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Difference Between Rock and Metal

musicRock vs Metal

Rock music or simply rock is one of the most revered music genres especially in the west. It evolved from a combination of earlier genres among which is rock and roll and rockabilly in the 1950s. Folk rock emerged in the 1960s as a result of blending folk music with rock, and blues rock was created by mixing rock themes with blues as was jazz rock from the fusion of jazz with rock. Moving into the 1970s rock incorporated traces of soul, funk and Latino music and during this time too, rock evolved into various subgenres including hard rock, heavy metal or metal, soft rock progressive and punk rock. The 1980s rock evolution produced subgenres like alternative rock, hard-core punk and synth-rock with grunge rock, Britpop and nu metal coming in the 1990s.

Metal rock or sometimes referred to as hard metal rock has its roots in the blues and psychedelic rock subgenres. The typical metal rock’s theme is revolves around a thick, heavy electric guitar and drums sound characterized by highly amplified distortion and rapid guitar solos. It’s referred to as the most extreme in terms of machismo, volume and theatricality of all rock subgenres and its fans are known as headbangers.

Difference in sound
Rock or may be plain hard rock utilizes the classic overdrive sound created when the tubes on an amplifier or specific part on it like the drive knob have been pushed to the limit. This creates a long sustained sound with a twang and the distortion is light. As for metal rock the distortion is strong as the overdrive is sustained longer creating a deeper, heavier sound. With plain hard rock a classic drum set with no double bass pedal is used. Double bass pedal is when you have got two pedals or just one with two separate mallets attached to a double chained rod. Heavy metal utilizes plenty of these. Some early metal rock artists include Led Zeppelin, deep purple and Black Sabbath and all these got huge fan followings.

Summary:
1. Rock is the main music genre while metal is a sub genre of rock.
2. Rock sound’s overdrive has a lighter distortion than metal rock which has strong distortion.
3. Metal rock has a deeper, heavier sound than plain rock or simply rock sound.
4. Rock uses classic drum set without double bass pedal while metal uses double bass pedal for the drum set.


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20 Comments

  1. Sorry, but Metal these days isn’t really a rock subgenre.

    Whilst early or “classic” metal does have a lot in common with rock music, the subgenres have little.

    So, here are the differnces.

    Song structure – Rock is universally verse-chorus-verse structure. Metal on the other hand has a variety. Whilst early metal is verse-chorus-verse much of modern metal is not. For example death metal, black metal, symphonic metal, neoclassical metal and (to a lesser extent) power metal all reguarly make use of narrative song structure.

    Vocal styles – Rock uses bluesy singing intonations and… thats about it really… I mean, there’s a few bands who go further, but those are rarities. Early metal uses the aformentioned style, but nowadays metal ranges from opera singing styles (most notably in symphonic metal) to the infamous death growl.

    Rythm – Rythmically rock uses only basic 4-4 time signitures (with a few notable exceptions, namely prog, fusion and math rock). These are used in a “back beat” rythm. Whilst again, early metal has these charicteristics modern metal has a variety of time signitures in it’s arsenal and many styles (most notably death and black metal) have very rapid drumming, using many differnt beats (even 64ths!).This, needless to say, is too fast for a “back beat” to emerge

    Instrumental focus – Rock focuses on the rythm guitar, vocal melody and lyrics. Metal since its earliest days has focused on lead guitar. Nowadays several styles focus on keboards and vocal melodies (but not lyrics)(symphonic metal), lead guitar (speed metal, neo-classical metal) and guitar and drums (death and black metal).

    Playing style – Rock uses a lot of open chords, metal frets everything. In addition many common techniques in metal (palm muting, tapping, shredding, double bass drumming) are rarley, if ever, found in rock.

    Blues influnce – Rock has a blatant blues influnce, metal today has almost none at all.

    Lyrical themes -
    Rock – Universal human expieriences, typically positive.
    Metal – Typically negative, more often generalised (i.e. not written from a personal persepective). There is also less focus on lyrics.

    Emotional ranges
    Rock – Heavy positive skew, rarley, if ever, dealing with extreme negatives.
    Metal – Any emotion, though admitedly negatives are far more common – ranges from hatred and anger (death metal), to bliss (basically anything by helloween).

    In summary
    1. Metal is a style which evolved out of rock, but is now sufficiently different to be counted as its own genre, much as with blues and rock.
    2. Rock uses only basic cyclical sing structures. Metal is often narrative in form.
    3. Rock is mainly positive emotions, metal has any emotion, but a heavy negative skew.
    4. Rock focusses on rythm guitar, vocal melody and lyrics. Metal focusees on vocal melody and keyboards/ lead guitar and vocal melody/ lead guitar / lead guitar and drums.
    5. Metal is often more complex rythmically, and many subgenres do not feature the string back beat found in all rock music.

    • This makes everything so comtpelely painless.

