"Hard Rock" vs "Heavy Metal" - Can you define the difference?

  • I kind of thought those two terms were synonymous, or I hear people using them synomomously, but is there a "defined" deference that is easily explained?


    The first google result says this but it doesn't seem to jive well:


    1Heavy metal is much simpler but much louder than hard rock. This genre of music was greatly influenced by classical music. ... 2When it comes to musical tempo, heavy metal is faster than rock. 3Hard rock leans more to being sexy and slow, much like the rock n roll of the 60s.


    1,2,3 Doesn't make much sense??

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • I love labels. Back in the 70s these two terms were used interchangeably. It was applied to any kind of rock with a Marshall on 11 and a loud drummer. Time goes on and people ascribe all sorts of new meanings to them. I guess that's just the evolution of language, but it still strikes me as a bit silly.


    It's similar to R&B, which originally meant Rhythm & Blues but now apparently just means, "Black music." In the 90s I had an ad looking for a band and said I played rock and R&B. People thought that was a really strange combination and I didn't understand why since I wasn't aware that the label now meant Rap / Hip Hop / Urban / etc. Fast forward a couple of decades and now I'm sure it means yet another thing.


    As for the listed definitions, whiskey, tangos and foxtrots come to mind.


    Google, whatever it is you're smoking, it's time to share.

  • In my mind, it’a primarily subject matter.


    Hard Rock is frequently rooted in celebrating sex, drugs and rock and roll as topics. Often (but not exclusively) pentatonic/blues/mixolydian based.


    Speaking in (extremely) general terms, Metal talks about anything *but* the celebration of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It may be, but rarely sounds pentatonic/blues/mixolydian based.

    As for simplicity…..not sure who wrote that, but they have no idea what’s going on.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Hard Rock has singing.


    Metal has some idiot screaming incoherently (Meshugga, Periohery etc). There might be some grest music in there but I just can’t get by the wounded rhino with a mic 😬


    Another defining characteristic is that rock has drums while metal has some dude trying to break the 100m world record with kick drum pedals attached to his treadmill 🤣

  • Oh I thought we were talking about heavy metal. Not metal in general :)

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  • Oh I thought we were talking about heavy metal. Not metal in general :)

    Exactly. :thumbup: But I liked Alan's comment since it seemed to correlate to my grandmothers comment about that " idiot screaming" in Led Zeppelin. 8o


    I'm glad I am not alone in trying to define it. I thought you guys could do better. ;)

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  • For me it's in the riffing vs. playing chords. To each his own :)

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  • oh man, this could be debated for ever, there's heavy metal and hard rock that are equally as noisy, slow, fast, screaming, singing, balads and all sorts. A quick comparison or how I would explain it is:


    Metallica = Heavy Metal

    AC/DC = Hard Rock


    That's just a very broad and general comparison, I could go on for days.

    "Music makes the world a better place. Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

    Jimi Hendrix.

  • AC/DC is listed as a Heavy Metal band in google. LOL. I agree with your list but you must "define" the difference with words. ;)

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • I give up lol, I mean Lemmy called Motorhead rock n roll hahahaha


    I guess Hard Rock is over driven guitars, Heavy Metal is distorted guitars (big difference) and sometimes harsher vocals, but I can't even stand by those words when Motorhead come into play. Back in the day AC/DC were known as Heavy Metal, but then Heavy Metal happened in a big way, AC/DC are definitely Hard Rock, and Metallica is definitely Heavy Metal.

    "Music makes the world a better place. Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

    Jimi Hendrix.

  • In my mind, it’a primarily subject matter.


    Hard Rock is frequently rooted in celebrating sex, drugs and rock and roll as topics. Often (but not exclusively) pentatonic/blues/mixolydian based.

    for me is the other way Heavy Metal is frequently rooted in celebrating sex, drugs and rock and roll as topics

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  • for me is the other way Heavy Metal is frequently rooted in celebrating sex, drugs and rock and roll as topics

    I think rock and roll came first, and then the sex and drugs. Then came heavy metal, and then kids got lazy and just did metal. (chug-chug-chug). :P

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • there was an interesting documentary made in 2005 that got into the territory of trying to categorize heavy metal. It's a pretty good show to watch. The author created an elaborate "family tree" in which he defines more than 20 distinct genre. It is also a function of time, some of the categories only existed for a certain period of years (for example,

    Cream; Jimi Hendrix; Blue Cheer; Deep Purple; Led Zeppelin; MC5; Mountain; The Stooges; Black Sabbath


    Wikipedia link given below.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…_A_Headbanger%27s_Journey

  • (Classic )Heavy Metal is the next level on the "heavy" scale. See the career of Judas Priest as an example of leaving "rock" behind and define the heavy metal genre.

    Thinking of Heavy Metal, great singing is characteristic!!


    And Geoff Tate, Michael Kiske, Rob Halford, Simone Simons, Harry Coklin, Devon Graves, Stu Block, Todd La Torre, Floor Jansen, thousand others... can sing Wheresthedug 😉

  • And Geoff Tate, Michael Kiske, Rob Halford, Simone Simons, Harry Coklin, Devon Graves, Stu Block, Todd La Torre, Floor Jansen, thousand others... can sing Wheresthedug 😉

    couldn’t agree more 👍


    I was being a bit tongue in cheek but much of today’s metal is just unlistenable to me (personally) because of the current trend for the low register roar vocals. They are supposed to be heavy and aggressive but they always just sound like a pantomime villain to me 🤣


    There is undoubtedly some incredible guitar playing in lots of modern metal but I just can’t listen long enough to hear it. Oh the joys of being a grumpy old man 😁