I was thinking of doing this list anyway, and with the announcement of a theme song contest it seemed like the right time. Over the years I’ve compiled a list of musical genres (using multiple sources), and I recently decided to look through it for creepy and unsettling sub-genres. I know that a song of any genre can be creepy based on content and intent, but the following are musical genres noted by music experts for being creepy, dark, and/or disturbing (or, in a couple instances, that I personally found unsettling). Here are some notes before we go any further.

1. I’m presenting the majority of this list neutrally, neither supporting nor opposing the genres presented, and I am in no way trying to insult anyone or anything. I don’t want to hear someone claim I’m “picking on” their favorite genre or giving unfair promotion to their least favorite genre. I trust this won’t be an issue, but I don’t want anyone to bring up any genre or sub-genre, whether listed here or not, in order to insult any belief system, race, nationality, etc. For instance, don’t say that music from a certain country is creepy because you think people of that nationality/ethnicity/race are creepy, or that music made by people of a certain belief system is creepy because their beliefs are different from yours. I’m sure the majority of users here understand this (I’m saying this more for outsiders who want to make trouble), but this blog is a not a platform for hatred, discrimination, and ignorance. I actually have found three sub-genres of music (one rock, one hip-hop, and one metal) which promote antisemitism and Aryan supremacy, but I’ve chosen not to list them because I don’t want to give them any publicity.

2. I assure you that I didn’t make up any of these sub-genres. I found them while doing research on musical genres. Please don’t heap excessive criticism on me by making comments like, “Oh, you’re dead wrong! So-and-so isn’t an example of this genre! You’re an idiot!” because for the most part I’m just repeating information from other sources. The descriptions are generally copied or paraphrased from the sources as well (I’ve received permission from most of my sources to use or paraphrase their descriptions). You’re free to feel however you want to about the genres presented, but keep in mind that just because you don’t find a genre dark or creepy doesn’t mean other people don’t, or that it’s not considered by many people to be dark or creepy by definition. I apologize for not explaining all the terms used, but doing this drained me. There are a number of sources for researching any terms or genres you’re unfamiliar with.

3. This isn’t for songs that are creepy; it’s for genres. I know this thread will probably inspire smart-aleck remarks like “It’s scary that Justin Bieber is so popular!” or “It’s scary how infectious ‘Want U Back’ is!” Just keep it to a minimum because I don’t want this to devolve into just some blog ragging on pop stars. You can start your own blog to indulge in comments like that. Also, let’s not use this thread to start cracking on things like a performer’s personal appearance, relations, etc. I didn’t create this blog so people could be bullies about pop stars they don’t like.

Okay, let’s begin!

