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The essential metal flowchart

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Metalheads are, by most anecdotal evidence, the most enthusiastic music fans out there. The spirit of their favorite albums is present in nearly everything they do, say and wear. Metal is a religion as much as it is a musical style.

But to the uninitiated, metal can be an incomprehensible sonic slush--"noise," to use the vernacular. Especially when you get into the myriad sub-genres with names like math-core, blackened crust and deathgrind. The inability for outsiders to speak metal can drive a wedge in relations.

For years, metal has needed a flowchart. Now, thanks to Australian Web designer Patrick Galbraith, it got one better. Map of Metal is an interactive pirate map showing the connections between metal sub-genres along with definitions, history and hundreds of audio tracks. Now non-metalheads can more easily understand the "strong focus on melody and uplifting, positive themes" that define melodic power metal bands like Helloween and Blind Guardian, and how that differs from the "trademark gruff vocals and highly distorted, de-tuned guitar riffing" of death 'n' roll bands like Leech and Wolverine Blues.

With the help of the Map of Metal, parents might be able to understand their children again and childhood friends may find ways to reconnect after so many regrettable things were said about what Slayer would do to Rick Springfield.

Also, Map of Metal is loaded with some gnarly tunes.

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