This article is a compilation of the best Kontakt Libraries for Metal & Rock to have in 2023.
Rock and metal are probably two of the most significant movements and cultures in the history of music. To this day, there are thousands of new bands and musicians putting out new songs combining different styles, trying to become a part of this legendary culture.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re making an aggressive punk, extreme metal, or hard rock record, writing a heartbroken rock ballad, or recording an exciting indie rock song; you need the right sounds.
Rock music is loud, angry, and rebellious. A lot of rock music has an underlying message, and that message is usually about rebellion against the government or society. However, many of the bands that are considered rock music today did not start with this intention.
As they became famous for their music, they started to get fame for rebelling against authority. There are many different types of rock music, but most people consider it alternative rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, or garage rock.
Metal is a subgenre of rock music characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Starting with bands like Black Sabbath, Venom, and Deep Purple, Metal music evolved to become one of the most complex and complete music genres, and more than that, it became a whole culture.
In this list, you will find libraries that focus on realistic sounds– If you write songs, produce or want to add some hard rock and extreme metal sounds on your tracks, then stay tuned and keep on reading!
Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2023 (Guitars & Drums)
1. NI Studio Drummer (Drums Great For Both)
Get a natural drum sound with Studio Drummer.
NI Studio Drummer is a collection of drum kits and loops that make you sound like you hired a professional drummer. It is based on the full version of Kontakt, so it needs to be installed. The interface is easy to use, with access to all the tools you need for editing sounds.
You can easily set up new kits or grooves, adjust individual sounds or the complete kit, use the built-in mixer, and get incredible-sounding drums to import into your mix.
Studio Drummer gives you several options to get exactly where you want to be with your drum sound. It allows you to change the velocity curve, change the MIDI notes on the map, and has a randomize option to humanize performance.
Just like several other contemporary NI libraries, it has a complete mixer that emulates an SSL console. The channel strip allows you to add EQ, compression, and distortion on every individual channel.
Studio Drummer includes a browser with an extensive list of grooves and fills suitable for various music genres that you can incorporate and modify for your songs. All of Studio Drummer’s drum sounds were recorded at the legendary Teldex Studios in Berlin.
NI Studio Drummer instantly replaces your computer’s default drum machine with an advanced drumming toolkit that allows you to create realistic, human performances in minutes.
- Groove library:
Studio Drummer gives you a wide variety of grooves, fills, and rhythms to choose from and never run out of options, offering over 3500 different loops created for all sorts of musical styles, recorded live by actual musicians to keep the organic feel.
- A kit for every occasion:
You’ve got three drum kits on this release: the stadium kit, the session kit, and the garage kit. The stadium kit has a large and expansive sound that emulates a large recording room. The session kit is easier to adapt to any situation. It has a closer and drier sound, like a raw studio recording. Finally, the garage kit gives you a dirty, distorted, aggressive sound that’s so present on rock and metal music.
- Realistic drummer:
You can adjust the playing style on Studio Drummer to adapt it to your specific needs. You can play around with the adjustment knobs and alter your drummer’s groove precision, swing, or even switch its playing speed to half, regular, and double.
- Sound design tools:
This library comes with powerful tools to allow users to change the drum sounds to taste, like the solid G-EQ, an emulation of the legendary SSL G-Channel EQ, and a versatile transient designer. You’ve also got an emulation of an SSL bus compressor, a tape saturator, and an advanced convolution reverb, all available on each mixer track within Studio Drummer.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 6.2+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
NI Studio Drummer is everything you need to achieve a top-notch quality drum sound on your recordings. The software has thousands of pre-recorded samples that can be edited and played at different tempo, pitch, and velocity ranges.
The drum kit also comes with a built-in mixer console that allows users to change each drum’s volume, panning, and tone, taking only minutes to achieve a perfect drum sound and move on to the next thing.
2. OTS Evolution Dracus (Great For Metal)
Dracus is a versatile virtual guitar recorded directly from the output jack.
For metal producers, it is hard to find a good plugin that sounds good, looks good and is easy to use. So if you are looking for a modern metal guitar library, Dracus is the way to go.
Dracus has some unique features like the riser feature, which allows you to create riser type of sound effects by modulating the pitch of the guitars. It also has over 15,000 samples with an engine that features intelligent scripting and an in-built strumming engine. This is especially useful for people who want to play guitar solos at high speeds.
The best part about Dracus is that it doesn’t take long.
- Tone Presets:
Dracus has plenty of tone presets that you can use and customize to create unique guitar sounds. This eight-string guitar library offers you a vast amount of carefully modeled pedal FX from clean to heavily distorted tones created within and exclusively for the library.