Alternative, Outsider, & Indie

  • Aggrotech- a form of EBM characterized by harsh song structures, aggressive beats, and militant, aggressive, or explicit lyrics. The vocals are usually distorted to sound hoarse, harsh, and without tone, and atonal melodic structures are often used. Also known as terror EBM and hellektro. Examples: Aghast View, Suicide Commando, Psyclon Nine.
  • Dark indie- a form of indie which is dark and moody, yet doesn’t cross the line into goth rock. Also known as dark indie rock. Examples: DJ Scary Lady Sarah, Violet Grey, Ours, eNTERTAINME.nt.
  • Dark industrial- a combination of dark ambient and industrial. It is harsher than dark ambient, with waves of static and eerie melodies in place of droning and distorted samples. Examples: Gruntsplatter, Innana.
  • Darkwave- goth rock combined with electro or industrial. Also known as electro-goth and industrial goth. Examples: “Kiss” by London After Midnight, “Dollhouse” by Switchblade Symphony, “Dreams of the Many” by Mors Syphilitica.
  • Deathcore- a type of industrial techno which combines gabber, jungle, and death metal. It features fast bass kicks, breakbeats, and death metal samples. Example: “Demon Slut” by DJ Tron, “Multi Death Clan” by Slavery, “I Hate You” by Siege & Menace.
  • Death industrial- a form of industrial which is similar to power electronics, but with a deep, atmospheric sound with some thematic similarity to doom or death metal. It often features a more flowing rhythm and a deeper, less abrasive sound than power electronics. Examples: The Grey Wolves, Brighter Death Now, Atrax Morgue.
  • Electro-goth- 1) a form of electronic music combining goth rock with elements of aggrotech, fututrepop, or electropop. Examples: Blutengel, Tristesse de la Luna, Das Ich. 2) see darkwave
  • Electro-industrial- music which focuses on the experimental and electronic edge of industrial music. It is very aggressive with confrontational lyrics and samples. Also known as agro-industrial, aggro-industrial, aggro, post industrial, and elektro. Examples: My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Pigface, Cubanate, Haujobb, Front Line Assembly, Leaetherstrip.
  • Ethereal- the goth equivalent of ambient. It is incredibly operatic, melodramatic, dark, and morbid, and has pagan themes and chanting. Also known as neo-folk and ambient goth. Examples: “Opening of the Wound” by Arcana, “Sidhe” by Love Spirals Downwards, “Our Lady of the Stars” by Coph Nia.
  • Goth rock- hard rock with gothic themes such as darkness and desolation. Also known as goth, trad goth, and gothic rock. Examples: Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, the Sisters of Mercy.
  • Grunge- a type of hard rock that combines elements of metal, punk, and alternative. It is weighty but generally fairly slow, with a scowling, grinding feel, very distorted guitar sounds, growled vocals, and angry lyrical content. Because the majority of grunge groups were from Seattle, grunge has also been called the Seattle Movement or the Seattle Sound. Examples: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Soundgarden. [Note: I included this because there have been some disturbing grunge songs]
  • Industrial- an abrasive, aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music. It has harshly distorted guitars, illegible vocals, and hard, driving rhythms. It is often fiercely political, interweaving media clips, political speeches, and sound effects. Examples: Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails (just don’t call it that to Trent Reznor’s face. He doesn’t like that name).
  • Industrial rock- a form of industrial using more elements of rock. It is an aggressive mix of harsh guitar, media sampling, distorted vocals commenting illegibly on social decay, and the rhythms of industrial dance. Also known as coldwave and industrial electronic rock. Examples: Ministry, Killing Joke.
  • Industrial techno- a fusion of industrial and techno. It includes mechanical sound design and dark melodies. Examples: Thomas P. Heckmann, Empirion, Neatek, “10 Seconds Left” by Hypnoskull.
  • Noise/shock- a form of industrial which focuses on creating brutal, ear-shattering noise, mostly for shock value. Examples: Boyd Rice, Monte Cazazza, Throbbing Gristle.
  • Sadcore- slow, fragile, gut-wrenching form of alternative music made by and for the depressed. It is downbeat and has themes of heartbreak, loss, and misery. Examples: American Music Club, Red House Painters.
  • Terrorcore- harder, faster deathcore with a simpler beat. The bass kick is so fast it almost sounds like one continuous noise. Examples: “Manic Cure” by DJ Dano & Liza ‘n’ Eliaz, “Senses Inadequate” by Sunjammer, “Welcome to Oblivion” by DJ Jappo, “Real Hardcore” by Delta 9, “Evil Church” by Alcore, “Cannibalistic” by Androgyn Network.


  • Tape music- music consisting of the fragments, loops, samples, and speed manipulations of pre-recorded sounds, their alteration, and use in modern composition. Phase music is a form of tape music pioneered by Steve Reich. It varies the tempos and start times of musical or spoken phrases to produce hypnotic, overlapping cycles. Bob Ostertag and Terry Riley are examples of tape music while Steve Reich is an example of phase music. [Note: I included this because I personally found the examples I heard to be creepy. I just found it unsettling to hear the same phrase rapidly and endlessly repeated]

Blues and R&B- For the record, blues music isn’t all sad and downbeat. Blues covers various aspects of life, so there are happy, upbeat blues songs (such as “I Got A Woman” by Ray Charles). However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are blues songs that are chilling. I could do a blog post on just how unsettling the music of Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) is. I’ve said that Leadbelly music will give you chills in summer, but is good listening.

