Avant-Garde Metal

Primary Stylistic Influences (Avant-Garde):
Stylistic Influences (Experimental):

Avant-garde metal, also called "art metal" or "avant-metal", is a subgenre of Heavy Metal defined by the liberal use of innovative, Avant-garde Music elements such as unconventional instruments, song structures and playing styles. It evolved out of Progressive Metal with influences from jazz fusion, classical and extreme metal, and is primarily characterized by extreme musical virtuosity, a near-abandonment of heavy metal standards and a highly polished, technical sound. Avant-garde artists often seek to create an unusual, highly varied sound, in the same vein as most Progressive Metal artists. The two genres often overlap and may sound confusing to some listeners, but the main difference is that avant-garde metal artists usually take an additional step beyond and strive to push the boundaries of what's musically possible in heavy metal.

Often listed as a sister genre to avant-garde metal is the aptly-named "experimental metal" subgenre, which refers to a subgenre of metal, more specifically a direct offshoot of extreme metal that focuses on creating a bizarre, abstract sound through large-scale experimentation, the use of nonstandard sounds, extended playing and vocal techniques, varying degrees of musical manipulation, and the infusion of sounds from different and disparate musical genres aside from metal, akin to Alternative Metal and Nu Metal.

As with Alternative Metal and Nu Metal, avant-garde metal and experimental metal are often used interchangeably, and like the former two genres, metalheads will often argue that avant-garde and experimental are the same thing, but in recent years, a distinction between avant-garde and experimental has arisen, with "avant-garde" being more about musical innovation while "experimental" being more about Genre-Busting. Both subsets, however, remain very loosely defined, as bands that fall into either one or both genres also overlap considerably with other related genres such as progressive or alternative metal.

A partial list of bands and artists considered as or frequently associated with avant-garde metal and/or experimental metal include the following:

The avant-garde and experimental metal subgenres provide examples of the following tropes: