Love, Hate, Sex, Pain

My last two posts gave the misleading impression that all Heavy Metal lyrically cares and complains about was the dirty business of war, politics, and racist exclusion. However, the beautiful side of life, that of love and sex, ranks high among the most famous topics as well. What binds both realms is the emotionality with which they are approached. Of course, Metallic lyrics find darkness even within the positive, turning towards love’s counterpart hate, and emotional excess, which is obsession. This post’s headline is actually the title of a Godsmack song from their 2010 album “The Oracle”, and the line “Love, hate, sex, pain, it’s complicating me sometimes” describes four of the most intriguing elements of human emotional life.

In some ways Metal is “kind of an extension of the Blues”, Machine Head’s lead singer Robb Flynn suggests in a 2004 interview with Faceculture. “We’re a Metal band and, […] we write about the darker sides of life,” he elaborates. “There’s plenty of bands out there writing about love and flowers and bunny rabbits, you know, happy stuff, and that’s just Pop music.” Feeling blue has turned into feeling bluesy. The Blues is a musical genre that originates in African-American Folk and slave music and mostly tells tales of personal woes. Today, some mysterious quality in Metal music appears to make it especially attractive for the dark, the negative and the melancholic, but this tendency is not pointless: everyone needs a valve for their emotions. Why not let them into music? If musicians can lighten their hearts while writing and singing, then perhaps the lovesick, bad-mooded, pessimistic or demotivated Metalhead out there will find listening to these songs equally relieving. Psychologically, music definitely has a particular value, unrivalled by any other medium. Music therapy is versatile and effective; music has a potential for easing, healing, relaxing.

From the vast amount of lyrics revolving around painful topics such as unrequited love, excessive hate, burning obsession or the maelstrom of addiction we can easily infer that Metal is frequently employed as a form of therapy. Robb Flynn has made Metal his personal Blues by reflecting on his adoption. Lawrence Matthew Cardine was abandoned by his parents when he was an infant, then adopted by a couple who gave him the name Robert Conrad Flynn, and love. The musical result of Flynn’s struggle, “Left Unfinished” (from the album “Through the Ashes of Empires”, 2003) is hard to misinterpret and painful to hear. Flynn describes his struggle to understand why he was born at all and then abandonded. He reaches this powerful conclusion:

You never could love me
I’m glad that you never did
My parents that raised me
Had plenty of that to give
And for that
I’ll love them forever with all my heart
But to you
Don’t let there be no mistake about it
Fuck you, you cocksucker
Fuck you, you whore
I’ll live my life the opposite of what you are
Love will be my rock
The rock that I stand on

He resolves that he will “give to this world what you [his real parents] couldn’t give, love the unwanted, every child born discarded.” Flynn somehow comes to terms with his adoption, and the song develops from the bleak view of a scornful and misunderstood boy to the resolution of a man to be the opposite of his parents and build his life on love.

A relationship which is ended not by the ceasing of affection but by death is at the heart of another very profound Heavy Metal love song (if I may indeed coin a term such as Heavy Metal love song without reaping nothing but contempt…): “Cemetery Gates” is part of Pantera’s famous record “Cowboys from Hell” (1990) and allows for much interpretation. Besides, the song is proof for Dimebag Abbott’s beautiful guitar work. After the death of his girl (my interpretation only), he who tells the story feels “lost within my plans for life, it all seems so unreal. I’m a man cut in half in this world, left in my misery.” He feels painfully incomplete, at a loss for tears, and needs to stop living in the past. “Believe the word,” he claims, “I will unlock my door and pass the cemetery gates.” Will he pass those gates and come to terms with his calamity? Or will he pass those gates as a body, finally resolving to kill himself and end his miserable half-life? Pantera leave the decision to us. They treat the issue of loss with a note of power and despair, outlining it as that sublime tragedy it really is.

Iowa’s monster Slipknot, appropriate to their habit of cultivating the extreme, pass from love to obsession and from anger to hate in about a nanosecond. In their record “Prosthetics” (from the album “Slipknot”, 1999), Corey Taylor, I interpret, tells a story of kidnap and abuse. I hate the idea of people having to suffer such agony, yet I can’t help admiring the songs because it always makes my hair stand on end.