  • Blues- an emotional form of music which provides relief from the pain of life’s woes. It uses a twelve-bar musical pattern and is one of the forerunners of jazz. Examples: B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin.
  • Folk blues- folk music with blues style, usually played on non-electric musical instruments. Examples: Leadbelly, Jesse Fuller.
  • Songster blues- a form of country blues using older non-blues and folk-based material. Examples: Mance Lipscomb, Leadbelly. [Note: I included folk blues and songster blues because of Leadbelly]

Country & Bluegrass

  • Deathcountry- a form of country music which mixes traditional country music with a morbid anarchist punk and psychobilly attitude. Its sound resembles traditional country and folk music from the 1930s and 40s, and lyrics are about social misfits, outlaws, death, and rebellion. Examples: Hank Ray, Coffinshakers, Undead Syncopators.
  • Gothabilly- fusion of rockabilly and goth rock. Examples: The Coffinshakers, Frankenstein, Ghoultown, Scary Boom.

Dance & Electronic- A lot of dance music is happy party music, but there are some sub-genres that are hard and unsettling. Also, a lot of people who make electronic music are more interested in experimenting and creating new music (sometimes falling into the avant-garde category of music), so they really don’t care whether or not anyone can groove to their music.

  • Ambient- a minimal form of music based on timbre, texture, and deliberate, somewhat randomly shifting structure. It interplays various atmospheric elements to define rhythm. Examples include Brian Eno, Jean-Michel Jarre, Ray Lynch, The Orb, Amorphous Androgynous, and Future Sound of London. Organic ambient is a sub-genre of ambient which integrates electronic, electric, and acoustic instruments. It tends to incorporate influences from world music and is intended to be harmonious with nature. Nature inspired ambient music is ambient music composed from samples and recordings of naturally occurring sounds (which are sometimes mixed with urban or found sounds). Ambient electronic is a combination of ambient and electronic. Steve Roach and Tuu are examples of organic ambient, Weather Report by Chris Watson and much of Substrata by Biosphere are examples of nature inspired ambient, and The Orb and Future Sound of London are examples of ambient electronic.
  • Dark ambient- dark, cold, and/or dreary ambient music which relies on texture and dissonance to evoke a spooky or dismal atmosphere. It makes extensive use of reverb and filters to create menacing, brooding soundscapes. Examples: Nurse with Wound, Psychick Warriors, K.K. Null, Main
  • Darkpsy- a dark, scary, chaotic form of psychedelic trance. It typically has flat production, flat, rolling basslines, and dark, rolling sounds. It may also have psychedelic sounds mixed in. Also known as Russian style. Examples: Nexus, Va, Hammering The Gates Of Soul, Karmageddon.
  • Darkstep- two-step D ‘n B with an unhealthy dose of evil. It is more organic and broodingly evil than techstep and not as hard as hardstep. Examples: Dieselboy, “Paradoxon (Hard Edged 05)” by Hexer, “Hybris/Hedonist” by Panacea, “Gamma Ray” by Biostacis.
  • Dark trance- trance which features cold, unfeeling, staccato synthlines and twitchy pulses. It is focused on technology and has some goa influences. Examples: Mind of Man” by De Niro, “Our Darkness (Total Eclipse Mix)” by Anne Clark, “Hardwired” by Plastic Angel.
  • Death techno- a fusion of techno and death metal. Examples: The Berzerker, Technic Conspiracy, The I.E. Rebellion, The Cactuses.
  • Demoncore- a very dark and evil-sounding form of 4-beat using 909 kick drone and sick, twisted synths. Example: BILE.
  • Doomcore- 1) a form of 4-beat similar to demoncore, but a bit more industrial sounding. Examples: The Horrorist, The Mover, Reign. 2) a term used to describe genres such as sludge and slowcore. Examples: Burning Witch, Brainoil, Molehill, Noothgrush.
  • Gloomcore- a gloomy style of techno similar to minimal techno. It has very simple music and very dreary spoken words or monologues usually concerning drugs or drug users. Examples: Green Velvet, The Horrorist.
  • Illbient- a frequently disturbing form of dark ambient music featuring down-tempo, breakbeat oriented rhythms and heavily filtered/nonmelodic elements. Atmospheric illbient has less emphasis on rhythm. DJ Spooky, DJ Olive, “Rabbit in Your Headlights” by Unkle, and “I Asked for Water” by Spectre are examples of illbient while “Phase Interlude” by DJ Spooky is an example of atmospheric illbient.
  • Isolationist ambient- dark ambient music inspired by industrial, noise, and classical music. It is often dirge-like and repellant. Examples: Robert Fripp, Jeff Greinke, Iszoloscope.
  • Psychedelic trance- trance containing elements of psychedelic. It comprises psytrance, Goa trance, progressive psytrance, and horror trance. Horror trance, such as Xenomorph, Sandman, and Marchaos, is dark psytrance with samples from horror movies and often mythological or Satanic themes. Also known as horrorpsy.
  • Psytekk- evil, depressing, gut-wrenching, hopeless minimalist psytrance. It uses the basslines, synth sounds, and beats of psytrance, but adds the minimal progressions of hard minimal techno. Also known as minimal psytrance, psy techno, and tech-psytrance. Examples: “There Ain’t No Answers” by Necton, “Sidewinder” by Spirallianz, “Human Evolution” by Cosma.

