What determines a metal band's subgenre, anyway? The artist? The listener? Or is it the supreme arbiter — whoever submits the band to Metal Archives? Labelling bands is key to how we understand and discover new music, and the process of doing that labelling can be convoluted (and contentious) at times. Sure, back in the 1970s when heavy metal was an exciting new development, it was more of a novelty to ascribe specific terms to bands than anything else, but as the volume of metal has ramped up we've seen an increase in the depth and rigidity of our taxonomy. This has led to innumerable internet arguments, but it's also helped illuminate the sprawling depths of heavy metal.

We got Jon Rosenthal, Andrew Rothmund, Joe Aprill, and Langdon Hickman and myself together to talk about some of the stranger scenarios that genre classification can cause, plus why they're necessary and why there's disagreement on them. This yielded an excellent conversation that is exactly what we wanted to accomplish with our podcast, so we're pleased to share this one with you.

—Ted Nubel

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