Heavy Metal vs Hard Rock

What is the difference between heavy metal and hard rock music?


This is a common question by most people especially the uninitiated who looks at these two genres of music as evil.

You must be a great fan of this type of music to appreciate the subtle but key differences between the music genres called Hard rock and Heavy metal.

You also will need to listen to a good amount of these two music genres to begin to even describe the differences between them.

Most people who listen to hard rock and heavy metal do not hear or even appreciate these differences.

However, to the keen ear, the differences are there and being able to recognize them will make one appreciate these two key music styles better.

Key Albums

Let u begin by listing what I personally consider the main albums that represent these two music genres:

Heavy Metal:

  • Judas Priest- Screaming for Vengeance.
  • Motley Crue- Shout at the Devil.
  • Black Sabbath- We sold our Souls for Rock and Roll.
  • Pantera- Vulgar display of power.
  • Megadeth- Peace Sells….but who’s buying.
  • Metallica- Master of puppets.

Hard Rock:

  • Rocks- Aerosmith.
  • Van Halen- Van halen.
  • Lybyrd Skynyrd- Gold and platinum.
  • Z Z top- Tres Hombres.
  • Ted Nugent- Free-for-all.
  • Deep purple- Machine head.
  • AC/DC- Highway to hell.

Main differences between these two music genres.
The most obvious difference between these two genres is the sheer heaviness in the music.

Even between two rocking songs, a heavy metal song will have a bigger density.

It is a fact that heavy metal music has a density that Hard Rock does not have or even require.

This does not make it worse but makes it different. hostile-886028_1280

The other difference is the lyrical approach in these two music genres. Hard Rock music lyrics concentrate more on having a great time.

Its all about sex, partying, alcohol and drugs, grooving and just letting it go.

Heavy Metal lyrics on the hand are about war and violence, death, and in most cases touch on current or historical affairs.

Some Heavy Metal artist also write lyrics that are very anti-christian and will talk about the devil more explicitly.

It is important to note not all bands write these king of lyrics because the worship Satan.

Another difference between Hard Rock and heavy Metal is the energy involved in playing these two music genres.concert-697951_1920

Hard Rock fans and artists are famously called headbangers.

Dancing to Hard Rock music involves an almost dizzying banging of the head on an imaginary wall or object or a 360 degree swinging of the head.

The whole body is used to achieve this effect. Hard Rock is very ‘punkish’ and has a social appeal especially to people who love to party and enjoy life

Heavy Metal on the other hand is very engaging. It is a common feature in most Heavy Metal concerts to find fans or even artists in a trance like posture.

This music genre is deep. It touches on social and personal belief issues.

To better answer and understand what is the difference between heavy metal and hard rock music, I encourage to begin with watching and listening to the albums I have listened in this article and try to identify the differences I have pointed.

It will also be an awesome and eyeopening experience to attend live performance concerts of these two music genres.

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