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Heavy Metal Music: A Classical Connection?

Updated on April 22, 2011

Heavy Metal

Your typical heavy-metal guitar.
Your typical heavy-metal guitar.

Heavy Metal as a Genre

One of the recent things I've been reading about, even though I've heard this for many years from several different sources, is the connection from Heavy Metal music to Classical. It seems really interesting(and sometimes unlikely), but many artists have backgrounds and even full-fledged training in classical music. While its hard to imagine that modern thrash or metalcore bands are related to Classical, there is some evidence to support a connection. 

Upfront, the genres are fairly similar in terms of the people that play them. I would have to argue that your average metal player lives a bohemian lifestyle, though they had originally been middle to upper middle class. Many metal musicians are college educated, usually attending a college for the arts, and (not surprisingly) studying classical. The average fan can span the spectrum, though quite a few lower and lower middle class listeners exist.

Classical composers were/are from the upper class, and are classically educated. Typically, they are very refined, though their audience is predominantly from the upper class. 

The fans of both metal and classical, according to a recent study, share more than a few personality traits in common. They are both not overtly sociable, highly creative thinkers, and are drawn to the dynamism in their chosen genre. The reports again confirm that the only major differences between the two groups, are their age ranges, and predispositions on clothing. 

Heavy Metal & Classical Crossovers

While there is a popular band that is involved with both classical and heavy metal music, there are a number of bands that have crossed the lines for limited commercial success. Metallica has done some work with symphony orchestra before, as have numerous other bands.

However, there are a number of bands that truly take the connection between Heavy Metal and Classical and fuse them. This new sub-genre is not clearly defined, but some have deemed it 'Operatic Metal' or 'Symphonic Metal'. The fans of the genre aren't particularly outspoken on this subject (yet) but perhaps the genre will develop in the future.

Below are two examples of this Hybrid Genre.

Epica- Cry for the Moon


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    • TheHeavyReview profile image

      TheHeavyReview 6 years ago

      There's obviously a connection between the two genres. A lot of it is in the powerful sound and instrumentation. A lot of female metal singers have classical sounding voices, and some of the men do too. There's also the fact that both styles can be very technically proficient. Very cool hub!