Blending different genres in music is one of the most difficult things to pull off. There are so many elements to take into account, that it can sometimes become a real mess.
Luckily, the ten artists on this list don't fall into that category. Their brave attempts at merging metal with other musical styles should serve as a stark reminder to those who tend to play it safe, that music can continue to evolve if there are forward thinking musicians at the helm.
Some of these artists' musical core is one of rock solid metal, while others use elements of the genre to a lesser (but by no means less effective) extent. Like your music of the smorgasbord variety? Get your peepers on these ten trendsetters then.
10. Chelsea Wolfe (Metal, Folk, Noise Rock)
California based singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has had dark elements in her sound since her first release in 2009, but on her last record particularly, she incorporated metal to a greater extent than ever before.
The empty but visceral Abyss saw the gothic performer venture further into her psyche to produce an album of sheer dread and despair – themes that have never been too detached from the metal genre. It also doesn't hurt when you have backing musicians of the caliber of those featured here, including (among others) experimental instrumentalists Russian Circles, who provide a deep ocean of soundscapes for Wolfe to swim in.
Heavy delights include the depressing spellbinder "Dragged Out", the hypnotic mourner "Grey Days", and one of 2015's best tracks, the incoming tsunami "Iron Moon" – all evidence that this folk rocker can get heavy with the best of them.
Who knows if she will continue along this cold metallic path, but if she does, there's no doubt that this detached crooner will be a worthy contender in the metal scene. Forget Wolf Alice – Chelsea is the true leader of the pack.
9. Astronoid (Metal, Shoegaze, Dream Pop)
Very rarely does music manage to be as beautiful as it is blistering, but dream-pop thrashers Astronoid look to change all that. Their sound is one that soars for the heavens, but gets there through the unconventional means of finger peeling thrash metal.
On paper it shouldn't work, but in reality, it's a match made in heaven…and hell. With only one album to their name so far in the form of Air, the Boston five-piece are already on to something quite unique. The album is a seamless combination of earthy tones and airy atmospherics, not to mention a healthy dose of melodic guitar chords and clean vocal harmonies. Check out album highlight "Up And Atom" if you like your thrash of a more upbeat nature.
If this genre-defying group continue on from this blissful LP in the same manner, metal may have a new name to add to its eclectic artist archive.
8. No Spill Blood (Metal, Electronica)
Electronica has come a long way since its formation, with equipment now able to emulate guitars synthetically. One of the biggest receivers of this technological advancement are Dublin, Ireland's No Spill Blood.
Their insane cauldron of influences include metal, electronica, prog and more, with their debut album Heavy Electricity showing just how heavy things can get even without the use of an electric guitar. The record is practically buzzing with frenetic energy from start to finish, with the band reaching particular moments of enlightenment on the walloping opener "White Out", the Blade Runner-esque speeder "Now II" and the prog-goth titan "Harsh Route".
From horror movie scores to the outer edges of stoner rock, this outside of the box group take a variety of sounds and run them through their synthesizers to create astounding and inventive results.
7. Babymetal (Metal, J-Pop)
Japan's Babymetal are not going to be a favorite among all metal fans, but even the naysayers would have to admit that the group's merging of heavy metal and J-pop is as seamless as it gets.
Like most modern pop music it's annoyingly catchy, but like most modern metal it's also incredibly impactful. This clash of dynamics and styles works wonders for the three-piece, and while their first record was a success, their second was a full on aural assault.
Entitled Metal Resistance, it delves deeper into metal's generous sub-genre pool, adding djent, groove, thrash and more into their already bizarre sound. With tracks like the metal/electro free-for-all "Awadama Fever" and the downtuned ass-kicker "KARATE", Japan's new metal sensations have a tough task following up on their sophomore LP.
For being such an acquired taste, it's incredible how large this idol group's following is. If they can keep delivering the goods like they have been doing, that following is certain to grow.
6. Wand (Metal, Psychedelia)
Goliath riffs and trippy vocals are the order of the day for this space bound trio from California. They are largely indebted to the psychedelic rock sound of the 60's, as well as to the heavy metal sound of the 70's.
They definitely subscribe to their influences' quick-fire way of putting out music, releasing three albums in just one year. It was with 2015's Golem however, where they really cranked the volume dials up. While their psychedelic sound is still intact, they chose to inject some roaring heavy metal qualities into the record, delivering an album of monstrous proportions in the process.
Arguably, the ultimate success on the album when it comes to effortless merging sits with the monolithic structure "Planet Golem". The track epitomizes everything that the group are striving for – weighty and dense music that is somehow light and deft at the same time. They achieve it too. for every doom-ridden note that peppers "Cave In", there's the beautifully delicate vocal melodies of "Flesh Tour" to counter it.
Ever wondered what the missing link between The Beatles and Black Sabbath would sound like? Well you've found it with Wand.
More genre-bending artists on the next page…