Even if you run I will find you

I decided I want you, now I know I need

If you can’t be bought, tougher than I thought
Keep in mind, I am with you
Never left out fate, can’t concentrate, even if you run

You will be mine

He goes on to advise:

Better make yourself at home, you’re here to stay
You won’t bother me, if you let me bother you

All the doors are locked, all the windows shut
Keep in mind, I watch you
Never leave my side, never leave me, fucker even if you run

The terrifying image of madness and hopelessness is sharpened by Taylor’s ever escalating screams of remorse:

What the fuck is different man? I can’t believe I’m doin’ this
Dammit man I knew it was a mistake
You brought it outta me, mistake
Heavy Metal is a collection of motley songs and styles, lyrics and issues. Love and all its disarray is a significant element of heavy music. You want further songs on love, hate, sex and pain?

“Everything Ends” from Slipknot’s “Iowa” (2001) could be a helpless tirade of pain after a breakup (“You are wrong, fucked and overrated, I think I’m gonna be sick and it’s your fault. This is the end of everything, you are the end of everything…”)

The song “Skeptic” by the same band (from “.5: The Gray Chapter”, 2014) might be a song about Jesus (a startling idea my boyfriend recently uttered and which would fit in many respects) as well as a loving remembrance of their bass player Paul Gray who died in 2010. (“And our hero, martyr, missionary. God – he was the best of us. The world will never see another crazy motherfucker like you, the world will never know another man as amazing as you…”)

“Hollow” by Pantera (from “Vulgar Display of Power”, 1992) once again centres on loss, and in an interview with Metalhammer in 2012 Phil Anselmo mused that at the time he wrote the song he was actually much too young to understand the truth of these words. (“He as hollow as I alone. A shell of my friend, just flesh and bone. There’s no soul, he sees no love. I shake my fists at skies above, mad at God…”)

German Industrial Rockers Rammstein must have written at least several dozen of songs revolving around love and sex. Just try “Heirate mich” (a simultaneously tragic and amusing song about a necrophiliac, from their debut “Herzeleid”, 1996) , “Amour” (a poetic tale of the wild beast love, from “Reise, Reise”, 2004) and “Liebe ist für alle da” (the story of a greedy hunter and a chased beauty, from the 2006 album of the same name).

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As the War Machine keeps turning…

There are two societal fields in which most of us remain almost muzzled and our hands are tied: economy and politics. We might be allowed to vote, to buy and sell as we see fit, and to line up for rallies against everything we dislike – but in essence we are powerless when greater forces decide the fates of our nations. The generation of Black Sabbath were heirs to their forefathers’ swoon. Having grown up in the post-war depression marked by lack and loss as much as by restart and stoical strength, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward soon turned a critical eye on the subject of war and political cowardice. Their second album “Paranoid” (1970) features songs such as “War Pigs”, “Iron Man” and “Electric Funeral”, haunting reminders of the havoc humans are capable of wreaking.

Make love, not war: Iommi and Osbourne making peace in 1973

Make love, not war: Iommi and Osbourne making peace in 1973

Faceless Generals are compared to witches and deathly sorcerers in “War Pigs”. They are accused of having poisoned the masses’ minds, whereas politicians, blinded by power, “[make] war just for fun” and “[treat] people just like pawns in chess”. Wars are fought by and on the backs of common people, yet not by those who pull the greater political strings – nothing about this perception has changed since Ozzy claimed that “Politicians hide themselves away, they only started the war. Why should they go out to fight? They leave that all to the poor.” Finally, characteristic Black Sabbath manner of course demands the introduction of the threat of Judgement Day, with “Satan [who] laughing spreads his wings” as every political wrongdoer’s eternal host.

Less unambiguous but equally gloomy a message is contained in the lyrics of “Iron Man”. When dealing with lyrics, behind every corner lurks the danger of interpretation. However, this step sometimes must be taken for the sake of understanding the words in a song as more than random expressions. What if Iron Man, who “was turned to steel” and plans vengeance because “nobody wants him” is understood to be a soldier after war? “Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blind? Can he walk at all, or if he moves will he fall? Is he alive or dead? Has he thoughts within his head? We’ll just pass him there, why should we even care?”, Ozzy sings. Similarly, Iron Man could be a greater metaphor for war itself, leaden, unwanted, vindictive, and randomly chasing any group of victims. I am Iron Man.

In “Electric Funeral”, Black Sabbath finally turn towards the hysteric threat of atomic war, again deploying religious metaphors linked to occultism. The burning globe resembles “electric funeral pyre”, and during its expiration it’s the “supernatural king” of atomic power who takes mother earth under his wing, accompanied by Hell’s angels.

