Top 10 Similarities Between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

This comparison is based on the most typical cases in these genres and most obvious tendencies. I know that there are exceptions but I’m not interested in them now.

Currently I am a metal fan but before metal I was into hard rock.

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 Differences Between Hard Rock And Heavy Metal”.

Hard Rock and Heavy Metal are different but similar - one of the reasons metal fans usually like hard rock, too.

The Top Ten

1 Use the same basic instruments

Electric guitars, bass, drums and sometimes a keyboard instrument (hence - similar sound). If you don’t know that hard rock is blues based and metal - classical based, you can easily confuse these 2 genres. - Metal_Treasure

Great list.

From The visitor

When I got into METAL/(Hard)Rock
I used to be confused.
They used the same basic instr
BUT AcDc plays TNT,is considered as HR-Band and were called Heavy Metal
back in the days.

And Metallica plays Nothing Else Matters
and is called a Thr.-Band.

I know it sounds stupid but it just blew
my mind that I liked Metal.

2 Both are heavier than classic rock
3 Both are louder than classic rock

Aerosmith and AC/DC are certainly louder than The Beatles. Metal is louder, too. - Metal_Treasure

4 Both are faster than classic rock
5 Both are more aggressive than classic rock
6 Both genres emerged in parallel in the 1960s-70s

In this regard Deep Purple is a very unique early band - they experimented in both genres. They wrote faster and heavier songs based on classical (metal) and songs based on blues (hard rock). - Metal_Treasure

7 Have the same number of band members

Usually 4-5 members. - Metal_Treasure

8 Singers in both genres scream more than singers in classic rock

Screams in metal are part of the artform and singers’ vocal skills. There are even Top Ten lists about the best and longest screams in metal. But Steven Tyler and Robert Plant are hard rock singers who also scream a lot. Ian Gillan of Deep Purple is known for his crafted screams on both metal and hard rock songs. - Metal_Treasure

9 Guitar solos are longer than in classic rock

You can have complex guitar solos in Hard Rock, they're not really like metal guitar solos, but if you look at the right guitarists, there is some gold. - JoLeKosovo


10 Both have distorted guitar riffs

Yep. The distrtion is quite similar in general. - JoLeKosovo

The Contenders

11 Vocal style is more aggressive than in classic rock
12 Musicians usually have long hair
13 Lyrics actually have a meaning

This is not really a good item some lyrics from hard rock or metal are not meaningful and some from other genres are also things like long hair and leather are kind of silly. If a bands members don't do this it does not make the band any less a metal or hard rock band.

It's pretty nice how much thoughts
are given to the lyrics. Here's a tip:
Just don't listen to the magical music
which is given you also take the booklet
&read the lyrics. They are most of the
time well thought.

From "the visitor"

14 Some musicians in both genres wear leather clothes

In metal Judas Priest and Manowar are the most typical cases. I don’t think Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden can be associated with that. Currently I listen to metal bands that never wore leather. Probably things in metal changed a lot since the 70s-80s. - Metal_Treasure

Same opinion.
Metallica was more into denim.
Early Slayer into leather.

15 Both are subgenres of rock music
16 Both genres often have a breakdown

No. Breakdowns are only in some metal subgenres. - JoLeKosovo

17 Both use thick picks (plectrums)

Usually from 1.0 mm to 1.5 mm. I started with 0.8 mm pick. And it seemed quite thick to me, moved back to.67 mm pick. The fact is that thinner picks sound more gentle than thicker picks. Maybe that the reason why a lot of hard rock and heavy metal guitarists use thick picks. - zxm

18 Both have huge controversy regarding classification

What qualifies as "Hard Rock"? What qualifies as "Metal"? Was Nirvana Hard Rock? Was Motorhead metal? What was the first metal song? Is The Who an early Hard Rock band? Where do we draw the line? Is there overlapping?

I think Metal_Treasure will have to agree that both genre spark long-drawn arguments when you try to categorize a band. It seems to be something that definitely matters to you. - JoLeKosovo

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