Since arriving in the form of Black Sabbath in the late 60s, the heavy metal genre has spawned some absolutely legendary bands, songs and sounds. But let’s be honest, sometimes the lengths some bands go to can get pretty ridiculous. The costumes, the hair, the stage shows, the overall Spinal Tap-ness. And while all those things are excusable and truthfully part of what make the genre awesome, there’s no excuse for some of the silly names that are attached to the various hybrids and stylistic mutations within metal itself A.K.A. THE SUBGENRE. Yup, the constant search for a unique sound in metal has led fans, critics and artists to come up with some pretty, um…interesting labels for what they hear. And by interesting we mean terrible, hilarious and f—ing awesome all at once. Funeral doom, pornogrind and Nintendocore are just a few of these gems. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not knocking the music itself or the bands, most of whom are good, if not downright great. It’s just too bad every time you talk about them you have to mention the unfortunately-named genre label they’ve been attached to. So with that in mind, indulge us and check out the 10 most ridiculous subgenres in the heavy metal universe.
Post-black metal for Nordic dudes who find the notion of Satan too Christian an idea. No, seriously. Viking metal incorporates elements of Northern European folk music while singing tomes to the heroes of Norse mythology. Proto-black metal act Bathory were early practitioners of the style, which was carried on by such artists as Enslaved and current champions Amon Amarth, who perform with a Viking longboat on stage.
Death N’ Roll
Just as many of the original hardcore punk bands eventually went back to their hard rock roots as they got older, so too did Scandinavian death metal pioneers Entombed. Many felt the band’s later records created a new style which fused detuned death metal with the riffy swagger of ’70s hard rock, thus Death N’ Roll. Following in their wake were fellow Norsemen Gorefest, The Cumshots and rising metal stars Kvelertak.
Also known as Christian Black Metal or White Metal, this genre is basically black metal stylistically and sonically but with artists that promote Christianity and Christian themes in their lyrics and imagery. Notable bands include Horde, Antestor, Admonish and Crimson Moonlight.
This name for modern, ultra-heavy modern progressive metal, is an onomatopoeia for the high gain, muted guitar sound employed by many of the bands. Meshuggah lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal is credited for naming it and creating it with his percussive, crunchy guitar style. Other important bands include Periphery and Animals as Leaders.
Emerging from the post-emo hardcore punk scene, this style fuses aggressive modern rock with video game music and metal breakdowns. The group HORSE The Band coined the term “Nintendocore” as a joke and are seen as pioneers in the the genre along with The Advantage, Minibosses and The Depreciation Guild.
This screamo offshoot is defined not by music, tones, lyrical content or instruments, but by the stage moves of band members during live performances, IE: the “crabwalk,” where the musician crouches down with their legs spread and sways back and forth. The band Attack Attack! is credited as founding the crabcore movement but it’s roots go back further, as evidenced by the crabcore like posture of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.
What’s more offensive than grindcore and death metal? Grindcore and death metal bands that sing about sexual perversion, degradation and and pornographic themes. The artwork for many pornogrind albums is noted for its over-the-top extreme graphically sexual content and is sure to piss off your parents. Notable bands include Gut, Cock and Ball Torture, and Waco Jesus (nothing offensive to see here).
Also known as scrunk, this genre combines uptempo Southern hip hop influences with screamo. Though the genre sometimes contains post-hardcore and heavy metal elements, the combination with hip hop, techno and pop make it possibly the least metal of all subgenres on the list. Notable bands include Brokencyde, Hollywood Undead and Blood On The Dance Floor.
Another subgenre of a subgenre, this style slows down already glacially paced, Sabbath-worshiping doom metal to the point of funeral dirges. Lyrically it is obsessed with death and despair, with ambient keyboard sounds and vocals that sound like they’re coughing their last breaths. The style was pioneered by bands like Corrupted, Mournful Congregation and Thergothon.
Teutonic Thrash Metal
Gestating in the early days of thrash metal, this regional scene originated in 1980s Germany, but would spread out to include bands from Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Along with the American and Brazilian thrash scenes, German bands like Destruction, Sodom and Kreator made a huge impact in the nascent thrash world and adherents follow in their stylistic footsteps to this day.