At a time when war had ceased to be part of people’s daily worries, politics, economy and society opened up various new vistas of critique for the eager musician.The Metallic nineties brought recollections of revolution, hints at global pollution, and a general sense of being lost in a world too big and too fast for us. An outright pessimistic view of our world was put into lyrics by Machine Head on their record “Supercharger” in 2001. The “Blank Generation”, this is us, confronted with the ills of progress, regress, excess.

Machine Head in the Nineties: the Supercharger cover

Machine Head in the Nineties: the Supercharger cover

Robb Flynn sings that “they say we been going down and going down, been traveling on the road to nowhere.” He describes how when growing up he slowly realised that the world was worse than she seemed, and her way could only lead downwards. (Note: I am aware that the narrator in these lyrics is not necessarily Robert Flynn, but I point-blank refuse to employ artificial academic terms such as lyrical persona in this blog!) Corruption, greed, hate and pain, which “we learned to see” and, perhaps, to accept as normal, put an end to mankind’s innocence. Machine Head’s toast to this lost innocence is a toast to the generation of the blank, and it reads thus:

So here’s to our collagen lips and saline tits
To our growth hormones and antibiotics
To the Hollywood world we made out of Barbie doll hearts
After we melted them down so we could make our new start
Here’s to a generation scared and always wondering why
Instead of playing doctor, we play shoot each other and die
Instead of ring around the Rosie, we play hide from Mommy
‘Cause Mommy’s been drinking again and we don’t want to get beat
Even with all our tattoos and all our cheap thrills
There’s still a hole inside of us that may not ever get filled
So we give back a little bit of what the world’s given us
Giving back a bit of never giving a fuck
Here’s to the justice never dealt, to innocent, proven guilty
Here’s to bad cops turning cheeks when real cops are on the street
Here’s to the rat-tat-n-tat of gun shots, and your life is shattered
Here’s to “Gimme me your cash or your brains is gettin’ splattered”
Here’s to mad cow disease and all that yummy MSG
Here’s to Mickey d’s serving all those mutant chick-a-dees
This is a toast to celebrate the end of our innocence
This is a toast to celebrate how
We’ve become desensitized
If life is to grow
Some life must die

Are we the “Blank Generation”? Convince yourself.
There is truth in these words. Enough truth to suggest that, lyrically, Heavy Metal is far from dumb and evil…

Voiceless Heavyness

We all know these Heavy Metal opponents, who grimace whenever they hear the screams, screeches or growls typical of heavy music. Feeling the urge to spread my favourite music all the same, to make Heavy Metal’s instrumental beauty available for the tentative, I went for the one form that connects Metal to any other musical genre in the world: I introduced my faint-hearted victims to instrumentals!

There is hardly any category of music around the world that strictly depends on vocals (no Hip-Hop, no R’n’B, definitely no Schlager without a singer, I suppose). Purely instrumental songs did not only emerge in indigenous cultures, but were popular in every musical era from baroque styles to Viennese Classicism, from Romanticism to Jazz, Swing and Folk music. It is said that one of the oldest instrumental tradition originates in India, where musicians played the nadaswaram (the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic wind instrument) and the tavil (a drum shaped like a barrel, of which one side is played with the hand and thumbcaps and the other with a thick stick). The tradition of creating music purely centred on the instruments has not ceased to be a matter of fascination.

Since wikipedia (I am aware that this is a debatable source…) states that an instrumental “might include some inarticulate vocal input”, the first heavy instrumental I want to introduce to you contains quite a number of imported audio records. Machine Head’s debut album (“Burn my Eyes”, 1994 ) features “Real Eyes. Realize. Real Lies.”, which – upon listening very closely – actually contains a critical message, albeit remaining rather simple musically. It can be called instrumental even though vocalist Robb Flynn screams once towards the end of the song, because he merely utters the title’s five words.

Helping to establish the instrumental by putting it to the test were Black Sabbath, who recorded “Rat Salad” for their second album “Paranoid” in 1970. It is a classic example of Tony Iommi’s modern, skillful guitar play and Bill Ward’s occasional epileptic drumming seizures, both of which fit together perfectly to create a hitherto unknown sound.

Stunning guitar work and a martial rhythm characterise legendary British Art Rock band Queen’s instrumental “Chinese Torture” (from “Kind of Magic”, 1989). I am not sure about the connection to the method of Chinese water torture, which means the slow dripping of water onto the victim’s forehead until he or she retreats into insanity. Indeed, Brian May’s guitar experiments might seem like torture to some listener’s ears, but they are fascinating all the same.