- Strum Engine:
It allows you to design tempo-synced strumming patterns using multiple articulations, choose the tempo, whether it’s played with a pick or fingers, and even the number of strings played on each chord. The engine can automatically select the correct fingering for all chords, but you can also play them yourself or set customized fingering for each chord.
- Adjustable pick position:
OTS Evolution Dracus has a unique virtual modeling technology that allows you to find the best pick position for each string. This enables you to create a pick that can be twisted and manipulated into different positions providing a super realistic feel while playing.
- Built-in FX rack:
Dracus has a built-in FX rack and pedalboard that you can access by clicking the “Tone” button above. Besides pedalboards, EQ, compression, and so on, it also offers you Ampsims and allows you to choose the speaker, mic position, and cabinet size. All of the FX were modeled after classic pedals, amps, and physical FX racks.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.2+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
OTS Evolution Dracus is a powerful eight-string guitar library with a remarkably realistic sound that you can fill in for a session guitarist, not letting you tell the difference. It’s extremely versatile and perfect for any occasion but makes an ideal tone for extreme metal, djent, and progressive rock music.
3. Shreddage 3 Jupiter (Great For Metal)
An actual guitar in the form of a virtual instrument.
Shreddage is a Kontakt electric guitar library that gives you a natural guitar sound in a very complete and easy-to-use way. This instrument is intended for all types of music, musicians, producers, and sound engineers who need an instrument with excellent sound quality and complete to get the best possible result.
Producers will be able to play all sorts of different styles with this library. Whether you are into fingerstyle or just want to strum some chords, the Shreddage 3 library will have everything you need. The clean guitar samples are also top-notch.
From pinch harmonics, fast picking, gallop strums, and palm mute, you have the power to create the best performance in no time with the great variety of articulations that Sherddage has to offer. You can easily switch them by clicking on the highlighted red keys on Kontakt’s GUI, creating a MIDI note on your DAW’s MIDI map, or pressing the specified key on your MIDI board.
- Poly input knob:
With the poly input knob, all polyphonic information is automatically arranged realistically, adding latency between notes while playing. This knob becomes extremely helpful because you don’t need to play all notes in the right way, but instead, you can only play the notes and create melodies while Shreddage accommodates the notes in a way that a real guitarist would play them.
- Power chords:
This library has a power chord version for every note. The guitarist recorded power chords versions during sampling for each note, allowing you to create new riffs much faster by just playing individual notes. You can also switch articulations like sustain and palm mute while playing power chords.
- Quad tracking:
You can track up to 4 different tones simultaneously, as mainly used in today’s metal productions. This function will provide a broader and larger guitar sound ready to go in the mix and save you tons of time recording several different takes for the same part.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.7+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
The Shreddage 3 library features an 8-string electric metal guitar. It comes with many great samples, including great fingerstyle, strumming patterns, slides, muting techniques, harmonics, tremolos, chords, and much more. It has a nice stereo image and sounds very natural. You can even shape your own tones and FX to create a unique guitar sound.
4. NI Electric Vintage (Great For Rock)
Native Instruments modeled the classic sound of the legendary Fender Stratocaster.
Native Instruments recently released a collection of electric vintage guitar samples. Vintage electric guitars are top-rated in the world of sample libraries. Native Instruments aimed to bring together top-quality samples of famous models with brand new elements that set it apart from the competition with this library.
The library was created by sampling a 1963 Fender Stratocaster with Strat single-coil pickups and has an unbelievable sound.
- Pattern presets:
The library contains over 90 strumming patterns, 92 picking patterns, 33 riffs, and 16 reversed patterns, all packed up with a melodic instrument with expanded sample content. The melodic instrument also features an arpeggio voicing generator that enables you to achieve great-sounding arpeggios within seconds. It gives you five different voicing options to choose from.
- Tweak your tone:
Choose from a collection of close-miked, amp-simulated guitar tones. Blend in your choice of condenser mic for added clarity and punch. Dial-in the vintage-modeled tone control to create true-to-life session guitarist sound that can be sent through an expanded collection of stompboxes, modulation effects, five amps, and ten cabinets.
- Improved performance:
Use the expressive performance controls to vary your playing style: Play with vibrato, pitch bends, slides, mutes, and stops for real-life-like performances. You can alternate between finger and plectrum picking, mute notes for a more natural decay, or play in different positions to change the sound. You can also move between warmer and brighter tones by adjusting the pick position.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 6.5+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
Electric Vintage is, without a doubt, the ultimate vintage guitar emulator. It’s possible to use it in any music genre, but it is outstandingly suitable for rock music and blues. This excellent vintage guitar emulation can deliver a realistic-sounding single-coil guitar and achieve incredible results in minutes.
