death metal genres, often featuring fast tempos, guttural vocals, and lyrics that focus on violence or murder themes.

Black metal music explores themes such as nature, mysticism and antireligious sentiment through raw sound accentuated by blast beats and tremolo-picked guitar riffs.


Black metal music often deals with dark themes that include the occult and Satanism. Furthermore, its rebellious spirit makes it a perfect anti-establishment statement genre. Black metal was initially formed as a response against conservative Christian beliefs that many artists felt were oppressive to society.

Black metal music can often be fast, hard and violent; using death growls inspired by death metal bands. Black metal may also include atmospheric, folk or symphonic elements – and avant-garde influences for added variety.

Thrash metal tends to address more straightforward themes of violence, war, hate and destruction with speed and aggression. Thrash metal can also feature more melodic or progressive approaches through intricate solos.

Black metal and thrash metal have both influenced other genres such as groove metal, nu metal and metalcore; however black metal has more subgenres while thrash metal has only seen crossover bands such as Voivod Revocation Witchery who fall within its purview being part of what’s considered “blackened thrash.”

As the 1980s neared their end and the scene mainstreamed further, many bands who enjoyed the rawness of early black metal scenes began incorporating its sounds into their music, creating more progressive forms of thrash metal such as Testament’s The Legacy album; Overkill’s self-titled debut; and Slayer’s Fistful of Metal.

Early death metal had more of a frantic feel with faster drumming and harsh vocals from bands such as Death, Possessed, Morbid Angel and Cradle of Filth. Over time however, this style quickly evolved into brutal technical death metal which featured slower drumming but more extreme techniques and brutal subject matter than even its thrash counterparts.

Morke from Minnesota takes an honest and personal approach to black metal music with themes such as mental health issues, addiction recovery and family grievance. This makes the music more relatable while giving it more of a human element often lacking from more commercialized acts.


Heavy metal is a vast genre with numerous subgenres, each differing in its thematic focus, lyrical content and vocal style. Two distinct sub-genres of heavy metal include black metal and death metal – two subgenres which focus on more enigmatic perspectives with emphasis placed on brutality while both offer distinctive qualities; black metal tends to lean more heavily toward atmosphere while death metal prioritizes aggression and technical proficiency.

Black metal music is defined by its combination of high-pitched vocals, menacing guitar tones, and overall dark atmosphere. This genre takes an often morbid view of life with lyrics often exploring Satanism or other subjects often disregarded in mainstream music. Many bands who play this subgenre project a militaristic image – wearing combat boots with spiked wristbands as well as inverted crosses or pentagrams. Some bands, like Bathory (pictured here), even utilize corpse paint for added macabre effect.

Death metal is an aggressive subgenre of heavy metal that draws its influence from thrash music. Bands such as Napalm Death (pictured here) and Brutal Truth have become pioneers of this style, which often features short song lengths with fast-paced aggression and blast beats as well as instrumental solos that demonstrate technical proficiency.

Death metal differs significantly from black metal in its production values and melodic approach, often employing higher production values and taking more melodic approaches when producing music. This creates a distinct difference between their sound, especially in early forms of each genre.

Melodic black metal and industrial black metal are two distinct subgenres of black metal that use more experimental sounds such as keyboards and electronic sounds to create their signature sounds, such as Alcest and Deafheaven are examples of such innovative subgenres.

There are also symphonic black metal bands, combining the intensity of traditional black metal with orchestral arrangements, to produce a more dramatic and emotional listening experience for listeners, with notable bands like Emperor and Dimmu Borgir being notable examples. Furthermore, unblack metal or Christian black metal provides another approach that explores spiritual themes within black metal music.


Metal bands are notoriously competitive. If one band moves quickly, another must respond even faster in order to outdo them. Bands compete to attract fans’ attention with their music; often creating albums with indecipherable themes and striking album artwork. Furthermore, competition extends beyond music itself with various bands creating elaborate logos such as Bathory’s “twig” or Behemoth’s bloody head as an arms race for being as extreme as possible.

Death metal is a genre of heavy metal music that explores death, horror and darkness through fast drumming and guitar playing, guttural vocals that sound like someone being torn apart, and extremely aggressive or violent lyrics. Many popular acts in this subgenre hail from Scandinavian countries; here it has found great acceptance.

Black metal differs from death metal in that it utilizes clean or operatic vocal styles and incorporates keyboard instruments and orchestral arrangements, along with more melodic, complex arrangements utilizing techniques like palm muting and tremolo picking.

Celtic Frost and Antestor, two prominent symphonic black metal bands, add traditional instrumentation and classical music elements into their sound for maximum emotion and technical complexity – with time signatures, dissonant guitar riffing, unpredictable song structures, complex time signatures, etc. making this genre particularly difficult to listen to for some listeners.

Brutal death metal on the other hand is more relentless and misanthropic, with bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Death (pictured) taking their music in darker directions. This extreme form of death metal combines elements from both thrash metal and black metal for an unconventional sound which may be challenging for newcomers to understand.

Melodic death metal offers more groove and less technical challenges, featuring catchy guitar harmonies and restrained aggression. Some refer to this musical assault as “melodic blizzard”, and has been adopted by artists such as In Flames and At the Gates.


Death metal differs from other genres in its focus on violence and murder, which is reflected in its music with tremolo-picked guitar melodies, deep growling vocals and lo-fi production values. Bands typically make their living from blue collar jobs requiring them to wear mesh shorts with band shirts stained with paint or Taco Bell bean burrito sauce drips as they make money off this genre.

Black metal stands in contrast to death metal’s harsh soundscape by emphasizing beauty and spirituality. Originating in the 1980s, this genre saw artists like Mayhem and Emperor pioneer it. Many black metal musicians also promoted various political ideologies including Neo-Nazism or ethnic European Paganism/Satanism/Satanism while wearing corpse paint or other signs associated with Satanism became common practice among their early artists.

Thrash metal, on the other hand, is a more technically adept music genre characterized by fast guitar riffing and complex song structures. Although aggressive in nature, thrash metal does not promote any specific ideologies as black metal does.

Other subgenres of metal music include Viking metal, groove metal and metalcore – these styles tend to be more melodic than thrash metal; bands such as Amon Amarth and Ensiferum find inspiration in Norse mythology, history and folklore for their compositions. Metalcore music combines elements from both death metal and hardcore genres into one relentless soundscape; for instance, bands such as Whitechapel and Suicide Silence use downtuned guitars for an uncompromising sonic assault. Doom metal combines elements of doom metal and death metal, producing an emotionally intense experience from bands such as My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. Blackgaze combines intensity of black metal with dreamy shoegaze influences; artists such as Alcest and Deafheaven evoke emotion via tremolo-picked guitar melodies, atmospheric layers of soundscapes and emotional catharsis for maximum emotional release.