In the late 60s, bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin paved the way for a new sub-genre of rock music. Dubbed “heavy metal” due to its heavy emphasis on distortion, guitar solos, and overall loudness, this new style of rock would continue to evolve even to this day.
With influences ranging everywhere from punk rock to the blues, it’s fairly easy to see why the heavy metal sub-genre has spurred so many different types of sub-sub-genres throughout the years. That being said, here are ten of the most obscure sub-genres of heavy metal that the Internet has to offer.
1. Folk Metal
Similar to “viking metal” in its pagan and celtic themes, folk metal tends to favor clean vocals and/or “silly” instruments such as the accordion, the violin, and yes, sometimes even the bagpipe. Lyrical themes of the folk metal sub-genre include Norse mythology, nature, and drinking lots of alcohol.
2. Pirate Metal
In 1987, German heavy metal band Running Wild released their first all pirate-themed album “Under Jolly Ranger.” Since then, there have been a number of pirate metal bands; including the likes of Alestorm, Verbal Deception, and Swashbuckle.
3. Samurai Death Metal
Hailing from Finland, Whispered is a melodic death metal band that writes songs exclusively about samurais. In fact, they’ve even started wearing kabuki makeup in their live performances. Talk about dedication!
4. Western Metal
Formerly known as Desperados, German heavy metal band Dezperadoz is a Western metal act largely influenced by Spaghetti westerns of the 60’s and 70’s. Also, as you can imagine, every band member does own and wear a cowboy hat.
5. Goblin Metal
With their breakout album “STENCH” released just last year, the goblin metal band Nekrogoblikon has been gaining in popularity as of late thanks in large part to the hilarious music video posted above. Yes, they only write songs about goblins.
6. Ocean Metal
Named after the aquatic deity of Lovecraftian lore, Dagon is a melodic death metal band that exclusively writes songs about the ocean and the creatures that dwell within it. Surprisingly enough, ocean metal can, at times, sound very similar to pirate metal.
7. Ska Metal
Pennsylvania natives the Gloominous Doom are experts at mixing the fun, light-hearted nature of ska with the brutal ferocity of death metal. Here are some of their sillier song titles: “Portal Potty,” “JFKFC,” “Totally Awesome Definitely.”
8. Unblack Metal
A hypocritical statement wrapped in an oxymoron, unblack metal is exactly what it sounds like; faux-black metal made by hardcore Christians. Sure, it sounds black but with songs like “Release and Clothe the Virgin Sacrifice” it’s nowhere near as metal.
9. Norwegian Party Metal
Norway’s pride and joy, Kvelertak now has two full-length studio albums under their collective belt; each one being a work of art. Perfectly blending party rock, punk rock, metal, and black metal, Kvelertak’s songs are guaranteed to bring the roof down on any house party.
10. Dinosaur Metal
A Finnish heavy metal band aimed at Finnish children, Hevisaurus is the definition of dinosaur metal. As legend has it, they were hatched from metal eggs 65 million years ago and have been making awesome Finnish metal songs about dinosaurs ever since. Go figure!