Metal quest: looking for super-clear “studio” heavy metal

Well yeah Overkill is using the traditional crossover/thrash sound on Infectious, while Megadeth's sweating bullets is not what would be considered traditional thrash based on its sound - it has a more heavy metal vibe. I also wouldn't say that sweating bullets is typical of megadeth's sound - its more of an outlier imo. I wouldnt say that it doesnt have a basic pattern though - it has a very simple pattern/structure, but the guitar and bass are absent outside of the solo and chorus sections.


This is all semantics at this point , but an 'instrumental' is literally a piece of music without vocals. A 'solo' is when a single musician or instrument plays a melody either by itself, with all of the other musician's quiet, or over the rhythm being played by the other musicians. aka you can have a solo on an instrumental track.

Hmm. Well, based on the examples you posted, I think you'd mainly like heavy metal (a totally different sound than thrash metal) and power metal or simply just certain hard rock bands. Most doom metal is very different than what you've posted. The more bluesy doom rock/metal is somewhat in the same region as heavy metal, but the really heavy stoner/doom metal or funeral doom is much different. Sludge doesnt really fit either. A lot of sludge bands use screaming or very 'harsh' vocals and very muddy tone/sound (hence the name). Gothic or symphonic stuff might fit, but you didn't link any.

I'd suggest looking through some advanced search results on encyclopedia metallum:

search #1:
- genre: power/heavy
- only bands that have compilation albums (my thought here is that it will limit things to more established bands. This avoids hundreds of bands who only have 1 album, etc)
- compilation album released between 2000 and 2017

search #2:
Same thing but with power/symphonic genre.

These searches can be further defined with country of origin, etc if you want. Hope these help!

hmm... perhaps something like Sabaton fits your tastes? I'm not a huge fan of them so there's probably better examples than I can give here:

He mentioned them in the OP. I'm a bit stumped tbh. It appears that the goal is a more heavy metal/hard rock sound, but there's not a whole ton of modern bands that employ the old school sounds from these genres - and on top of that, we are trying to avoid old stuff due to the recording quality or the vocal quality O.o

Yeah... he says no growling so that takes out about half of all metal, then he said no clean vocals which takes out anything I'd suggest...

I'd say Paul Wardingham because Paul but no instrumentals... This is very difficult indeed...

Iron Savior maybe?


@insomniac_lemon perhaps take a look at these monthly threads that I make.
All of the threads from 2016 are linked at the top.

Check the 'Misc' sections on each thread. That's where I put all the heavy metal stuff (along with a bunch of other things). Interestingly, I've found that Italy and Greece seem to be cranking out a lot of today's old school heavy metal type stuff. Perhaps something to look into.

Similar-ish to Blind Guardians in the OP:

Have you tried Warpath? Older thrash band, but have good vocals in my opinion:

Amusingly enough I was listening to Batushka while reading this thread. Pretty much the exact opposite of what's desired.

It seems to me that Megadeth has experimented with different sounds ever since the 2nd album... more and more stuff that isn't as high tempo with each album and even so, still not as 'busy' as other Thrash bands. Like some of those you linked have... that tempo that sounds like it's the same guitar+drum combo that is used in tons of other metal songs.

And yeah, I didn't like any of the stuff that you posted :|

My point was that I'm referring to a layer of the track, just like saying vocals. If I talk about how the vocals and instrumentals mix I obviously don't mean them individually. Saying instruments doesn't sound good either because that would be like saying 1 note of the guitar sounded bad with the singer somehow, but no it's what's actually being played.

That was a figure of speech. Like saying "me not having a ride home is like a fish in a tide pool".

Both of those don't work because they rarely have a snarly vocal style (normal singing isn't uncommon). Power metal has a 'smooth' vocal style with no harshness at all. Also I don't actually like much else by Blind Guardian or Alestorm, like I said those are rarities for them.

The instrumentals are alright because they're... well... powerful.

Heavy metal/Hard rock also doesn't have the vocal style and doesn't always have as powerful of instrumentals.

So neither of those work because I still end up not liking 99% of the genre (many heavy metal bands are already on my 'do not like' list...

Not terrible. I'd say I like Marauder better (vocals, instrumentals, and content). Although TBH It's not my style and sounds like something that would play for the intro/outtro of an anime.

Completely different than the song I posted IMO, and like I said I don't like Blind Guardian itself. The other is too growly+stereotypical metal pattern.

