Top Extreme Metal Genres

Extreme metal is a term for a number of related heavy metal subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. This list includes extreme metal subgenres and fusions between same extreme metal subgenres or between other genres.

The Top Ten

1 Death Metal

No, this is terrible subgenre and its also why a lot of people think metal is a just bunch of loud noise and unintelligable growling.

Stuff like Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Necrophagist and many more, you won’t find anywhere else. The talent is way over 100%.

So much diversity within its subgenres and the amount of experimentation. This is what defines extreme metal as well as the complex song structures and intricate riff patterns.

Death has to be the most extreme. I've never heard a Thrash Metal song about ripping entrails out of a virgin or a song about ripping flesh off of someone's body and wearing it as a mask. Even Slayer and Kreator don't sing about stuff like Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, or Morbid Angel. So Death is the most extreme!

2 Thrash Metal Thrash Metal is a Heavy Metal subgenre developed during the early 1980s and an early precursor of Extreme Metal. Thrash Metal features a faster and more aggressive guitar work than Traditional Metal with shredding and double-bass drums and can range from melodic singing to loud shouts. ...read more.

Thrash metal is awesome. It's heavy, fast, and has great lyrical themes. Slayer, Testament, early Metallica, etc are all amazing and talented bands.

Thrash metal, doom metal, death metal, melodic death metal, black metal and grindcore are the only genres that should even be here. Stuff like power metal, groove metal and metalcore don't belong on this list because they aren't "extreme" metal genres. The fact that nu-"metal" is here is laughable.

Musically thrash metal is the most exstreme genre. Shrieks or growls doesn't make the music more extreme by any means and neither does satanism/violence in the lyrics. Even if satanism/violence made it more extreme some thrash bands clearly trumps other genres

Thrash is most extreme and it sound heaviest and just Thrash! Thrash Metal was push to all other extreme subgenres of metal. Genres like Death, Black and Groove Metal, and also Grindcore and Deathcore. Thrash is extreme life

3 Black Metal

Death, Black, Death-Doom, and Funeral Doom are pretty much the only metal sub-genres I find myself gravitating to the most. I don't dislike other sub-genres but they no longer captivate me as much as they did during the initial phase. Once you immerse yourself into or embrace extreme metal the lust for dark music only intensifies after each listen.

This is a list of EXTREME METAL genres, not a list of anything that can make you think you're badass. Bands like Dimmu Borgir, Marduk or Behemoth are really extreme metal bands. For Doom, Thrash and Grind, I am ok but NO for all that is under Metalcore on the list! Black Metal is extreme because it's evil, Death Metal because it's heavy. Here is my list :

1 Symphonic Black Metal
2 Death Metal
3 Black Metal
4 Thrash Metal (true thrash bands, not like Metallica)
5 Metalcore
6 Goregrind
7 Black death
8 Nu extreme metal (bands such as Slipknot)
9 Doom
10 Gothic Metal

When you want to listen to a band you can't find on spotify because it's too extrmeme. Some of these bands are actually banned from preforming because they SACRIFICE LIVE GOATS ON STAGE AND RIP THEIR ORGANS OUT. If that's not awesome, I don't know what is.

Why is there a guy who seems to think symphonic black metal is heavier than black metal and makes lists with made up genres such as "Nu extreme metal"? Anyway, black metal is the most "extreme" genre in my opinion because not is only the music is very inaccessible, but the violence and Satanism that occurred during the second wave hasn't really been seen in any other metal genre.

4 Melodic Death Metal

Very abiguous genre. There are so many different types of Melodic Death.. While I love bands like Insomnium, Be'Lakor, Carcass, At The Gates, Persefone, Quo Vadis, Intestine Baalism etc., there are also many many bands I dislike, who are considered as one of the best and genre-leading ones.
But still. I enjoy the gems of this genre, and I guess that's all that counts in the end.

The bands you mentioned are defining melodic death, CoB and Omnium gatherum are also good, but honestly insomnium is better than omnium in my opinion.

A number of these aren't even extreme metal. Metalcore, crossover thrash and (kinda) doom shouldn't be on here. Also, progressive death metal and technical death metal are the same thing, just different names.

No, tech death and prog death are different, they just overlap very often

How can anyone not love bands like Insomnium, Arch Enemy, Noumena, and Wolfchant?

