Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal, and visual transgression".
The term usually refers to a more abrasive, harsher, underground, non-commercialized style associated with the speed metal, thrash metal, black metal, death metal, and doom metal genres. Hardcore punk has been considered an integral part of the development of extreme metal, in the case of song structure and speed, in every case other than doom metal.
Extreme metal acts set themselves apart from traditional heavy metal acts, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motörhead, by incorporating more abrasive musical characteristics such as higher tempos, increased aggression and a harsher extremity. In the majority of the world, extreme metal does not receive much radio-play or achieve high chart positions.
Extreme metal's sonic excess is characterized by high levels of distortion (also in the vocals – grunting or screaming), less focus on guitar solos and melody, emphasis on technical control, and fast tempos (at times, more than 200 beats per minute). Its thematic transgression can be found in more overt and/or serious references to Satanism and the darker aspects of human existence that are considered out of bounds or distasteful, such as death, suicide and war." "Visual transgression [can include] ... medieval weaponry [and] bloody/horrific artwork."
According to ethnographer Keith Kahn-Harris, the defining characteristics of extreme metal can all be regarded as clearly transgressive: the "extreme" traits noted above are all intended to violate or transgress given cultural, artistic, social or aesthetic boundaries. Kahn-Harris states that extreme metal can be "close to being ... formless noise", at least to the uninitiated listener.:33 He states that with extreme metal lyrics, they often "offer no possibility of hope or redemption" and lyrics often reference apocalyptic themes. Extreme metal lyrics often describe Christianity as weak or submissive,:40 and many songs express misanthropic views such as "kill every thing".:40 A small number of extreme metal bands and song lyrics make reference to far-right politics; for example, the Swedish black metal band Marduk has commonly referenced the Nazi Panzer tanks, which can be seen in works such as Panzer Division Marduk (1999).:41
The British band Venom are one of the first bands to venture into extreme metal territory, due to their ideological shift into themes of evil, the devil and hell. Their first two albums, Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982), are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. This early work by Venom, in combination with bands like Discharge, The Exploited and Amebix as well as American hardcore punk brought integral elements into the budding extreme metal landscape at the time. In 1983, Metallica would release their debut album Kill 'Em All, which fused elements of the new wave of British heavy metal with hardcore punk and the style of Motörhead, becoming the first thrash metal album, and would eventually be certified triple platinum. A few months later, Slayer would release their own thrash metal album Show No Mercy, influenced by the sounds of Venom, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate.
When extreme metal band Hellhammer first began making music, it was generally panned by critics, leading to the members forming Celtic Frost in its place, which proved very influential on the progression of the genre. During this period, the line between extreme metal genres were blurred, as thrash metal bands such Slayer, Sepultura, Sodom, Destruction and Kreator were integral to the first wave black metal scene. The front cover of the Sarcófago's 1987 debut album, I.N.R.I., is regarded as a great influence on black metal's corpse paint style make-up. That record is also considered one of the first wave black metal albums that helped shape the genre. Their second album, The Laws of Scourge, was one of the first technical death metal records to be released.
List of genres
Subgenres of primary genres
- Subgenres of black metal
- Subgenres of death metal
- Subgenres of doom metal
Fusions between primary genres
Fusions with punk rock styles
Fusion with other rock styles
Genres influenced by extreme metal but usually not considered extreme themselves:
- Avant-garde metal
- Funk metal, influenced by thrash metal
- Gothic metal, influenced by death-doom and doom metal
- Groove metal, influenced by thrash metal and death metal
- Grunge, influenced by sludge metal and thrash metal.
- Neoclassical metal and power metal, influenced by speed metal and thrash metal
- Post-metal, influenced by doom metal and later black metal
- Julian Schaap and Pauwke Berkers. "Grunting Alone? Online Gender Inequality in Extreme Metal Music" in Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Vol.4, no.1 (2014) p. 101
- K. Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg Publishers, 2007), ISBN 1-84520-399-2, p. 31.
- Andrews, J. "Origins of Evil: The Birth of Extreme Metal". Metal Injection. Archived from the original on 2018-08-11. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
- K. Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg Publishers, 2007), ISBN 1-84520-399-2, p. 23.
- K. Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg Publishers, 2007), ISBN 1-84520-399-2, p. 3.
- McIver, Joel (2010). Extreme Metal II. p. 10.
- Julian Schaap and Pauwke Berkers. "Grunting Alone? Online Gender Inequality in Extreme Metal Music" in Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Vol.4, no.1 (2014) p. 103
- Kahn-Harris, Keith, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge, Oxford: Berg, 2007, ISBN 1-84520-399-2.