Since Heavy Metal veterans Metallica are undoubtedly the kings of prolonged intros and endless riffing before getting to the point, it is small wonder that they have produced a number of excellent instrumentals. In fact, they appear to get quite lost in their music now and then – with pleasant results! In their instrumental “Suicide & Redemption” (from “Death Magnetic”, 2008) they seem to create an invisible storyline, because the song guides the listener through different stages. It’s quite an artistic journey, Metallica riffing at length as usual but – for once – with the sole purpose of doing so.

James Hetfield likes his little joke (“Should I tell them the title – I mean, that’s stupid..? – Ok, you’ll know it!” – Do they?). Enjoy a high-quality live performance, and while you’re at it, pay attention to Robert Trujillo‘s awesome bass work!

It was October this year when the latest record of my Scandinavian favourites Scar Symmetry, “The Singularity (Phase 1: Neohumanity)”, was published. I fell for their guitar solo-centred instrumental “Children of the Integrated Circuit” immediately. It’s a shame that this of all tracks is not available on youtube. However, I found an amazing guitar cover by a user called Jamie Williams, which I urgently want to share with you because it is extremely close to the original, and I find it fascinating to watch his fingers work.

Having no voice to sing for it doesn’t make a song voiceless.

The Butter on the Bread of Metal

If Heavy Metal was bread, what then would be the butter? Hoping that you forgive me for comparing Metal to dry bread, my answer is: solos! A driving riff is enjoyable, and a heavy beat can definitely make us nod appreciatively, a growling bass might satisfy, a screaming voice can urge us to scream along – but only a solo can make usually reasonable adults play the air guitar, headbang like maniacs or close their eyes with a featherbrained smile on their faces. If a solid Metal song is the basis of a good mood, a perfect solo is the extra on top.

The term derives from the Italian word for ‘alone’, ‘solo’. However, for their musical solos the Italians use the term ‘assolo’. Hinting at its Latin origin, the plural form is ‘soli’, yet today the anglicised plural ‘solos’ is common. Soloing has a long musical history. Early classical music already employed a solo voice or instrument leading the listener through the composition. In Jazz and Dixie music solos are praised particularly: if onstage, every member of the band usually gets the opportunity to play at least one solo. At times, all these solos occur in the same song, one after the other, and are immediately applauded for by the audience. In modern music, Rock and Metal in particular, soloing has reached a new dimension: faster, longer, and as complex as possible.

One of the first champions of soloing was Eddie Van Halen, the legendary Dutch guitarist of the Californian band Van Halen. While young Edward Van Halen at first studied classical piano, then learnt to play the drums, his brother Alex Van Halen started strumming the guitar. It is said that Alex secretly sneaked into his brother’s room to play his drums, and when Eddie finally caught Alex red-handed, both agreed on swapping their professions. This decision turned out quiet successful. Eddie Van Halen’s widely known solo instrumental “Eruption”, part of their debut album “Van Halen” (1978), is said to have just been the guitarist’s warm-up exercise that had been recorded by accident, and which should bring its originator a brilliant reputation as a guitar god. While the original lasts only 1:44 minutes, Van Halen stretched the solo onstage into incredible 11 minutes. Both versions are amazing to hear and, in the second case, to see:

 

Another band famous for its fantastic guitar work during the eighties was British Artrock jewel Queen. Brian May is blessed with the talent to tailor every solo to its specific song, and he is proficient in a variety of styles. The guitar-centred song “Bijou” features the album “Innuendo” (1991) – and May, despite Queen existing with only half the original members today, still plays it live. In 2008, Freddie Mercury’s vocals were imported and the singer was shown larger than life on screen. Brian May was 61 at that time, and his soloing has lost nothing of its appeal over the years:

If you want the original, you’ll find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz_d3sH0pwI

Amazing as well, yet no solo of Brian May, is the Flamenco passage in Queen’s mysterious song “Innuendo” (from the album of the same name, 1991). It was played by Yes guitarist Steve Howe, who ran into the band in Montreux rather accidentally and was persuaded by May, Taylor and Mercury to do some “crazy Spanish guitar flying around over the top.” The result sounds thus:

 