Veil Of Mya all the way on this one. Mikasa and Doublespeak. Good stuff.

5 Grindcore

Grindcore might not have the most disgusting lyrics, such as stuff, listed in the death metal description. Yeah, of course, some bands like AnalC*nt can go far and sing about pornogring or gorerind, I forgot, but I'm talking bout those bands, who actually formed grindcore as a genre. For example, my favorite band Napalm Death. They are the fathers of grind and no one can deny that, but if you take a look at lyrics, or try to actually listen to em, you wont hear them singing about a woman, whose eye got poked out, and then someone with aids, no-no-no. They are singing about politics and about not bring treated fairly. The true heaviness comes with the music. Listen to their first album, "Scum" its called. Only the drums will make your ears bleed badly within the first minute of any song, lets say "Instinct of Survival". If you listen to their last album, "apex predator - easy meat", maan, not only your ears will bleed, but your teeth will brake and your brain will run away. After all, ...more

Grindcore is simply the end of all things extreme, the intensely downtuned guitars and blasting drums there's nothing that tops grindcore, not even death metal. For any confirmation listen to Brutal Truth - Birth of Ignorance. Grindcore is a wall of brutality and it's brilliant.

Grindcore is among the most progressive and harsh musical styles of all time for me. Its unsympathetic, abrasive songwriting style and harsh, brutal instrumentation puts it up at the top of my list.

Death, Black and related give a heavy atmosphere to crush the listener in their sonic doom, but grindcore, goregrind and such crawl up your spine and drag you down under their churning assualt.

6 Deathcore

Underrated. People think it’s emo boys screaming into the microphone about death and suicide. Really it’s not. Thy art is murder, enterprise Earth, Suicide Silence (2020 version), Alpha wolf, etc. have a lot of talent and aren’t emo boys screaming about suicide.

This should be the number one heaviest genre of metal. It has everything that Death has + breakdowns, chugging and more blast beats

It’s brutal and unforgiving to both the listener and performer. Whether or not you like it, I would argue that it is heaviest by the fact that it can incorporate all the intensity of death and mix in the rebellion that hardcore punk was founded on.

Don't agree, deathcore could never match the intensity you get from death metal, have you even listened to death metal and the countless subgenres? , there lots of band out there so don't just look for the more mainstream bands, there lots of new wave underground bands

The dynamic of going really fast to really slow and sludgy makes deathcore feel more intense than death metal, that's just my opinion and feeling of course.

My feeling is that the abusing of breakdowns ruins it completely. I'm not a fan of the vocal style either.

7 Doom Metal

Easily the heaviest genre. People like fast metal, but there's nothing like the MASSIVE sound of Doom. It's the closest "modern" genre to bands like Black Sabbath. How can that be a bad thing? I love faster metal like thrash and death metal, but there's nothing quite like the sheer heaviness of doom. It gives you this "trudging through mud and sludge" kind of feel. Music is about feel, not super technicality (that doesn't hurt though), and Doom definitely has a very unforgettable feel to it. It's like being crushed with a massive wall of sound, and I love it.

Doom metal, the genre that has the slludgiest, fattest, most overwhelming sound. Speed vs slow have different types of heaviness, but slow has an overall more overwhelming sound, thereby being the heaviest. The heaviest music I have heard before has been doom metal. One time I listened to Son O))) in the dark in the middle of the night, and I had to turn it off because it was just so heavy and intense. I’ve listened to Slayer and Canibal Corpse in that same situation, and I could get right through, because it was heavy, but not THAT heavy. I’m working on music for an indie game my friend is making, and I wrote a couple doom metal riffs for it, and he had to turn it off for the intensity. He never did that with thrash, death metal, or prog riffs. Just more evidence to show that doom is truly the heaviest genre.

Love doom. Should be above thrash at least, but I still think black and death metal deserve to be above doom metal even if I prefer doom metal myself.

Why is melodeath above doom? So many awesome releases and subgenres... sludge metal, stoner metal, death doom, funeral doom... winter's into darkness, disembowelment, melvins, sleep, high on fire, eyehategod, thergothon...

8 Blackened Death Metal

Blackened Death Metal has got some of the heaviest drumming ever.
Drummers like Inferno of Behemoth and Marthyn of Belphegor take it to the next level.

