Beneath the darkened cloud of heavy metal, diehard fans speak in the secret language of Subgenre, wherein a limitless combination of “death,” “thrash,” “metal” and “core” can be applied to answer the age-old question of, “What do they sound like?” Similar to jazz and wine buffs, metal fans are collectors and categorizers by nature, always on the hunt for an elusive item or pleasant surprise.
Enter Map Of Metal, by graphic artist Patrick Galbraith and “metal historian” Nick Grant. Don’t let the Tenacious D-style intro fool you: This interactive map of metal (which appears to be some squishy, Little Big Planet-esque version of western Europe) gives a large number of subgenres their due with multiple audio examples. It even lets users adjust the color, visual quality, and audio-stream quality. If you have a big monitor, the full-screen mode is pretty awesome.
Major umbrellas like the new wave of British heavy metal and death metal offer plenty of direct or indirect routes to other locales on the map, all of which provide plenty-to-enough examples. (My only major beef: Grindcore includes three Napalm Death tracks but zero from Discordance Axis or Brutal Truth? That’s a major oversight.)