Heavy Metal Vs Death Metal

Newcomers to metal music may find it intimidating and impenetrable, with several subgenres comprising heavy metal. There’s so much going on within its genre; themes, riffs and vocal styles all combining for an inexhaustible array of subgenres – it can seem almost impenetrable!

Death Metal bands that explore violence and death rank amongst the most extreme music genres. Characteristics of Death Metal include aggressive tempos and counts, harsh growling vocals and rapid drumming.


As in any art form, music – like other art forms – relies on its context for meaning. An animal’s roar might sound scary to someone alone in the dark; to others, however, it might just be noise. Music itself can have similar ramifications; heavy metal can sound scary at first listen while to others it might simply sound heavy; heavy metal’s power lies in exploring ideas our society won’t approve of and thus acting as a warning signal against those ideas that don’t align with conventional wisdom.

Black Sabbath and subsequent metal bands helped bring attention to the fact that death is part of life, something to accept and embrace rather than fear or avoid. Metal bands’ exploration of such ideas doesn’t advocate for any particular religion or belief system, rather examining weighty issues our culture often glosses over or mocks.

Metal artists find beauty in darkness through the use of riffs. These short cyclic phrases, unlike rock chord progressions, incorporate moveable chords for an atypical harmonic structure and, when coupled with aggressive distortion and rhythmic elements such as rhythm section focus and focus percussion create an original sound unique to metal songs. Furthermore, these riffs are used within narratives that give this genre its signature sound and an extra dimension of storytelling not found elsewhere musical styles.

Although metal musicians sometimes tread into pop territory, heavier bands typically find their voice through political or social commentary. Bands such as Napalm Death and Lamb of God have often tackled controversial subjects like terrorism, homophobia, racism, eugenics and religious persecution through their music.

Black metal is an offbeat subgenre of heavy metal that utilizes many of the same themes found in traditional heavy metal while adding an occult aesthetic. Black metal’s most distinctive trait is its macabre lyrics, often glorifying or denouncing satanism, necrophilia or Satan worship. While modern black metal sounds more similar to rock music than ever before, its roots still lie in cultural assimilation by those seeking to impose their beliefs onto society – thus both genres show us their struggle between accepting reality versus ignoring reality being present throughout both genres.


Metal music has long fought the temptation to become part of what’s known as “consensual reality,” an elaborate set of symbols used by people to make sense of their lives facilitated by democracy and capitalism. Metal has always thrived when rejecting this false facade by exploring deeper truths buried underneath popular convention.

Music of this genre can often be violent, profane and provocative; often exploring themes related to satanism, occultism and mysticism as well as social commentary. Lyrical themes often glorify sexual assault, violence and death.

Metal music’s themes, which can often be considered extreme, have led to it being met with hostility by mainstream culture. Yet regardless, metal bands continue to produce groundbreaking metal that challenges convention and expands musical performance capabilities.

Black metal music evolved as a reaction against the tacky “jogging suit” crowd that pervaded death and speed metal. Bands like Venom, Hellhammer and Immortal pioneered its development by pushing speed limits with lightning fast performances as well as morbid lyrics. Black metal took cues from these older styles while simultaneously using more sophisticated musical elements than its predecessors.

Modern metal is reflective of cultural shifts since the 1980s. Bands like Napalm Death, Massacra and Lamb of God have made it their goal to incorporate political and social themes into their heavy power chords; this trend has only increased with popular metal acts becoming more socially aware with their music over time. Although metal may have expanded to become more of a socially aware art form over time, its roots as music for dark arts and horror will likely never completely depart its sound; metal will continue drawing inspiration from darker aspects of human nature along with supernatural phenomena such as demons, Satanism, necrophilia and mutilation.


Though metal music has long been defined by heavy riffs and aggression, the 1980s witnessed a marked transformation. Death metal marked an inflection point that focused on corporeal and horrific aspects of life; its progenitors, Morbid Angel and Carnifex in particular embraced explicit violence through lyrics and music that often caused international debate and controversy. Although mostly ignored by mainstream listeners today and never reaching its former height of popularity as thrash metal had, its heyday in the ’90s saw it branch into various subgenres exploring blood, horror movies, torture techniques as well as ancient Egypt themes.

Venom and Hellhammer pioneered black metal as another major innovation, exploring an intensely dark worldview through music that often sounded similar to speed metal but catered to different audiences. While their music seemed similar to earlier forms, black metal ultimately found its own audience of listeners who found its music refreshing and differentiating itself from previous styles.

Power metal is a melodic style of heavy music, featuring soaring guitars and powerful vocals in a high register, along with long songs and lyrics that explore mythology and fantasy themes. Grindcore and deathcore subgenres, on the other hand, focus more on fast pace with harsh vocals that may sound almost guttural compared to power metal’s more melodic approach and feature complex time signatures, harmonic progressions and dynamic shifts for dynamic shifts and time signatures that often alter dramatically over time signatures as well.

Technical death metal can be difficult to master, yet those who excel at it produce intricate compositions that showcase their musical skill. While its roots lie with thrash metal, its intricate compositions often exhibit their musical skill through intricate harmonys and guitar solos with symphonic qualities that draw in listeners of all musical tastes. Grindcore is another subgenre which blends brutal death metal brutality with punk’s hyperspeed pace and gutter lyrics; bands would compete to outheavy and outgroan each other to produce truly hilariously awful tunes resulting in truly hilarious music.


Heavy metal music encompasses an expansive spectrum of genres and subgenres, each one with a different influence and subgenre; some remain more popular than others. At its best, metal explores concepts society won’t approve of, revealing dark realities hidden by society. Hippie protest music was used against Reagan while Black Sabbath debunked any illusion that democracy alone would solve mankind’s deeper issues. When pop-punk and metalcore took over in 1990 as “the next big thing”, they quickly turned out to be simply lighter versions of speed metal with less of an emphasis.

Conversely, black metal is more of a movement of spirituality than ideology, focused on nature’s grandeur and feral amorality than any ideology or political agenda. Black metal music rejects human illusions such as thinking that world events can be controlled rationally, while its followers embrace everything destructive to this illusion like predation, competition and violence as its drivers. Possessed was one of the first bands to experiment with this style before Slayer followed suit later that same year when “Scream Bloody Gore” album released that year that marked its true birth as genre-wide movement.

Thrash metal takes rock music to new extremes by increasing its intensity, complexity and weight; featuring a fast drum beat known as the blast beat as well as low grunts or growls which may or may not be understandable without an accompanying lyrics sheet. Guitars may also be downtuned for added distortion while pinch harmonics on strings add depth.

Death metal’s riffs tend to be fast but not necessarily complex, while vocalists still scream, although its tempo can often be much slower than in thrash metal. A double kick pedal gives the bass drum a machine-gun sound; further adding weight and intensity through odd time signatures or extreme techniques used by bands like Morbid Angel or Death.

Grindcore marries the aggression of punk with death metal’s intensity in short bursts that are loud and fast; its lyrics may evoke Z-grade slasher movie violence or themes associated with Satanism, Occultism and mysticism. Melodic death metal blends heaviness with melodic textures for an engaging listen; bands like In Flames and At the Gates have successfully balanced brutality with beauty to create music which is both cathartic and harmonious; Mathcore takes technicality to extreme with complex time signatures and dissonant guitar riffings that makes for captivating listening experiences.