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Difference Between Grunge and Metal

Grunge vs Metal

For music lovers, grunge and metal are two familiar terms. Both are just two of the numerous genres in music.

Metal music is also known as heavy metal. It is a particular genre of rock music. As a genre, it has many subgenres under it. In addition, it also has a collection of fashion genres in its influence. Metal music is dominated by the sound of the guitars and drums. In a band’s performance, a metal rock band’s front man would scream out the lyrics in an attempt to “compete” with the sound of the band. This type of rock music puts an emphasis on the sound rather than on the lyrics.

The heavy metal sound is loud, powerful, forceful, heavy, and fast. It focuses on dominance. It has the musical elements of blue rock and psychedelic rock. The leading bands in this music genre are; Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and other famous names.

Band concerts of heavy metal bands focus primarily on theatrics like pyrotechnics, stage lights, dramatic entrances, and other methods of stage entertainment. The band members are seen wearing black leather (as jackets or pants), tight jeans, heavy stage makeup, big hairdos, and vests. The metal culture also sports accessories like bullet belts and spike bands. Metal fashion echoes biker and rocker subcultures.

Metal music appeared in the 196Os music scene. Until now, it remains one of the popular music genres. It first became popular in the United Kingdom and the United States. Nowadays, it is still thriving in other countries like Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Scandinavia, and other countries.

Grunge is another genre of music. It is also known as “Seattle sound” due to its origin in Seattle, Washington during the 1980s. In terms of music taxonomy, grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock. It has various influences of hardcore, punk, heavy metal, and indie rock.
Grunge is characterized by angst-filled lyrics and heavy distorted sounds and contrasting song dynamics. Compared to metal, grunge has a slower rhythm with lower tones and less volume.

This type of music places an emphasis on the lyrics. The lyrics reflect the angst of youth, in particular teenagers, towards life and society. Band members and followers of grunge wear everyday or casual clothes usually purchased from thrift shops. Flannel is the fabric of choice.

Grunge bands include Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Band members have unkempt appearances and show performances have fewer theatrics. Genres of music are different, but sometimes they also have common factors.


1. Both genres of music use the same rock band instruments: electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals. The keyboard is optional for metal bands.
2. Both genres are under the classification of rock music. Heavy metal is a direct genre while grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock. Both genres share the same amplified distortions in their sound.
3. “Metal” is also known as “heavy metal”; meanwhile, grunge’s alternative name is “Seattle sound.”
4. Metal places a higher importance on the sound. On the other hand, grunge gives more of an emphasis on the lyrics.
5. The main theme of metal is dominance. In contrast, grunge’s theme is angst.
6. Metal is a component of grunge along with hardcore rock and indie rock. Metal, meanwhile, is the combination of blues rock and psychedelic rock.
7. Metal has a variety of audiences while grunge is directed at the youth.
8. Metal band performances are highly theatrical. Band members wear a lot of leather, makeup, black outfits, and big hairdos. On the other hand, grunge bands perform with little artifice. Band members wear ordinary clothes, mostly flannel, from their own closets or thrift shops.

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