BEHEMOTH! At the left hand ov god is my second fave song after hammer smashed face

Black metal plus death = something heavy

Behemoth are awesome!

9 Technical Death Metal

Off of topic if Progressive/Technical... Technical Death and their branches is one of the most important variations in the last decade in metal, the techsdeath musicians have skills beyond than the thrashers, the aggressiveness are equally to any black, and the fussion/progressive songwirting it's at the same level of other bands dedicated to his genre; it's not a war about definition it's about recognize one of the genres must underrated/polemic in Metal! this goes from Obscura to Quo Vadis, from Origin to Nile even Gojira licks this genre. Thrash Forever! but Techdeaths are in my heart!

Too many people here think Technical Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal are the same, but it's not. They just overlap very often.
While bands like Horrendous, Cynic or late-era Death (e.g. The Sound Of Perseverance) are very progressive, they aren't really technical.
On the other hand bands like Nile or Suffocation sound very technical, but not so progressive.

Of course many bands fit into both categories: Obscura, Beyond Creation, Lykathea Aflame, Gorod.. just to mention some.

NO, Technical Death metal and Progressive Death metal is NOT the same. Opeth are progressive but not technical. Nile are certainly technical but not much progressive. In rare cases a band can be both - Obscura are both technical and progressive. Also read the comment by Flav who says the same.

I believe Technical Death Metal is the best and most extreme metal genre, especially its more brutal versions, and should be at #1. Bands - Nile, Cryptopsy, Brain Drill, Necrophagist, Obscura, Gorguts, Fleshgod Apocalypse, to name a few.

10 Brutal Death Metal

How in the WORLD is brutal death metal not at #1.. bands like maggot colony and analepsy make all the other subgenres of metal sound like kids bop...

Brutal Death Metal is strictly heavier than Death Metal hense the name. How is Death Metal #1 and this 11?

Brutal Death and its subgenres are superior to any other of genre period.

Easy, number 1 for sure

The Contenders

11 Goregrind

Well if you think last days of humanity and regurgitate are less heavy then cannibal corpse and nile then you are correct. but In reality goregrind while yes can be slow and grindy at times bands like carcass, regurgitate, last days of humanity, rompeprop, etc are in fact much more heavier, but technicality wise death metal is heavier, but if gore grind is below power metal in heavieness this list is wrong. just listen to reek of putrefaction by carcass or putrefaction in progress by last days of humanity for proof that goregrind is in fact much more heavier (not more technical)

This is exactly the same genre like Deathgrind

Goregrind vocals are clearly the heaviest

Last days of humanity
Carcass
Regurgitate

12 Metalcore

It's not my favorite subgenre, nor do I believe metalcore should be #1. However, due to the fusion of screaming or growling vocals and brutal breakdowns, I stand by that you can find a lot of songs that are heavier than a significant amount of thrash metal songs.

Metalcore is a good genre. It actually has melodies and can be artistically creative. Haters gonna hate, it's good if you're openminded and aren't a bandwagoner which is what metal should be all about anyways.

I know a lot of people hate Metalcore, personally I love it, but for the people who don't:
Try the band Northlane. They are awesome.

Listen to the album "Caliban - Vent" and you will understand why Metalcore is heavier than Black metal and Thrash!

13 Groove Metal

Why is this not in the top ten? It can be as heavy and extreme as thrash but slowed down. Bands like Machine Head, Lamb of God, Pantera, Five Finger Death Punch, these bands are as extreme as thrash. How the hell is nu metal higher on the list than this?

Way heavier than death or black metal. And Grindcore? That does not deserve to be called music.

Heaviness is about tightness, groove metal is all about tightness and that is why it is the best.

Bands include Pantera, Lamb of God, Fear Factory, Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah and Down. They're not as heavy as death metal but definitely equal in heaviness to that of thrash metal

Groove metal is also called "Neo-Thrash" sometimes, it's basically slowed down thrash metal with "groovier" riffs

This genre exist! If you don't believe me... Is Thrash Metal with Nu Metal: Slipknot, Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Dope, etc...

I'm pretty sure those are Nu Metal bands that are called Groove. Shouldn't Groove Metal be Pantera?

14 Deathgrind

Its Death Metal having a mess with Grindcore to produce one hell of a baby. It would probably eat your face off.

Wow, you haven't listened to Exhumed I think.

