A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

Part 1

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

Metal originated even earlier than Hardcore. The founding fathers would be Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath had an especially strong influence on the genre since they distanced themselves even more from Blues and Jazz influences (still common in the rock genre) in their guitar-work. Their guitarist Tony Iommi is to this day considered as a huge idol for many guitarists despite two of his fingers missing their tips.

Said guitar-work also influenced the term “Heavy Metal” due to the low tune of their music as well as setting the foundation for the subgenre Doom Metal. Today, Heavy Metal is considered its own subgenre. Led Zeppelin on the other hand is to be less understood as a founder, but more as an inspiration, due to their virtuous guitar-play and distinctive drums.

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

It was 10 years after Black Sabbaths first album before bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon came along to start the further development of Metal and push Punk away in its popularity. Said bands achieved that by combining the heavy guitar-riffs of Black Sabbath with an increased dynamic and speed in their music.

After those long 10 years, the following development was much more rapid. Venom started to take the occult lyrical content of Black Sabbath to a next level and included satanic topics while adapting their music to those lyrics with an increased level of aggression. Furthermore they started three important trends with their first two albums. The search for even harder music; naming their second album Black Metal and thus inspiring the start of new subgenre of the same name which to this day involves extreme lyrical contant and they the founding of Thrash Metal.

This is when youth protection started taking a stance against Metal and labeled it as dangerous to young people as well as claiming it to be unnecessary noise. Due to the lyrical content of the first Metal bands they probably had a point.

Shortly after Venom, bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax came along which to this day shaped and characterised Thrash and Speed Metal. Metallica's Kill 'em All is considered the first pure Thrash Metal album, which was followed 3 years later by Slayers Reign of Blood.

Meanwhile in Germany, independent of the previous stated bands, developed the internationally important Thrash Metal bands Kreator and Sodom.

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

Lyrically all those bands vary greatly and are independent of each other by distancing themselves from the occult and satanistic influence of earlier bands. Only Slayer decided to use rather violent lyrics which they later admitted to do in order to get and create a certain image since their first two albums were closer to what was later considered Power Metal, by Bands like Blind Guardian and Helloween.

During the mid 80s Glam Metal came along which was often laughed at by most Metal listeners. Bands like Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper and Guns'n'Roses had more to do with Rock than what Metal was and is. Their influences derived more from Led Zeppelin than Black Sabbath. The guitar-playing of Slash and Van Halen is paramount in showing that.

Ironically shortly after the rather soft-sounding Glam Metal appeard, Death Metal also developed. The term was inspired by the band Death. The band not only influenced the naming of a new subgenre, but also was one of the first which used screaming, hence becoming the foundation for the now typical Black and Death Metal screaming and guttural vocals as well as helping the development of growling within the Metal and Hardcore scenes. That being said, Kreator already used a very Death Metal like screaming a year prior.

In the subsequent development of Black and Death Metal it is important to note that these two subgenres mostly flourished in the east of Europe and thus were strongly influenced by ideologies during the time of the iron curtain. On the other hand, Thrash Metal established and developed itself in the rest of the world more freely and independently.

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

Transitioning to the 90s, Grunge started to fend off Glam Metal. Due to the start of the Grunge-Wave, Metal went back down into the underground. Pantera was one of the only original Glam Metal bands that managed to transcend into Thrash Metal and increase their popularity. They also were one of the few to have some Hardcore elements to their music in terms of lyrics, vocals and their drum-playing, while going by the motto of Venom to try and become harder and faster in their music.

At the same time Pagan and Viking Metal developed underground, inspired by but distancing itself from Black and Death Metal as well as Sweden giving birth to Melodic Death Metal (Göteborg School) which later became important for Metal and Hardcore overlapping with each other.
A bit later during the mid 90s, the Finnish band Nightwish started to become more famous and helped to develop another subgenre of Symphonic Metal while the biggest European Metal Festival Wacken had it's first event ever. At this time the American scene stagnated which resulted in more genre crossovers like Nu-Metal, inspired by Faith No More, and it's huge hype during the end of the 90s which many should still remember. A genre that many Metal listeners are critical to, due to it's high Hip-Hop and Hardcore and low Metal influence.

