Heavy Metal Question

pistonengine08pistonengine08 Unsigned
edited September 2007 in History of Rock
What is the difference between power metal and death metal?

To make my confusion clearer:
I'm just getting into heavy metal and have a rather thin collection of metal albums (Prolly less than 20). One of my favorites (and most recent addition) has been Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side. I initially thought that the album was power metal until I saw it referred to as death metal. I instantly sought out a Nile music video to confirm my suspicion that Amon Amarth sounded nothing like them. I listened to the Nile song, and was pretty content that they were two different genres of metal until I saw Amon Amarth referred to again as a death metal band.

With their melodic style and a sound pleasing to the ear (including a badass breakdown in Gods of War Arise), they are what I'd associate more with power metal, rather than the extreme fast-pace and dissonance I expect from death metal bands like Nile.

Where am I going wrong? What constitutes the difference between the genres?

Comments

  • KutsicKutsic Opening Act
    edited September 2007
    Amon Amarth play melodic death metal, with small elements of viking and folk metal thrown in.

    Melodic death metal is a form of music popularized by bands from Sweden's Gothenburg scene. In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and At the Gates are probably the best known bands that play the style. It combines elements of death metal with the musical characteristics of bands like Iron Maiden. Some of the more common elements of melodeath are a slower pace, extensive use of guitar harmonies, a greater focus on rythm, and clean sections to the music.

    There's a pretty big variety of death metal sounds out there, because while it may be hard for those only familiar with the more American style of death metal to understand how melodic death metal is, in any way at all related to the death metal genre, scandinavian death metal has (generally speaking) a more melodic and focused direction to it, rather than basing their sound on pure brutality.

    So yes, when you boil it down, Amon Amarth is, at the most basic description, a death metal band.
  • pistonengine08pistonengine08 Unsigned
    edited September 2007
    OK, that helps. But what is the difference between the two genres? (so I don't sound so ignorant in the future)
  • LavatoryLoveMachineLavatoryLoveMachine Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    pistonengine08;53431 said:
    What is the difference between power metal and death metal?

    To make my confusion clearer:
    I'm just getting into heavy metal and have a rather thin collection of metal albums (Prolly less than 20). One of my favorites (and most recent addition) has been Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side. I initially thought that the album was power metal until I saw it referred to as death metal. I instantly sought out a Nile music video to confirm my suspicion that Amon Amarth sounded nothing like them. I listened to the Nile song, and was pretty content that they were two different genres of metal until I saw Amon Amarth referred to again as a death metal band.

    With their melodic style and a sound pleasing to the ear (including a badass breakdown in Gods of War Arise), they are what I'd associate more with power metal, rather than the extreme fast-pace and dissonance I expect from death metal bands like Nile.

    Where am I going wrong? What constitutes the difference between the genres?
    wow dude. If you are gonna get into metal, first of all, you need people to help you find out what you are into. You can barely do that on your own.

    First advice: the names of the genres have nothing to do with what they are, especially in the case of power metal.

    For example, listen to Cannibal Corpse (death) and Thy Majestie (power). As different as night and day.

    I dont like death metal much, unless its melodic. What I love about Amon Amarth is that the create their music to create a viking atmosphere, borrowing a distorted sound like the original viking bands like Bathory.


    EDIT: power metal, is commonly based on speed also, but it focuses on melody and a high vocal range as well. Power metal is nothing like death metal though, so dont confuse both. But when people say fast, they usually think of power metal, not death I would say. Not all power metal is fast though.
  • LavatoryLoveMachineLavatoryLoveMachine Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    Read the post that guy is posting. Its an awesome guide to metal genres. Plus, you'll find great bands you might have not heard about:

    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/929-metal-genres-defined-thanks.html

    Your best bet is to listen to it. Look, death metal and power metal are on completely opposing sides of the spectrum. SO be thankful you asked your questions here instead of a metal forum haha People are nasty on the internet (look at my own posts lol)

    This is an invaluable site: metal-archives.com Click search by genre, go to death metal and power metal, visit the bands's myspace's (theres a link on the bands's metal archive page), and come back here. Once you listen to it, rather than read descriptions, you are gonna understand. Probably hit yourself in the head for being confused about it.

