December 9, 2009
The Top Five Most Metal Pieces of Classical Music
by Rachel Barton Pine
What is “metal?” A quick search on Wikipedia tells me it’s “a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness;” as for Grove Music Online, academia’s musicological bible, the entire genre is generalized as “distorted guitar ‘power chords’, heavy riffs, wailing vocals and virtuosic solos by guitarists and drummers;” and in most online dictionaries, metal is just “loud and harsh sounding rock music with a strong beat.” These definitions are clearly insufficient. Metal isn’t limited to particular chords, certain instruments, or even a minimum volume level. It’s about the attitude of the musicians and the feeling of the listeners – metal grabs you by the throat, hits you in the gut, tears you down, lifts you up, and makes you feel ALIVE.
So where does metal end and “classical” begin?