Ozzy Osbourne biting off a bat’s head. Lemmy drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels every day, then switching to vodka for health reasons. Metal has no shortage of iconic moments of violence and excess. But it also has a characteristic language: hacking, burning, searing–you know how it goes. Some things are just so metal.
But what are the most metal words of all? How can you say without a doubt that flames and swords are just so freaking metal? These are great questions that data scientist Iain Barr answered by mathematically proving the most and least metal words in heavy metaldom. That in itself is so goddamn metal we can’t even stand it.
Barr (favorite band: Iron Maiden; favorite genre: melodic death metal) started with the lyrics of 222,623 songs from 22,314 albums. To determine the most and least frequently used words, he had to cut out the fluff–super common words like the, and, that, etc. So he compared the lyrics to what’s known as the Brown Corpus, a bunch of relatively plain texts like newspaper articles and academic papers. “And you can say, ‘OK, let’s look at the relative occurrence between the two,'” Barr says. “So how frequent a word is in the metal document relative to what it is in the Brown Corpus.”
Barr found that words like gods, scream, and goodbye are–unsurprisingly–quite common in metal. And the least metal? Administrative, for one. “The word fiscal appears in metal lyrics at least five times,” Barr says, “which when you think about it is kind of strange.”
In celebration of Barr’s achievement, we’ve taken the five most metal words and metalized them even more by presenting them in the style of metal band logos. We also took the five least metal words and gave them the metal treatment they so long for–no bat slaughter or excessive drinking required.
No. 5 Most Metal
No. 4 Most Metal
No. 3 Most Metal
No. 2 Most Metal
No. 1 Most Metal
No. 5 Least Metal
No. 4 Least Metal
No. 3 Least Metal
No. 2 Least Metal
No. 1 Least Metal