Top 10 Differences Between Hard Rock and Heavy MetalMetal_Treasure Before metal, the only music genre I really liked was hard rock because I didn't know metal existed. This is the reason I know pretty well both genres.
My comparison is based on the most typical cases and tendencies in these genres. I’m aware that there are exceptions but I’m not taking them into account.
Hard rock bands: AC/DC, Queen, Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Whitesnake, and many more.
I also made a list “Top 10 Similarities Between Hard Rock And Heavy Metal”.
Hard Rock and Heavy Metal are similar but different.
The Top Ten
Metal is strictly based on classical music but it doesn't mean that you have to hear classical music directly, not at all. Based on classical means that metal songs use scales typically found in classical music. Metal uses the template of classical music and this template is the structure behind the metal songs, its backbone. Metal music progresses in the way classical music does. This is the reason metal goes well with classical and they are absolutely compatible. No wonder, metal music is structured in the same way.
“Blues based vs classical based” is used to determine if a band is hard rock or metal. Hard rock uses blues scales, metal uses classical scales. It's already known that several heavy sounding bands are not metal because their songs are blues based: Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, and so on. I know that many people still think these bands are metal but it’s wrong.
Also, very often heavy metal is confused with heavy ...more - Metal_Treasure
RE bands in the Stoner, Sludge, and Doom metal subgenres
Yes, these bands are bluesy but there are problems with that because metal is strictly non bluesy. Jeff Hanneman of Slayer said about Pantera that he liked some stuff but Pantera were too bluesy at times . And Jeff Hanneman wasn t the only one American and Canadian metal bands left a major label when Pantera was signed to the same label mostly thrash bands but not only . Now, if this was such a big problem with Pantera, imagine what metal musicians would say about bands with even more blues elements.
These blues inspired metal subgenres are very small and they are getting smaller for a reason they don t belong. They were put in the metal genre long ago due to a misconception and now their metal status is just a tradition and inertia. This tradition doesn't bother me much but I know that they were mistakenly attached to metal. That s why there are some desperate adaptation processes
Doom Candlemass even ...more - Metal_Treasure
Not strictly. Most bands in the Stoner, Sludge, and Doom Metal genres are very bluesy. - ryanrimmel
Hmm, yes. But I gotta say one more thing. Sometimes metal is based on different genres of rock. For example- Thrash metal downpicking is inspired by punk rock downpicking. - zxm
Thrash metal was influenced by punk but it doesn't mean it's based on punk. - Metal_Treasure
This is because classical music is more complex than blues. Think about this:
Classical music is art music and it was the music of the European aristocrats.
Blues is folk music created by the Afro-Americans in the rural areas.
Besides, most of the metal music is progressive in general (not only prog metal) while hard rock is not progressive. Some hard rock bands have progressive songs but these songs are prog rock songs and not hard rock songs. - Metal_Treasure
Compare AC/DC and Nirvana to Slayer and Metallica. You'll get the picture
In metal, there is a big competition based on technical skills and metal attracts virtuoso guitarists and drummers, hence better, longer, faster and way more complex solos and drum beats.The average metal musician is way more technically skilled than the average hard rock musician. It’s also true for the average metal singers - some of them are even trained opera singers. Hard rock material definitely doesn't require such degree of vocal skills. AC/DC songs don’t need singers with the stellar vocal skills of Rob Halford, Roy Khan or Hansi Kürsch, to name a few. - Metal_Treasure
This is a result of the things I explained above. - Metal_Treasure
The entire “rock N roll” idiom is most notably available in AC/DC and Motorhead, for example. Most of their songs are RNR, played faster and heavier but the RNR template is there. Lemmy himself (R.I.P.) stated many times that Motorhead had never been a metal band and they had always been a RNR band. He certainly knows what is the difference between RNR and metal.
