Type of site
|Music database, reviews|
|Created by||Morrigan, Hellblazer|
|Launched||July 17, 2002|
Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives (commonly known as Metal Archives per the URL or just MA) is a website which lists bands of predominantly metal music and its various sub-genres. Encyclopaedia Metallum was described by Matt Sullivan of Nashville Scene as "the Internet's central database for all that is 'tr00' in the metal world." Terrorizer described the site as "a fully-exhaustive list of pretty much every metal band ever, with full discographies, an active forum and an interlinking members list that shows the ever-incestuous beauty of the metal scene". Nevertheless, there are exceptions for bands which fall under disputed genres not accepted by the website.
Encyclopaedia Metallum attempts to provide comprehensive information on each band, such as a discography, logos, pictures, lyrics, line-ups, biography, trivia and user-submitted reviews. The site also provides a system for submitting bands to the archives. The website is free of advertisements and is run completely independently.
The Encyclopaedia Metallum was officially launched on July 17, 2002 by a Canadian couple from Montreal using the pseudonyms HellBlazer and Morrigan. A couple years prior, HellBlazer had the idea of an encyclopedia for heavy metal and attempted to create an HTML page for every metal band by hand. Although he gave up with that initial attempt, a fully automated site with contributions from its users was in the works. The site initially went live early in July 2002 and the first band (Amorphis) was added on July 7, 2002. In just over a year the site had amassed a database of over 10,000 bands. The site continues to grow at a rate of about 500 bands per month.
On January 1, 2013, the site announced that bands with entirely digital discographies could now be submitted to the Archives, changing the site's decade-long policy of physical releases only. Digital releases must have a fixed track listing, album art, professional or finished production and be available in a high-quality or lossless format through official distribution sources (such as Bandcamp and/or iTunes).
On November 13, 2014, the number of bands listed in the database reached 100,000.
The site has a tradition of April Fool's Day pranks that are sometimes taken seriously. This started in 2009 with the addition of Korn into the Metal Archives, with the news article of the day claiming that the first album was metal enough for the site. In 2021, the website replaced all of their band photos with cat photos.
Encyclopaedia Metallum maintains a system where a user with a registered account is free to submit a band to the database that they deem to be within a heavy metal genre, but once the band page gets submitted it goes through an approval process where an admin soon after reviews the band's music to determine if it's suitable for the website's classification of metal. Traditional heavy metal genres and era (such as the NWOBHM) have stringent rulings; users are warned in the rules section to consider bands submitted under these classifications as "ambiguous," in the sense that if a band is submitted with these terms as their genre, the music will be extensively reviewed by the moderators before they decide whether or not to accept the band onto the website. This is because in the past, some submissions labeled with those genres have turned out not to be metal, according to the site's guidelines. Bands commonly associated with either hard rock or glam metal will only be accepted if the moderators consider their material to be at least "fully, unambiguously metal", examples being Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Dokken, Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, Rainbow, Rush, Scorpions, Skid Row and Stryper, while the site will not accept certain rock or hard rock-based acts like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Guns N' Roses, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Poison, Van Halen and Whitesnake.
Additionally, there are some rare cases of non-metal bands featured on the site that are considered to be part of the metal scene despite not being metal themselves (usually dark ambient and folk bands, examples being Mortiis, Elend, Nest, Of the Wand & the Moon, Autumn Tears, Stille Volk, etc.). These bands are selected by the moderators "in an admittedly arbitrary fashion," and their submission by normal users is discouraged. Their submission was entirely restricted to site staff in September 2015.
Certain genres related to metal that the site does not accept are djent and nu metal, although some bands who are on the site have released albums in the latter genre such as Machine Head and Chimaira; who both released nu metal material in the early 2000s, but are mostly recognized as groove metal bands. Metalcore and deathcore are only allowed on the site if the moderators consider at least one album "clearly more metal than core", examples being Killswitch Engage, After the Burial, Carnifex, All Shall Perish, The Red Chord, and Despised Icon, while bands such as Bring Me the Horizon, Atreyu, Born of Osiris, Between the Buried and Me, and Oceano are not allowed on the site.