Alternative metal

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Alternative metal (also known as alt-metal) [5] is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock [6] and other genres not normally associated with metal. [4] [6] Alternative metal bands are often characterized by heavily downtuned, mid-paced guitar riffs, a mixture of accessible melodic vocals and harsh vocals and sometimes unconventional sounds within other heavy metal styles. [4] The term has been in use since the 1980s, [7] although it came into prominence in the 1990s. [8]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock.

Contents

Other genres considered part of the alternative metal movement included rap metal [4] [9] and funk metal, both of which influenced another prominent subgenre, nu metal. Nu metal expands the alternative metal sound, combining its vocal stylings and downtuned riffs with elements of other genres, such as hip hop, funk, thrash metal, hardcore punk and industrial metal.

Rap metal is a subgenre of rap rock and alternative metal music which combines hip hop with heavy metal. It usually consists of heavy metal guitar riffs, funk metal elements, rapped vocals and sometimes turntables.

Funk metal is a fusion genre of funk rock and alternative metal which infuses heavy metal music with elements of funk and punk rock. It was prevalent in the mainstream during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as part of the alternative metal movement. The genre has been described as a "brief but extremely media-hyped stylistic fad".

Nu metal is a subgenre of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal music with elements of other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, funk, industrial, and grunge. Nu metal bands have drawn elements and influences from a variety of musical styles, including multiple genres of heavy metal. Nu metal rarely features guitar solos; the genre is heavily syncopated and based on guitar riffs. Many nu metal guitarists use seven-string guitars that are down-tuned to play a heavier sound. DJs are occasionally featured in nu metal to provide instrumentation such as sampling, turntable scratching and electronic backgrounds. Vocal styles in nu metal include singing, rapping, screaming and growling. Nu metal is one of the key genres of the new wave of American heavy metal.

Characteristics

The genre is generally considered a fusion between alternative rock and heavy metal, [6] although Allmusic states "alt-metal is a far-reaching term that has been used to describe everyone from Hammerlock to Neurosis to Ministry to Limp Bizkit". [10] They also remarked that alternative metal was originally "a style united by its nonconformist sensibility rather than any immediately classifiable sound." [4]

Neurosis (band) American band

Neurosis is an American avant-garde metal band from Oakland, California. It was formed in 1985 by guitarist Scott Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson, and drummer Jason Roeder, initially as a hardcore punk band. Chad Salter joined as a second guitarist and appeared on the band's 1987 debut Pain of Mind before being replaced by Steve Von Till in 1989. The following year, the lineup further expanded to include a keyboardist and a visual artist. Beginning with their third album Souls at Zero (1992), Neurosis developed a unique musical style crucial to the emergence of the post-metal and sludge metal genres.

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include Paul Barker, Martin Atkins, Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Nivek Ogre, Mike Scaccia, Rey Washam, Paul Raven, Tommy Victor, Roy Mayorga, John Bechdel, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos, Burton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

Limp Bizkit American nu-metal band

Limp Bizkit is an American rap rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. Their lineup consists of Fred Durst, Sam Rivers, John Otto, DJ Lethal (turntables), and Wes Borland. Their music is marked by Durst's angry vocal delivery and Borland's sonic experimentation. Borland's elaborate visual appearance, which includes face and body paint, masks and uniforms, also plays a large role in the band's live shows. The band has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, have sold 40 million records worldwide and won several other awards.

One of the main characteristics of alternative metal and its subgenres are heavily downtuned, mid-paced "chug"-like guitar riffs. [11] [12] [13] However, funk metal bands often use a more conventional riffing style influenced by 1980s thrash metal. [14] Alternative metal features clean and melodic vocals, [5] influenced by those of alternative rock, in contrast to other heavy metal subgenres. Later bands frequently incorporated vocal styles that alternated between clean singing, growls and screaming. [6] [15] [16] [17] Examples include alternative metal bands associated with the nu metal movement, such as Korn and Deftones, who have been described as having "bipolar vocals". [18] [19]

Screaming (music) voice type

Screaming is an extended vocal technique that is mostly popular in "aggressive" music genres such as heavy metal, punk rock, and noise music. In heavy metal, the related death growl vocal technique is also popular. Intensity, pitch and other characteristics vary between different genres and different vocalists.

Korn American nu-metal band

Korn is an American nu metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band is notable for pioneering the nu metal genre and bringing it into the mainstream.

Deftones American alternative metal band

Deftones is an American alternative metal band from Sacramento, California. It was formed in 1988 by Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter, Abe Cunningham (drums) and Dominic Garcia (bass). During their first five years, the band's lineup changed several times, but stabilized in 1993 when Cunningham rejoined after his departure in 1990; by this time, Chi Cheng was bassist. The lineup remained stable for fifteen years, with the exception of keyboardist and turntablist Frank Delgado being added in 1999. The band is known as one of the most experimental groups to have come from the alternative metal scene, and are sometimes dubbed by critics as "the Radiohead of metal".

Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times wrote in 1990 "Just as rock has an alternative, [left] wing-bands like the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr.-so does metal. Alternative metal is alternative music that rocks. And alternative metal these days can reach 10 times the audience of other alternative rock. Jane's Addiction plays an intense brand of '70s-influenced arty metal; so does Soundgarden. In fact, the arty meanderings of Sab and the Zep themselves would be considered alternative metal." [20] Houston Press has described the genre as being a "compromise for people for whom Nirvana was not heavy enough but Metallica was too heavy." [21]

<i>Los Angeles Times</i> Daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper which has been published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It has the fourth-largest circulation among United States newspapers, and is the largest U.S. newspaper not headquartered on the East Coast. The paper is known for its coverage of issues particularly salient to the U.S. West Coast, such as immigration trends and natural disasters. It has won more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of these and other issues. As of June 18, 2018, ownership of the paper is controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong, and the executive editor is Norman Pearlstine.

The Replacements (band) band

The Replacements were an American rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979. Initially a punk rock band, they are considered one of the pioneers of alternative rock. The band was composed of the guitarist and vocalist Paul Westerberg, guitarist Bob Stinson, bass guitarist Tommy Stinson and drummer Chris Mars for most of its career. Following several acclaimed albums, including Let It Be and Tim, Bob Stinson left the band in 1986, and Slim Dunlap joined as lead guitarist. Steve Foley replaced Mars in 1990. Towards the end of the band's career, Westerberg exerted more control over the creative output. The group disbanded in 1991, with the members eventually pursuing various projects. A reunion was announced on October 3, 2012. The band is referred to by their nickname "The 'Mats" by fans, which originated as an abbreviation of "The Placemats," a mispronunciation of their name.

Dinosaur Jr. American rock band formed in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1984

Dinosaur Jr. is an American rock band formed in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1984, originally simply called Dinosaur until legal issues forced a change in name.

The first wave of alternative metal bands emerged from many backgrounds, including hardcore punk (Bad Brains, Rollins Band, Life of Agony, Corrosion of Conformity), noise rock (Helmet, The Jesus Lizard, White Zombie), Seattle's grunge scene (Alice in Chains, Soundgarden), stoner rock (Clutch, Kyuss), sludge metal (Fudge Tunnel, Melvins), gothic metal (Type O Negative) and industrial (Godflesh, Nine Inch Nails). [4] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] These bands never formed a distinct movement or scene; rather they were bound by their incorporation of traditional metal influences and openness to experimentation. [4] Jane's Addiction borrowed from art rock [20] and progressive rock, Quicksand blended post-hardcore and Living Colour injected funk into their sound, for example, [4] [28] while Primus were influenced by progressive rock, [4] thrash metal [29] and funk [30] and Faith No More mixed progressive rock, R&B, funk and hip hop. [31] Fudge Tunnel's style of alternative metal included influences from both sludge metal and noise rock. [25] [32]

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Bad Brains American hardcore punk band

Bad Brains are an American rock band formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. They are widely regarded as among the pioneers of hardcore punk, though the band's members have objected to this term to describe their music. They are also an adept reggae band, while later recordings featured elements of other genres like funk, heavy metal, hip hop and soul. Bad Brains are followers of the Rastafari movement.

Rollins Band band that plays punk rock

Rollins Band was an American rock band led by singer and songwriter Henry Rollins.

History

Origins and early success (1980s – mid 1990s)

Influential alternative metal band Helmet. Helmet 2.jpg
Influential alternative metal band Helmet.

The origins of the genre can be traced back to funk rock music of the early to mid-1980s, when alternative bands like Fishbone, Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers started mixing heavy metal with funk, creating the alternative metal subgenre funk metal. [33] Other early bands in the genre also came from hardcore punk backgrounds. [34] Bands such as Faith No More, Jane's Addiction and Soundgarden are recognized as some of the earliest alternative metal acts, with all three of these bands emerging around the same time, and setting the template for the genre by mixing heavy metal music with a variety of different genres in the mid to late 1980s. [4] [35] [36] [37] [38] During the 1980s, alternative metal appealed mainly to alternative rock fans, since virtually all 1980s alt-metal bands had their roots in the American independent rock scene. [4]

The emergence of grunge as a popular style of rock music in the early 1990s helped make alternative metal more acceptable to a mainstream audience, with alternative metal soon becoming the most popular metal style of the 1990s. [4] Several bands associated with the genre denied their status as metal bands. [39] [40] Helmet drummer John Stanier said "We fell into the whole metal thing by accident, we always hated it when people mentioned metal in conjunction with us." [40] Saby Reyes-Kulkarni of Pitchfork Media stated "bands like Faith No More, Soundgarden, Primus, Helmet, the Rollins Band, and dozens more were initially marketed as quasi-metal acts. This was only possible in a climate where record labels, journalists, and college radio DJs understood that the metal audience could embrace new, albeit arty variations on the form." [41] The alternative music festival Lollapalooza conceived by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell, helped bands associated with the movement such as Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Primus, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains gain exposure. [4] The progressive rock-influenced band Tool became a leading band in the alternative metal genre with the release of their 1993 debut album Undertow ; Tool's popularity in the mid-'90s helped kick off an era of bands with alt-metal tendencies also classified in other genres like industrial (Nine Inch Nails) and rap rock (Rage Against the Machine). [5] Spin stated in August 1998 that "It was Helmet that spawned the idea of alternative metal with the punk crutch of 1992's Meantime [and] bands such as Rage Against the Machine took the concept a crucial step further, integrating hip hop to connect with skate rat kids raised on Metallica and Run D.M.C.." [42] Many established 1980s metal bands released albums in the 1990s that were described as alternative metal, including Anthrax, [43] Metallica [44] [45] and Mötley Crüe. [46]