Lyrically, there was still no emphasis within the huge number of subgenres except for Black and Death Metal. Only Thrash Metal stayed a bit more prone to violence while Power Metal had more fantasy and fable-oriented lyrics. Vocally only Thrash Metal involved the growling and screaming from Death Metal while most other subgenres go without these vocal techniques.

Important chronological song-recommendations for the key-developments of Metal:

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love - 1969

Pay attention to the song-structure and guitar-playing.

Black Sabbath - Paranoid - 1970

Listen to the grooving guitar as well as the deep-tuned instrumentalisation.

Iron Maiden - Running Free - 1980

Saxon - 757 - 1980

Venom - Black Metal - 1982

Pay attention to the dark, gloomy mood and the fast guitar-playing.

Metallica - Hit the Lights - 1983

Compare the development of Thrash Metal within the Iron Maiden and Saxon songs to this Metallica and the later linked Slayer songs.

Helloween - Walls of Jericho - 1985

German band and first known Power Metal band.

Slayer - Raining Blood - 1986

Taking things up a notch compared to Metallica - especially through the more intense drums.

Bon Jovi - Runaway - 1986

Personally I prefer Guns'n'Roses and Van Halen in terms of Glam Metal. Pay attention to the clear guitar-playing trhoughout.

Kreator - Ripping Corpse - 1986

German Band and first known with “grunting” vocals, which became more typical for Death rather than Kreators Thrash Metal.

Death - Infernal Death - 1987

Taking the grunting to a whole different level and with it being the founding father of Death Metal.

Pantera - Walk - 1992

Focus on the punkish build-up in the refrain as well as the drum-playing which is similar to some of the earlier mentioned Hardcore songs while the guitar-playing is pure Thrash Metal.

At the Gates - Blinded by Fear - 1995

Pay attention to the melodic guitar-playing which is the beginning of Melodic Death Metal that also brought up bands like In Flames, Soilwork and Dark Tranquility.

Faith No More - Ricochet - 1995

Crossover that is fairly similar to what later turned into Nu-Metal.

Korn - Good God - 1996

Nightwish - Sacrament of Wilderness - 1998

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

Towards the millenium things suddenly went up a notch and a lot of things happened almost simultaneously. Firstly the Metalcore-Hype started initiated by bands like Killswitch Engage and Chimaira which combined elements of the heavier Hardcore, Post-Hardcore, Melodic Death Metal and Thrash Metal. Already in the mid 90s, bands like Vision of Disorder, Hatebreed, Biohazard and later The Dillinger Escape Plan combined Metal and Hardcore, but simply didn't have as much success. Lyrically, this trend was a lot closer to its Hardcore roots where Killswitch Engage originally started with political and philosophical content while Chimaira initially was very close to Post-Hardcore dealing with personal topics.

As the Metalcore-Hype started turning up its gears towards Killswitch Engage's third Album, bands like Bullet for my Valentine, As I lay Dying, Underoath (later getting closer to Emocore), Shadows Fall and All that Remains came along.

Suddenly with all the success Metalcore bands had, it became more accepting for Metal and Hardcore to be combined. That created a whole new wave of bands eager to experiment and push previously existing boundaries. The experimenting led to an increased influence of progressve songwriting and subgenres as well as rediscovering Venom's motto of becoming faster and harder resulting in extreme subgenres like Deathcore which is a mix of Death Metal and Hardcore elements. The Metalcore-Hype is also directly responsible for the upcoming Emo- and Emocore-Hype a few years later.

A Brief History of Metal and Hardcore, Part 2: Hard as Steel

While there are still fans within the Metal and Hardcore camps that look rather critical towards this blending, it is widely accepted by now since it brings more variety to the scene as well as helping already established subgenres to thrive.

