Symphonic Metal

When people think of heavy metal as a genre their mind usually conjures up sounds that are extremely aggressive and fast. However there is a subgenre that adds a refined softness to this kind of music. Symphonic metal combines the heavy guitars and percussion of traditional metal with symphonic instrumentation.

Bands of this type tend to have a female lead singer with an operatic or soft vocal style. Sometimes a secondary male vocalist will add growls to the sound. The juxtaposition of two very different styles helps to create something completely new and innovative. A large number of popular symphonic metal bands come from the Scandinavian region.


This Finnish group has been around since 1996. Their recent album Human II achieved the number one spot in several European charts. Over the years Nightwish has changed its lead singer several times. However, their core symphonic metal style has remained the same. Their lyrics are usually influenced by fantasy novels such as The Lord of the Rings.

Within Temptation

The melodic softness of this Dutch group is mainly due to the heavenly vocals of Sharon den Adel. Rock news sites such as NME have covered the rise in popularity of Within Temptation. They currently have a dedicated fan base from all over the world.


This band was created by the former keyboardist of Within Temptation. Their tracks tend to be fast paced but with tender piano work. The albums of Delain often deal with existential concepts such as mortality and the nature of time.


Apocalyptica were originally a Metallica tribute band which used classical instruments. Eventually they wrote their own original music and took the symphonic metal world by storm. Their sound is somewhat unique in that they refrain from emphasising heavy electric guitars. Instead they favour cello, bass and male vocals.