Avant-garde metal or experimental metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music characterised by the use of innovative, avant-garde elements. It is characterized by large-scale experimentation and the use of non-standard sounds, instruments, and song structures.[1] The earliest avant-garde metal bands include Celtic Frost[2] and Master's Hammer.[3]


Avant-Garde Metal cannot be treated like other genres, such as Black, Death, Doom, Thrash, etc. Those genres are rooted in similar aesthetics and ideologies, leading to strong commonalities amongst bands united under one genre. With the Avant-Garde, on the other hand, there really is no common aesthetic or ideology. The bands have to be taken on a one-by-one basis, evaluated individually rather than on genre aesthetics.[4]

The term avant-garde metal refers to bands and musicians who "incorporate new and innovative elements in metal, who break conventions, tear down walls, violate borders."[5] The genre has also been described as "the art of creating deep and strange atmospheres by experimenting with new instruments and sounds, strange vocals, unconventional song structures, rhythms and harmonies, unusual lyrics or uncommon artwork" or alternatively, "progressive, psychedelic, surrealistic, phantasmagoric, expressionistic, dissonant or extravagant interpretations of extreme metal."[6]

Michael Haas of Angizia notes that avantgarde is "a conscious distance from traditional listening and composing habits"[7] while Svein Egil Hatlevik of Fleurety identifies avant-garde metal as "an aesthetic ideology" to "make music that's more than just average metal." He also notes that heavy metal music is a "field where it still makes sense to be avantgarde" because it is "one of the most conservative fields of artistic practice in the world."[8] Not everyone agrees with the use of the term to establish a subgenre of metal, however. Jeff Arwadi of Kekal warns that "when another sub-genre has become established, it would create nothing but limits, and I don't think it's wise if we try to establish sub-genre [sic] that limits creativity and expression."[9] Chlordane of The Amenta takes issue with the tendency in heavy metal music for "anyone who does something slightly weird" to be considered avant-garde. He contends that the term should not be used unless a band is "pushing music forward," further suggesting that the mere use of classical music in heavy metal is not avant-garde as it "has been done," "is not new" and "offers nothing."[10]

List of avant-garde metal artistsEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bowar, Chad. What is Heavy Metal?. Retrieved on April 14, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rivadavia, Eduardo. Celtic Frost. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  3. Christe 2004, p. 300.
  4. Cray, Wesley D.. The Avant-Garde. Retrieved on March 27.
  5. Nieder-wiesen 2007, p. 4.
  6. Nieder-wiesen 2007, p. 4.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jobst. Angizia: A World Of Their Own. Retrieved on March 27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Olivier, Côté. Fleurety: Far Away From Any Messianic Complex. Retrieved on March 27.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Niederwieser, Chrystof. Kekal: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel. Retrieved on March 27.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Jegger. The Amenta: A Virus For Dissidents. Retrieved on March 27.
  11. Sharpe-Young, Garry. Age of Silence. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  12. Niederwieser, Chrystof. Abigor, Pt. 1: Inside The Fractal Lab. Retrieved on April 5.
  13. Christe 2004, p. 300.
  14. Chamberland, Mathieu. Orgasm Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  15. Cray, Wesley D.. Fear Not Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  16. Müller, Alexander. The Butchers Ballroom Review. Retrieved on April 15, 2008. (In German)
  17. Niederwieser, Chrystof. Not To Be Undimensional Conscious Review. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  18. Cermak, Martin. Ephel Duath: All You Need To Know About Pain. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  19. Cray, Wesley D.. Suspended Animation Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  20. Stenberg, Frodi. Omnio Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  21. Côté, Olivier. Korovakill: How To Transform Pressure Into Treasure. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  22. Van de Barrel, Katja Honeywine. Manes. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  23. Christe 2004, p. 300.
  24. Chamberland, Mathieu. Leaving Your Body Map Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  25. Harris, Chris. Metal File: As I Lay Dying, Meshuggah And Ill Nino. Retrieved on April 15.
  26. McKenna, Mark. Lost In Reverie Review. Retrieved on April 5.
  27. Niederwieser, Chrystof. Ram-Zet. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  28. Van de Barrel, Katja Honeywine. Sigh. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  29. Janjanian, Armen. In Glorious Times Review. Retrieved on April 15, 2008.
  30. Van de Barrel, Katja Honeywine. Solefald. Retrieved on April 5, 2008.
  31. Janjanian, Armen. In A Flesh Aquarium Review. Retrieved on April 15, 2008.
  32. Elkerbout, Milan. Written In Waters Review. Retrieved on April 15, 2008.

External linksEdit

da:Avantgarde metalfr:Avant-garde metal id:Avant-garde metal it:Avant-garde metal nl:Avant-garde metal ro:Avant garde metal ru:Авангардный метал

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