This article is about avant-garde metal. For the post-rock
influenced heavy metal genre also known as experimental metal, see Post-metal
||Heavy metal, experimental, avant-garde, progressive rock, jazz fusion, extreme metal
||Mid 1980s in Central Europe
||Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboard, various string and wind instruments, vocals
|Los Angeles, Oslo, San Francisco Bay Area, Tokyo
|Progressive metal, experimental rock, noise music, ambient music, post-metal
Experimental metal, also known as avant-garde metal or avant-metal, is a subgenre of heavy metal music loosely defined by use of experimentation and characterized by the use of innovative, avant-garde elements, large-scale experimentation, and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. It evolved out of progressive rock, jazz fusion, and extreme metal, particularly death metal and black metal. Some local scenes include Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States, Oslo in Norway, and Tokyo in Japan.
Experimental metal has been called "unclassifiable" and the most difficult heavy metal genre to define and describe. However, it is characterized by the use of innovative, avant-garde elements, large-scale experimentation, and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. The term "experimental metal" is also often used as a term for the separate genre of "atmospheric metal" or "post-metal", which was named in reference to post-rock. Experimental metal is related to progressive metal, but experimental metal often has more experimentation, while progressive metal usually has a tighter focus on traditional metal instrumentation and higher levels of technical complexity. Experimental metal also uses unusual sounds, breaks conventions, and often includes new elements. The lyrics and visual presentation of the genre are eclectic as well.
According to Ian Christe, experimental metal emerged out of death metal as a number of musicians "abandoned the tightly wound structure of the music and experimented with abstractions of its founding elements." Progressive rock has also been cited as an influence. Some early examples are the King Crimson releases Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Red in 1973 and 1974 respectively, with the latter album's title track defining an "avant-metal style" that Robert Fripp would revisit years later. Another early example is the 1976 Led Zeppelin album Presence. The online music service Rhapsody dates the emergence of the style to the early 1980s and experimental bands such as Celtic Frost, who are considered pioneers of the genre. Rhapsody subsequently traces the history of the style through jazz-style acts such as Ephel Duath and Mr. Bungle, noise groups like Unsane and Fantômas, shock groups such as The Locust, and more recent ambient experiments by bands like Pelican and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Other pioneers of experimental metal include Boris, Earth, Helmet, Maudlin of the Well, Neurosis, Sunn O))), and Voivod. In the late 1990s, Misanthropy Records emerged as a promoter of Norwegian experimental metal until it folded in 2000, and, according to Jeff Wagner, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a so-called "new wave of avant-garde metal" was spearheaded by The End Records. Wagner states that "with the support of [Misanthropy and The End Records] and other specialty labels, metal's new avant-garde had arrived." Some record other labels which promote experimental metal are Holy Records, Hydra Head Records, Southern Lord Records, the Relapse Entertainment imprint of Relapse Records, and The Flenser. In the United States, a local experimental metal scene has emerged in the San Francisco Bay Area with bands such as Giant Squid, Grayceon, and Ludicra. According to the New York Times, some regional scenes that developed in the mid-1990s included the cities of Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Oslo.
See also 
- ^ a b c d "Experimental Metal". Rhapsody. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
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- ^ a b Wagner 2010, pg. 109, 117.
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- ^ Wagner 2010, pg. 308.
- ^ Guyre, Jen (February 8, 2008). "Exclusive: Neurosis Q&A". Rhapsody. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
- ^ Yuan, Henry (April 17, 2010). "Sunn O))) to Curate Roadburn Festival 2011". Revolver. Future US. Retrieved August 7, 2011. "Their metal-based drone experiments have proved groundbreaking and hugely influential for an entire new generation of musicians practicing the art of avant-garde metal, drone, post rock and psychedelia."
- ^ a b c Wagner 2010, pg. 301-30.
- ^ Wagner 2010, pg. 344.
- ^ Brown, August (August 26, 2009). "In a digital age, vinyl's making a comeback". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. p. 2. Retrieved March 28, 2012. "...said co-owner Mark Thompson, who also co-founded and runs the experimental-metal label Hydra Head Records."
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- ^ Smith, Chris (July 2011). "Rehab of a strung-out musical scene". San Francisco Magazine. Retrieved August 7, 2011; Smith, Chris (July 6, 2011). "Our avant-garde metal scene". ca-smith.net. Retrieved August 7, 2011.