There’s no “roll” in metal - the “roll” part makes music sound playful and happier but metal doesn’t want that. Also, thanks to this “roll” part in hard rock, you can still dance to some hard rock songs but you can’t dance to typical metal songs. - Metal_Treasure
You can hear hard rock songs on the radio but you don't hear metal songs, except probably Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, which is an acoustic love ballad though. You don’t hear Brain Drill in your local mall. You don’t even hear Helloween who are not very heavy. - Metal_Treasure
As a result - hard rock usually sounds happy whereas metal sounds sad and dark.
There were some surveys about that and researchers measured people’s brain responses to certain songs - some minor scales just made people start crying even when they didn't understand the lyrics or there were no lyrics at all. - Metal_Treasure
It’s because hard rock is based on blues and blues is sensual and sexy - probably blues hits the areas in your brain related to your reproductive organs and hard rock may produce hormones of sexual pleasure.
On the other hand, there aren't many love songs by metal bands. In fact, sensuality and sexuality are banned in metal. Metal musicians know that “sex sells” but they actually avoid this.
From my experience, metal is far from influencing the brain areas related to your reproductive organs. I think metal music is rather rational and I often find that listening to metal music helps me think faster and better. - Metal_Treasure
Hard rock can be lots of fun but there’s no fun in metal. - Metal_Treasure
Private sphere - love, sex, relationships, family, having fun, getting high, getting drunk
Public sphere - society, the broader context of our life. Lyrical themes: social order, politics, war, injustice, poverty, world leaders, deaths of innocent people, violence, corruption, religion, youth problems, children, elderly people, people with disabilities, discrimination, and many similar subject matters.
Everybody can relate to lyrics about the private sphere (“she left me, he didn't call me, let’s have sex”). But you need to be more mature, more socially aware and more socially sensitive in order to listen to metal songs about politics, social injustice or people with mental disorders (Welcome Home, Metallica). - Metal_Treasure
Yes, metal is faster than hard rock. In my opinion, it should be on top 3. This is the basic difference of hard rock and metal. Metal makes more brutal sound because of speed. Hard rock makes heavy sound, but with slow riffs. It's just the style. - zxm
I put it at #13 because this is obvious and doesn't need much explanations - everybody in the world knows it except one member of the Top Ten. - Metal_Treasure
I don't know the different of vocals really. But I have noticed, metal vocals is more powerful than hard rock. But I have also seen some bands who play metal, but there vocals is kinda like hard rock. Unmatched. - zxm
@zxm - yes, metal bands with kinda hard rock vocals give you a hard rock feel, despite playing metal on the instruments. Yes, in such cases vocals are really unmatched. - Metal_Treasure
I didn't add this. While I agree hard rock is slower, I wouldn't say it's boring. - Metal_Treasure
Yes, I won't say hard rock is boring. But hard rock was a slower form of rock music became popular in the mid 60s. - zxm
While in hard rock you basically hear the same template over and over again, in metal things are completely different because metal experiments more than hard rock. - Metal_Treasure
@visitor /troll /metal hater - "In fact" the only thing that appears "without anyone asking for it" are your nonsensical comments on metal music and metal lists. And the nonsensical items you add. - Metal_Treasure
I didn't add this item because I wouldn't say such a silly thing. So metal is about sticking it to the flowers and herbs? - Metal_Treasure
In fact metal has no purpose whatsoever, hard rock is based around people's beliefs whereas metal has no such thing, it just appeared one day without anyone asking for it.
Hard rock is more meaningful, metal has better lyrics aren't any actual differences. The song's structure is the most important thing to define whether its metal or hard rock. Riffs, solos, vocals etc. (I know Metal_Treasure didn't add this) - zxm
Zxm, you are right - yes, I didn't add this because it is subjective and was added by a ceratin metal hater / troll.
I tried to include differences that are more or less bias-free: as you said, things about the type of music, scales, stylistic origins, details related to music itself, structure, speed, etc. - Metal_Treasure
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List StatsUpdated 22 Feb 2017
1 year, 19 days old
2. Musically, metal is more complex than hard rock
3. Metal demonstrates better musicianship than hard rock