My guide to knowing what is Metal and what Isn't

DISCLAIMER:This opinion is based on facts, you may not agree with me that's fine i'm not claiming I know everything about metal but all i'm saying is what is metal and what isn't metal based on facts, i should also mention just because a band is labeled metal doesn't mean they are metal it has happened ever since the beginning of metal's creation,
I'm also not judging the quality of these bands because some bands that are labeled metal that aren't i actually like and some i don't i have opinions you know so if i say a band isn't metal you have no excuse to say i'm the "E" word this is based on what i know about metal and what isn't metal.

If you have any questions about a specific band or song that you think could be metal but are unsure please leave a comment on this post with your question and a YouTube link to the song if possible.

With that out of the way let me explain MY definition of metal.

Metal is a genre of music where distorted guitars are used to play riffs based on classical music such as Beethoven, Mozart etc, One way to tell if a band is metal or not is by the riff sounding like a Horse Gallop, i'm sure most of you know the sound of a horse galloping anyway songs with gallop riffs played on distorted guitars is a instant sign of the song being classical based which makes the song metal.

Now there are many sub-genres of metal because has evolved into many different kinds of sub-genres because they usually combined elements of other types of music (the most common being Punk Rock music) with the gallop riffs of metal. If it doesn't have any resemble of a gallop riff or Doomish riffs then it's not metal, it's most likely based on Punk Rock or Blues.

i'm going to go ever what i know is metal.

These songs are my templates for knowing what songs are metal and were influenced by these songs.

Hard Lovin Man by Deep Purple,

Pay attention to the riffs, they sound just like a horse gallop and countless songs that have come after it have gallop riffs in them. this song was influential towards pretty much every other genre of metal. I use this songs riff as an example of what is truly metal, i mainly use it for bands labeled these genres:

Trad Heavy Metal
Speed Metal
Power Metal
Symphonic Metal
Thrash Metal
Death Metal
Black Metal
Progressive Metal
Groove Metal

Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath

This is the other main template song i use, its not used as often as Hard Lovin' Man because most metal songs sound like evolved version of that song while some other metal songs sound like an evolved version of this song.
I mainly use this song for bands labeled:

Doom Metal
Stoner Metal
Sludge Metal
Grunge (only certain bands)

Now on to the genres that aren't metal or at least for the most part.

First off is "core" genres mainly these 4

Mallcore (Known by most by it's other name "Nu Metal")

Most bands in these genres are not metal but there are some exceptions, the only one of these 4 with no "metal"
bands is Mallcore but i'll get into that more later on.

For Grindcore/Goregrind:

There are two main versions of Grindcore and no Pornogrind and Pornogore aren't genres, they are just Goregrind with Porn and Gore as lyrical themes, lyrical themes DO NOT make a new music genre and Christian rock/metal isn't a genre either it's just what ever that band plays with Christian lyrics.

The two types of Grindcore:

1. Grindcore rooted in Death Metal, if a Grindcore band is rooted in Death Metal then they are a metal band because Death Metal is a metal genre and these bands combine really heavy Hardcore Punk with Death Metal.

Example bands:

Napalm Death
Pig Destroyer
Carcass (early)

2. Grindcore rooted in Hardcore Punk with very little to no metal influences are not metal because they are closer to Hardcore Punk than metal. or as i like to call them Noisecore because it sounds just like Noise.

Example bands:

A*** C***
Libido Airbag
Last Days of Humanity

For Metalcore: Metalcore is a much harder case but for me the band has to be more metal than core to be considered metal. Basically what i said is the riffs need to sound more like gallop riffs over Hardcore Punk riffs.

Examples of "Metal" Metalcore bands or as i like to call them True Metalcore bands.

Killswitch Engage
As I Lay Dying
Shadows Fall
All That Remains

Examples of Metalcore bands that aren't "Metal" or as i like to call most of them Posercore bands.

Avenged Sevenfold (Their later stuff isn't metal either)
Five Finger Death Punch
Bullet for My Valentine
Asking Alexandria
Black Veil Brides
Bring Me the Horizon
August Burns Red
Parkway Drive
The Devil Wears Prada
Of Mice & Men

Now for Deathcore it's pretty much the same as Metalcore it depends if it's more metal than core

Examples of "Metal" Deathcore bands or as i like to call them True Deathcore bands

Thy Art Is Murder
Impending Doom
All Shall Perish

Examples of Deathcore bands that aren't "Metal"

Suicide Silence
Infant Annihilator
Born of Osiris
Chelsea Grin

and now to Mallcore AKA "Nu Metal" no band in this genre is metal because it is a combination of Hardcore Punk, Alternative Rock and Hip Hop and Pop elements, only exception is if they played another genre of metal.


Machine Head (Supercharger)
Soulfly (First 2 albums)

those bands were mallcore at one point but because all 3 also played other genres (Groove Metal) they are metal bands but not their mallcore stuff.

Now on to Alterantive Metal which to me isn't a genre at all more of a style and most bands labeled this aren't metal bands, they are just Alt Rock bands that play heavy Punk Rock/Hard Rock instrumentation.

