My Metal Playlists
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When I'm not working on my dark fantasy art, I love making metal playlists. I mostly focus on subgenres from the 1980s, including heavy metal, power metal, speed metal, thrash metal, and death metal. I've spent the past decade building comprehensive Spotify playlists dedicated to this music, and I try to show as much love as possible to underground artists.
This page includes the playlists that I personally listen to the most, are the most thoroughly curated, and have the most engaged and fastest-growing audiences.
NWOTHM / New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal
For many long years I lamented the death of traditional metal and the fact I'd never hear a new album I loved as much as Judas Priest's Defenders of the Faith or Armored Saint's Raising Fear. Mercifully, my torment was ended in the late 2000s as music in the vein of '80s-era heavy/speed/power metal experienced a massive and massively worthwhile revival that is still running strong. My NWOTHM playlist is lovingly dedicated to traditional metal bands of the 21st century.
Power Metal / Speed Metal
Easily the most challenging list I've ever built and the one that has been the most personally satisfying to me, this playlist carves a narrow path through the immense world of power metal for a collection of high-energy tracks with old school roots. This playlist represents the sounds of early European power metal with roots in heavy metal and hard rock, and it celebrates that lineage with no-frills power metal tracks from the 1980s to the present. Fans of Running Wild and early Blind Guardian, eat your hearts out.
'80s Underground Metal / Old School Metal
The '80s were a pivotal decade in the the history of heavy metal, and bands often blurred the lines between the still-developing sounds of heavy, speed, power, and thrash metal, and delivered the results with in-your-face attitude. This playlist embraces that spectrum of early metal music with an emphasis on independent and small-label releases produced with dungeon-like grit. If I had to pick one playlist to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be this one.
Thrash Metal / Speed Metal From the Depths
A somewhat under-the-radar metal revival of the 21st century, music in this playlist represents a wonderful melting pot of influences from old school thrash metal, speed metal, black metal, hardcore punk, and other closely related styles of music. Unlike the more polished, mainstream thrash revival, bands in this style embrace a gritty, lo-fi sonic approach and experiment with a variety of genre combinations for an incredibly deep and satisfying world of music with a steady stream of great new releases.
Death Metal / Brutal Death Metal
It's an unbelievable time to be a fan of death metal. The genre is absolutely on fire right now, from terrific OSDM releases to increasingly brutal, slamming, and technical offerings, there is so much flavor and variety available in the world that it's almost impossible to keep up with it all. This playlist is dedicated to the most savage, well-produced death metal of the 21st century, and it emphasizes releases with a meaningful creative connection to the heart of the old school genre.
Dungeon Synth / Fantasy and Medieval Music
An ultra-niche genre developed by black metal artists like Mortiis and Burzum in the early '90s, dungeon synth has seen an explosion of new music in the past decade, spreading out across a range of closely related styles including dark ambient and medieval folk music. This playlist focuses on melodic music within this realm and includes obscure, lo-fi creations alongside more popular fantasy-themed artists like Adrian Von Ziegler. This is a great playlist for gaming or working on art projects.
Darksynth / Dark Synthwave
A surprising and eccentric contemporary music genre, darksynth takes '80s horror movie scores and chiptune melodies and mashes them together with metal, EBM, and EDM. Originally a splinter subgenre of synthwave music, darksynth has increasingly merged with modern EDM and cyberpunk for a sound that defies eras and easy classification. It's violent, it's gritty, and it's enormously fun to play at high volume. This darksynth playlist emphasizes the most aggressive and energetic creations from the genre to date.