Indie, Rock and Metal. What’s The Difference?

What is indie music? How is it different to rock and metal? 

Indie, rock and metal music. The triad of genres generally overshadowed, amidst the commerciality of mainstream music outlets. Often nowadays oppose to rock and metals heyday in 70s North America, this trio including indie take a tactical sellable approach to making music, often fusing with popular sounds to tap into getting tracks and aiming for albums to clinch the top spot on music industry charts. 

Take Bring Me The Horizon’s recent record release amo, an album that’s turned an early deathcore, metalcore and rock repertoire and taken an electro-pop plus pop-rock sonically shifting route with soaring success, as the sixth studio full length landed at a debuting number one record for the band. 

Blurring the lines and bending genres is a given in modern music, as indie, rock and metal merge to muster up sub-genres and spin-off sound under the triad of umbrella terms, making indie-rock an interchangeable mixture of the similarities and differences indie, rock and metal music have amongst an artists soundscape. 

Bring Me The Horizon | TOM SYKES

Indie music bypasses the dictionary definitions of genres. An all-encompassing enigma, indie embodies the independent segments of the music industry. From artists, labels, music to record shops, its do it yourself approach to the runnings of recording and publishing processes make indie mean the self-control of creativity over music. 

Forming the definitive dominating style of music, indie was in and identified as the new prominent, as autonomous artists including Primal Scream and The Smiths emergence amongst the British independent music scene was at the forefront, who’s records lay in the hands and crates of Creation Records and Rough Trade record shops and labels alike. 

Presently, indie is relatively intrinsically identical to its past self. Whilst major divisions tend to dominate over independent imprints in the modern music world, as rosters inclusive of indie-type acts Circa Waves and The 1975 appear frequently on festivals from Coombe Weekender to Neighbourhood Weekender. Seemingly, the soundscape of indie music is non-strict as the ethos of independent music is widespread across the genre spectrum, often incorporating characteristics of both rock, metal and beyond. 

Circa Waves | CLOAKTURE

The realms of rock music have evolved into many entities. Everything from art, glam, progressive to psychedelic is classified and considered as a spectrum of styles, under the popular rock genre. 

Rooting itself in the mid 19th century across the pond in the parameters of America the resonant guitar sounds of rock personified the power the genre held within the market, before making its rhythmic amped-up musical mark amongst British culture. Carving commercial success out of the rock phenomenon it made its emergence onto the festival circuit, with Reading and Leeds, despite its genre diversity widening of late has housed line ups to the world most renowned indie, metal and rock acts across its two-site split. 

Similarly, metal music and its heavy counterpart coincidentally come under the rock classification within music. By Black Sabbath, Kiss and Metallica’s sound standards, the likes of this trio, all veterans of Download Festival have carved out dense distortions of intense instrumentals and virtuosic vocals. These are the type of characteristics that separate metal from indie and rock alike, being its deeper distortions and guitar solos differing from their delicate distortions and guitar riffs. 

Indie, rock and metal all share sonic similarities. Simultaneously merging to frequently form sub-genres, this meddling of music makes the reciprocation of indie-rock and beyond a blurring of the genre lines, often unbeknown to the average music listener. Ultimately, what’s the difference between this trinity of music types? A fine line of individualism and sound divergence separates indie, rock and metal music. 

Header image copyright © Lynyrd Skynyrd



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