The Most Popular Words In Heavy Metal Band Names


What are the most popular words used in the names of heavy metal bands? To find out the answer, we looked to Encyclopaedia Metallum, an online archive of heavy metal bands from around the world. The 109,579 bands in the database contain 60,271 unique words. After excluding entries like to, for, and the, as well as one letter initials, we calculated the top 50.

As of late May, when we analyzed the data, the top 50 most popular words in heavy metal band names, in order, were: black, death, dark, dead, blood, hate, hell, eternal, dawn, soul, silence, evil, darkness, chaos, funeral, war, flesh, pain, fire, beyond, god, human, angel, lord, metal, steel, mind, terror, fear, infernal, ritual, decay, sun, last, winter, end, red, project, force, sin, lost, grave, ashes, machine, forest, tears, moon, silent, night, and storm.

Are some words more distinctive to certain countries? The methodology to figure this out is similar to that followed to find the most distinctive obituary euphemisms for death. First, we selected certain countries to get a diverse geographical distribution. Then, for each country the top 20* most popular words were calculated. Finally, for each of the top words, we divided the relative popularity (incidence per 1000 band names) in that country by the corresponding figure in the worldwide list. Total bands are in parentheses.

Argentina (1772): raza 
Australia (2132): internal
Brazil (5163): bestial
Canada (3355): northern
Chile (1740): austral
Egypt (30): hate
Finland (3426): hammer
Germany (9876): ashes
Greece (1782): astral
Indonesia (1307): bleeding
Israel (246): grimoire
Italy (5810): last
Japan (1569): rose
Mexico (2238): mortem
Russia (2560): forest
Spain (3039): negra
Sweden (4105): grief
U.S. (22,921): reign

*In the case of Italy, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Greece, and Chile, more than the top 20 were calculated to accommodate ties in word counts. In the case of Japan and Indonesia, 17 and 18 were used respectively to ensure a minimum count of 5 for each word. In Israel and Egypt the minimum word count was 2. The top 15 words were examined in Israel and in Egypt the one word that met this threshold won by default.