Is AC/DC a Metal Band?

by Patria

When it comes to the realm of metal music, few bands have achieved the iconic status and enduring influence of AC/DC. With their electrifying performances and timeless anthems, they have left an indelible mark on the world of rock and roll. But is AC/DC truly a metal band? This question has sparked countless debates among music enthusiasts, and in this article, we will explore the multifaceted nature of their music, the evolution of the metal genre, and the factors that make AC/DC a fascinating case study in the world of metal music.

The Birth of Metal Music

To understand whether AC/DC belongs to the metal music pantheon, we must first delve into the origins of the genre itself. Metal music was born in the late 1960s and early 1970s, characterized by its heavy and distorted guitar riffs, thunderous drumming, and often operatic vocals. Bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are often credited as pioneers of this genre. It was during this period that the foundation for metal music was laid, with its core elements taking shape.

AC/DC’s Early Years: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Genesis

In the early 1970s, AC/DC burst onto the music scene with their debut album, “High Voltage.” This marked the beginning of a career that would span decades and solidify their reputation as one of the greatest rock bands in history. At this stage, their music was undeniably rooted in rock ‘n’ roll, but it showed inklings of what would become their signature sound in the metal music world.

The guitar work of Angus Young, characterized by powerful riffs and blazing solos, hinted at the heaviness that would become synonymous with metal music. Songs like “T.N.T.” and “High Voltage” showcased the band’s energetic and raucous style, setting them apart from the bluesy rock bands of the era. While not quite metal music in its purest form, AC/DC was already pushing the boundaries of conventional rock, laying the groundwork for a future genre crossover.

The Power of Angus Young’s Guitar: A Metal Music Catalyst

Angus Young’s guitar prowess deserves special mention when considering AC/DC’s connection to metal music. His frenetic and electrifying solos added a level of technicality and aggression that was integral to the metal music evolution. Songs like “Let There Be Rock” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” showcased his virtuosity, captivating audiences and inspiring future generations of metal guitarists.

It’s worth noting that AC/DC’s music, while not strictly metal, resonated with metal music fans due to the sheer power and intensity of their performances. Angus Young’s guitar work, combined with Bon Scott’s gritty vocals, created a sonic landscape that blurred the lines between hard rock and metal music.

The Bon Scott Era: A Raw, Rebellious Sound

During the Bon Scott era, AC/DC’s music took on a raw and rebellious quality that resonated with fans of metal music. Scott’s distinctive raspy voice added a sense of danger and attitude to their songs, making tracks like “Highway to Hell” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” anthems of youthful rebellion. While not conforming to the traditional metal music vocal style, Scott’s delivery had an unmistakably edgy quality that appealed to fans of heavy music.

In this period, AC/DC’s music started to lean further into the realm of metal music. The band’s lyrical themes often revolved around hedonism, power, and defiance, which are common themes in metal music. They were laying the foundation for a sound that would eventually lead to their recognition within the metal music community.

Brian Johnson and “Back in Black”: A Pinnacle of Power

Tragedy struck AC/DC with the untimely death of Bon Scott in 1980. However, the band rebounded with the introduction of Brian Johnson as their new vocalist and the release of the iconic album “Back in Black.” This album would prove to be a game-changer, not only for AC/DC but also for their relationship with metal music.

“Back in Black” featured some of the band’s heaviest and most iconic tracks, including the title track, “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Hells Bells.” The album’s thunderous production, driven by Malcolm Young’s rhythm guitar and Cliff Williams’ bass, added a layer of heaviness that brought AC/DC closer to the metal music sound. Brian Johnson’s powerful and piercing vocals were perfectly suited to the album’s aggressive tone, further cementing the band’s status in the metal music sphere.

The Legacy of AC/DC in the Metal Music World

As we reflect on AC/DC’s career, it becomes evident that they have had a profound impact on the world of metal music. Their music may not fit neatly into the traditional subgenres of metal, such as thrash or death metal, but their influence on the broader metal community is undeniable. Bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Iron Maiden have all cited AC/DC as a major influence on their sound.

AC/DC’s ability to bridge the gap between hard rock and metal music is a testament to their versatility as a band. Their music possesses the energy, attitude, and heaviness that metal music fans crave, while also maintaining the accessibility and melody that appeal to a wider audience.


So, is AC/DC a metal band? While they may not fit neatly into the traditional definitions of metal music, their impact on the genre is immeasurable. Their powerful guitar riffs, electrifying solos, and rebellious spirit have resonated with metal music fans for decades. AC/DC’s music occupies a unique space where rock ‘n’ roll and metal music converge, creating a sound that defies easy categorization.

In the end, the question of whether AC/DC is a metal band is less important than recognizing their immense contribution to the world of heavy music. They have transcended genres, inspiring generations of musicians and uniting fans under the banner of electrifying, high-energy rock. AC/DC’s music is a celebration of the power of the electric guitar and the unbridled energy of live performances, elements that are cherished by both rock and metal music enthusiasts.

In a music landscape filled with labels and classifications, AC/DC stands as a reminder that great music knows no boundaries. Whether you consider them a rock band or a metal band, one thing is clear: AC/DC’s music is a force to be reckoned with, and it continues to ignite the souls of all who listen, regardless of the genre they associate with.

In the ever-evolving world of metal music, AC/DC remains a shining beacon of power, energy, and rock ‘n’ roll spirit, reminding us that, in the end, it’s the music itself that matters most.

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