Initial observations from my 2nd tour of rock history

I’m still listening through Scaruffi’s rock history, building my rock snob playlist as I go. A few observations so far:

  1. Relative to last time I listened through Scaruffi’s rock history (>8 years ago IIRC), my tastes have evolved quite a lot. I notice I’m more quickly bored by most forms of pop, punk, and heavy metal than I used to be. The genre I now seem to most reliably enjoy is the experimental end of prog-rock (e.g. avant-prog, zeuhl). I also enjoy jazz-influenced rock a lot more this time, presumably in part because I listened through Scaruffi’s jazz history (and made this guide) a couple years ago.
  2. I am more convinced than ever that tons of great musical ideas, even just within the “rock” paradigm, have never been explored. I’m constantly noticing things like “Oh, you know what’d be awesome? If somebody mixed the rhythm section of A with the suite structure of B and the production approach of C.” And because my listen through rock history has been so thorough this time (including thousands of artists not included in Scaruffi’s history), I’m more confident than ever that those ideas simply have never been attempted. It’s been a similar experience to studying a wide variety of scientific fields: the more topics and subtopics you study, the more you realize that the “surface area” between current scientific knowledge and what is currently unknown is even larger than you could have seen before.
  3. I still usually dislike “death growl” singing, traditional opera singing, and most rapping. I wish there were more “instrumental only” releases for these genres so I could have a shot at enjoying them.
  4. Spotify’s catalogue is very choppy. E.g. Spotify seems to have most of the albums from chapter 4.12 of Scaruffi’s history, and very few albums from chapter 4.13. (I assume this is also true for iTunes and other streaming providers.)


  1. Jo says

    It’s a shame you’re not into harsh vocals as that largely rules out bands like Darkspace, Ruins of Beverast, Agalloch, Esoteric, Moonsorrow, Blut Aus Nord, even Opeth… All of them excellent and innovative and pushing boundaries. What helped me learn to love growled/screamed lyrics was a combination of listening to poppier gateway bands (Wintersun, Lamb of God, even Children of Bodom), and also letting go of the vocals as “vocals” per se; try thinking of them more as another form of percussion, maybe. I suppose it all depends on how much you want to get into metal (at least that vast amount of it with no clean singing) – I promise it’s worth it, but if you don’t get there, oh well, there’s a lot of other stuff out there, as you clearly know! :)

    For me, I’m now at the point where clean vocals sound weird to me. I also much, much prefer black metal and funeral doom to other metal subgenres – there’s about five death metal bands I’ll listen to, and, say, thrash leaves me more or less completely cold.

    Let me know if you’d like recommendations for where to start with any of the bands I listed above. I really think you’d love them all, once your ear adjusts to the screaming :)

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