Folk- Like the blues, folk music can cover a range of topics ranging from inspirational to disturbing. I once saw a short film on BET featuring a folk song about slave auctions. The line that unsettled me was “Don’t mind her tears, that’s one of her tricks.” In other words, the auctioneer was telling the potential buyers not to consider the woman a human being despite the fact that she was obviously crying in despair.

  • Apocalyptic folk- a form of music combining traditional folk styles with themes of ruin, destruction, war, loss, grief, misery, misanthropy, and various forms of apocalypse. It uses elements of industrial, noise, and goth and is heavily associated with the World Serpent Records label. Like psych folk, it incorporates world music, strange sounds, and trippy lyrics. However, it’s concerned with horror fiction while psych folk is concerned with fantasy fiction. Much of this music is focused on the reaction of an individual to a world that’s been utterly corrupted. Examples: Current 93, Death in June, Sol Invictus, Neurosis, Isis.

Latin & Brazilian

  • Conjunto and norteño- Conjunto and norteño (also known as la musica norteña) are often used interchangeably. Both terms describe a small-group dance music which is driven by accordion and bajo sexto, native to Texas and northern Mexico, and identified with the working class. The only real differences are location and song preference. Conjunto favors the ranchera song form while norteño favors the corrido song form. Narcocorridos, following the tradition of the corridos, is norteño with themes of drug-running. Conjunto Bernal, Conjunto Casino, and Tony de la Rosa are examples of conjunto, Ramón Ayala, Flaco Jimenez, and Los Huracanes del Norte are example of norteño, and Los Tigres del Norte are an example of narcocorridos. [Note: I’m including narcocorridos simply because it’s the Latin equivalent of gangsta rap. I used to have a Los Tigres del Norte album, and the very first song opened with the sound of gunshots. Other songs had the sounds of revving cars and crowing roosters, so it was interesting]


