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Martell Asks – Rock vs Metal

January 11, 2017

Martell Asks Where Do We Go From Here?

We get a lot of questions about our individual tastes here at We Love Metal, so obviously people not only value our opinion on reviews, but they would like to know a little more about our writing crew. What I’ve done is come up with a way for you to see inside the heads of Fernando, Harley, Morgan, Fred, Oscar, Jacob, The Shepherd, JVK, and Surdus. As for me, I pretty much pour my heart out with every word I write so over the last eight years you have found out everything you need to know.

A question has gone out to all the writers with the only parameters being they have to answer with their first thought. What I got, made this column a monthly feature!

If you enjoy the column let us know, and even better, if there is a question you would like to ask the staff, drop me an email at blknowlton@eastlink.ca. There might just be a gift dropped in the mail for you if your question is used.


What are the differences (musically & attitude) between rock music and heavy metal?


Fernando: This is something I’ve thought about off and on for a while so I’m glad it’s this month’s question.

Rock and metal have distinct differences, even incorporating Hard rock there are still differences amongst them all. Musically, between hard rock and metal, the riffs are down tuned with the constant use of Drop D and even Drop E, there is more technicality with metal and it’s multiple sub genres, there’s techniques on picking like palm-muting, there is the presumed screaming though some rock incorporates it as well. The drumming can get faster (blast beats, triplets), bass gets much more recognition in metal, basically metal is rock music on steroids.

Attitude wise, metal has a much more macho and unfortunately elitist attitude. Metal can get darker meanwhile rock is more mainstream in attitude especially with its lyrics. Rock is definitely much more mainstream so the attitude for rock needs to be friendlier so they can appeal to more fans while with metal, you know what you’re gonna get usually, depending on the genre.

Rock came from blues, aka Deep Purple, early Led Zep, early Sabbath and metal came from Rock. One is a birth of one genre meanwhile the other is the offspring of a genre that came from another genre.

Surdus: I think it largely comes down to two things:

1. As far as attitude goes, rock music feels like “Hey, let’s have fun!” While metal feels more like, “Screw you, I’m going to do what I want!” Metal’s image feels more serious, darker, more fiercely independent.

2. From a more technical point of view, I think rock focuses on lyrics and vocals more. Metal tends to put more focus on the instruments and creating noise – metal is full of growls and roars and yells. Rock tends to less about generating sound and more about getting across a story or idea.

Lyric: Heavy metal is (obviously) more heavy than rock music, it includes more complicated notes and heavier riffs. I feel the attitude behind rock music is based on sex, drugs, and alcohol (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), while I always think of metal music as being a release for most musicians and including their true feelings behind situations. For me, I just feel that heavy metal music is just more heartfelt overall and provides a more solid message to the listeners.

Harley: The difference between rock and metal is the degree of attitude. Rock was founded on the concept of rebellion and metal just took it to the extreme. Rock was against parents and a generic “authority”, whereas metal goes beyond that and targets specific things like religion, politics and politicians, personal freedom, slavery, basic human rights, and even animal “rights”. Certainly I may not agree with some of these, but it is apparent in the aggressiveness of the music and authenticity of many lyrics that metal musicians take a very strong and serious stance on the subject of their choice. Rock seems to have taken a turn somewhere and became less confrontational.

Morgan: Personally, I find that rock music (and I’m going to include Glam metal in here) is more frivolous and just fun. It’s often about drugs, sex and rock n’ roll. Heavy metal is often more about a specific topic and has meaning behind it. There is often a deep passion about both the music and the topic. Now that being said, there are times that rock musicians themselves make fun of that and write a song ironically. I think about Foo Fighters with their song “Big Me” and their spoof of the Mentos commercials with their Footos. Then again, that song was huge; I’m not sure what that says about us fans…

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