|New wave of American heavy metal|
|Cultural origins||Early to mid-1990s, United States|
The new wave of American heavy metal (commonly abbreviated as NWOAHM) 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.
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.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.
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.
Post-grunge is a rock music subgenre that emerged in the 1990s. Originally, the term was used almost pejoratively to label bands such as Bush, Candlebox and Collective Soul that emulated the original sound of grunge.
Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.
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 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.
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".
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.
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may evoke slasher film-stylized violence, political conflict, religion, nature, philosophy, and science fiction.
Unearth is an American metalcore band from Boston, Massachusetts. Formed in 1998, the group has released seven studio albums.
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.
Grunge is a rock music genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the Pacific Northwest U.S. state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle's independent record label Sub Pop and the region's underground music scene. The owners of Sub Pop marketed Northwestern punk rock shrewdly and the media was encouraged to describe it as "grunge", which came to mean a punk and metal hybrid style of music. By the early 1990s its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.
Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers—drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell—along with lead vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing Tommy D. Bradford, who was the unofficial original. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums independently during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. In 1989, the band secured a record deal with the major laber Atco. With its fifth album, 1990's Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced the groove metal genre, while its 1992 follow-up Vulgar Display of Power exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In addition to their contribution to the groove metal genre, Pantera is credited for being part of the second wave of thrash metal scene in the early-to-mid 1990s.
Biohazard is an American band formed in Brooklyn, New York, in 1987. They are acknowledged as one of the earliest bands to fuse hardcore punk and heavy metal with elements of hip hop. The earliest lineup consisted of bassist-vocalist Evan Seinfeld, guitarist Bobby Hambel, and drummer Anthony Meo. Guitarist-vocalist Billy Graziadei would join the band soon after, changing the band to a four-piece. Since February 2016, the lineup has consisted of Graziadei, Hambel, and Danny Schuler.
A list of notable bands who emerged during the NWOAHM era of music:
10 Years is an American alternative metal band, formed in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, in 1999. The band consists of lead vocalist Jesse Hasek, lead guitarist Brian Vodinh, bassist Chad Grennor, rhythm guitarist Matt Wantland, and drummer Luke Narey. The group has gone through multiple line-up changes since their inception, with Vodinh and Wantland being the only remaining founding members. To date, they have released eight studio albums, their most recent being (How to Live) As Ghosts, released on October 27, 2017.
100 Demons is an American five-piece metalcore band from Waterbury, Connecticut. Being fans of tattoos, the band derived their name from a book of traditional Japanese tattoo artwork by Horiyoshi III. The band usually incorporates their Agnostic beliefs into their lyrics.
108 is an American hardcore band founded in 1991. Their music reflects the Hare Krishna faith of the band members. Their name comes from the number of beads on the Japa mala, or mantra counting beads.
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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.
Killswitch Engage is an American metalcore band from Westfield, Massachusetts, formed in 1999 after the disbanding of Overcast and Aftershock. Killswitch Engage's current lineup consists of vocalist Jesse Leach, guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz, bassist Mike D'Antonio, and drummer Justin Foley. The band has released eight studio albums and two live performance albums. Their eighth studio album, Atonement, was released on August 16, 2019.
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.
Snot is an American alternative metal band from Santa Barbara, California. Formed in 1995, the band released their only studio album Get Some with founding vocalist Lynn Strait in 1997 and disbanded after his death in 1998. In 2008, the lineup of lead guitarist Mikey Doling, rhythm guitarist Sonny Mayo, bassist John Fahnestock and drummer Jamie Miller reunited. In 2009, a new band, Tons, was formed, with Brandon Espinoza as vocalist. As of February 2014, Snot has reformed again.
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.
Nothingface was an American heavy metal band from Washington, D.C., formed in 1993. Their best-known and most prolific line-up consisted of Matt Holt (vocals), Tom Maxwell (guitar), Bill Gaal (bass) and Chris Houck (drums). They disbanded in 2004, only to reform the following year, reuniting with Gaal and Houck, and then disband four years later. In 2017 Matt Holt died from a degenerative disease.
Philip Hansen Anselmo is an American heavy metal musician who is best known as the lead vocalist for Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual. He is also the owner of Housecore Records and has been involved with several other bands.
Bleeding Through is an American metalcore band from Orange County, California. Formed in 1999, the band blended influences stemming from modern hardcore punk, symphonic black metal, and melodic death metal. Although the band was often labeled as simply metalcore, when Brandan Schieppati was asked if he considered Bleeding Through a hardcore band, he said: "I think we're a hardcore band and I'll never say we are a metal band, we're all hardcore kids and we came from the hardcore scene. Ours is just a different version of hardcore, we're trying to do something which adds a different variety to the hardcore scene, which has been sounding the same way for so long."
Metalcore is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Among other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumentation includes heavy guitar riffs often utilizing percussive pedal tones and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically perform screaming, more popular bands often combine this with the use of standard singing, usually during the bridge or chorus of a song. However the death growl is also a popular technique within the genre.
Lamb of God is an American heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia. Formed in 1994 as Burn the Priest, the group consists of bassist John Campbell, vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, and drummer Art Cruz. The band is considered a significant member of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement.
Damageplan was an American heavy metal supergroup from Dallas, Texas, formed in 2003. Following the demise of their previous group Pantera, brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott wanted to start a new band. The pair recruited former Diesel Machine and Halford guitarist Patrick Lachman on vocals, and later Bob Zilla on bass. Damageplan released New Found Power, their only album, on February 10, 2004. New Found Power debuted at number 38 on the Billboard 200, selling 44,676 copies in its first week.
They're Only Chasing Safety is the fourth album by American post-hardcore band Underoath. The album was released on June 15, 2004, through Solid State Records. Prior to recording, it was ready to be recorded with Underoath founder and frontman Dallas Taylor, but instead was replaced with the band's current lead vocalist Spencer Chamberlain. It is also the first record to feature bassist Grant Brandell, who replaced William Nottke shortly after the release of The Changing of Times, and James Smith, who replaced Octavio Fernandez on rhythm guitar.
Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music. Music journalists and fans have used groove metal to describe Pantera, Exhorder and Machine Head. At its core, groove metal takes the intensity and sonic qualities of thrash metal and plays them at mid-tempo, with most bands making only occasional forays into fast tempo.
God Forbid was an American heavy metal band formed in 1996 in East Brunswick, New Jersey. After releasing six full-length albums, the band announced its breakup in 2013.
Trivium is an American heavy metal band from Orlando, Florida, formed in 1999. After getting signed to Roadrunner Records in 2004, the band has released eight studio albums and over twenty singles. Their latest album, The Sin and the Sentence, was released on October 20, 2017. The band has sold over one million albums worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy for the song "Betrayer" at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019 for the Best Metal Performance.
Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of metalcore and melodic death metal, with a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a "more accessible and commercial style" than typical metalcore. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates.
Overcast was an American metalcore band that started in the early 1990s, but broke up in 1998 after an unsuccessful tour. In 2006 they reunited to play the 2006 installment of the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, and announced that they would release a new album entitled Reborn to Kill Again with 11 re-recorded classic tracks and two unreleased tracks. In 2011, ex-Overcast band-mates: Mike D'Antonio, Pete Cortese and Brian Fair announced the formation of their new side-project; "Death Ray Vision". Overcast is often regarded as the godfather of metalcore.
HAWK is an American metalcore band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania that originally formed in 2005.