Dark metal

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This article is about the musical genre. For the Bethlehem album, see Dark Metal.
Not to be confused with Dark rock.

Dark metal is a subgenre of heavy metal[1][2][3][4][5] with stylistic origins coming from both gothic and extreme metal.

Dark themes[edit]

Although some authors argue that dark metal is a genre of heavy metal,[1][2][3] there is a wide variety of opinions as to what elements, styles, or themes make metal dark.[1][3][6][7][8][9][10]

Robert Palmer, rock critic for the New York Times, calls metal with themes of horror and violence dark, using the bands Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and Danzig as examples. In their books, Robert Walser and Richard D. Barnet agree that dark metal is music oriented towards the occult. Micah L. Issitt, Jeffrey Kaplan, Bryan Reesman, Joel MacIver, and Chuck Eddy all write that dark metal has gothic themes.

Musical characteristics[edit]

Many writers, including Ian Christe, music journalist Chuck Eddy, Sara Pendergast, Tom Pendergast, Natalie J Purcell, Brian Reesman, Jeff Wagner, and Steven Wilson, find that there is a melancholy tone that distinguishes dark metal bands from their contemporaries. This tone has been variously described as "morose beauty",[3] "broody",[11] "beautiful and romantic",[12] "sorrowful and haunting",[13] "goth-tinged",[10] and "gloomy".[14]

Dark metal bands[edit]

A few of the bands which have been given the dark metal label include Bethlehem, Black Sabbath,[15] Slayer,[6] Megadeth,[6] Alice in Chains,[16] Anthrax,[6] Judas Priest,[2] Evergrey,[17] Tool,[18] Iron Maiden,[2] Paradox,[19] Kekal,[20] and Virgin Black.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Walser, Robert (1993). Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-8195-6260-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d Pendergast, Tom; Pendergast, Sara (2000). St. James encyclopedia of popular culture. St James Press. 
  3. ^ a b c d Eddy, Chuck (2011). Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism. Duke University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8223-5010-1. ...by the late '90s and early '00s, goth-oriented 'dark metal' bands like The Gathering and Tiamat had turned in another direction, incorporating morose beauty learned from Kate Bush, Swans, Enigma, and Joy Division. 
  4. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography of Insomnium". ...links to other, neighboring metallic subgenres like doom, melancholy, and dark metal. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Jim (July 5, 1991). "Heavy metal tour sends a message -- loud and clear". The Boston Globe via HighBeam Research (subscription required). It was Metallica that opened the floodgates to this latest heavy metal subgenre, generally termed thrash metal, dark metal or death metal: fast, bone-crunching, hard rock played with ferocity, strewn with violent, bloody imagery. 
  6. ^ a b c d Palmer, Robert (Nov 4, 1990). "POP VIEW; Dark Metal: Not Just Smash And Thrash". New York Times. The horrific imagery so central to the lyrics of dark metal permeates popular culture, from horror films to illustrated "graphic" novels to the visceral new fiction of "splatter punks"... 
  7. ^ Barnet, Richard D.; Burriss, Larry L. (2001). Controversies of the Music Industry. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 86. ISBN 9780313310942. 
  8. ^ Issitt, Micah (2011). Goths: A Guide to an American Subculture. ABC-CLIO. p. 25. ISBN 9780313386046. 
  9. ^ Kaplan, Jeffrey; Lööw, Heléne (2002). The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization. Rowman Altamira. p. 143. ISBN 9780759102040. 
  10. ^ a b Reesman, Bryan (2003). "As Darkness Falls, Sales Rise: Goth-Tinged Dark Metal Proves Its Crossover Appeal". 115 (26). Billboard Magazine: 22. 
  11. ^ Wagner, Jeff; Wilson, Steven (2010). Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal. Bazillion Points. ISBN 9780979616334. Tracks such as "Weeper on the Shore" and "Song of the Troubled One" unified an earthy '70s vibe with the broody dark metal so popular in Europe in the mid '90s. 
  12. ^ Christe, Ian (September 1998). "Metal". CMJ New Music Monthly. the five lads in ORPHANED LAND weave beautiful, romantic dark metal on Sahara(Holy) 
  13. ^ Purcell, Natalie J. (2003). Death Metal music: the passion and politics of a subculture. McFarland. ISBN 9780786415854. Bands like Celtic Frost, My Dying Bride, Cathedral and Anathema offered slow, deep metal with a haunting and sorrowful tone. These British bands added melody and instrumental sections to their dark metal music. 
  14. ^ Pendergast, Tom; Pendergast, Sara (2000). St. James encyclopedia of popular culture. St James Press. ...gloomy "dark metal" bands, a subgenre of throwbacks to the early days... 
  15. ^ Walser, Robert (1993). Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Wesleyan University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780819562609. 
  16. ^ Gilstrap, Andrew. "Alice in Chains: Greatest Hits". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-12-27. 
  17. ^ Rhysman, Bryan (2003). "As Darkness Falls, Sales Rise". 115 (26). Billboard Magazine: 22. Goth-Tinged Dark Metal Proves Its Crossover Appeal 
  18. ^ Keyes, J. Edward (August 2, 2009). "Tool's Dark Metal and Stunning Visuals Take Over All Points West". Rolling Stone. 
  19. ^ Rimmer, Mike (1 May 2001). "Paradox - Through Pain There Is Joy". Cross Rhythms Magazine. Cross Rhythms (CR Mag 62). Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Webber, Ian (August 8, 2011). "Kekal - 8". CrossRhythms. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  21. ^ Rividavia, Eduardo. "Elegant and Dying". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 11, 2015.