Yeah. Megadeth tended to gravitate towards a pretty straightforward heavy metal and hard rock sound during their career after starting out as a heavier thrash band. There's a clear sound change when you get near the Cryptic Writings and Risk era. Then they swap back a bit to a heavier thrashier sound with their newesr stuff. This is why their genre is listed like this on encyclopedia metallum:

Speed/Thrash Metal (early/later), Heavy Metal/Rock (mid)

It sounds like you prefer the Megadeth of the late 90s.

There's other old thrash bands that didn't go nuts with the heaviness and dirty vocals, but I'm not sure if most of the older stuff will fit your criteria for the overall vocal/sound clarity.

Here's some examples. If these are still too thrashy, then you're definitely not looking for thrash.

Sacred Reich




Lääz Rockit


Mortal Sin

Still really confused by the way your are using this word lol. I've never heard anyone use it to mean anything other than a piece of music without vocals (or a collection of music without vocals since the quote is plural). I'd just say that the guitar/bass sound is powerful rather than saying the 'instrumentals are powerful'.

Regardless, you said that you do NOT like stuff without lyrics, right? I would link a bunch of great instrumental stuff, but I think you were trying to avoid that.

I figured that would be the case, but oh well. I'm a big thrash and thrash/death fan, so what you are looking for is a bit left field for me.

Notes: I rant in this, so if you don't want to read that or just can't help me, so be it.

I somewhat like (a bit of problem with repetition) a few of the slower songs by Overkill (like the Killbox 13 album) so I decided to look on metal-archives and it said they shifted to Groove metal which was a genre I didn't remember.

Wikipedia says it "takes the intensity and sonic qualities of thrash metal and plays them at mid-tempo" which sounds like what I'm looking for, but unfortunately sampling a bunch of different bands didn't hold that to be true (and I'm not sure how accurate genre is from the metal-archives search, especially with genre being a complex/erratic thing).

Maybe it's a regional (US) thing? I'm fairly sure it's not just me.

See 2: "relating to, composed for, or performed on a musical instrument"

I'm referring to ALL music played on instruments, including cowbell/piano etc. including the writing of the instruments, too.

If I did somehow pick that usage out of thin air, I still am referring to the instruments as 1 object so it really shouldn't be that confusing.


TBH I don't dislike them but not particularly stuff I would listen to. Mortal Sin is what I'd say I liked most, but it's just... well... boring.

Trying to figure out why I don't like almost all metal, at first I thought it was that I disliked the individual sounds many bands use (like an 'audio meme'... sort of like auto-tune in other genres) but there is actually much more to it than that. My problem is what I've said more than a few times in this thread: repetition.

The fills seem pretty basic most of the time, and the same instruments, similar tone ranges, and not using different effects. The result is that every song ends up sounding similar, if not the same, except for the tempo and some of the fill patterns. And then with so many bands doing this with basically the same settings and different tempo/fill changes with a few chords/licks added in it's not surprising if songs start to sound the same. This is one of the reasons I got tired of metalcore, although a bigger reason for that is because there was constantly noise so the songs basically all turn to mush.

Do you understand what I mean? Do I have to listen to power metal (with mostly inspiring-sounding songs) or go with no sub-genre Heavy Metal in order to get music that actually has variance to it and was written by someone in the band who seems like a good composer?

IF it turns out you want to listen to some power metal I have a thread on this here:

I haven't updated it in awhile... so no blind guardian, gamma ray, helloween, etc. on there yet (not that any of those bands would fit your bill... I'm pretty certain they wouldn't). Also I picked the bands that are on there because they have sounds that stand out in the power metal world. In any genre you're going to get a lot of bands that sound the same so you have to sift through them to find ones that stand out somehow.

You did say Marauder isn't bad and they technically fall under power metal (albeit more of a heavy/power metal subgenre) so that may be where you want to search on the encyclopedia metallum. The subgrenres on that site are pretty decent, not 100% accurate but I'd say 88% accurate? at least from the stuff I've found.

Mmkay. So I thought you mentioned nothing 'technical' in your OP, but if you are bored with the structure of traditional thrash (which can be quite simplistic at times) then it sounds like you'd like something more technical and complex. In that case I would have recommended progressive metal or more technical thrash stuff (ala Coroner, etc) from the get go.