  • Barbarian black metal- extreme black metal with themes of paganism and barbarism. Example: Bal Sagoth.
  • Battle metal- 1) a form of black metal with themes of medieval or fantasy battle. Most bands who play this style also perform other styles of black metal. Examples: Summoning, Bathory, Waylander. 2) a fusion of symphonic death metal and power metal. Examples: In Flames, Arch Enemy, At The Gates.
  • Blackened death metal- a fusion of death metal and black metal. It has the blistering percussion of black metal and the bass rhythm-line usually heard in death metal. Also known as blackened death. Examples: Dissection, Behemoth, Zyklon.
  • Blackened thrash metal- thrash metal fused with elements of black metal, or black metal fused with elements of thrash metal. Also known as black/thrash and thrash/black metal. Examples: Melechesh, Venom, Absu.
  • Black metal- a darker form of death metal, often with satanic themes. Examples: Mayhem, Gorgoroth.
  • Celtic metal- a style of black metal which focuses on Celtic mythology. It uses both traditional metal instruments and traditional Celtic instruments. Celtic battle metal combines Celtic metal and battle metal, Celtic doom metal combines Celtic metal and doom metal, and Celtic pagan metal combines Celtic metal and pagan metal. Cruachan, Geasa, and Waylander are examples of Celtic metal, Bran Barr and Belinus are examples of Celtic battle metal, Cryptical Realm, Mael Mordha, and Wreck of the Hesperus are examples of Celtic doom metal, and Aisling, Ogmias, and Primordial are examples of Celtic pagan metal.
  • Classic doom- melancholic doom metal inspired by Black Sabbath and the NWOBHM movement. Examples: Candlemass, St. Vitus, Reverend Bizarre, Solitude Aeturnus.
  • Dark metal- heavy metal which adds elements of doom metal to death or black metal. It has synthesizers, acoustic guitar experimentation, and/or operatic female vocals. Examples: Samael, Tiamat, Therion, Crematory.
  • Death metal- metal with themes such as dying and graveyards. It is very heavy with heavily distorted guitar and bass and hoarse or growled vocals. Symphonic death metal is death metal in which harmonies and melodies are much more present in the guitar work. Also known as melodic death metal. Technical death metal is death metal in which musical complexity and skill is the main focus. Also known as progressive death metal. Brutal death metal combines certain aspects of the song structures of grindcore with death metal. Also known as deathgrind. Doom death is a slowed down, melancholic form of death metal inspired by doom metal. Slam death metal is characterized by frequent hardcore punk-like breakdowns and ultra-low, grunting vocals. Sepultura, Obituary, and Entombed are examples of death metal, At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Arch Enemy are examples of symphonic death metal, Gorguts, Cynic, and Death are examples of technical death metal, Suffocation, Cryptopsy, and ORIGIN are examples of brutal death metal, My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Paradise Lost are examples of doom death, and Devourment, Internal Bleeding, and Dying Fetus are examples of slam death metal.
  • Death rock- 1) a more direct, simple, and driving form of death metal. Example: later works by Entombed. 2) see goth metal
  • Death thrash- thrash metal with elements of death metal. Examples: Benediction, Cancer, Konkhra, Criminal.
  • Doom metal- slow, sludgy, creepy metal which focuses on mood and feel. It features deliberate pace and murky guitars. Examples: Trouble, Cathedral.
  • Drone doom- a form of doom metal which is more basic than funeral doom and is influenced by noise and ambient. Vocals, drums, beat, and rhythm are often absent. Heavy use of feedback is typical. Examples: Sunn O))), Earth.
  • Extreme metal- a term applied to heavier, more aggressive forms of metal, such as black metal, death metal, doom metal, and thrash metal. Also known as ultra-metal. Examples: Black Sabbath, Viper, Slayer.
  • Extreme music- a term used to describe music containing one or more elements abhorrent to the average listener. The elements include unusual tempos and song lengths, excessive volume and noise, and unusual, often jazz-based, time signatures. Songs may also contain highly obscene, violent, or nonsensical lyrics. The term includes extreme metal, grindcore, mathcore, noise, and speedcore. Examples: Death, Knut, Merzbow, Napalm Death, Throbbing Gristle, Venom.
  • Florida death metal- aggressive, brutal music from Florida’s death and doom metal scene. It tends to have growling, grunting, or screaming vocals and unintelligible lyrics. Some songs use heavy synthesizer effects, and the production quality is less than perfect. Examples: Obituary, Massacre, Nocturnus.
  • Folk/black metal- a combination of folk metal and black metal. It mixes fast, chaotic riffs with slower acoustic or folk interludes. Examples: Old Man’s Child, Graveland, late Bathory.
  • Funeral doom- a slower, stripped-down version of doom death. It has a strong atmosphere of despair and emptiness. Examples: Skepticism, Funeral, Thergothon, Evoken.
  • Gorecore- a form of grindcore which is similar to goregrind, but is stripped of its grindcore nature blastbeats and has more emphasis on sloppy or abject punk style. Examples: Cannibal Corpse, Aborted.
  • Gore Metal – a macabre form of heavy metal with themes of gore, horror, and other sick or taboo subjects. Examples: Mortician, Exhumed, Cannibal Corpse.
  • Goth metal- fusion of heavy metal and goth rock with some punk influences. This style was originally called death rock or death punk. Also known as gothic metal, Batcaver, 80s goth, monochromatic punk, old school goth, PIB (Person in Black), positive punk, and punky-goth. Examples: Type O Negative, ChristianDeath.