While you find many purely instrumental compositions in the wide world of Heavy Metal and Rock, the common song is often adorned with a solo as well. One musician who had made his mark in the Metal scene before deceasing much too early was Dimebag Abbott, Pantera’s famous guitarist. In an admirable way Abbott combined harsh guitar screeching with smooth whirls of sound, charging any song with energy or depth. As his main influences Abbott cited Ace Frehley (KISS), Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen, especially “Eruption”), Pete Willis (Def Leppard), Kerry King (Slayer) and several other artists. Three of his solos have been incorporated into Guitar World magazine’s Top 100 of all time: his soloing in “Walk” (from “Vulgar Display of Power”, 1992), “Cemetery Gates” (from “Cowboys from Hell”, 1990) and “Floods” (from “The Great Southern Trendkill”, 1996) is exceptional indeed. However, I want to introduce you to one of the less loudly praised solos of Abbott, which is the one giving “A New Level” (from “Vulgar Display of Power”, 1992) the final polish:

 

One of my favourite solos crowns Chimaira’s pearl “Six” (from their self-titled album, 2005), which is actually one of my favourite songs as well. Apart from the record being packed with variety, the solo is – I cannot express it in a better way – simply cool! It needs a while to develop, because Rob Arnold’s solo parts are interrupted by all the instruments falling in several times. Patience will be rewarded!

 

American Thrashers Machine Head are especially known for their “double-solos”, which means that Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel play their solos together and this way may reach an even greater complexity. Apart from containing a thrilling solo, “Vim” (from “Through the Ashes of Empires”, 2003) wonderfully displays Machine Head’s long time drummer Dave McClain’s astonishing skills. If he was not mentioned in my favourite-drummers-post, it was by accident!

 

The soloing of American Melodeath monsters Scar Symmetry has a very clear quality. Per Nilsson’s solos are precise, finely composed and highly addictive, like the one in “Illuminoid Dream Sequence” (from “The Unseen Empire”, 2011):

Scar Symmetry even dared to start off a song with a solo, which has produced an amazing result. “Seers of the Eschaton” (from “The Unseen Empire”, 2011) is a real blast from the start:

 

All these great solos create the impression that for soloing you necessarily need a guitar, which of course is wrong. Since I have praised ex-Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison in my latest post, I need not say much: watch Joey Jordison’s awesome live playing-and-turning performance!

 

Solos make the Heavy Metal world go round.

Heavy Metal – Covers from Outer Space

Heavy Metal has not only adopted many other styles, but it has been adopted as well. A particularly large influence on many alternative musicians appears to be German Industrial monster Rammstein. The latest (and slightly questionable because strange) attempt was made by an aged German pop star called Heino. Unfortunately, his Rammstein cover made people rather laugh wildly than nod appreciatively. It just did not suit the white-haired fellow. Nevertheless, take a look at Heino’s idea of “Sonne” (from “Mutter”, 2001):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go9MOdL93Cg

 

Much more, however, do Rammstein fit Carpe Noctem. The charismatic string quartet from Eastern Germany has covered “Hilf mir” and “Stirb nicht vor mir” on their first album,“op. 1: Obscuritas” (2010) next to a cover version of System of a Down’s “Toxicity”. I won’t go into detail here, because I have recently interviewed Carpe Noctem and the result of our chat will soon adorn this blog.

There is another band successfully meddling with Rammstein: some week’s prior I suddenly noticed that the English lyrics of “My Country”, a song by Country rockers The Boss Hoss from their abum “Liberty of Action” (2011), strangely resembled Rammstein’s German text of “Mein Land”. And indeed I found out that The Boss Hoss had not only covered and strongly estranged, but even translated the original song.

I have also discovered Heavy Metal in Techno music. German trance producers Matthias “Double M” Menck and Dennis “Bonebreaker” Bohn (during this project called Brooklyn Bounce) released a hit single named “Bass, Beats and Melody” in 2000. If I am not completely mistaken, one version of the song’s intro might be inspired by a well-known Machine Head sample, the first drum pattern of their legendary opener “Davidian” (from “Burn my Eyes”, 1994) as well as the intro sound of “Silver” (from “The Burning Red”, 1999). Could I be possibly right?

versus

and

 

My fascination for such musical fusions is huge. As soon as possible, I will provide you with another example of Heavy Metal going abroad musically. Have you ever thought about what Richard Wagner and Rammstein have in common…?

