The 10 Most Surprising Instruments Metal Bands Ever Used


Heavy metal has evolved immeasurably over the past 50+ years, moving beyond its blues roots to subsume a variety of styles within its overall framework. Whether it’s Nightwish and Within Temptation incorporating full symphonies, bands like Ghost breaking out the saxophone for a unique new flavor, or bands like Alien Weaponry and The Hu using historical folk instruments to explore their culture and ancestry, heavy metal can take many forms. and sounds in 2022.

With that in mind, we asked Ade Mulgrew, guitarist of Celtic folk metallers Darkest Era, to choose the 10 times used heavy metal to broaden his sound. These are his choices…

Metal hammer line cut

1. Toaca (Negura Bunget)

“The iconic and sadly defunct Romanian black metal band Negura Bunget used this unusual instrument on their 2006 opus OM. Traditionally used as a call to prayer, the Toacă is a wooden board suspended from a frame and played with a hammer.

2. Morin Khuur (The Hu)

“Also known as the horse’s head fiddle, this is a traditional Mongolian two-stringed fiddle, originally consisting of a string made from the hairs of a stallion’s tail and the another with hair from a mare’s tail. He figures prominently in the Mongolian folk metal band The Hu.”

3. Hurdy-Gurdy (Eluveitie)

“From the 9th century, it is a wooden stringed instrument that works when a wooden wheel, turned by a crank, rubs against the strings. exciting band on stage.”

4. Mouth Harp (Bathory)

“Probably not that unusual for anyone familiar with Scandinavian or Viking culture, the Jew’s Harp (or Jew’s Harp) is a small metallic instrument played by gripping it with your teeth and pinching the metallic tongue. The sound is changed by moving the shape of your mouth, which provides the acoustic chamber.”

5. Saxophone (Shining NOR)

“Not exactly a weird instrument on its own but that’s in the context of metal, and even more bizarre when you consider the avant-garde batshit sounds of the Norwegians Shining. Of course, it’s not as good as careless Whisperbut what is it really?

6. Gaida (Rotten Christ)

“The Southern European equivalent of bagpipes, normally made of sheepskin or goatskin. Rotting Christ’s Nemecic is an absolute banger and sees the band playing the Gaida as the ancient Greeks would have played them. »

7. Liturgical bells/altar bells (Batushka)

“There’s nothing orthodox about using them on a metal album. They’re usually rung during mass whenever the hocus pocus occurs, otherwise known as the Consecration when the bread and wine turn in body and blood of Christ. They are used for the percussions at the beginning of the absolute ripper which is Yekteniya I.”

8. Deer Skull (Agalloch)

“Listen to the 2002 album The coat by Agalloch and you can sometimes hear the sound of a mallet being struck against a hollow deer skull. The resulting effect not only adds to the atmosphere of the album, but also fits in beautifully with the art, themes, and overall aesthetic. A masterful record.”

9. Harp (Ear)

“Eard is an Italian atmospheric black metal project featuring the talents of Glorya Lyr. Unusually, the harp here is part of the fabric of the music, present during relentless blastbeats as well as lighter passages. I’ve never heard the instrument used in a metal context. Wonderful!”

10. Pre-Hispanic Wind Instruments (Cemican)

“This Mexican folk metal band uses pre-Hispanic instruments such as clay flutes, ocarinas and conches to lend their sonic authenticity. Combined with their striking visuals, they make for a very distinctive band.”

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