    • Someone has clearly never listened to Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Nirvana, Phish, the Grateful Dead, or Hot Tuna. If you are classifying rock music as simple and uninteresting, then I reccomend that you check out a few of the bands listed. Listen to the bass thrumming in “Thing” a late 67′ jam by the Airplane. This is Psychedelic rock, except OHMYGOD there’s a focus on the lead guitar and no lyrics… period. Live at the Fillmore East, it’s on YouTube. If you aren’t too narrow-minded, that is… ;) seriously though, if you listen to the whole thing its very cool. Just not necessarily as over the top as metal is. Very mind-expanding. Nirvana is probably my least favorite in the group I mentioned but still, Kurt Cobain uses incredible amounts of distortion. So does Jimi Hendrix, more so. Except he died before metal existed.

  2. rock is super gay

    • Who the flying f***k said rock is super gay. If you think rock is supergay, I hate to think what you actually call normal. Why don’t you take your head out of you ass, and get back to the real world. Rock/Metal are the only bands where a classic is still a classic, late artists such as Dimebag, Jimmy Page etc, are revered as legends, because they actually made a difference to their world and several others, and you don’t get a constant repeat of a track played over and over and over again. Dance music copies other artists, and try to claim it as their own, and for likes of Chris Daughtry who is an amazing lyricist, and musician, he wrote ‘What About Now’ from the self titled ‘Daughtry’ record, and guess who copied it, fucking westlife. Don’t ever tell me rock is supergay when there are thousands of artists out there already wearing that t-shirt, yourself included.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Rage Monster. Props to you for giving a voice to thousands of people who’s opinions are completely ignored by these shitheads. Also wanted to compliment your music tastes. Keep it up world needs more people like you.

        • No worries bro, the awesome bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Demon Hunter, Trivium, Megadeth, Machine Head, and loads of others, bring a certain quality to life, and the crowd are known as crazy and friendly. Let’s face it, how many people will carry people across a crowd of more people, and think it’s awesome. We metallers invented things like the moshpit, and stage diving, not many other genres of music does that. Keep Rocking bro, and take care. Look me up on facebook or twitter. [Facebook is Jay Webs Bull] Twitter @webshooter3.

  3. How come one of the responses is just the original thing, but done properly?

  4. Rock n roll is about music, voice and lyrics. Rock n roll is immortality, the beatles, the rolling stones, Tom petty, Neil young etc

  5. Metal is its own genre, which has its own branches.. sum of them inter winding with rocks sub genres. such as the sub genre Metalcore is a combination of hardcore and metal. Hardcore comes from punk, punk rock, comes from rock.. metal came from rock… Now deathmetal is an extremes example of what metal developed into.. then again there’s Melodic death metal, and dumthing pretty recent is DEATHCORE. which is metalcore and deathmetal. so a fusion subgenre of two other subgenres.. hmm thats just 1 example. that means Deathcore, has hardcore and metal influences, which means punk influences which means rock influences, but it has deathmetal influences, and metal influences and in the end back to rock,

    Metal was a sub-genre of rock n roll, but I think its developed into sumthing compeltly different and its is just that , Metal

  6. There are rock songs and metal songs that we can’t confuse their genre, especially in early time of the genre. But through the time, fusion genres and sub-genres of rock and metal are born. Nowadays, many Rock song have metal’s characteristics, and vice versa. To distinguish rock and metal, we should rely on our sense. The point is Metal be a extreme version in comparison with Rock.
    Ex: a rock’s sad song : we’re able to cry
    a metal’s sad song: we want to die

    a rock’s positive song: we’re interested, upbeat, happy
    a metal’s song: we want to kill someone, fire something,

    rock is somewhere near the center, metal is at the top or the bottom.

    • @Entropee You make it sound like metal brings out anger or sorrow in people. Like any music, what you listen to can affect your emotions. So while genres like Death Metal can sound violent, So can Post-Hardcore. Similarly Power Metal can bring out morale in a person, lifting their spirits like Anthem rock. Gothic metal and Gothic Rock can both bring out depressing feelings and Symphonic Metal and Symphonic rock can create fantastical imagery. Emotion wise, Metal tends to amplify more than Rock, but then again many people are different on many things. What makes you violently angry may bring peaceful joy out of another. What makes me sad may cause another to rage.

      Other than that, you were pretty spot on although I once heard that Metal is influenced by classical, while blues influenced rock.

  7. Great post! How about one on “The Difference between Metal and Nu-Metal”?

  8. Rock can be soft or hard

    Metal can be loud,soft, fast, heavy and have tons of rifs

    both provide tons of energy and both speed up your heartrate quicker when listening to it

  9. I listen to both rock and metal and nearly all types of them. From blues to distortion. From slow to fast. I think both metal and rock are interwined at many places. Both got beats which make me dance and both have got the feelings. Who cares what’s the difference till i can enjoy both the music. :D

    • I approve this message;) Remember what Lemmy say on stage : “We are Motorhead and we play Rock’n'roll”. Rock is much more than using a distortion or not, it’s a way of life!

  10. Metal is not “it’s own” thing, it never was. It’s just rock taken to the extreme, that is faster, and more distortion. All this talk about different structures, more sophisticated shredding etc. is nonsense, it all comes from Rock. Though you can say that “extreme” metal is it’s own thing, i have to agree, i would not lump what horrible wall of sound with Rock, it’s hardly musical.

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