Top 10 Most Important/Common Things in Metal Music

zxm
These things are very common in metal music. As well as very important for creating metal riffs or solos. I'll explain them all.

These things can be particular techniques, scales or other things.

The Top Ten

1 Guitar Distortion Guitar Distortion

The most important things for creating metal riffs/solos. Without distortion there wouldn't be any metal. I mean metal would never sound metal. Listen to some metal songs without distortion. It sounds like kinda surf rock. - zxm

Yep, metal is a guitar based genre. And a distorted guitar represents power, aggression and strength. Without distortion it wouldn't sound like metal. - Metal_Treasure

2 Power Chords

Another thing that is very important for creating metal riffs. Power chords maybe started in blues, then it got popular in hard rock. But in metal its very important. Power chords are heavily used in extreme metal. Cause most of the time extreme metal are pretty limited due to heaviness. I mean because of using low notes. - zxm

Yes, Power Chords are often used in metal but also in other genres and this is one of the reasons many people think that every heavy/hard song with Power Chords is metal. Which is wrong. But it shows that metal is usually associated with the Power Chords. - Metal_Treasure

3 Minor Scales

I agree with this being high on this list, next to Guitar Distortion and Power Chords. Minor Scales are responsible for the mood of the metal songs - metal is sad and dark, and this is a very common feature of metal music. Yes, there are exceptions. - Metal_Treasure

I'd add it higher. But sometimes major scales are also used in metal music. But minor scales are hugely used in metal songs. Cause many minor scales sound low/sad/dark. - zxm

4 Fast Picking

Even though many things like minor scales, power chords are important, but without fast picking metal wouldn't be like today. Yes, Tony Iommi was opposite of it. So many metal guitarists use slow picking, but those metal genres are very restricted. From Ritchie Blackmore to Glenn Tipton or most metal guitarists now, use fast picking. whether its alternate picking or downpicking, fast picking is actually important. - zxm

Oh yes, as Steve Terreberry said, metal gives you Carpal Tunnel from picking so much. I think Fast Picking is more common than Palm Muting. - Metal_Treasure

5 Palm Muting

Palm muting makes the sound lower, makes more tension in sound. That's why palm muting is very popular for playing metal riffs. Palm muting is a regular technique in death metal and thrash metal. - zxm

6 Arpeggiated Solos

Not only for sweep picking but as well as for other solos. Arpeggio means picking the notes individually while playing chords. This makes notes to be listened more clearly. And it can be found often in, neoclassical, heavy metal or progressive metal. - zxm

7 Uses of thicker Picks

Not strictly required, but you wouldn't enjoy the sound of thinner picks. Thinner picks make soft sound. - zxm

8 Uses of Low Strings

Especially for extreme metal. You'll see most metal guitarists are playing Low E, A or D strings. Cause, cause these are low. - zxm

9 Downtuning Guitar

Downtuning makes the sound lower. Tony Iommi had been using it often. Even though it started from his accident still its now useful. - zxm

10 Tremolo Picking Tremolo Picking

I didn't add it higher cause its quite same as fast picking. But the only difference is fast alternate picking can be done on multiple strings, as well as downpicking. But tremolo picking is done on one note (one string). - zxm

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