Latin metal (Spanish: metal latino, Portuguese: metal latino-americano) is a subgenre of heavy metal music with Latin origins, influences, and instrumentation, such as Spanish vocals, Latin percussion and rhythm such as Salsa rhythm. Some South American bands also add influences and instrumentations borrowed from world music and ethnic music, relating to musical traditions of the indigenous people of America.


An early mention of the term comes from critic Robert Christgau, who referred to Carlos Santana's music from the 1970s as "Latin-metal pop," making it a possible forerunner in the genre.[1]

Latin metal started in the 1970s and 1980s, originating in many countries of Latin America, thanks to the increasing worldwide popularity of heavy metal and heavy rock from Europe (obviously including Spain, with bands such as Baron Rojo and Angeles del Infierno singing in Spanish and reaching international success in the 1980s) and United States. It may also have profited from the "Latin explosion" in the United States of the 1990s, though some critics contend that the gap between Ricky Martin-style pop and metal is too great for Latin metal to have profited greatly.[2] Still, record companies in the 1990s sought to profit from the rise of Latin pop, as evidenced from the Metalo compilation of Latin metal bands by the Grita! Records label, which included songs by Ill Niño and Puya,[3] and bands from the 1990s such as Sepultura and Soulfly are cited as predecessors in the genre.[4] In the United States, Ill Niño is probably the best-known exponent of the genre; their first two albums (with "philosophical and bilingual lyrics" about such topics as growing up fatherless) were commercially successful and got them strong radio play in for instance the San Antonio area.[5]

Latin metal bands




United States

Puerto Rico


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). Rock albums of the '70s: a critical guide. Da Capo. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-306-80409-0.
  2. ^ Burr, Ramiro (2000-06-24). "Are You Ready to Rock Pesado? Latinos Struggle to Prove their Metal". Billboard. pp. 52–54. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  3. ^ "Puya, Armored Saint Lead Latin Metal Surge On Metalo". MTV. 1999-06-25. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  4. ^ Peiken, Matt (2001-07-31). "Bang Your Head: Latin Metal is Next 'Revolucion'". Sun Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  5. ^ Burr, Ramiro (2003-11-30). "Latin Notes: Ill Nino's confessional Latin metal band rages about missing fathers, betrayals, and loving and hating". San Antonio Express-News. p. J.8.
  6. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (2005). New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Zonda Books. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-9582684-0-0.
  7. ^ "Ill Niño: Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-11.