Popular hard genres of rock music

Rock music was born in the 1950s and absorbed many of the currents that were popular at that time, from pop to country, from blues to jazz. Rock is considered the younger but proud brother of rock and roll: it has grown heavier and separated, becoming an independent musical unit.

The electric guitar immediately became the queen of rock, and its anthem was a protest against the state regime, political trends, parents, schools, everything in a row. At that time, no less attention was paid to the text than to the instrumental and vocal parts.

The history of the development of this musical direction is interesting and dynamic, filled with big names and furious guitar cuts. Continuing to develop, rock has stepped over the turn of the century and now covers a lot of directions.

Hard rock

This genre of rock appeared in the 1960s, and found its familiar sound 10 years later. It is characterized by a prominent rhythm section consisting of percussion instruments and bass guitar. The mood of the genre is a protest on a psychedelic wave.

The musicians plunged into an intensive search for themselves and new means of expression.
The main instrument of hard rock is the unchanging electric guitar, accompanied by bass guitar, drums and vocals. A keyboard player later joined as synthesizers gained widespread popularity.

The main melodic device characteristic of hard is a riff, a short piece of music that is performed cyclically. The riff plays throughout the track, becoming part of the rhythm section, but is occasionally interrupted to provide sound for either the vocals or the guitar solo.

A vivid example of a guitar riff sounds in the song “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple: only seven bright repetitive notes have become the hallmark of the band and the whole generation.

Bright representatives of hard rock are groups that have already become immortal: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Queen.

Heavy metal

The younger brother of hard rock, the ancestor of all “metal” in music. It was created in the 1970s by Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. Sometimes there is confusion with names: heavy metal is called all “metal” music, and the child of the 1970s is called traditional or classic heavy metal.

Modern heavy metal is aggression, which is felt in the melody, accelerated tempo, long guitar solos, high vocals (even male), various themes of lyrics: love and death, protest and war, apocalypse and philosophy.

Today, a mix of operatic female singing and harsh heavy music is very popular. A striking example is the legendary band NightWish. Throughout history, soloists have changed in the group, but Tarja Turunen shone the brightest and sang the loudest.


The son of heavy metal and hardcore punk, this genre of rock was born in the 1980s and took hold in the 1990s. This style is strongly associated with the band that sang it, the legendary Nirvana. Other equally popular representatives of the genre: Alice in Chains, Core, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. Now many people think that grunge is dead: the bands of this genre broke up and ceased to exist. However, there is always a place in our memory for him.

Grunge is characterized by contrasting dynamics, “dirty” sounding with frequent alternation of loud and quiet sounds, a gloomy philosophy of texts about loneliness, introspection, freedom and apathy. The name itself defines the style – the term means “something messy, unkempt.”

Leading here, as elsewhere, is the viscous sound of an electric guitar, complemented by such sound effects as distortion and fuzz. There is no place in grunge for long and virtuoso guitar solos: the musicians preferred simpler, blues-style solos, and preferred to focus on singing rather than guitar soloing. Many critics of the time were indignant that grunge killed the guitar solo.

Punk rock

This direction appeared in the 1970s as a loud protest against the pretentious mainstream rock genre. The musicians created short and dynamic tracks with rough vocals and lyrics, harsh melodies and a lot of hatred. Punk preferred to stay in the underground, kept away from the hated mainstream, but its popularity grew.

A unique punk culture arose that lives on to this day. These are leather jackets, and bright mohawks, and studded bracelets and collars. Over time, punk broke up into genres and subgenres, gave birth to an alternative movement, and itself joined the mainstream in the 1990s and became simpler for the sake of commercialization.

Representatives of pop punk – Offspring, Green Day, Blink-182. However, not all fans of true, true punk consider these bands to be their own.

Until now, non-commercial, politicized punk bands roam in the dark basements of the underground, singing against the political and social trends of our time.


Today, both heavy and hard are flourishing, as well as new genres appearing, existing ones are changing. The complaints of the “olds” do not stop, that rock “is no longer a cake.” Perhaps this is so, but nothing prevents a true rocker from enjoying tracks recorded several decades ago, and Kurt Cobain and Freddie will come to life again, and their immortal voices will sound again.