- Huey, Steve. "Metallica Kill 'Em All". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- "METALLICA KILL 'EM ALL". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Gargano, Paul. "LiveDaily Interview: Tom Araya of Slayer". Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
- Moynihan, Michael & Søderlind, Didrik: Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Feral House 1998, p. 36.
- "Sarcófago: pioneirismo, polêmica e death metal - Arquivo Valhalla". Whiplash. 22 December 2008. Archived from the original on 22 December 2008.
- Raymer, Miles (22 May 2008). "Beautiful Brutality". Chicago Reader. Wrapports. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Unger, Matthew (22 August 2016). "Sound, Symbol, Sociality: The Aesthetic Experience of Extreme Metal Music". Springer – via Google Books.
- Roel F., Interview with Treachery, Lords of Metal issue 87, December 2008. Access date: 3 December 2008.
- "The 10 essential post-black metal albums".
- Howells, Tom. "Blackgaze: meet the bands taking black metal out of the shadows". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- "Oranssi Pazuzu - Decibel Magazine". 22 February 2016.
- "Symphonic Black Metal : Significant Albums, Artists and Songs, Most Viewed : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Phillipov, Michelle (31 August 2018). "Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits". Lexington Books – via Google Books.
- Arnopp, Jason (1993). "Industrial Metal: A User's Guide". Kerrang!. No. 462. p. 44.
- Bowar, Chad. "What Is Melodic Death Metal?". About.com. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Purcell, N. Death Metal music: the passion and politics of a subculture, at 9, McFarland, 2003 (retrieved 3 June 2011)
- Wise, Lauren (April 14, 2015). "Discover Your Next Favorite Phoenix Metal Band at AZ Brutal Fest". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "The 10 Essential Symphonic Metal Albums". Metal Hammer. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
- Simms, Kelley. "Obscura Interview". About.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Hayes, Craig. "Witch Mountain – Cauldron Of The Wild Review". About.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Henderson, Alex. "Fear of Infinity". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2013-01-07. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Hayes, Craig. "Pallbearer – Sorrow And Extinction Review". About.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-13. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- Newshound, Terrorizer. "ITALIAN BLACKENED DOOMSTERS FORGOTTEN TOMB PLAN RELEASE review". Terrorizer Online. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
- Marsicano, Dan. "Ordo Obsidium – Orbis Tertius Review review". About.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Yavuz, Mehmet Selim (September 2015). Dead is dead: Perspectives on the Meaning of Death in Depressive Suicidal Black Metal Music through Musical Representations (MMus). University of London. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- Kelly, Kim (29 March 2017). "Morast Expertly Synthesize Black, Death, and Doom Metal on 'Ancestral Void'". Noisey Vice. Archived from the original on 2018-08-19. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- Henderson, Alex. "Ninewinged Serpent - Devian". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2015-11-07. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Bowar, Chad. "Hacavitz - Venganza Review". About.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- ANDREW, J. "Blackened Melodic Death Metal: A History Lesson". Metal Injection. Archived from the original on 2018-07-13. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: War Black Metal: Die Extremsten der Extremen. Was bleibt, ist Schutt und Asche. In: Rock Hard, no. 279, p. 71-73.
- "The Best Metal Album From 40 Subgenres". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
- Tracey, Ciaran (March 2006). "Doom/Death: United in Grief", Terrorizer #142, pp.54-55.
- FORD, LEYLA (3 January 2012). "ALBUM OF THE DAY: DEATHCHAIN'S DEATHRASH ASSAULT". Metal Sucks. Archived from the original on 2017-04-03. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
- Ekeroth, Daniel. Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points Books. ISBN 978-0-9796163-1-0. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
- DiStefano, Alex (February 23, 2015). "The 10 Best Crossover Thrash Bands". LA Weekly. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
- Von Havoc, Felix (1984-01-01). "Rise of Crust". Profane Existence. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "14 Bush-era political artworks that stood the test of time". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Prown, Pete; Newquist, Harvey P. (1997). "Chapter Thirty-three: Industrial and Grindcore". Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 249. ISBN 978-0793540426.
- "Converse Rubber Tracks x MetalSucks 2015 Preview: Dendritic Arbor - MetalSucks". Metal Sucks. 16 September 2015. Archived from the original on 2018-08-27. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- Lilker, Danny, Grind Your Mind: A History of Grindcore liner notes. Mayan Records, MYNDD056, 2007.
- Kevin Stewart-Panko, "Shock Tactics", "Grindcore Special", part 2, p. 52-53
- Purcell, Natalie J. (2003). Death Metal Music: The Passion and Politics of a Subculture. McFarland. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-7864-1585-1. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- "Fear of God Founder Erich Keller Talks Grindcore History, Album Reissue". Decibel Magazine. 6 March 2018.
