Gateways to Hell: Ten entry points to heavier metal

[Another list from contributor Adam Morrison. -AC]

Metal can be an intimidating genre to get into, what with its seemingly endless subgenres, and, well, intimidating bands and music. I’d like to give you an easy way to figure out what kind(s) of metal you like and show you that you might already like more metal than you realize.

Judas Priest has touched on many metal styles during their career, and has had an immeasurable influence on other bands. If you like “Exciter,” from the 1979 live album Unleashed in the East, I bet you’ll like a lot of speed metal and thrash metal that followed.

If you like the title track from Slayer’s 1990 album Seasons in the Abyss (or any other Slayer song, really) then you are in a great position: ready to explore what the countless Slayer-influenced death metal and black metal bands do. If either of the following songs get you excited, you can look forward to exploring more variations within the styles than you can imagine.

Let’s take a step back, and check out an example of progressive metal from Dream Theater, monsters of the genre.

Opeth is a great example of a progressive metal band with some heavier influences.

There’s almost nothing that demands head-banging like groove metal. I bet you know this one.

Lamb of God is a hugely popular modern metal band whose music touches on many styles, including groove. *language warning for the following video*

Black Sabbath, the godfathers of all of this, created the blueprint for doom metal. Many great bands have followed the “Sweet Leaf” example.

If you know Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson’s biggest hits, you’ve heard industrial rock/metal. If you like them, you should check out Skinny Puppy and KMFDM. The former is on their farewell tour, and the latter is still going strong, more than 30 years after their founding.

Dgent is a newer subgenre that is, in my opinion, still a strong, positive force in metal. Instead of telling you about it, I’ll let dgent’s originators, Meshuggah, show you what it’s all about.

And Norway needs to be represented here because of the country’s long history with black and death metal. A good entry point is Darkthrone.

I could go on, but that’s all the space I have in this post—and I haven’t even mentioned power metal, folk metal, war metal, Viking metal, pirate metal… I’ll stop now. I’d love to hear if you discovered anything you like. Let me know in the comments!

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