  • Grindcore- a highly aggressive form of death metal characterized by short, apocalyptic blasts of noise played on standard heavy metal instrumentation, unconventional structure, and textured vocals. It combines the musicality of death metal with the attitude and grittiness of punk. Political grindcore has politically aware lyrics and is often associated with the anarchist punk and crust punk movements. Goregrind has gore obsessed lyrics, more of a groove, and pitchshifted vocals. Cybergrind utilizes drum machines and other electronic sounds. The lyrics usually revolve around very politically incorrect subjects, such as drugs and violence. Also known as eGrind, digital grindcore, and digigrind. Pornogrind is groovy with sexually explicit lyrics and less of a death metal sound. Napalm Death is an example of political grindcore, Carcass and Vomitorial Corpulence are examples of goregrind, Agorophobic Nosebleed is an example of cybergrind, and Anal Blast and Gut are examples of pornogrind.
  • Industrial doom- an offshoot of doom death, sludge, and various forms of doom metal which is based on the harsh industrial sounds of Godflesh, Skin Chamber, and early Swans. It is characterized by the heavy use of abrasive electronic elements with the more traditional guitar on top. It is mostly atonal and dissonant and usually shuns melody in favor of sheer aural ugliness. Examples: Zaraza, Wraith of the Ropes, Philistine.
  • Industrial grindcore- a combination of grindcore and industrial metal. Examples: The Berzerker, Wet Creek Manor.
  • Industrial metal- bleak, angst-ridden metal in which the distorted noise of electric guitars is a crucial part. It generally produces greater aggressive force. Cybercore is a form of industrial metal which has more shouted vocals and breakdowns than traditional industrial metal. Ministry and Nine Inch Nails are examples of industrial metal while Fear Factory is an example of cybercore.
  • Mass murder metal- a form of black metal with themes of murderous and criminal acts against people, animals, organizations, nature, etc. It seems to derive themes from famous tyrants and serial killers. Example: Bloodline.
  • Medieval metal- a form of black metal with lyrics and sometimes music about and from medieval times. It contains numerous references to castles, knights, and bloody battlefields. Medieval metal which blends electronic instruments with medieval instruments, or which only uses electronic instruments, is called electronic medieval metal. In Extremo and “Dark Medieval Times” by Satyricon are examples of medieval metal while Tanzwut and Qntal are examples of electronic medieval metal.
  • Melodic black metal- a form of black metal with more keyboards and orchestral pieces than long guitar solos (and sometimes more lyrics). Examples: Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir.
  • Mesopotamian metal- a combination of heavy metal and Middle Eastern music and history. Also known as Mesopotamian black metal. Example: Melechesh.
  • Mythological occult metal- a form of black metal with elaborate studies of obscure mysticism (such as Sumerian and Gaelic). Example: Absu.
  • Necro metal- black metal with buzz-saw-like vocals. Example: Bathory.
  • New York death metal- a percussive, explosive form of death metal with influences from New York hardcore punk. It features a lot of palm-muted riffs and deep, guttural vocals. Examples: Suffocation, Pyrexia.
  • Pagan metal- a form of black metal which draws heavily on pagan, Celtic, and/or satanic imagery. Examples: Acid Bath, Incubus Succubus, Suidakra, Tuatha de Danaan.
  • Pathogrind- an off-shoot of goregrind. While goregrind’s subject matter can deal with gore in general, pathogrind’s specifically deals with pathology. It is greatly influenced by the band Carcass, earning it the nickname “Carcass-clone”. Examples: General Surgery, The County Medical Examiners, Impaled.
  • Psychedelic doom- a combination of doom metal and stoner metal. Examples: Electric Wizard, Esoteric, Grand Magus.
  • Shock metal- metal with elements of shock rock. It’s often characterized by dramatic and outrageous stage performances and appearances. Examples: Alice Cooper, KISS, Quiet Riot, King Diamond, Twisted Sister.
  • Sludge metal- doom metal heavily influenced by grunge. It’s similar to stoner metal, but stoner metal is closer to psychedelic while sludge metal is closer to grindcore and hardcore punk. Examples: Crowbar, Fudge Tunnel.
  • Suicidal black metal- a form of black metal with lyrics concerning depression, death, suicide, nihilism, Satanism, and anti-Christianity. It features a wall of sound musical approach with distorted guitars and synthesizers, hypnotic rhythm patterns, harsh and heavily processed vocals, and low production quality. Examples: Xasthur, Leviathan, Draugar.
  • Symphonic black metal- black metal with thick-pounding instrumentation and sweeping, dramatic soundscapes. It is less harsh than traditional black metal and adds elements of progressive rock and goth metal. It is similar to melodic black metal, but has a lot more orchestral pieces. Examples: The Gathering, Tiamat, Samael, Cruelty and the Beast by Cradle of Filth, In the Nightside Eclipse by Emperor.
  • Tolkien metal- a form of black metal with lyrical themes concerning J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Examples: Isengard, Summoning, Battlelore.
  • Troll metal- a form of black metal dealing with trolls, goblins, and related subjects. It is often related to forest metal because trolls, according to legend, live in the forest and some songs incorporate forest sounds. Examples: Mortiis, Finntroll, Arckanum.
  • Vampyric black metal- a form of black metal focused on vampires and a vampyric lifestyle. Example: Cradle of Filth.
  • War metal- a form of black metal with themes of war, battle, and violence. The two styles are Australian warmetal and the war metal performed by the band Bolt Thrower. Australian warmetal fuses death metal-style drumming and thrash metal-style guitar and bass riffs. It takes imagery from Teutonic, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon mythology and combines it with satanic overtones and a particularly Australian sense of humor. Also known as satanic war metal. Examples include Destroyer666, Bestial Warlust, Abominator, and Vomitor. This style is sonically very different from the war metal performed by Bolt Thrower, which features cartoonish warfare imagery.