5. OTS Evolution Rock Standard (Great For Rock)
Evolution Rock Standard, the one Gibson Les Paul everyone can play.
Rock Standard is the evolution of the Kontakt guitar library, with one goal in mind: to provide a single instrument that will work for every situation. From simple strumming to complex chording, Rock Standard covers it all.
It also features an entirely new GUI system which makes playing and programming this library a breeze. The presets are easily navigable and include chord progressions and full songs that you can use as they are or adapt to your own needs. But the real power of Rock Standard is in the customization. It has over 3,000 samples divided into different categories.
- Guitar tones:
Rock Standard’s guitar tones are something to take very seriously. It has an extraordinary high-quality sound that makes you feel like you have the guitar plugged right into your amp. With various presets prepared to work on any case scenario, going from warm and sweet clean tones to a bluesy high-gain distorted guitar sound that can only come out of a classic such as Gibson Les Paul.
- Strum pattern creator:
On the strum pattern creator, you can play any pattern you can come up with by only pressing one key within minutes. You can adjust the pattern to taste, varying among several different articulations that make it even easier to emulate a real guitarist. You can also change the chord progression of the strum and speed. All packed up in a pretty intuitive UI that keeps everything at hand.
Evolution Rock Standard enables the possibility of creating an original sound for your music. It allows you to switch between pickups, track up to four signals at a time, change the picking style, pick modeling, and several other controls, including change tuning, and even add a capo. It hands you absolute control over the sound, even letting you manipulate its articulations.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.6+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
If you’re a musician, producer, songwriter, or engineer, and you need a top-notch guitar sound but can’t book a session guitarist, this might be precisely what you need.
Rock Standard is perfect to use on a bluesy rock ‘n roll or hard rock track, but it will also work a charm if used on a ballad or a pop song. I strongly suggest you try it out on a rock n’ roll record or as a layer in a hard rock mix and see how it goes.
6. Xperimenta XBASS (Great For Both)
XBASS is a combination of sound quality, dynamic articulations, and intuitive GUI.
Xperimenta has created the Xbass Kontakt library, featuring famous bass tones in playable form. You can play all the instruments in this library with Kontakt free player, available to everyone.
The library is designed to be an excellent resource for anyone who wants to layer sampled bass lines on their own music or create new songs using the different sounds of iconic bass tones. Xperimenta is releasing this library at a meager price and plans to offer upgrades over time that will significantly expand the library’s capabilities.
- Sound quality and articulations:
This library has five dynamic layers for the slap technique, pull on/offs, ghost notes, and you can even add some fret noise while playing. It has a top-notch sound quality that can easily make you believe it’s a real bassist instead of a Kontakt library.
- Simplified GUI:
What’s so good about Xbass is that it’s as simple as it gets. With just a couple of clicks, you can shape your bass tone and start playing like a pro, and it only takes a few seconds. You can decide how much of each possible sound you can get from a bass will be on your tone, then go to the parametric EQ to enhance your sound, and finally, get yourself a nice distortion that works perfectly on the mix and you’re good to go.
The library is available for Kontakt 5.5+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
Xperimenta Xbass is a Kontakt library for bass sounds. Xbass is the first library of its kind that contains more than 1300 samples of modern bass sounds, produced closely with professional recording equipment, with the help of real musicians who play in small bands and musical ensembles.
The library is an incredible addition if you’re a rock or metal producer. It’s got a powerful low end and a bulky aggressive distortion that works ideally even on the most extreme subgenres, like Death Metal. The library is suitable for beginners and professional producers alike.
7. NI Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass (Great For Rock)
A unique, top-notch classic bass tone.
The Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass is a virtual bass guitar plugin that offers the sound of the legendary Rickenbacker 4001 bass. This vintage bass is played by numerous famous musicians, including The Beatles, David Bowie, and The Who’s John Entwistle.
The plugin comes with two different amp simulations – the classic Rickenbacker “toaster” sound and a more modern take on the instrument. It also includes a selection of 11 effects, including compression, limiter, EQ, chorus, flanger, phaser, tape echo, spring reverb, and tremolo.
