We tend to associate the word stereotype with something negative. But, that isn’t always true and stereotypes exist for a reason. While we tend to exaggerate them, there is some truth behind every stereotype. Like everything else in the world, metal in various countries tends to fall under certain stereotypes. In this post I’d like to fully embrace each countries stereotype and highlight a worthwhile band.
Germany (Power Metal) – Blind Guardian
One of my favorite bands, Blind Guardian is the stereotypical German power metal band. Power metal is characterized by a more uplifting sound, usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses. Blind Guardian fits that description to a point. Their lyrics are mostly inspired by fantasy authors such as Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien, and George R. R. Martin as well as traditional german legends . My favorite record of theirs , Nightfall in Middle Earth, is a concept album based solely on Tolkien’s “The Simarillion”. When you think of German power metal, you think Blind Guardian.
Other examples: Primal Fear, Gamma Ray
Sweden (Viking Metal) – Amon Amarth
Sweden, along with most of the rest of Scandinavia, loves their viking metal – and Amon Amarth is the premiere viking metal band. Obviously, their lyrics mostly deal with the Vikings, their mythology and their history. Amon Amarth take the idea of viking metal and run full speed – sparing no expense in their lyrics, music video and appearance. Their giant beards help add to the illusion as well. When you say Sweden, or viking metal, to a metalhead – Amon Amarth is the first thing to come to mind. Stereotypical viking metal and I love it.
Other examples: Hel, Grand Magus
United States of America (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) – Lamb of God
Chances are, if you’re a metalhead or not, you’ve probably heard the name Lamb of God tossed around somewhere. Especially after their vocalist was imprisoned in the Czech Republic earlier this year. Lamb of God, to me, is the perfect representation of American metal. Specifically, The New Wave of American Heavy Metal, which originated in the United States during the early to mid 1990s. Lamb of God have been leading the pack ever since their debut in 1999. Lamb of God play a perfect combination of European-style riffing, quick, powerful drumming and throaty vocals that define the NWOAHM movement. Traditional American metal – Lamb of God will go down in history alongside the greats like Metallica.
Other examples: Chimaira, Unearthed
Norway (Black Metal) – Immortal
I easily could have(and probably should have) gone with Mayhem for this post. But, since I spent so much time on them in the first post I figured it was only fair to talk about Immortal. Immortal posses everything stereotypical about black metal – corpse paint, depressing lyrics, and overly harsh vocals. Immortal’s lyrics are based on an overall theme, a realm called “Blashyrkh”, which is said to replicate the bands feelings of isolation living in Bergen, Norway. They created Blashyrkh to mirror those feelings. Standard black metal from the black metal capital of the world.
Other examples: Dark Throne, Mayhem