Definition of Groove Metal Groove Metal is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that combines the heavy sound of Metal with the rhythmic and funky grooves of Funk.
Groove Metal emerged in the early 1990s as a reaction to the increasing complexity and technicality of other subgenres of Metal such as Thrash Metal and Death Metal. It was a return to the basics of Metal, focusing on heavy, simple riffs and catchy rhythms that made people want to move and dance.
This article will explore the characteristics, origins, evolution, and impact of Groove Metal as a subgenre of Heavy Metal.
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Characteristics of Groove Metal
Rhythmic and Funky Grooves
The most defining characteristic of Groove Metal is its rhythmic and funky grooves. Unlike other subgenres of Metal that focus on speed and aggression, Groove Metal emphasizes the groove, making the listener want to move and dance.
The grooves are often simple but infectious, creating a sense of momentum and energy that drives the music forward.
Heavy and Distorted Guitar Riffs
While the emphasis on groove sets Groove Metal apart, it is still very much a Heavy Metal genre. The guitar riffs are heavy, distorted, and often down-tuned, giving the music a powerful and aggressive sound.
Powerful and Aggressive Vocals
Groove Metal vocals are often harsh and aggressive, with a lot of screaming and growling. The lyrics are typically about anger, frustration, and other negative emotions, reflecting the aggressive and heavy nature of the music.
Use of Syncopation and Polyrhythms
Groove Metal often incorporates syncopation and polyrhythms, giving the music a more complex and dynamic feel. These techniques create a sense of tension and release, adding to the overall groove of the music.
The Incorporation of other Genres Such as Blues and Jazz
Groove Metal is not limited to the influences of Heavy Metal and Funk. It often incorporates elements of other genres such as Blues and Jazz, adding even more depth and complexity to the music.
Origins and Influential Bands in Groove Metal
Pantera is widely regarded as the pioneer of Groove Metal. They formed in Texas in the early 1980s and released their first album, “Metal Magic,” in 1983. However, it wasn’t until the release of their fifth album, “Cowboys from Hell,” in 1990 that they fully embraced the Groove Metal sound.
The album was a huge success and paved the way for the Groove Metal subgenre. Pantera’s influence can be heard in many contemporary Groove Metal bands.
Key songs and albums by Pantera include “Cowboys from Hell,” “Vulgar Display of Power,” and “Far Beyond Driven.”
Exhorder formed in New Orleans in the late 1980s and released their debut album, “Slaughter in the Vatican,” in 1990. Like Pantera, they combined the heavy sound of Metal with the grooves of Funk, creating a style that would become known as Groove Metal.
Machine Head formed in California in the early 1990s and released their debut album, “Burn My Eyes,” in 1994. They were heavily influenced by Pantera and became one of the most successful Groove Metal bands of the 90s. Their sound was characterized by heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs and aggressive vocals.
Sepultura formed in Brazil in the early 1980s and released their debut album, “Morbid Visions,” in 1986. They initially played a style of Thrash Metal but began incorporating more Groove Metal elements into their music in the 90s, particularly on their album “Chaos A.D.” This album is considered a landmark release in the Groove Metal genre.
Fear Factory formed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and released their debut album, “Soul of a New Machine,” in 1992. They were influenced by both Industrial and Groove Metal and became known for their use of heavy, mechanical riffs and aggressive vocals.
Subgenres and Fusion Genres of Groove Metal
Nu-Metal emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a fusion of Groove Metal, Hip-Hop, and Alternative Rock. Bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Slipknot became hugely popular, and Nu-Metal became one of the most commercially successful subgenres of Metal.
Metalcore emerged in the early 2000s as a fusion of Hardcore Punk and Metal. It incorporated elements of Groove Metal, particularly in the use of heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs.
Groove/Death Metal is a subgenre of Death Metal that incorporates Groove Metal elements. Bands like Lamb of God and Gojira are often classified as Groove/Death Metal.
Funk Metal is a fusion genre that combines the heavy sound of Metal with the rhythmic and funky grooves of Funk. Bands like Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers are often classified as Funk Metal.
Contemporary Groove Metal bands
Lamb of God
Lamb of God formed in Virginia in the mid-1990s and released their debut album, “Burn the Priest,” in 1999. They became one of the most successful Groove/Death Metal bands of the 2000s, with albums like “Ashes of the Wake” and “Sacrament” becoming critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
Gojira formed in France in the mid-1990s and released their debut album, “Terra Incognita,” in 2001. They became known for their use of complex rhythms and polyrhythms, as well as their environmentally conscious lyrics. Their album “L’Enfant Sauvage” is considered a classic in the Groove/Death Metal genre.