- Comfortable GUI:
Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass’ user interface is probably one of the most intuitive interfaces you can ask for. You can click on everything on the main screen, and you’ll have access to each customizable part of the library. You can adjust your bass sound by changing the cabinet and head amp, microphone, or even the setup on the actual instrument with just a click. Just like that, you can also shape your tone by adding an EQ, a tape saturator, and a compressor to achieve the best bass sound you can ask for your mix.
- Player Profile:
Scarbee’s player profile emulates an actual performer from a specific genre. You can switch it to rock & retro, soul & funk, or pop & country. Interestingly, this feature is that the sound will slightly vary on each profile because it emulates an actual player of each genre or profile. For example, if you switch it to rock & retro, as you play, the notes will sound more edgy and peaky, but if you change it to the soul, you’ll have a more rounded-up sound and a fuller low end.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 6.2+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
Native Instruments Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass is a virtual bass guitar instrument that sounds and plays like a real bass. Its sound is unique and carries a very distinct tone. The challenge for NI was to capture that tone in a plugin that could be used in any production scenario without the need for extra processing.
They nailed it, adding more to the table with the most comfortable UI, several articulations, and delivering a very versatile amazing-sounding instrument.
You can use Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass on your rock, punk, and funky tracks. I recommend you try it out on heavy grunge or an indie rock record, choose the Rock & Retro player profile, change the cab to the 8×10 bass pro with the condenser mic, and add some tape distortion with lots of compression. It will make a difference for good!
2 Best Free Kontakt Libraries For Metal & Rock 2023
1. Shreddage 3 Precision FREE Version (Great For Metal)
It’s a free library that sounds like you paid for it.
Shreddage is a virtual instrument for bass guitar. It is called “the most realistic and flexible bass guitar plugin on the market” by Sound On Sound magazine and “one of the best virtual instruments ever made” by MusicRadar.
The Shreddage 3 Precision library is a free version that contains all of the essential features of Shreddage 3, including dedicated tone controls for overdrive/distortion, slap drive, pick position, EQ, presence, depth, attack, release, bow position, pick position and volume.
- Poly input:
The poly input feature enables you to strum multiple notes at once. The PSR-E253 features the latest version of the technology acclaimed by many musicians for its use in several music styles, including jazz, country, and folk.
- Strumming tab:
A new strumming tab for custom rhythm parts has been added to the free version. In addition to the existing tabs from previous versions, you can now use a variety of strumming patterns by specifying the beats per measure and how many bars to play.
- Console tone snapshots:
Shreddage 3 precision includes a list of 28 production-ready console tone snapshots. These snapshots are based on actual recordings that have been carefully edited to avoid unwanted noise, hum, and distortion.
The library is available for Kontakt 5.7+, which works on Windows 10 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Shreddage 3 Precision is a free version of Shreddage 3. It features all the instruments and playing styles from its big brother but has no limit on MIDI tracks or how long a song can be.
The only difference between the two versions is that Shreddage 3 Precision does not come with TACT 2.0 or the Console mixer. Precision FREE includes a realistic fretting & voicing engine with multiple algorithms and styles to choose from. You can create custom tones with 30+ included FX modules and cabinet IRs.
2. OOMIND STUDIO Hardy Bass (Great For Both)
Hardy Bass, a bass library that rocks.
This library contains samples recorded in 24bit WAV audio quality. It has a nice and round low-end and a crisp distorted sound, ready to be mixed in a rock or metal record. The library includes a three-band EQ that reacts like a bass amp, giving you control over its low, mid, and high-frequency response.
Hardy Bass tries to recreate a real-life bass, but it stands out from other free libraries because it considers the human factor as part of its sound. It plays a pick-played bass sound with two different switches for up and down picking. It sounds very natural and plays good for free, so let’s talk more in-depth about Hardy Bass’ most outstanding features.
Credit goes to:
- Natural sound:
This virtual bass tries to get the natural sound of bass while taking into account the human factor. For this reason, this bass has been recorded using round-robin layers and pick articulations (up and down) controlled by key switches.
- Easy GUI:
This instrument has a considerable note range, from A2 to G3. It has three bands of equalization, which are configured to modify the sound where this particular instrument requires. This is great for rock and metal genres because its extensive range allows you to reach higher and lower notes.
The library is available for Kontakt 6.5+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
The Oomind Studio Hardy Bass Kontakt Library uses the excellent Kontakt Software Synthesizer from Native Instruments. It delivers a superior quality bass sound that you can adjust to taste in a matter of seconds.
This library will easily match the sound of any existing bass library, and you’d never notice it’s not an actual metal bassist. It’s got a deep, bulky tone that’s perfect for adding a rich low-frequency range to any modern rock and metal production of any kind.
