Type of site
|Music database, reviews|
|Created by||Morrigan, Hellblazer|
|Launched||July 17, 2002|
Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives (commonly known as Metal Archives per the URL or just MA) is a website which lists bands from various forms of heavy metal music. Encyclopaedia Metallum was described by Matt Sullivan of Nashville Scene as "the Internet's central database for all that is 'tr00' in the metal world." Terrorizer described the site as "a fully-exhaustive list of pretty much every metal band ever, with full discographies, an active forum and an interlinking members list that shows the ever-incestuous beauty of the metal scene". Nevertheless, there are exceptions for bands which fall under disputed genres not accepted by the website.
Encyclopaedia Metallum attempts to provide comprehensive information on each band, such as a discography, logos, pictures, lyrics, line-ups, biography, trivia and user-submitted reviews. The site also provides a system for submitting bands to the archives. The website is free of advertisements and is run completely independently.
The Encyclopaedia Metallum was officially launched on July 17, 2002 by two Canadians from Montreal using the pseudonyms HellBlazer and Morrigan. A couple years prior, HellBlazer had the idea of an encyclopedia for heavy metal and attempted to write each band's page using HTML. Although he gave up with that initial attempt, a fully automated site with contributions from its users was in the works. The site initially went live early in July 2002, with the first band added being Amorphis on July 7. In just over a year the site had amassed a database of over 10,000 bands. The site continues to grow at a fairly constant rate of about 9000 bands per year.
On 1 January 2013, the site announced that bands with entirely digital discographies could now be submitted to the Archives, changing the site's decade long policy of physical releases only. Digital releases must have a fixed track listing, album art, professional or finished production and be available in a high-quality or lossless format through official distribution sources.
On 13 November 2014, the number of bands listed in the database reached 100,000. 
April Fool's Day pranks
The site has a tradition of April Fool's Day pranks that are sometimes taken seriously. This started in 2009 with the addition of Korn into the Metal-Archives and several dozen user reviews praising their first self-titled album, with the news article of the day claiming that the first album was metal enough for the site. A series of staged arguments between moderators appeared throughout the day on the site's forum. 2010 was the year they removed "The Tavern" (the general discussion forum) for a day. In 2012 the site posted an FBI logo on the main page suggesting that the site was suspended by the FBI as a result of promoting internet piracy. Despite the ability to bypass this image just by clicking on it, many people took the prank seriously and thought that the Metal-Archives had gone the way of Megaupload. Nickelback was added to the Metal-Archives in 2013 in a prank that was similar to the 2009 Korn prank, as it also had user submitted joke reviews praising various Nickelback albums. In 2014, the prank consisted on the addition of several (mostly praising) reviews of an EP called Penis Metal released by Chilean black metal band Hades Archer, followed by the addition of the band's logo and pictures which included penis on them. The band's style was also change to Penis Metal. A secondary prank involved the spontaneous deletion of controversial band Meshuggah (whose genre was listed on the site as "technical nu-metal/djent" and later changed to simply "djent"), leading to another series of arguments between moderators on the site's forum, although not to the extent of the 2009 prank. Meshuggah were reinstated the following day.
Accepted and excluded bands
Traditional heavy metal genres and eras, such as the NWOBHM have stringent rulings; users are warned in the rules section to consider bands submitted under these classifications as "ambiguous," in the sense that if a band is submitted with these terms as their genre, the music will be extensively reviewed by the moderators before they decide whether or not to accept the band onto the website. This is because in the past, some submissions labeled with those genres have turned out not to be metal, according to the site's guidelines. Some bands which are commonly referred to as traditional heavy metal and NWOBHM, such as Def Leppard and Stryper, are on the website due to only one or two of the bands' albums meeting the website's specifications.
Additionally, there are some non-metal bands featured on the site that are considered to be part of the metal scene despite not being metal themselves (usually dark ambient and folk bands, examples being Mortiis, Elend, Nest, :Of The Wand & The Moon:, Autumn Tears, Stille Volk, etc.). These bands are selected by the moderators "in an admittedly arbitrary fashion," and their submission by normal users is discouraged.
- Encyclopaedia Metallum at Alexa
- Miers, Jeff (June 13, 2008). "Club Chatter". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2009-05-05.[dead link]
- Sullivan, Matt (December 22, 2009). "The indie-fication of metal, 2009". Nashville Scene (City Press LLC). Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- "A Decade in Downloading", Terrorizer's Secret History of... the Decade, December 2009
- Websites "rules"... heavy metal/hard rock to be considered "ambiguous"
- Encyclopaedia Metallum's Guidelines