Trivium formed in Florida in the early 2000s and released their debut album, “Ember to Inferno,” in 2003. They became known for their use of melodic guitar riffs and complex song structures, as well as their incorporation of Groove Metal elements.
Killswitch Engage formed in Massachusetts in the late 1990s and released their debut album, “Killswitch Engage,” in 2000. They became one of the most successful Metalcore bands of the 2000s, with albums like “The End of Heartache” and “As Daylight Dies” becoming critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
Impact of Groove Metal
Influence on Other Genres and Bands
Groove Metal has had a significant influence on other genres of Metal, particularly on Nu Metal and Metalcore. Many Nu Metal bands incorporated Groove Metal elements into their music, including heavy guitar riffs and funky grooves.
Metalcore also incorporated Groove Metal elements, particularly in the use of heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs. Groove Metal has also had an influence on other subgenres of Metal, including Death Metal and Thrash Metal.
Legacy of Groove Metal
Groove Metal has had a lasting impact on Heavy Metal, particularly in its emphasis on the groove. Many contemporary Metal bands incorporate Groove Metal elements into their music, and the genre continues to evolve and expand.
Future of Groove Metal
The future of Groove Metal is bright, with many contemporary bands continuing to push the boundaries of the genre. As the genre continues to evolve and expand, it will continue to influence and inspire new generations of Metal musicians.
Groove Metal is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that emphasizes the groove, combining the heavy sound of Metal with the rhythmic and funky grooves of Funk. It emerged in the early 1990s as a reaction to the increasing complexity and technicality of other subgenres of Metal.
Groove Metal is a unique and exciting subgenre of Heavy Metal that continues to evolve and expand.
Groove Metal may not be the most well-known subgenre of Heavy Metal, but it has had a significant impact on the genre and continues to inspire new generations of Metal musicians.
What is considered groove metal?
Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that emphasizes mid-tempo, syncopated rhythms and a strong, heavy groove. The genre emerged in the 1990s and was influenced by thrash metal, hardcore punk, and traditional heavy metal. Groove metal bands often incorporate elements of blues and funk into their sound, and the genre is known for its focus on tight, precise musicianship.
Did Pantera create groove metal?
Pantera is often credited with popularizing and defining the groove metal sound, although the genre was emerging around the same time as their breakthrough album, Cowboys from Hell. Pantera’s music emphasized heavy, syncopated rhythms and a strong groove, and their influence can be heard in countless groove metal bands that followed in their wake.
Is Slipknot groove metal?
Slipknot is typically classified as a nu-metal band, rather than a groove metal band. While they do incorporate elements of heavy metal and other genres into their music, their sound is characterized by a more aggressive and chaotic approach than most groove metal bands.
What bands are considered groove metal?
Some of the most notable groove metal bands include Pantera, Sepultura, Machine Head, Lamb of God, and Exhorder. These bands all emphasize heavy, mid-tempo grooves and precise musicianship, and have had a significant impact on the evolution of the genre.
Is Rammstein groove metal?
Rammstein is not typically considered a groove metal band, although their music does incorporate elements of heavy metal and industrial music. Their sound is often characterized by heavy, chugging riffs and electronic elements, but is distinct from the mid-tempo, groove-based approach of most groove metal bands.
What are the different types of groove metal?
There are several different types of groove metal, each with their own unique characteristics and influences. Some of the most common subgenres of groove metal include:
- Thrash/groove metal: A subgenre that combines the aggressive, fast-paced approach of thrash metal with the heavy grooves of groove metal.
- Hardcore/groove metal: A subgenre that incorporates elements of hardcore punk, such as fast tempos and aggressive vocals, with the heavy grooves of groove metal.
- Southern/groove metal: A subgenre that emphasizes a Southern rock influence, with bluesy guitar riffs and a strong emphasis on groove.
About the Author
Mark Nye is a writer and guitar teacher with a passion for heavy metal and hard rock. With years of experience playing and teaching guitar, Mark has developed a deep appreciation for the music and culture of the genre. In addition to teaching guitar, he enjoys writing about heavy metal and hard rock music and sharing his knowledge and insights with others. When he’s not teaching or writing, you can find Mark listening to his favourite bands and discovering new music to add to his collection.