Why metal is not what you thought and everything you want

One of the first things that someone who has never seriously listened to metal music might say is that “It’s just a bunch of guys screaming,” “How can anyone understand what they are saying?” or even “That’s not real music, it’s just noise.” However, as someone who used to believe all those common statements, I can safely say that metal music is far from that. Metal music covers a broad base of subgenres, each with their own unique stylistic differences and drastic sound changes, which provide a wide array of options for the listener to get interested in. Examples of the seemingly infinite number of subgenres include, but are not limited to, glam metal, which incorporates hard rock guitar riffs with the extreme vocal range of singers like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, thrash metal, which combines extreme technical skills on guitar and the drums with an accelerating pace, and nu metal, which mixes the lyrical style of rap music with the instrumentals of metal music to create sounds similar to that of Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine.
Glam metal was most popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the rise of bands like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe which shot the genre into the mainstream. Primarily taking its fashion from 1970s glam rock bands, the glam metal scene added power ballads the likes of which have yet to be matched by any other genre and which gave us debatably the absolute best guitar solo in history through Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption.” I recommend glam metal to anyone who likes tight pants and long hair, guitar skills that will make your jaw drop, and anyone who wants the best music for a long drive. Examples are songs like Skid Row’s “18 and Life,” Dokken’s “Breaking the Chains,” and Tesla’s “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out).”
Thrash metal came around in the early 1980s in the form of metal and punk hybrid that sped up traditional guitar playing, creating a much more aggressive tone to the music, and using punk inspired lyrics to take an anti-establishment position. The most famous thrash bands are known as “The Big Four,” which includes Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer. All defined the genre for decades and even to this day are still considered to be the best thrash bands of all time. With a list of world renowned musicians that seems to stretch on forever, thrash is safely one of the most talented and popular subgenres of metal, especially shown in its ability to stand the test of time. Recommended entry level songs for thrash would be Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” album, Pantera’s single “Hollow” and Megadeth’s album “Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” which all provide strong guitar performances and extremely iconic thrash anthems.
Nu metal began in the early to mid-1990s with the combination of alternative, hip-hop, metal and funk into one super genre which saw major mainstream attention. Associated bands include Limp Bizkit, Korn, Disturbed and Papa Roach who all gained major success from their catchy hits. The style is primarily comprised of funky and alternative bass, a hip-hop tempo and rhythmic influences, and metal infused guitar overlap. Introductory tracks for nu metal include Papa Roach’s “Last Resort,” Slipknot’s “Dead memories” and Trapt’s “Headstrong” that all provide examples of the wide array of sounds that nu metal can cover.
Overall, metal is much more than just screaming into a microphone. At one point each and every one of the previously mentioned artists sat down and put in the time and effort to write their songs, many of which deal with real world issues such as political corruption, loss, mental health and individuality.
Compared to many of today’s artists, metal seems to be one of the last bastions of true talent, where instruments haven’t been abandoned for computer programs, lyrics have substance to them, and the popularity of a band has more to do with their ability to make and play music rather than their physical appearance. If integrity in music, undying dedication to the fans, and the ability to have artists constantly put out high quality tracks on their albums is something you value, then metal music is a genre for you.