 

 

Heavy Metal – Coveted and Covered

The act of covering other bands’ music has permeated Heavy Metal history since its first days. I personally consider this an advantage for us fans. If a song is great in its original version, why not create another brilliant variant of it for the benefit of the listener community? It obviously does not matter whether the music covered originates from the same stylistic roots or an entirely different scene. Heavy Metal has mated with Heavy Metal, but also with Rap, Hip Hop, Pop, Reggae, Techno, classical music and Country. Sometimes these cooperations resulted in a new subgenre of Heavy Metal (just think of Rap influence on what is nowadays called Nu Metal…), at times they simply gave birth to wonderful, hilarious or surprising cover versions.

Heavy Metal has influenced musicians from other genres as well. Metallic samplers found their way into Techno songs, classical bands intonated Metal compositions, even Country bands and German pop stars felt inspired by the heavy material.

In the realm of Heavy Metal bands covering each other, the most extraordinary act is definitely Six Feet Under. In 2000, the American Death Metal band released “Graveyard Classics”, a record comprised entirely of cover versions. They pressed their stamp on numerous classics, such as Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”, the legendary “TNT” of AC/DC and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. I perceive this work to be somewhere between gruesome, hilarious and absolutely great! Chris Barnes rasps and growls along with his bandmates’ clear play. Whatever press and fan reactions, Six Feet Under did it again: in 2004 “Graveyard Classics II” was released, this time focusing entirely on AC/DC’s “Back in Black”; 2010 brought “Graveyard Classics III” to the light of day. Watch Barnes and band perform the classic, it’s amazing!

 

Covering Heavy Metal from a completely different perspective are Van Canto. The German a cappella Metal band was founded in 2006 and creates all their sound with voices only, the exception being the drums. Bass lines, lead and rhythm guitars, solos – everything is sung by the six musicians. An exceptionally great cover version on Van Canto’s debut album “A Storm to Come” (2006) is the Metallica classic “Battery”. It always makes me smile because it is dead unusual, but it’s great all the same:

 

Metallica has been a constant source of inspiration for Heavy Metal bands of all calibre. Next to numerous independent single covers (such as Machine Head playing “Battery” once more on their 2007 album “The Blackening”), a great cover of Metallica’s full self-titled record was produced by German Metal magazine Metal Hammer (2011). Twelve different bands perform the legendary songs of the Black Album, each with their particular style. I personally like especially those covers which do not attempt to stay too near to the original sound. Well-known Folk Metalists Finntroll covered “The God that failed” with their typical Folk instrumentation, making the song barely recognisable, yet wonderfully light and amusing. German Metalcore band Callejon’s cover of “Wherever I may roam” preserves their Core style perfectly and the Metallica material is revived brutally, but brilliantly.

 

Further heavy covers?

Metalcore act Chimaira covers “Wild Thing” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (on “The Age of Hell”, 2011)

(I’m sorry, but I cannot provide the video here due to GEMA problems…)

 

Austrian Metal band Artas covers “Gangsta’s Paradise” by rapper Coolio (on “The Healing”, 2008)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0tPUmTOf_I

 

UMC (Ultimate Music Cover) intones Avicii’s “Wake me up”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRd8PNJKVl8

NWoAHM: Renewed Attack

Headbang on...

Masses of flying hair…

Heavy musical developments from the late eighties into the 21st century were diverse, and entwined with almost any other genre. Metal suffered drawbacks and phases of depression, luxuriated in grandiose upswings and mated with many alternative styles. Today, all these exciting events and new bands are subsumed under the heading of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, in short NWoAHM. The name is inspired by the famous New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM), and describes Middle American musical developments from the early 1990s into the new century. This movement’s roots lie in Nu Metal and Neo Thrash as played by Pantera, Biohazard, Machine Head and Slipknot, who were the first to help Metal back onto its former throne. During this era, Metal was accompanied by countless influences, among them Hardcore and Punk Rock. In turn, Hardcore bands included heavier material into their sound as well.

Over decades, the NWoAHM has generated numerous subgenres of Heavy Metal, such as Melodic Death Metal (also called Göteborger Schule), Progressive Metal, Metalcore, Emo and Screamo, Groove Metal, Alternative Metal, White (Christian) Metal, and Hardcore Punk.

Other, more independent genres also benefitted from the renewed upswing of Heavy Metal. Hardcore gave birth to Metalcore, while Grindcore constituted the most extreme variant of this music which was ever produced.

For a better order and shorter posts I have decided to feed this wave to you in several parts. The Core styles will be the first to do the honour.