|Stylistic origins||Heavy metal|
|Cultural origins||United States and Europe, late 1970s to late 1980s|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, vocals, occasionally keyboards|
|Derivative forms||Groove metal, gothic metal|
|Symphonic black metal, Viking metal, pagan metal, war metal, melodic black metal, melodic death metal, technical death metal, traditional doom, drone metal, funeral doom, stoner metal, epic doom|
|Black/doom, blackened death metal, death/doom, crossover thrash, crust punk, grindcore, deathgrind, goregrind, metalcore, deathcore, mathcore, melodic metalcore, sludge metal, death 'n' roll, experimental metal|
|Australia - Brazil - Denmark - Finland - Germany - Italy - Japan - Norway - Poland - Sweden - United Kingdom - United States|
Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. The term usually refers to a more abrasive, harsher, underground, non-commercialized style or sound nearly always associated with genres like thrash metal, black metal, death metal, doom metal and sometimes speed metal.
Though many extreme sub-styles are not very well known to mainstream music fans, as extreme metal is by definition a counterculture, extreme metal has influenced an array of musical performers inside and outside of heavy metal.
"Extreme" can be meant to describe any of the following traits: instrumentation (whether it is intended to be faster, more aggressive, abrasive or "heavier" than other metal styles), lyrics (dealing with darker, more sensational topics and themes), vocals (which often use guttural, harsh or abrasive singing), or appearance and stage demeanor (using corpse paint, Satanic or occult imagery). The "extreme" label is most commonly applied to bands whose music is extreme; for example, few would consider Kiss or Alice Cooper to be extreme metal, though they could be considered to employ "extreme" elements in their appearance and stage demeanor for their time.
According to ethnographer Keith Kahn-Harris, the defining characteristics of extreme metal can all be regarded as clearly transgressive: the "extreme" traits noted above are all intended to violate or transgress given cultural, artistic, social or aesthetic boundaries.
Given the vagueness of existing definitions and considering the limitations such definitions have, there are many artists for whom the usage of the term "extreme metal" is a subject of debate. However, Kahn-Harris also notes that many musicians and fans see such debates over style and genre as useless and unnecessary, or at least as given undue attention.
Below is a basic summary explaining how the primary extreme metal genres evolved:
- Traditional heavy metal (late 1960s/early 1970s)
Extreme metal genres
- Sub-genres of black metal
- Sub-genres of death metal
- Sub-genres of doom metal
Fusions between extreme metal styles
Fusions with other metal styles
Fusion with hardcore punk and punk rock styles
- Crossover thrash
- Crust punk
- Sludge metal
Fusion with southern rock
Fusion with hard rock
Fusion with multiple musical styles
Derivatives of extreme metal genres
Derivatives of primary genres
- Derivative of Speed metal
- Derivatives of Thrash metal
Derivatives of fusion genres
- K. Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg Publishers, 2007), ISBN 1-84520-399-2, p. 31.
- Kahn-Harris, Keith, Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge, Oxford: Berg, 2007, ISBN 1-84520-399-2.
- Doom metal at Allmusic
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