As a result, Metal has become one of the most diverse genres of our time where even the subgenres are musically so far apart that they could stand alone as their own genre. The Hardcore genre naturally benefitted from this development a lot as well by moving away from the musically limiting Punk foundation of the genre. The wide diversity of subgenres includes those with high aspiration and technical quality, but also some rather simple-minded ones.

Overall Metal developed into a playground without boundaries, where bands can experiment with new things and push past limits, whilst Hardcore benefitted from an increased musical diversity for expressing raw emotion.

Milestones of the Metalcore-Trend and the resulting increase of creative songwriting:

Disclaimer: I shall put a space before and after the dot of .com to avoid a video-overload.

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Sugar Coated Sour - 1999

Pay attention to the genre-mixes as well as to the purposefully scattered guitar-playing which inspired progressive bands later on as well as being the foundation for many technical subgenres such as Mathcore.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=DtFoUboFyPk

Chimaira - Let Go - 2001

The song is pretty close to being a blueprint of what Metalcore became.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=p7DIpMPHKoU

Killswitch Engage - My Last Serenade - 2002

Similar to the Chimaira song, but with more melodic elements to it.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=Cr1H2Hmc3zA

Trivium - Rain - 2004

A lot more of a Thrash Metal influence.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=g3F4LXrIkNk

Alexisonfire - Control - 2004

Developed out of Metalcore as well, but a lot closer to Post-Hardcore as well as to what became Emocore.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=o_yaIUp-5fs

Between the Buried and Me - Backwards Marathon - 2005

Progressive mix that is closer to Dillinger Escape Plan than Chimaira and Killswitch Engage. Additionally implements quite a few Jazz elements.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=ggsC9bzZHJQ

Between the Buried and Me - Alaska Instrumental - 2005

Same band, different song. The instrumental gives a better feel about what's going on.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=MWHrQkpTy5I

Horse the Band - Black Hole - 2005

Horse the Band singel-handedly created a new subgenre and inspired a short-lasting trend that was called Nintendocore – a combination of Metalcore elements with trance-synthesizer sounds that reminds one of the old NES and SNES music. Enter Shikari would be the most popular band of that genre.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=4DsfkJGVdlM

The Devil Wears Prada - Gauntlet of Solitude - 2006

Metalcore that's based a lot more on Hardcore elements while taking on Melodic Death Metal typical keyboard elements. The heaviness is getting closer to what later became Deathcore.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=aCqZ02D_CdI

Carnifex - Slit Wrist Saviour - 2007

Becoming harder and heavier: leading to Deathcore.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=seEpR-S2NCk

Animals as Leaders - Tempting Time - 2009

Inspired by Meshuggah and with an increase of progressive influences, the subgenre Djent came to be.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=z5UBS-yrlfU

Veil of Maya - Punisher - 2012

A more progressive Deathcore approach.

www.youtube . com/watch?v=CrJOAZUCcqg

Naturally there are close to infinite more subgenres, genre-mixes and inbetweens while older genres still focus on what they have always been. The key is musical freedom and diversity combined with high technical skills. What many non-metal listeners forget is that in order to play louder and faster the musicians need an increased skill on their instruments in order to do so. Something that is unfortunately often missing in modern pop where it is all about marketing, money and being as popular as possible instead of focusing on music as an art. Real musical artists these days don't have much success in the mainstream and thus it is a pleasure to have exactly that artistic freedom in the wide scene that is Metal and Hardcore.

