A brief history of substances containing s,p- and d-block metals in negative oxidation states is described. A classification of these species and discussions of formal oxidation state assignments for low-valent transition metals in complexes are included, along with comments on the innocent and noninnocent character of ligands in metalates. Syntheses of highly reduced carbonyl complexes formally containing transition metals in their lowest known oxidation states of III- and IV- are discussed. Atmospheric-pressure syntheses of early-transition-metal carbonyls involving alkali-metal polyarene-mediated reductions of non-carbonyl precursors have been developed. In the absence of carbon monoxide, these reactions afford homoleptic polyarenemetalates, including the initial species containing three aromatic hydrocarbons bound to one metal. In several instances, these metalates function as useful synthons for "naked" spin-paired atomic anions of transition metals.