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December 19, 2022
Celebrate the history of Metal with these brutal guitars and amplifiers!

Explore Music History: Metal -- From Heavy, to Heavier, to Heaviest

Once feared by parents and politicians alike, Metal has become a respected art form as well as a multi-million-dollar industry -- with thousands of bands playing hundreds of styles around the world. This formerly underground genre has rocketed to the mainstream, thanks to musicians' never-ending desire to wage war on the sacred and the mundane -- with demonic imagery and innovative playing. Metal's electric guitars and high-powered amps fight the good fight in stages, basements, and studios around the globe -- their endless chugging and ferocious wailing forever echoing into the night.

With metal's continuing influence on popular music, there's little chance the world's love of punishing riffs, gruff vocals, and pummeling drums will go away any time soon. Pick up these guitars and amplifiers to start your journey to the depths of sonic brutality!

Explore more music styles with zZounds' gear guides »
Heavy: Classic Metal
Classics are classics for a reason. Ever since metal's mid-'60s roots, certain guitars and amplifiers have called to generations of guitarists like a sinister oracle, urging them to unlock the heaviness within their playing.

Lurking inside these axes and amps is the essence of the classic metal sound and look: high-output tones overloaded with harmonic saturation and sustain, aggressive designs and rugged builds, and an uncanny tolerance for physical and sonic abuse. Any combination of these instruments and amps will get you that classic metal sound that set the world on fire.

Heavier: Metal Goes Mainstream
Discovering the sweetly brutal sound of cranked-up 100-watt amps and blazing riffs was like opening a Pandora's box: with each advancement in heaviness, players just had to have more.

Through the '70s and '80s, innovative guitar makers like Ibanez, Dean, and Jackson improved upon classic heavy metal tones by building even heavier-looking guitars with active pickups and super-fast necks. Amp and speaker manufactures like Laney, Randall, and Orange unleashed amplifiers with dedicated gain channels and solid-state overdrive. Speaker cabinets exploded with 300 watts or more, thanks to beastly Celestion speakers -- all in the name of an ever-heavier sound.

Heaviest: Modern Metal
While the world shook to the pulverizing speed of thrash metal, the unrepentant brutality of death metal, and the endless winter of black metal, guitarists were still unsatisfied. And thus, the sound of modern metal grew heavier still.

The influence of '90s grunge and hip-hop took metal even further, influencing players to slow down, de-tune, and add lower tones with the use of 7-string and 8-string guitars. This simmering cauldron of influences and sounds would eventually boil over and lead to the creation of endless new metal sub-genres -- and metal's acceptance as a legitimate musical form.