- Brown, Jonathon (2007-09-06). "Everything you ever wanted to know about pop (but were too old to ask)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- Bowar, Chad. "What Is Metalcore?". About.com. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Henderson, Alex. "Desolation of Eden". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2018-08-16. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
Deathcore -- the type of noisy, caustic, abrasive mixture of metalcore and death metal that Chelsea Grin offer on their first full-length album, Desolation of Eden -- is bound to annoy a lot of parents, which is exactly the point."
- Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Heaven Shall Burn". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 2015-10-19. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Henderson, Alex. "Burning Skies". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 2016-01-15. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Gorania, Jay H. "Despised Icon - 'Day Of Mourning'". About.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Chichester, Sammi (October 19, 2012). "Dan Kenny of Suicide Silence Picks the Top Five Underground Death-Metal Bands". Revolver. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Heaney, George. "Ghost Town – The After Party". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
most electronicore is essentially metalcore with some synths tacked on for good measure
- Wang, Angel (October 31, 2014). ""Mad for Mathcore: Appreciating a Subgenre of Heavy Metal Rock Music"". blogs.cuit.columbia.edu. Columbia University. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
- "At The Gates Albums Ranked". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
- "Thrash Hits - Nu metalcore". Archived from the original on 2017-03-15. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
- Giffin, Brian (2015). Encyclopaedia of Australian Heavy Metal. Australia: DarkStar. ISBN 9780994320612.
- "Quick Review: AURAS Heliospectrum - Metal Injection". Metal Injection. 2016-10-03. Archived from the original on 2017-07-16. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- Huey, Steve. "Eyehategod". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- "Vreid: 'The Reap' Video Released". Blabbermouth.net. 12 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- Whelan, Kez (17 September 2013). "Incubate Preview: Khold". Terrorizer. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- Kelly, Kim (14 August 2014). "Hell Awaits: Disemballerina, Khold, Heavydeath and more". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- Cosmo Lee. "Stylus magazine review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
“Death ’n’ roll” arose with Entombed’s 1993 album Wolverine Blues ... Wolverine Blues was like ’70s hard rock tuned down and run through massive distortion and death growls.
- Ramirez, Carlos (12 October 2012). "THE FORESHADOWING CRAFT GOTHIC DOOM MASTERPIECES". Noise Creep. Archived from the original on 2018-08-11. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
- "The 9 albums that inspired King Goat's progressive doom sound".
- Ellis, Iain (2008). Rebels Wit Attitude: Subversive Rock Humorists. Soft Skull Press. p. 258. ISBN 1-59376-206-2.
- Wiederhorn 2009, p. 62.
- Cummins, Johnson (April 2009). "Myth Demeanour: Finland's Korpiklaani lead the pagan metal pack". 24 (44). Montreal Mirror. Archived from the original on 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-05-11. Cite journal requires
- Jonsson 2011.
- Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. Harper Paperbacks. p. 253. ISBN 0380811278. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Prato, Greg (16 September 2014). Primus, Over the Electric Grapevine: Insight into Primus and the World of Les Claypool. Akashic Books. ISBN 978-1-61775-322-0.
- Metal Hammer #173
- Coyle, Doc. "Hidden Gems: Rediscovering The '90s Post-Thrash Groove Metal Scene". VH1. Archived from the original on 2018-07-31. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Ramirez, Carlos. "Rediscovered Steel - Prong's 'Beg to Differ' - Noisecreep". Noisecreep. Archived from the original on 2009-08-26. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Christe (2003), Sound of the Beast, p. 264,
As close to death metal as any other gold-selling record before it, Chaos A.D. stripped down Sepultura's sound into a coarse metallic loop. The CD sold half a million copies, and alongside Pantera the band forged a streetwise, death-derived groove metal that inspired an upcoming generation of mavens in the 1990s.
- "Sludge Metal: Doom's Filthier Sibling". Retrieved May 27, 2018.
The sound of sludge has gone pop a couple times, first when mixed with alternative rock by Nirvana, Soundgarden, and other grunge acts in the early ‘90s,
- "Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal". Retrieved November 9, 2018.
from its early years, through its influence on grunge, nu metal and today’s heavy metal scene.
- "Helloween - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- What Is Power Metal?, by Dan Marsicano Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine (about.com)
- Wiederhorn, Jon (4 August 2016). "A Brief History of Post-Metal". Bandcamp. Archived from the original on 2017-05-20. Retrieved 14 November 2017.