10 Amazing Metal Bands That Totally Defy Genre

Celebrating heavy music’s most eclectic and unpredictable artists.

khonsu band
Season of Mist

Let’s face it: We metalheads love to put things into categories. Our genre is one comprised of countless subsects, movements and eras that all readily provoke discussions, each of which separating the rock ‘n’ roll expert from the poseur.

“How amazing was the New Wave of British Heavy Metal?”, “Who was really the first death metal group?” or “Was nu metal really that bad?” are all topics that metal fans usually find themselves debating, while the rest of the world looks into our genre and just sees the one, unilateral style: “Metal”.

But what about those bands that take our affinity for categorisation and spit it back in our face?

The select few that, try as we may, are too eclectic and too unique to wholly fit into just one niche? The following acts have all mastered the supple art of genre-bending, their brilliance resulting in many a rocker looking on and asking “I love it… but just what the hell is it?!”

From cult-adored mavens to up-and-coming connoisseurs, no stone shall be left unturned as we joyfully romp through the most versatile and diverse acts in today’s heavy metal scene.

10. Holding Absence

Somewhere between ambient music, metalcore and melodic hard rock lie the Welshmen Holding Absence, whose eclectic and harmonious tunes are already drawing quite the crowd, even despite their lack of a full-length album.

Since signing to the metalcore Mecca that is SharpTone Records in 2017, the collective have gone from strength to strength, shining not only with standalone singles like “Heaven Knows” and “Penance”, but also in their magnificent split EP with labelmates Loathe, This Is as One.

Musically, Holding Absence are best described as a union of the rampant-yet-harmonic heaviness of early TesseracT and the ambient patience of The Contortionist’s newer material. Lead singer Lucas Woodland’s versatility on the mic is one of the group’s biggest selling points, his clean vocals ranging from abrasive to fully enchanting, with a small handful of unabashed shouts also sometimes sneaking into the fray. The chord-driven guitars of Feisal El-Khazragi and Giorgio Cantarutti are primal and powerful, but never overbearing, often combining with Woodland’s sublime singing to give Holding Absence an accessible edge that very few others on this list possess.

At their rate of progression both music- and popularity-wise, don’t be surprised if you see this hard-rocking and uniquely gorgeous outfit selling out arenas within the next few years.

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