These are some bands that i could see as "Alternative Metal"

Alice in Chains
Faith No More

Bands that aren't Alt Metal at all, but Alt Rock

Linkin Park
Three Days Grace
Breaking Benjamin
Godsmack (To me they also sound like Stoner and Desert Rock)
Stone Sour
Alter Bridge
Drowning Pool

Now on to "Rap Metal" to me this isn't a genre either because most bands labeled this never played a single metal riff in their discography excluding covers, this also applies to some Mallcore and Alternative Rock bands tha use some elements of Rap in their music.

These bands aren't metal at all:

Limp Bizkit
Papa Roach
Hollywood Undead
Rage Against the Machine

And now Progressive bands now there are Prog bands that are metal but some that aren't

Examples of Prog metal:

Dream Theater
Symphony X
Fate's Warning
Between the Buried and Me (Metal Archives says it isn't metal but i disagree with them on this band)

Prog Rock bands mistakenly called metal:

Porcupine Tree
Coheed & Cambria
Rush (they did influence metal though)

It's a common mistake but i'm not as annoyed here because these bands are closer to metal than mallcore and posercore bands ever will be.

now to Glam "Metal" this genre is not really a genre more of as movement but anyway most bands labeled Glam "Metal" aren't metal bands because they played Blues based hard rock and not metal however there are some that did play metal:

Glam Hard Rock bands called metal that aren't at all:

Bon Jovi

Glam bands that are "Metal" or played metal at one point

Def Leppard (first album only)
Europe (First two albums)
Twisted Sister
Skid Row
Quiet Riot
Pantera (first 3 abums)

Now for the rest of the bands labeled as metal that aren't. and will Put the genre next to them

Led Zeppelin (Hard/Blues Rock)
AC/DC (Hard/Blues/Rock N Roll)
Motorhead (Speed Hard Rock N Roll)
Aerosmith (Hard/Blues Rock)
Guns N Roses (Hard Rock)
Whitesnake (Hard/Blues Rock)
Van Halen (Hard Rock)
Kiss (Hard Rock)
Living Color (Not sure exactly but i know they aren't metal)
Nine Inch Nails (Industrial Rock)
Rammstein (Industrial Hard Rock, Neue Deutsche Härte)
Rob Zombie Solo (Industrial Hard Rock)
Marilyn Manson (Industrial Rock)
Primus (Funk Rock)
Hatebreed (Hardcore Punk)
System of a Down(Alternative Hardcore Punk)
Falling in Reverse (What ever they play isn't metal for sure)
My Chemical Romance (Pop Punk literally 0% Metal)

You may ask why i make a big deal out of this well think of it like this, their is food and there are plants and there is fruits and vegetables, now these things maybe both plants but that doesn't mean they are the same, a Carrot is not a fruit and a Apple is not a Vegetable, can you see how annoying it would be if someone kept on saying carrots are fruits, its the same whenever someone says a band thats clearly not metal is metal.

Anyway have a nice day.


Cool post cristangrant, congratz for writing this! - visitor

Thanks buddy! - christangrant

Where would Deftones fit? I know the band started as Nu Metal in their early days but they experimented in other genres (White Pony and beyond). Curious to know what the overall consensus to what metalheads see them as. - cjWriter1997

I would think Mallcore (Nu Metal) or Alt Rock, maybe also Experimental rock - christangrant

Also I would add Heaven Shall Burn to Metalcore bands who are Metal. Although they are considered Melodic Death too I think. - cjWriter1997

Yes, you are correct - christangrant

Bands like Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace are in what I would like to call "Hard Alternative" (A former name of Alternative Metal).

I say "Hard Alternative" because yes, it's a more heavier format of Alternative Rock. And I will admit that there are Metal elements in some of the heaviest Hard Alternative songs. This, and I tend to lump this into some Post-Grunge bands, most of Nu Metal and bands normally labelled as Alternative Metal into the "Hard Alternative" term for a more broad and fresh representation.

Also, Nu Metal has a derogatory term: "Whinecore". - CrimsonShark

I can see why you would call those bands "Hard Alternative" they are basically a heavier version of Alt Rock, I just call them Alt Rock because it's easier

and LOL Whinecore, so true - christangrant

I'm mixed on Nu Metal (There are good and bad bands in it), but I will admit the derogatory term makes me chuckle.

On the Hard Alternative label, I feel as if those bands are visibly very distinct compared to Alternative Rock. There are Heavy Metal elements from time-to-time and their musical style can be complex (As in the case for Tool). While they are Alternative Rock, they are very distinguished and different at the same time as well.

Furthermore, a lot of Nu Metal bands and musicians are known to outright reject the label. Aaron Lewis (Staind), Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) and even Jonathan Davis (Korn) are one of the many examples of individuals who dislike being labelled in Nu Metal. - CrimsonShark

This is one heck of a guide to metal 101 CG! - htoutlaws2012

Thanks - christangrant

If a genre is a combo of metal and another genre it's kind of both no matter which one it's closest too. That's what a fusion genre is. Good post though. - Skullkid755

Great post man.I wish there was a way more people outside TTT would have seen it. - visitor