Groove metal, often associated with neo-thrash/post-thrash and power groove, is a term sometimes used to describe a derivative of thrash metal which took its current form during the early 1990s. Groove metal is a blend of several genres from the 1980s, including traditional heavy metal, death metal, hardcore punk, thrash metal, and sludge metal. Albums such as Exhorder's Slaughter in the Vatican, Pantera's Cowboys from Hell, Sepultura's Arise, and Artillery's We Are the Dead first incorporated groove-based rhythms into thrash metal. However, it wasn't until later albums like Exhorder's The Law, Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, Sepultura's Chaos A.D., White Zombie's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1, Overkill's I Hear Black and Machine Head's Burn My Eyes that groove metal took its pure form.
Groove metal bands tend to play mid-tempo thrash riffs focusing on heaviness and groovy syncopation. Guitarists generally play low syncopated power chord patterns and mid-paced guitar solos, and occasionally use heavy palm muting. The tone is typically described as thick and mid-scooped down with boosted bass and trebles, usually under a harsh distortion. Solid state amplifiers using transistors are commonly used to gain this asymmetrical harmonic clipping sound, although tube amps are used sometimes as well. Like most other heavy metal bass styles, groove metal bass lines typically follow the rhythm guitar riffs but are sometimes used as introduction to a guitar riff or as intermezzi when the guitar riffs are de-emphasized. The use of bass distortion is common. Vocals usually consist of thrash metal-styled shouts, hardcore-styled barks, and clean singing. Groove metal drums typically use double-bass drumming, with emphasis on using the double bass drum in waves, rather than rapid fire double bass and blast beats used in extreme metal styles. Uncommon time signatures and polyrhythms are typical for some bands; generally these bands put heavy emphasis on the changing beat. Groove metal typically follows in a medium tempo, but can vary from band to band or song to song.
Similar stylings and offshootsEdit
Some groove metal bands had influence on nu metal bands and some bands took many elements of groove metal, including the use of low, down-tuned guitars, groovy riffs and lyrical attitudes. Some groove metal bands such as Machine Head experimented with nu metal briefly during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Machine Head can be seen as a "direct link" to later nu metal bands, combining groove metal with hip hop elements.
Many sludge metal bands resemble groove metal, since many make use of down-tuned power chords and mid-tempo or slow rhythms and song structures, although sludge metal is generally slower in tempo and more minimalistic than groove metal. However, sludge metal formed earlier than groove metal and most sludge bands have a more distinct hardcore punk influence than thrash metal. Many groove metal bands such as Pantera took influence from sludge metal.
The riffing style of many current metalcore bands also has some similarity to groove metal and certain bands, such as Lamb of God and Chimaira are considered to be both metalcore and groove metal. Both bands released albums at the time metalcore reached mainstream popularity in the early 2000s, and prominently feature hardcore or even death metal style vocals, yet their musical style and guitar riffs more closely resemble groove metal than the majority of metalcore bands.
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