Groove metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music that began in the early 1990s. The genre achieved mainstream success in the 1990s and continued having some more success in the 2000s. Inspired by thrash metal and traditional heavy metal, groove metal features raspy singing and screaming, down-tuned guitars, heavy guitar riffs, and syncopated rhythms. Unlike thrash metal, groove metal is usually slower and also uses elements of traditional heavy metal. Pantera are often considered the pioneers of groove metal, and groove metal expanded in the 1990s with bands like White Zombie, Machine Head, Skinlab, and Sepultura. The genre continued in the 2000s with bands like Lamb of God, DevilDriver, Five Finger Death Punch, and Hellyeah.
|Stylistic origins||Thrash metal|
|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Texas, New York, U.S.|
|Derivative forms||Nu metal|
Groove metal is heavily influenced by thrash metal. Unlike thrash metal, groove metal focuses more on heaviness while thrash metal often focuses more on speed. Groove metal places emphasis on heavy guitar riffs with usually syncopated rhythms, with the riffs sometimes being somewhat similar to death metal riffs. Guitars are generally down-tuned. Vocals in groove metal usually are yelling, growling, screaming, or very raspy singing. Although groove metal has a big emphasis on guitar riffs, guitar solos are still very common. While thrash metal usually has fast tempos, groove metal usually has slower tempos, but fast tempos can be featured in groove metal. Groove metal is occasionally influenced by early, blues-inspired heavy metal bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.
Texas heavy metal band Pantera's 1990 album Cowboys from Hell is considered the first groove metal album. With this album, Pantera moved away from their glam metal years, starting the groove metal genre. Pantera continued releasing other influential albums through the 1990s. Their 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power featured an even heavier sound than its predecessor, while its follow-up album Far Beyond Driven (1994) peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200, selling in 186,000 copies its first week of release. Pantera's albums often would quickly get certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and eventually would get certified platinum. Vulgar Display of Power is the band's best-selling album, being eventually certified double-platinum. New York band Prong's 1990 album Beg to Differ is also considered one of the first albums of the genre.
In 1993, Brazilian band Sepultura released Chaos A.D., which saw the band use fewer elements of thrash metal. With Chaos A.D., Sepultura became a groove metal band. Sepultura released their most popular album Roots in 1996. Roots was a groove metal and nu metal album. The album received criticism from fans because the album was very different from older Sepultura albums like Beneath the Remains.
In 1992, thrash metal band Exhorder moved to the groove metal genre with their album The Law. In the 1990s, several other groove metal bands appeared, including Skinlab, Pissing Razors, Machine Head, Grip Inc., and White Zombie. Several other veteran thrash metal bands had also been using elements of groove metal over the ensuing the decade, including Anthrax, Testament, Annihilator, and Overkill (whose earlier works had pioneered the genre, including their 1989 album The Years of Decay).
White Zombie achieved mainstream success in the mid 1990s. The band's album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One peaked at number 2 on the Heatseekers Albums chart in 1993 and was certified double-platinum by the RIAA in July 1998. White Zombie's music videos were featured on Beavis and Butt-Head which helped the band sell more albums. The band's 1995 follow-up Astro Creep: 2000 peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and sold 104,000 copies in its first week of release. Astro Creep: 2000 was certified double-platinum by the RIAA. White Zombie's song "More Human Than Human" achieved mainstream success in the mid 1990s. It peaked at number 53 on the Radio Songs chart on June 17, 1995. On that day, "More Human Than Human" peaked at number 7 on the Alternative Songs chart. On June 10, 1995, the song peaked at number 10 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart. "More Human Than Human" was played frequently on MTV and won the Best Metal/Hard Rock Video award at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.
In the 2000s, many more groove metal bands emerged, including Five Finger Death Punch, Damageplan, Lamb of God, Chimaira, Hellyeah, and DevilDriver. Damageplan formed after the breakup of Pantera, with Pantera members Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott being members of Damageplan. Damageplan released one album in 2004 called New Found Power. In December 2004, when the band performed live, guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot dead by a man named Nathan Gale. After this incident, Damageplan broke up. Dimebag Darrell's brother Vinnie Paul Abbott then became the drummer for Hellyeah in 2006 and remained until his passing in 2018. Lamb of God became popular among heavy metal fans in the mid-2000s along with the metalcore bands that were achieving success at the time. Five Finger Death Punch emerged in the 2000s and achieved moderate success in the 2010s.
Influence on other genresEdit
Groove metal bands like Pantera, White Zombie, Prong, and Sepultura were all big influences on nu metal. Nu metal (e.g.: Korn and Slipknot) was a genre that began in the mid-1990s and became mainstream in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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I'm not saying that White Zombie were a nu-metal band, because they clearly weren't. But like Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson, they infused all sorts of influences into their own brand of metal—from industrial to electronic to plain weird—that made them excellent running mates for the nu-metal bands whose rose alongside them.
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By the early '90s, however, they had evolved into an innovative outfit that incorporated hardcore and tribal rhythms in their sound and helped to lay the groundwork for nu-metal and metalcore