The only problem for you with prog metal is that it is largely divided into 3 camps: (1) traditional prog metal with very clean/classical vocals - i.e. Dream Theater, (2) much heavier progressive death metal, or (3) instrumental prog with no vocals.

If you want, you can look through my prog metal thread. Perhaps you'll like something there.

Also, 'heavy metal' is a sub-genre under 'metal' really. Unfortunately the term became a catch all for all things 'metal' back in the day and a lot of people use the term incorrectly. You can seach for heavy metal bands on encyclopedia metallum and might find something you like. Just make sure to add whatever extra filters you want in order to cut down the list of results.

Here's a good visual representation of metal sub-genres and where they stem from and lead to. It does use 'Heavy Metal' as the net term for Metal but it still shows the branches to other sub-genres. Has music autoplay, player is at the bottom right if you want to mute it.

Map starts at the top-left and scrolls down, maybe you can find something on this just by clicking around?

I doubt you'll find something but maybe you'll be able to more clearly quantify your criteria into a specific set of sub-genres by browsing the ones on the map.

You might like Avatar, they do scream in most songs but generally only to put even more weight behind the last words in a few sentences. The singing is often dynamic and starts instrumental and a soft voice and then they go thru a raspy stage and then lastly the scream you might not like. However i think they do it in a really great way. The song i listed is actually about history but it's not like Sabaton were every song is about history.

Funfact: Avatar only recently got "big" but i remember when i started listening to them 7 years ago or so and had Johannes the lead singer as a substitute teacher :)

See my guidelines #1 and #2.

Drat, I was going to talk about this but forgot!

You might notice one of the songs I posted was by Crimson Glory, which is a bit progressive... the problem with it (and a few other prog bands I've sampled, including Tool and Opeth) is that they vary too much... it honestly seems sort of experimentation (which might seem like a dice roll for finding a good song).

Maybe I just need the right band... at least in other genres there are artists (Like Gorillaz, Talking heads, and David Bowie) that can pull off an impressive sound range yet have a 'style' (mostly with quality, even with vastly different songs you can tell they were written by the same person/people, or at least it isn't out of the ordinary for them).

Or rock in a more general sense, or blues because that's as far back as you can go.

There's so many bands out there, a way to filter out growl/screech and smooth singing (no 'tooth') is almost a requirement to find something relevant. As if my other issues weren't enough.

I've seen that before. Unfortunately since the links are based more on influences (and spatially a bit with eras) rather than core values, some links are hard to see since they don't show up directly (like groove metal I mentioned stumbling across earlier).

The embedded song is alright, but some of their stuff more heavily relies on screaming. Also it's not really my style.

think i sort of get some of what you're describing but.. i would describe it almost the opposite that the metallica and megadeths would be the more cookie cutter/mainstream 'radio metal' if it were

but not really sure how to help lol.. i mean some of the newer 'screamo' whatever stuff is sort of like you described but usually are prepubescent sounding kids and probably more screaming then you want but alot of just singing/not as heavy usually, but also the guitar work etc is bit different where you seem to maybe be wanting more of the classicish like megadeth stuff

so.. something akin to retro games, but for 80-90s mainstream/big4 thrash, where its new bands/new songs but in the same style? but.. not sure what search terms would result in that kind of stuff lol

I said cookie-monster.

K. Thank you for not reading my thread, sorry I have a different taste in music than you.

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Well to take a stab at thrash,
Modern British Thrash band: Evile

and to plug another British metal band:
Die So Fluid

you listed a few major bands, what's your view on Danzig and Alice in Chains.

I know this is an old thread now, but just wanted to offer up Five Finger Death Punch to the mix. One of my absolute favourites right now. Ivan Moody has a fantastic range in his singing IMO, the band features heavily in my day to day listening. Hope that you don’t dismiss them straight off, best album to listen to is “The wrong side of Heaven, and the Righteous side of Hell” vol 1 and 2 to get a good idea of the range that they cover. Hope that helps :slight_smile:
I am a metalhead from way back, and in my late teens (1988-1991 approx) listened almost exclusively to Megadeth and Metallica, but queensryche and others featured occasionally… my walkman was hardly ever off, and must have gone through a fortune in batteries, lol

Allright brother i hope this floats your boat, if not then dont hate on me.
Theres black label society and Brass against. Brass against does covers of old metal songs giving it a modern sound BUT doing justice to it

Super Necro…