  • Anti-pop- an often raw form of rock which, despite being rooted in pop music, uses elements not commonly used in pop. It has dark subject matter (such as drug addiction and sadomasochism) and may use avant-garde influences (such as the use of feedback and amplifier noise in a musical context). Examples: The Velvet Underground, Pere Ubu, Tin Huey. [Note: I’m including this because The Velvet Underground had some disturbing songs (well-written, but still disturbing).]
  • Clockwork punk- a form of punk incorporating ideas and themes from the novel and movie The Clockwork Orange. This includes wearing costumes from the movie and using Nadsat (a fictional language used in both the book and the movie). Examples: The Adicts, the Lower Class Brats.
  • Gothcore- a fusion of hardcore punk and goth rock. Also known as gothic-punk. Example: Sing the Sorrow by AFI.
  • Horror hardcore- hardcore horror punk. The music is fast, abrasive, and similar to thrashcore. Also known as gothic-hardcore, gothic-metalcore, and horrorcore. Examples: Septic Death, Integrity, The Banner.
  • Horror punk- a dark style of punk incorporating goth rock sounds and morbid imagery. It has infectious, hypnotic, hard rock beats and spooky riffs. It can create atmosphere through a song or borrow topics from horror movies. Also known as fiendcore, monster rock, and eereicore. Examples: The Misfits, 45 Grave, Mourning Noise, Mister Monster, Nim Vind.
  • Proto-punk- a consciously subversive style which challenged mainstream rock and the hippie movement. It was often primitive, stripped-down, and aggressive, and frequently dealt with taboo subject matter. Examples: The Velvet Underground, the Stooges, Patti Smith. [Note: Just like anti-pop, I’m including this because The Velvet Underground had some disturbing songs.]
  • Scum punk- a form of punk with lyrics focusing on bizarre sexual acts, bodily functions, drug use, and a “hard living” philosophy. It has a hard sound and is loosely tied to hardcore punk and punkabilly. Examples: GG Allin, The Jabbers, The Murder Junkies.
  • Splattercore- a furious, thrashing fusion of hardcore punk and heavy metal with lyrics inspired by horror films and violent comic books. This term is not to be confused with splatterpunk, which is a literary genre. Example: The Accused.


