Groove metal

Groove metal (also known as post-thrash or neo-thrash) is a subgenre of heavy metal music. It is often used to describe Pantera[4] and Exhorder.[5] 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.[6]

Characteristics and origins

"I'm Broken"
The song "I'm Broken" by the band Pantera features a groove metal style.

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Pantera's Cowboys from Hell album from 1990 was described as "groundbreaking" and "blueprint-defining" for the groove metal genre.[7] King's X has been called the progenitors of the genre and their 1989 debut album: Out of the Silent Planet is often cited as one of the major influences for groove metal, with dropped open tuning and lower, even tempos. Ian Christe credits Sepultura's Chaos A.D. and Pantera for creating the death metal–derived music of groove metal influencing later groups in the genre during the 1990s.[2] Exhorder's debut Slaughter in the Vatican is also considered one of the first groove metal albums, having been released in 1990, the same year as Cowboys. Groove metal bands have incorporated thrash metal,[1] and crossover thrash. Tommy Victor of Prong claims that the attitude of groove metal came from Bad Brains.[8] Groove metal utilizes downtuned thrash riffs. The rhythm, just like progressive metal, tends to focus more on the rhythmic side of metal; it features primarily many irregular time signatures and atypical but complex stop-start rhythm structures. Vocals are usually either growled, screamed or shouted, rather than sung.


The style has been associated with bands such as Pantera,[9] Exhorder,[5] Fear Factory, King's X, Lamb of God,[10] Sepultura,[11][12] Soulfly,[13] Cavalera Conspiracy, Gojira,[9][14] Throwdown,[15] Machine Head,[16] Nevermore,[17] Byzantine,[18] late-period Bush-era Anthrax,[10] Spiritual Beggars,[19] Texas Hippie Coalition, and Five Finger Death Punch.[20] Some bands have gone to some lengths to avoid being labelled a groove metal band. Veteran thrash metal band Annihilator got let go by Roadrunner Records in 1993 when the groove metal trend began being promoted by the label.[21] During the 1990s, the term was occasionally used to describe funk-influenced alternative metal acts such as Primus[22] and Jane's Addiction.[23]

Influence on other genres

Pioneering groove metal bands such as Pantera (originally a glam metal and speed metal band[6][7] in the 1980s) and Sepultura (originally playing thrash metal and death metal[11]) laid the foundations for nu metal in the 1990s and some development of metalcore in the 2000s.[24][25][26] Nu metal is an alternative metal subgenre[24] which utilizes downtuned riffs, a more hip hop influenced beat accessible to rapping and turntablism[27] and groove metal rhythms,[3] while frequently lacking guitar solos and complex picking.[28] Metalcore emphasizes general heavy metal characteristics as well as breakdowns,[29] which are slower, intense passages that are conducive to moshing.[30]

See also


  1. 1 2 Jaffer, Dave. " - Music - Spin - Vigilance - Threat Signal". Hour. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  2. 1 2 Christe (2003), Sound of the Beast, p. 264, As close to death metal as any other gold-selling record before it, Chaos A.D. stripped down Sepultura's sound into a coarse metallic loop. The CD sold half a million copies, and alongside Pantera the band forged a streetwise, death-derived groove metal that inspired an upcoming generation of mavens in the 1990s.
  3. 1 2 Tompkins, Joseph (2009). "What's the Deal with Soundtrack Albums? Metal Music and the Customized Aesthetics of Contemporary Horror". Cinema Journal. 49 (1). doi:10.1353/cj.0.0155.
  4. Birchmeier, Jason. "Pantera biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  5. 1 2 Simmonds, Jeremy (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago Review Press. p. 535. ISBN 978-1-55652-754-8.
  6. 1 2 "Best Pantera Albums". Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  7. 1 2 Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Projects in the Jungle review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  8. Ramirez, Carlos. "Rediscovered Steel - Prong's 'Beg to Differ' - Noisecreep". Noisecreep. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  9. 1 2 Freeman, Phil. "Terra Incognita review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  10. 1 2 Freeman, Phil. "Black Rivers Flow review". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  11. 1 2 Marsicano, Dan. "Best Sepultura CDs - Best Sepultura Albums - Best Albums by Sepultura -". Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  12. Cooper, Lana. "Ankla: Steep Trails < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  13. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Conquer review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  14. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Gojira biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  15. Freeman, Phil. "Deathless review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  16. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Face Down biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  17. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. Lee, Cosmo. "Oblivion Beckons review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  19. Jurek, Thom. "Mantra III review". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  20. Mihai, Andrei. "Five Finger Death Punch – 'American Capitalist' review". Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  21. Sciarretto, Ami. "Annihilator Haven't Played North America Since 1993". Noisecreep. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  22. "Primus To Tour U.S. In November". 1999-10-21. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  23. Mullen, Brendan (2005). Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction. Da Capo Press.
  24. 1 2 "Alternative Metal". Allmusic. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  25. " The Greatest Metal Bands of All Time: Pantera". MTV. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  26. " The Greatest Metal Bands of All Time". MTV. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  27. "Heavy Metal Genres". Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  28. Pieslak, Jonathan (2008). "Sound, text and identity in Korn's 'Hey Daddy'". Popular Music. 27: 35–52. doi:10.1017/S0261143008001451.
  29. Breihan, Tom (11 October 2006). "Status Ain't Hood". "Live: Trivium, the Jackson 5 of Underground Metal". The Village Voice. Daily Voice. Retrieved 18 May 2012. "The best part of every metalcore song is the breakdown, the part where the drums drop out and the guitars slow their frantic gallop to a devastating, precise crunch-riff and everyone in the moshpit goes extra nuts."
  30. Blush (2006), American Hardcore, p. 193, Howie Abrams (NYHC scene): Mosh style was slower, very tribal – like a Reggae beat adapted to Hardcore. (...) It was an outbreak of dancing with a mid-tempo beat driven by floor tom and snare.


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