Shreddage 3 Hydra (Great For Metal)
Hydra is the 8-strings monster that will make you sound like Tosin Abasi.
Shreddage 3 Hydra is the new monster guitar for Kontakt. The library contains over 55 ready-to-use console tone snapshots that go from clean tones to high-gain tones.
This library comes with an advanced GUI, which lets you tweak any sound and noise separately or together, creating your sound. You can tweak the guitar’s tone, choose between different types of pickups, and edit the pick position and other valuable effects.
Shreddage pickups selection when sampling isn’t but one of the most highlightable features of this release. They’ve used 2 Fishman fluence Tosin Abasi signature pickups positioned on the neck and bridge, providing a highly detailed sound and many possible tone variations. The neck pickup is darker and mellow, ideal for playing with riffs and rhythm guitars, whereas the bridge pickup is brighter and more aggressive, perfect for a lead guitar part. Shreddage also offers a wonderful sustain time that can reach up to 40 seconds before reaching the noise floor.
- Clean Tone:
We’re already aware of the extraordinary capacity Hydra has to offer in a high-gain context. That’s why its clean tone is such a remarkable feature that’s worth mentioning in detail. It has a crystal-clear clean tone that you can blend with FX and create warm and captivating atmospheres, plus being an 8-string guitar gives you an extended low-frequency range that makes it possible to use as a bass guitar too.
- Pick attack knob:
Another new feature available on Hydra is its pick attack knob. It’s the noise you get when a pick hits the strings, and what’s great about it is that it brings an extra layer of realism to the library, separating it from the rest. This pick attack noise makes Hydra feel a lot more natural, and it’s reactive to velocity, which means that the attack will vary according to the intensity of the guitar part.
The library is available for Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.7+, which works on Windows 7 and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. Kontakt comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats
If you need an 8-string metal guitar, you should stop looking around and check out Shreddage 3 Hydra guitar library. As the result of more than eight years of guitar modeling and sampling, Impact Sound Work has delivered a monstrous Kontakt guitar library that will go perfectly for any modern metal production.
I highly recommend Hydra for deathcore, djent, or modern death metal projects.
Is metal music hard to learn?
Music is never easy to learn, but the more you put the time and effort to understand it, the better you get. Metal music is heavily influenced by jazz, blues, and rock music. Therefore, it requires a high level of skill to be able to play it right.
However, metal music is hard to master, but it isn’t hard to learn. You can become competent in a few months or even weeks. The biggest challenge for beginners is getting the technique down well enough to play convincingly. If you have never played metal before, don’t be too concerned with hitting every note perfectly right away. Instead, try playing it at a slower tempo and try to play the part correctly, and turn up the tempo as you get used to it until you reach its natural speed and technique.
What chords are used in metal?
The most common chords used in both rock and metal are the so-called power chords, which are chords that don’t have a third in them. The focus is on the root note and the fifth. Any other notes are added to give it flavor, but not all that many.
A chord can be constructed of a combination of different kinds of notes. The most commonly used types are triads – major, minor, augmented, and diminished – and seventh chords – which contain four different kinds of seventh notes – usually major sevenths, minor sevenths, diminished sevenths, and augmented seventh chords. These seven basic kinds of chords form the foundation for most pop songs.
We’ve gone through ten different options for you to get the best samples for your rock or metal songs in this list. Here’s a little summary of each library for you to choose the one that works specifically for your project.
Guitar-wise, although any guitar would indeed work with either, things don’t work like that anymore when it comes down to guitar tones. Therefore, Evolution Dracus, Jupiter, and Hydra will help you achieve the best professional result because they provide a large, low-pitched, distorted tone that matches anything you’d like to hear on a modern metal record guitar. On the other hand, if you’re working on a rock track and looking for a vintage crunchy sound, you should look into Electric Vintage by Native Instruments or the Evolution Rock Standard.
On the other hand, if you need a bass guitar for metal, you should check out the Shreddage Precision or the Hardy Bass, depending on the metal genre you’re working on since they have a fuller and more aggressive sound that will make your guitarwork stick out and blend a lot better in the mix.
Finally, if it’s rock what you do, you’ll find very interesting features on the Scarbee Rickenbacker bass and the Xbass. These offer you the best definition and balanced bass tone and work perfectly with light distortion.
I have a B.Sc. Degree in Audio Engineering and +5 years of work experience. I specialize in Audio Post-Producing and Sound Design to help brands and online businesses stick out delivering top-notch audio quality for advertisement, podcast, films, and music.