|New wave of American heavy metal|
|Cultural origins||Early to mid-1990s, United States|
The new wave of American heavy metal (also known as NWOAHM and new wave of American metal) was a heavy metal music movement that originated in the United States during the early to mid-1990sand expanded most in the early to mid-2000s. Some of the bands considered part of the movement had formed as early as the late 1980s, but did not become influential or reach popular standing until the following decade. The term itself borrows from the new wave of British heavy metal dating to 1979. NWOAHM includes a wide variety of styles, including alternative metal, groove metal, industrial metal, nu metal and metalcore.
Although the term is used by the media with increasing frequency, the definition has not been finished completely.This is due in part to the growing addition of bands that assimilate to common styles in NWOAHM (as defined below), yet have not differentiated greatly enough as to garner a new genre moniker. One description by longtime metal author Garry Sharpe-Young helps classify the NWOAHM as a "marriage of European-style riffing and throaty vocals" Several of the bands within the NWOAHM are credited with bringing heavy metal back into the mainstream.
The new wave of American heavy metal has its origins in a group of post-grunge acts from the 1990s that brought heavy metal "back to its core brutality" and drawing not from the traditional blues formula but from thrash metal and punk.In the book The Next Generation of Rock & Punk, Joel McIver acknowledged Korn as the pioneers of the new wave of American heavy metal, and also credits them as the first band labeled as nu metal. The nu metal genre was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Other roots of NWOAHM are attributed to bands such as Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head.
The producers behind the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey have written of the NWOAHM: "In essence, NWOAHM can embody the seething aggression of the 'hardcore' hormone, but play a type of acrobatic, precise, technical thrash/death metal synthesis regularly touched by the melody of traditional metal, but often just briefly. Vocally, these bands huddle around Pantera-derived roar, leaning toward a death metal bark, but often with 'clean' or 'sung' vocals as ear candy, sometimes from a member of the band who is not the front man."They also reference Unearth, Shadows Fall, and Lamb of God as "leaders of the pack".
In the book New Wave of American Heavy Metal, when listing the wave's most popular contributors, Garry Sharpe-Young stated: "...the groups that broke the metal scene into new territory after grunge [were] Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head. From there it gets really diverse, crossing the spectrum from melodic death metal to progressive metal and everything in between."Sharpe-Young described bands such as Pantera, Biohazard and Machine Head as neo-metal, writing that the band Pantera started a new time period of heavy metal that involved both Biohazard and Machine Head. Sharpe-Young lists the broad range of styles in the new wave of American heavy metal movement as ranging from the Christian metalcore scene, the 1970s-inspired progressive rock of Coheed and Cambria, melodic death metal, and the screamo and "sub-Gothique" emocore of Alkaline Trio and My Chemical Romance. Beyond this, the genre encompasses a number of different styles including alternative metal, groove metal, hardcore punk and metalcore, despite the fact that metalcore and hardcore punk pre-date NWOAHM by almost twenty years.
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. 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.
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.
Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment and concern over the destruction of the environment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.
Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional heavy metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a faster, lighter, and more uplifting sound, in contrast with the heaviness and dissonance prevalent for example in extreme metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally "powerful" sound.
Alternative metal is a rock music fusion genre that infuses heavy metal with influences from alternative rock and other genres not normally associated with metal. 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. The term has been in use since the 1980s, although it came into prominence in the 1990s.
A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.
Melodic death metal is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The style originated and developed in Sweden and the United Kingdom around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal" scene.
Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal, and visual transgression".
Metalcore is a fusion music genre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. As with other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumentation includes heavy guitar riffs, occasional blast beats, and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically yell or scream. Some later metalcore bands combine this with clean singing, often during the chorus. Death growls and gang vocals are common. 1990s metalcore bands were inspired by hardcore while later metalcore bands were inspired by melodic death metal. Melodic death metal bands like At the Gates and In Flames influenced later metalcore bands.
American rock has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and country music, and also drew on folk music, jazz, blues, and classical music. American rock music was further influenced by the British Invasion of the American pop charts from 1964 and resulted in the development of psychedelic rock.
Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music that began in the early 1990s. The genre achieved mainstream success in the 1990s and continued having some more success in the 2000s. Inspired by thrash metal and traditional heavy metal, groove metal features raspy singing and screaming, down-tuned guitars, heavy guitar riffs, and syncopated rhythms. Unlike thrash metal, groove metal is usually slower and also uses elements of traditional heavy metal. Pantera are often considered the pioneers of groove metal, and groove metal expanded in the 1990s with bands like White Zombie, Machine Head, Skinlab, and Sepultura. The genre continued in the 2000s with bands like Lamb of God, DevilDriver, Damageplan, Five Finger Death Punch and Hellyeah.
Melodic hardcore is a broadly defined subgenre of hardcore punk with a strong emphasis on melody in its guitar work. It generally incorporates fast rhythms, melodic and often distorted guitar riffs, and vocal styles tending towards shouting and screaming. Nevertheless, the genre has been very diverse, with different bands showcasing very different styles. Many pioneering melodic hardcore bands, have proven influential across the spectrum of punk rock, as well as rock music more generally. The term "melodic punk" is often used to describe both melodic hardcore and skate punk bands.
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a 2005 documentary film directed by Sam Dunn with Scot McFadyen and Jessica Wise. The film follows 31-year-old Dunn, a Canadian anthropologist, who has been a heavy metal fan since the age of 12. Dunn sets out across the world to uncover the various opinions on heavy metal music, including its origins, culture, controversy, and the reasons it is loved by so many people. The film made its debut at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released as a two-disc special edition DVD in the US on 19 September 2006.
A number of overlapping punk rock subgenres have developed since the emergence of punk rock in the mid-1970s. Even though punk genres at times are difficult to segregate, they usually show differing characteristics in overall structures, instrumental and vocal styles, and tempo. However, sometimes a particular trait is common in several genres, and thus punk genres are normally grouped by a combination of traits.
Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of melodic death metal and metalcore; it has a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, distorted guitar tones, palm muting, double bass drumming, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns, aggressive screaming, death growls, and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a more accessible sound at times compared to other forms of extreme music. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates and In Flames.
Metal Evolution is a 2011 documentary series directed by anthropologist and film-maker Sam Dunn and director, producer and music supervisor Scot McFadyen about heavy metal subgenres, with new episodes airing every Friday at 10pm EST on MuchMore and Saturday at 10pm EST on VH1 Classic. Its origins come from Dunn's first documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, which included the acclaimed "Heavy Metal Family Tree."