Piano is a versatile instrument which can be used in various genres of music. It's most commonly used in classical music and jazz, but it also has a place in heavy metal music.
Mostly used in calming passages or in classic ballads of the past or even being one of the main instrument in a heavy metal song, piano is a versatile key instrument with distinctive lovely sound.
A great personal experience was the day I got introduced to the magical world of Savatage. This great band used piano as one of the important ingredients of their compositions.
Gutter Ballet, When the Crowds are Gone, Believe and Tonigh He Grins Again are only a small part of examples. For me it was an incredible experience - when I listen for first time of the Gutter Ballet piano intro.
The genre has been always evolving and more and more bands added piano in their sonic pallet. Personal being inspired by Savatage, Amorphis, Nightwish and Theater Of Tragedy among others I used a piano part in my single release with Timbre Of Saturn ( my personal metal one man project).
Today we could easily get our hand in various piano instruments with sample libraries. Sometimes we could create synthetic types of piano - although most of the times they have more electric piano sonic characteristics. FM synthesis is maybe one of the most common synthesis method to design piano sounds.
Vicious Antelope has released a free piano based soundbank for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2. Ballad Keys contains 24 key presets based in emotional piano soundsources. Also Pianos for Arturia Pigments and Analog Lab V is a collection of 30 sampled piano based presets.