  • Glam- a form of slashing rock in which the performers adopt a flashy, outrageous, and often androgynous image. Also known as glam-rock and glitter rock. Glam-horror incorporates ghoulish make-up and sinister lyrics. Death glam is a darker, heavier form of glam which incorporates elements of heavy metal, goth rock, punk, and electronic. Alice Cooper is an example of glam-horror while Marilyn Manson, Orgy, and the Murderdolls are examples of death glam
  • Shock rock- rock music dealing with controversial themes in order to shock the listener. It usually involves outrageous stage performances designed to push the limits of decency. Examples: GG Allin, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson.

Urban & Hip-Hop

  • Acid rap- dark, disturbing, shocking, nihilistic, violent hardcore hip-hop, often influenced by rock. It is similar to horrorcore, but is less extreme and doesn’t contain as many shocking lyrics. Examples: Esham, NATAS, D-12.
  • Gangsta rap- rap concerning murder, money, and mayhem. It describes sex, drugs, and violence in detail and contains elements of danger, profanity, and black machismo. West Coast rap, traditionally known as gangsta rap, details sex, violence, and drugs using slow, hypnotic grooves. East Coast hip-hop contains kill or be killed lyrics. Thug portrays crime as a means of surviving or keeping one’s status. N.W.A. and Ice-T, Wu-Tang Clan and DMX, and 50 Cent are examples of West Coast rap, East Coast hip-hop, and thug, respectively.
  • Horrorcore- 1) brutal hip-hop with themes such as horror and dead bodies. Also known as death rap, murder rap, and wicked sh*t. Shy One refers to his music as Rap/Mystic/Horrorcore. Examples: Gravediggaz, Geto Boys, The Flatlinerz, Insane Clown Posse. Also see acid rap. 2) see horror hardcore
  • Juggalo rap- a style of horrorcore performed by the Insane Clown Posse and other members of Psychopathic Records. It has themes of juggalos (the members of the juggalo rap groups and their fans), The Dark Carnival (the juggalo Hell), and Shangri-La (the juggalo Heaven). Toxic rock is a metal version of juggalo rap. Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, and Anybody Killa are examples of juggalo rap while Zug Izland is an example of toxic rock.
  • Psycho rap- hip-hop, such as horrorcore and acid rap, which contains themes of psychopaths committing murder. Examples: Ganksta NIP, Geto Boys, X-Raided, Eminem.
  • Rio funk- a form of hip-hop from Brazil. It sounds like Miami booty shake, but features Portuguese yelling and raps. Also known as Brazilian rap, funky, Brazilian funky, Funk Carioca, and Brazilian funky. Proibidão is a form of Rio funk said to glorify local drug dealers and favela drug lords. The terms funk balls and baile funk are sometimes mistakenly used as synonyms, but they refer to the dance parties where the music is played, not the music itself. Tapinha” by As Meninas, “Eguinha Pocotó” by MC Serginho, “Ta Tudo Dominado” by Furacao, and “Table” by MP4 DJs are examples of Rio funk while “Namoro Depravado” by Movimento Funk Club is an example of proibidão. [Note: I included this because there are reports of vicious gang fights associated with this music, with death threats exchanged between rival performers and even murders being committed]

Let me know what you think (provided you don’t violate any of the rules I humbly requested for people to follow).