How the Heavy Metal and Electronic Music Genres Collide

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How the Heavy Metal and Electronic Music Genres Collide – A look at how two very different genres can come together to create something new and exciting.


When two genres of music that are seemingly opposite collide, the results can be interesting, to say the least. In the case of heavy metal and electronic music, the combination can be downright terrifying – or simply awesome, depending on your perspective.

On one hand, you have the brutal force of metal, with its distorted guitars and pounding drums. On the other hand, you have the clean sounds of electronic music, with its synthesized beats and effects. When these two genres are combined, the results can be either harmonious or chaotic.

There are a few key ways that metal and electronic music can collide. One way is through the use of metal samples in electronic tracks. This can add a sense of heaviness to an otherwise light track, or it can give an otherwise heavy track an industrial edge.

Another way that these two genres can collide is through the use of metal instruments in electronic tracks. This can give the track a more organic feel, as well as adding a layer of complexity to the sound.

Finally, metal and electronic music can also collide through the use of guest vocalists from each genre. This can add a sense of variety to a track, as well as giving it a unique twist.

History of Heavy Metal

Heavy metal is a rock music genre that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre’s lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

In 1970, British rock band Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album, which is often regarded as the first true heavy metal record. Soon after its release, other bands began creating their own versions of heavy metal. Britain’s Judas Priest was one of the earliest pioneers of the genre, incorporating twin lead guitars and a “devil may care” attitude into their music. In 1974, they released their breakthrough album Rocka Rolla, which is considered by many to be one of the first heavy metal records. Other early innovators include Austrian band Krokus ( formed in 1974), American band Kiss (formed in 1973), and Japanese band Loudness (formed in 1981).

The 1980s saw the rise of a new generation of bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, and Testament. These so-called “Big Four” bands helped to define what would become known as thrash metal, a subgenre of heavy metal characterized by its aggressive sound and fast tempo. The 1990s saw the renewed popularity of heavy metal thanks to bands like Pantera, Sepultura, Machine Head, and Fear Factory. In recent years there has been a resurgence of traditional heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

History of Electronic Music

The earliest form of electronic music was created by using electronic musical instruments and electrical circuits. The earliest known electronic musical instruments date back to the early 1800s. These early instruments were used in a variety of ways, including in military bands and as toys for children.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that electronic music began to be used in a more serious way. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented the telephone, which made it possible to transmit sound electronically. This led to the development of other devices that could create and manipulate sound, such as the phonograph, which was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877.

The first person to compose music specifically for these new electronic instruments was French composer Georges Bizet. In 1883, he wrote a piece called “Carmen Fantasy” for the newly invented telephone. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that electronic music really began to develop as its own genre.

One of the first composers to experiment with electronic music was Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. In 1907, he composed a piece called “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire” for piano and orchestra, which included an instrument called the “color organ.” This was one of the first times that electronics had been used to create music specifically for a concert setting.

Around the same time, American composer Edgar Varese started experimenting with electronics in his own music. In 1918, he wrote a piece called “Integrales” which included an instrument called the “siren tone generator.” This was one of the first times that electronics had been used to create atonal (non-melodic) music.

In the 1920s, several other composers began experimenting with electronics in their music. These include Italian composer Luigi Russolo, who wrote a piece called “The Art of Noises” in 1913; French composer Edgard Varèse, who wrote a piece called “PoemElectronique” in 1958; and German-born American composer Kraftwerk, who released their self-titled debut album in 1970.

Influence of Technology

The digitarization of music has allowed for heavy metal and electronic music to embrace one another in a way that would have been impossible before. This is due to the fact that the two genres now share some common ground in terms of production and composition.

One of the most significant ways in which technology has influenced the relationship between heavy metal and electronic music is in the realm of production. In the past, heavy metal music was largely reliant on analog production techniques, which made it difficult to create the kind of layered, textured sound that is characteristic of much electronic music. However, with the advent of digital audio workstations (DAW), it has become much easier for heavy metal artists to experiment with electronic sounds and production techniques. This has allowed for a more seamless integration of the two genres, and has led to some interesting hybrid styles emerging in recent years.

Another area where technology has had an impact is in the realm of composition. In particular, the use of MIDI sequencing software has made it possible for heavy metal musicians to create incredibly complex arrangements that would have been unthinkable in the analog era. This increased complexity has often led to a more cinematic sound being achieved in heavy metal music, as well as a greater sense of cohesion between different elements within a given song.

Overall, it is clear that technology has played a major role in bringing heavy metal and electronic music closer together. With more and more artists crossing over into new territory, it is likely that this trend will continue into the future.

The Future of the Genres

The two genres have long been intertwined, with fans of one often crossing over into the other. But in recent years, the crossover has become more pronounced, with metal and electronic artists working together more frequently and incorporating elements of each other’s genres into their own music. The result is a sound that is both familiar and new, and which has the potential to appeal to fans of both genres.

This new sound is being driven in part by the increasing popularity of metalcore, a subgenre of metal that combines heavy metal with hardcore punk. Metalcore bands often make use of electronic elements, such as sampling and synthesizers, which gives their music a more polished and produced sound. In addition, many metalcore bands have members who are also skilled DJs and producers, which further blurs the lines between the two genres.

As metal and electronic music continue to evolve, it is likely that their relationship will become even closer. In the future, we may see even more collaboration between artists from both genres, as well as a continued increase in the use of electronic elements in metal music. This could lead to the creation of an entirely new genre of music, one that takes the best elements from both metal and electronic music and blends them into something truly unique.


In conclusion, despite their differences, the heavy metal and electronic music genres have more in common than one might think. Both genres are often misunderstood by the mainstream, and both have produced some truly innovative and ground-breaking music. There is a rich history of collaboration between artists from both genres, and as technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more cross-pollination between these two genres in the years to come.

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