Difference Between Rock and Metal

Rock vs Metal

It is universally acknowledged that music has healing powers for just about any mental devastation, music therapy is one of the latest concepts in the up-to-the-minute world. Music in the modern world encompasses diverse genres that emerged and developed over long periods of time. Rock and Metal are such two genres of music. There is difference between rock and metal but they are liable to be confused or mixed-up by some due to a few similarities they share.

What is Rock?

Rock or as officially known rock and roll, is a genre of popular music of which the origin dates back to 1950s United States of America. Rock music, approximately a decade later, developed into a string of styles both in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Rock music itself is extensively influenced by country music and rhythm and blues, another two former genres of music, and also it bears resemblances with jazz, blues, classical, and folk music genres. Speaking of the music of rock, it is centered on the electric guitar and drums and its songs are associated with a time signature of 4/4 and verse-chorus style. The themes of songs of rock music include romance and other distinct social and political themes. Over time, rock music became broader with its large number of diverse sub-genres including alternative rock, art rock, experimental rock, garage rock, grunge, heavy metal, etc.

electric guitar

What is Metal?

Metal music or as formally known as heavy metal, is a sub-genre of rock music that developed towards the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its origins are found largely in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Heavy metal is a subgenre of rock music which highlights volume, power and speed. As well, the characteristics of heavy metal music comprise of long guitar solos in between the songs, huge sound, emphatic beats, and simply extreme loudness. With regard to the themes of the songs of heavy metal, they associate masculinity and aggression. Sub-genres of heavy metal music include black metal, doom metal, glam metal, gothic metal, etc.

Difference Between Rock and Metal

What is the difference between Rock and Metal?

• Rock music originated in the 1950s while metal music was invented in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a sub-genre of rock music.

• Rock music has a lighter distortion in the sound where the metal music has a stronger distortion of the sound created.

• The sound of metal music is deeper and higher than that of rock music.

• The rhythm of metal music consists of emphatic deliberate stress while rock music has an unsyncopated stress in 4/4 time signature.

• Metal music utilizes a guitar power chord while rock music does not.

• Rock music lyrics associate with a wide range of themes such as love, sex, rebellion and other social concerns while metal music themes largely connect to masculinity, aggression and sex.

• Rock musical bands use keyboard as one of their key instruments while metal bands occasionally uses it.

Ultimately, it is obvious that rock is a main genre of music whereas metal is a sub-genre of rock that emerged later. Rock does center on the electric guitar and drum kit and does not produce much loudness while metal music produces amplified loudness by electric guitar, rhythm guitar, drum kit, lead guitar and bass guitar. Reviewing the above differences, one can clearly understand that rock and metal are different from each other.


Photos By: Alexis Fam( CC BY 2.0), Fotografien: A. Klich, R. Schweier, J. RIllich (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Hip Hop and Rock
  2. Difference Between Rock and Punk and New Wave
  3. Difference Between Rock and Rock and Roll
  4. Difference Between Metal and Heavy Metal