Cattle Decapitation. Excuse me, sir, Cattle Decapitation. Would you like some Cattle Decapitation? You want a cup of Cattle? Caffeine or Decap? Cattle Decapitation? Cattle Decapitation? Cattle Decapitation? Cattle Decapitation? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

What's this supposed to mean. We get it, cattle decapitation - good band but this is excessive

About as raw and brutal as it gets. bands like exhumed and aborted are ridiculously brutal.

15 Slamming Brutal Death Metal

This is the most hardcore, fast and heavy genre of music ever. The vocals are so brutal that you can't even understand them. The drums are like thunders and the guitars are so distorted that you can't even distinguish notes. Just listen to Devourment and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

This is definitely the most brutal genre. Way more brutal than Thrash (I am a huge fan of Thrash Metal m/). Slamming Brutal Death Metal and Death Metal are basically 2 different genres because SBDM is way more brutal than normal DM.

Nothing has as crushing of a sound as this, but according to this list, power metal is heavier.

This is on par with Brutal Death, I feel they should have been put on the same listing.

16 Progressive Death Metal

Technical, unconventional, death to the 4/4. Still I would remove the "Death" to the name. Bands like Symphony X, Dream Theater, Cloudkicker, Japan X and many more makes this one of the most perfect subgenres of Metal, still a little bit underground but really good.

LOL, these bands aren't prog death metal - they are just prog metal.

Cynic is one of the best Progressive Death Metal bands... They do an artistic type of metal, creative too... Because prog is that

Chuck Schuldiner, just saying.
By the way, what in the name of Hell is Power Metal doing here?

Opeth, Cynic, Death... Need I say any more?

17 Death/doom

My favorite genre. The old Katatonia, My Dying Bride. It fuses the beauty and emotion of doom with death's raw anger which complement each other perfectly.

This is the fusion genre of Death Metal and Doom Metal.

Autopsy changed my mind about Death/Doom, amazing.

18 Funeral Doom Metal

The heaviest and slower genre of metal ever. Pounding drums and distorted bass with brutal growling vocals and depressive melodies make this the most lifeless genre on earth! Mournful Congregation, Tyranny, Thergothon, and Bell Witch are some of the best bands in this genre.

From a fan of everything extreme from powerviolence to grindcore to slam to blackened death, I can honestly say this is the heaviest genre. Slower than hell, but in a way such as a steam roller would destroy a body. Dark, resonating and extreme to the core. Try rigor sardonicous, mournful congregation, thergothon and evoken.

A real underground genre, emerged in the early 90's in Finland. Similar to Death/doom.
Painfully slow, heavily distorted guitars, majestic keyboatrds and extreme deep growls.
Check out bands like Skepticism, Esoteric and Worship.

Easily the most crushingly brutal genre

19 Gorenoise

This is where we reach the end of music. This is the most noisy genre that can still be considered music before you start entering real noise territory. I’m not sure why this isn’t #1 though. It combines the extremes of goregrind and harsh noise, and offers loud guitars, fast drums, and outrageous vocals.

A.K.A unreadable logos with barfing and one drummer per one shard on Steven Universe's Cluster

Gorenoise is decent

What? DO THEY EVEN SING THERE? OR THEY EVEN USE SOME INSTRUMENTS? HEAVIEST THING I EVER HEARD!

20 Sludge Metal

Definitely the heaviest,craziest metal genre with crazy mind-ill drug addicts as band members,still very talented and expressive.SLUDGE for the win

21 Viking Metal

Svartsot is some really heavy viking metal. Mixes death with folk instruments and viking themes

HOLMGARD AND BEYOND! viking metal is everything one needs.

22 Speed Metal

I like speed metal very much but it's not extreme. Speed metal is just a faster, heavier and more technical version of power metal - some songs by Blind Guardian (Majesty), Helloween (Ride the Sky), and similar.

Some people used to call bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest speed metal in 70s and 80s.

23 Avant-Garde Metal

Such a variety of different genres in the mix, worth a listen!

Should really be a lot higher than #31.

24 Technical Thrash Metal

A relatively small but awesome subgenre - it's sophisticated thrash. Some of the bands are Annihilator, Coroner, Vektor. One of my most favorite metal subgenres.

25 Stoner Metal

It's not extreme - there's nothing extreme here. Not fast and not aggressive. And vocals are clean.

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