Emergence of nu metal and commercial peak (late 1990s – early 2000s)

In the latter part of the 1990s, a second, more aggressive wave of alternative metal emerged; dubbed nu metal, it often relied on hardcore punk, [4] groove/thrash metal, [4] [47] industrial [4] and hip hop [4] influences, as opposed to the influences of the first wave of alternative metal bands, with this style subsequently becoming more popular than regular alternative metal. [5] [4] [22] It resulted in a more standardized sound among alternative metal bands, in contrast to the more eccentric and unclassifiable early alternative metal bands. [4] Korn, a band formed in 1993, released their self-titled debut the following year, which is widely considered to be the first nu metal release. [48] MTV stated that Korn "arrived in 1993 into the burgeoning alternative metal scene, which would morph into nü-metal the way college rock became alternative rock." [49] Stereogum similarly claimed that nu metal was a "weird outgrowth of the Lollapalooza-era alt-metal scene". [50] During the late 1990s and early 2000s, nu metal was prevalent in the mainstream, with bands such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Slipknot and Staind all attaining success. AllMusic has compared nu and alternative metal's commercial success during this period to the rise of the glam metal phenomenon in the 1980s, stating that it is "ironic, given alternative metal's vehement rejection of hair metal's attitude." [4] Some nu metal bands managed to push musical boundaries while still remaining commercially viable, such as Mudvayne (who combined progressive [51] elements) and Deftones, who have incorporated post-hardcore and dream pop influences. [52] [53]

Joel McIver believes that the band Tool is important to the development of this genre; he wrote in his book Unleashed: The Story of Tool, "By 1996 and '97 the wave of alternative metal spearheaded by Tool in the wake of grunge was beginning to evolve into nu-metal". However, Tool's vocalist Maynard James Keenan was quick to separate himself from this movement saying "I'm sick of that whole attitude. The one that puts Tool in with [nu] metal bands. The press... can't seem to distinguish between alternative and metal." [39] Other alternative metal bands considered influential to the nu metal genre such as Helmet have also tried to distance themselves from the movement. [54] [55]

Current status (mid 2000s – present)

A number of bands from the nu metal era — such as System of a Down, [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] Godsmack, [61] [62] [63] [64] Karnivool [65] [66] and Deftones [67] [68] [69] — are still primarily classed as alternative metal, due to lacking specific elements associated with the nu metal genre. In 2016, Jason Heller of Vice wrote "The term alternative metal still pops up from time to time, but it’s no more relevant or meaningful today than alternative rock. Instead, it’s a relic. But the brief, nebulous era of alternative metal in the late 80s and early 90s remains a snapshot of a vibrant time when a brash new generation of heavy-leaning bands threw everything against the wall to see what stuck." [70]

See also

Citations

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Bibliography

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Funk rock music genre that fuses funk and rock elements

Funk rock is a fusion genre that mixes elements of funk and rock. James Brown and others declared that Little Richard and his mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters, were the first to put the funk in the rock and roll beat, with a biographer stating that their music "spark[ed] the musical transition from fifties rock and roll to sixties funk".

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.

Got the Life single

"Got the Life" is a song written and recorded by American band Korn for their third studio album, Follow the Leader which was released as the album's second single on November 23, 1998. It was recorded in April 1998 at NRG Recording Studios. The band decided they would release the song as a promotional single after each member found that there was something "special" about the song. The single had "phenomenal success", and its music video was requested more than any other video on MTV's TRL, making it the first officially "retired" music video.

Stoner rock, also known as stoner metal or stoner doom, is a rock music fusion genre that combines elements of heavy metal and/or doom metal with psychedelic rock and acid rock. The name references cannabis consumption. The term desert rock is often used interchangeably with the term "stoner rock" to describe this genre; however, not all stoner rock bands would fall under the descriptor of "desert rock". Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo and features a heavily distorted, groove-laden bass-heavy sound, melodic vocals, and "retro" production. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by Monster Magnet and the California bands Fu Manchu, Kyuss and Sleep.

Nu metalcore is a fusion genre that combines musical elements of the two genres nu metal and metalcore. The offshoot style began in the 2000s and gained popularity in the 2010s. Some of the notable groups have also taken influence from R&B, pop, industrial metal, deathcore, post-hardcore, and heavy hardcore. The fusion is characterized by typical scream/growl vocals of metalcore and instrumentation often accompanied by down-tuned guitars, heavy bass, rapping, spoken word, soulful singing, funk samples, or turntablism.