As of last night, metal-archives.com listed 73,580 metal bands worldwide.
I looked through all their names to find the most common ones. Earlier I Googled “most common metal band names”, with no results. Now, several hours and bloodshot eyes later, I know why.
It is draining to wade through essentially a giant thesaurus of negativity. Metal bands like to call themselves the many (many, many) names of Satan. (There are even six (natch) bands called Satan.) They also call themselves everything that’s wrong with the world. If heavy metal were a singular entity, and its band names were indications of self-estimation, it would have quite the psychological profile.
My methodology was simple. When band names are identical, metal-archives differentiates them by country (e.g, “Abyss (Esp)”, “Abyss (Ita)”, etc.). I considered band names as strictly as possible. Any variation from a name constituted a different name. Thus, “The Abyss” did not count for “Abyss”. Neither would “Abyss” with umlauts, accent marks, foreign spellings, misspellings, or inclusion in a longer name (e.g., “Abyss of Doom”). The results would been different had I been more lenient (“Catharsis”, for example, would have hauled in “Katharsis” and its many variant spellings), but I avoided the headache of exceptions. Only “Abyss” counted for “Abyss”.
Here are the results.
. . .
. . .
Note that these are all one-word names that describe general concepts. Small wonder that uncreative metallers worldwide name their bands after them. No doubt such repetition was inevitable before the Internet. Now that metal-archives is functioning and well-known, there is no excuse for repeating band names.
Age helps. Despite their general-sounding names, “Death”, “Krieg”, and “Rage” all have only one entry, probably because those bands got established early enough to serve notice to the rest of the world.
“Genocide” jumps out with its unfortunate frequency. (“Matricide”, “Parricide”, and “Regicide” get seven, 10, and six nods, respectively. Similarly, eight bands are named “Pogrom”.) There are three Heavens and nine Hells; five Mortals and four Immortals; seven Lords, four Nomads, three Lone Wolves, and three Ninjas; eight Macbeths, two Lord Byrons, and one Wuthering Heights; three Philosophers, one Schopenhauer, and one Nietzschean Reprisal. Nine bands are Nameless, and two are Sin Nombre. Somehow there are three Crapulences and three Intestinal Infections. Two bands have inexplicably called themselves Dormitory.
Thankfully, there is only one Necrogay.