    Whoever gave you the confusion to thinking Amon Amarth was power should be shot. Dont worry, Ill help you track him down.
  • KutsicKutsic Opening Act
    edited September 2007
    Another thing that helps are the wikipedia descriptions of genres, they usually have an instrument by instrument layout of the common elements of each genre, along with a list of the more prominent bands.
  • Rev0lverRev0lver Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    the reason why some people might classify amon amarth as power metal is because of the lyrics. a mix of those types of lyrics but with a death metal sound is sometimes referred to as Viking Metal or even Folk Metal. power metal=pokemon music with good but cheesy guitar parts.
  • LavatoryLoveMachineLavatoryLoveMachine Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    Rev0lver;53742 said:
    the reason why some people might classify amon amarth as power metal is because of the lyrics. a mix of those types of lyrics but with a death metal sound is sometimes referred to as Viking Metal or even Folk Metal. power metal=pokemon music with good but cheesy guitar parts.
    Ok, your definition of power metal is HORRIBLE, especially for a guy that doesnt know what it is, but whatever.

    Who would think Amon Amarth lyrics are like power metal's? They have nothing in common. And when AA refer to viking mythology theres a realness to the themes. They dont pretend it to be mythology. Its as if it was their religion. Besides, most of their songs are about fighting.
  • battle_axe_of_doombattle_axe_of_doom Road Warrior
    edited September 2007
    nowadays power metal lyrics aren't unique to power metal. if i remember correctly bling guardian did an album based on lord of the rings and black metal band's entire career is basically built around lotr and tolkien. fact is death metal typically has deep growls, while power metal have "classically" trained singers meaning clean vox
  • pistonengine08pistonengine08 Unsigned
    edited September 2007
    LavatoryLoveMachine;53560 said:
    Read the post that guy is posting. Its an awesome guide to metal genres. Plus, you'll find great bands you might have not heard about:

    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/929-metal-genres-defined-thanks.html

    Your best bet is to listen to it. Look, death metal and power metal are on completely opposing sides of the spectrum. SO be thankful you asked your questions here instead of a metal forum haha People are nasty on the internet (look at my own posts lol)

    This is an invaluable site: metal-archives.com Click search by genre, go to death metal and power metal, visit the bands's myspace's (theres a link on the bands's metal archive page), and come back here. Once you listen to it, rather than read descriptions, you are gonna understand. Probably hit yourself in the head for being confused about it.

    Whoever gave you the confusion to thinking Amon Amarth was power should be shot. Dont worry, Ill help you track him down.
    Hey thanks man that helps a lot. I liked a lot of the music from both genres, now I just gotta find something with vocals that doesn't make me pound my head into the wall (Any idea when Matt Barlow and Pyramaze are coming out with a new album?). I'll keep listening and expanding my library.
  • edited September 2007
    Power metal usually has fantasy lyrics. Dragons, castles, magic, that kinda stuff. Athough there are a few exceptions. And if you REALLY want to get into metal, disregard the genre. Listen to all of it then make your judgement on what you like.
  • LavatoryLoveMachineLavatoryLoveMachine Rising Star
    edited September 2007
    I dont think Pyramaze have made an announcement on when their first album with Barlow might come out. Google them, find their site, see if it has any news. They also have a Myspace.

    I want to tell you something. Forget about the dragons, magic and things. Thats a bad judgment, cuz most power metal isnt fantasy themed, and even when it is, its mostly stories more abotu metaphysical, and existential concepts. So power metal, like all metal, can be about anything. I mean, Judas Priest used science fiction lyrics. That doesnt make them power metal, so dont get confused. Bands like Helloween, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica generally sing about real things.

    And Im sorry, but Ive never listened to a single song about a dragon. Maybe in Rhapsody, and The Hobbit by Blind Guardian. Never listened to a dragon song elsewhere, so you gotta be wary, cuz people sometimes review albums and the album in itself doesnt have these cliches, but the reviewer's mind is inclined to still say "dungeons and dragons music". Hammerfall's songs are more about glory and warriors than dragons.

    Besides, whats wrong with dragons? I prefer fantasy lyrics (cuz Im a fantasy enthusiast myself), than some idiot whining about his girlfriend leaving him. The point is writing about interesting things, different things. Sometimes things people dont like to hear about (like wandering into a secret satanic ritual, like in Maiden's Number of the Beast)

    One last thing. The guy above said disregard the genre to start with metal....dont listen to him. Power metal, of ALL the subgenres, is the one most linked to traditional metal (you know, judas priest, Maiden, Doro, Manowar, the classic speed bands, Mercyful Fate...). At least, thats my opinion.

    And the guy that implied blind guardian isnt power....Blind Guardian is power metal. Sure, they dont have the speed elements of early stuff, but they are still power. People call them progressive, but Im yet to pick up progressive elements in their music. They are power/symphonic metal. By the way, their last two albums dont come into my rationalization. For me Blind Guardian ended after Nightfall.
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