#BATTLEROYALE #TeamQuestionMan #TeamEZwinEZlife


Most Helpful Girl

  • Ahhh, now here is the part of the myTake I was looking forward to since I know more of these bands, haha. I'm going to see Korn in September. Should be a fun show. :)

    I definitely do need to listen to more of the songs and bands you have linked here, though. I'll keep this list for future reference. I'm just too zoned out right now with it being late to listen to all of them. Thanks for compiling the list! I'm always on the look-out for new things, but am too lazy to search at times. xD


Most Helpful Guy

  • Great MyTake but it doesn't acknowledge Jimi Hendrix or Judas Priest as forefathers. Furthermore, Thrash started with a Black Sabbath song called Symptom of the Universe and a now well-known song called Am I Evil? by Diamond Head (well-known because Metallica covered it and have cited it a lot as one of their key influences).

    Then we have Grunge. Grunge was born when the frontman of a moody Punk band with a definitive sound died young, under suspivious circumstances. Since then, every Grunge band has started with Nirvana and gone from there. The movement is not related to Glam Pop/Metal at all. Glam was all glittery clothes and simple/shambolic fun tunes. Grungers wear surfer/skater clothes and hoodies and jeans.

    You failed to mention the Emo movement.

    Pantera was a Power Metal band to begin with, not a Glam band. Their style is closely related to Thrash but Thrash doesn't have pinch harmonics.

    I'm done. I think.

    • Judas Priest released 1974 their first album which wasn't considered pure Metal, but still quite Hard-Rockish. Could have been a mention, but didn't have to. Same with Jimi Hendrix. His guitar-play was a huge influence for many Rock and Metal bands. That goes without saying. But I had to keep the MyTake within a reasonable length and thus I kept things out that aren't too important like those or the Black Sabbath song.

      I also didn't say Grunge came out of Metal, but that it replaced Glam Metal in the mainstream popularity and I did mention Emo on the side as well. Once again though, I had to keep things within a reasonable amount or else this would have been way too blown up.

      And yes, Pantera ws Glam Metal. we can argue what exactly makes Glam Metal, but frankly I am not too much into Genre-arguments. This Take is meant to be an overview for people whoaren't too well known about the genre. Those who do know don't need it.

    • Show All
    • Point taken about JP. I thought you would have mentioned that the Heavy Metal term came from Born to be Wild but "heavy metal thunder" was referring to the sound of a motorcycle. This is harked back to in the intros of Bad Motor Scooter by Montrose and Girls Girls Girls by Motley Crue.

    • Yeah, it could have been mentioned, but it was already so long that I had to split this take into two parts. And people these days don't really have the attention span for this ;)

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What Girls Said 2

  • You listen to Alexisonfire? I thought nobody knew about them! They were the first metal band I ever heard! I love them to death!

  • high-fucking-five, dude! I love metal takes!


What Guys Said 8

  • How did Bon Jovi get in this list? Maybe I'm wrong but never considered Bon Jovi really metal with the likes of Metalica or Man O War, Anthrax, Megadeath, etc. To me Bon Jovi is just good ole fashioned rock n roll

    • Glam Metal was mostly mocked within the actual metal-scene for obvious reasons. It was quite far away from what many consider the actual, true metal. It is considered metal nonetheless and BonJovi in his beginning days was right into that hype. Their later albums weren't part of that genre anymore though.

  • Another great take - Lots of stuff I like there - I think the electric guitar would be my favourite instrument in modern music so it would make sense I would be drawn to metal with guitar solos and iconic riffs.

    • The guitar in general is a super interesting instrument since it offers so incredibly many opportunities to be played. Not many other instruments are that diverse.

    • And I just remembered that you were irish. You definitely should listen to the Post-Rock band And so I watch you from afar that I recommended you on the first part. They are irish as well and while they have no irish instruments or anything, you kinda still hear it in their rhythms.

    • Yes I had a quick look on YouTube and did a quick flick through their album - There is quite a range - Definitely on my list to listen to a full album when I have time

  • Good take, how do you know so much about the history of metal? What subgenre would you say Devin Townsend (assuming you have heard of him) would be in?

    • God, Devin is all ove the place. Though I think he orients himself the most to the classical Heavy Metal as well as a whole ton of progressive shit going on.

    • That's actually why I like him, he changes things up a lot. The past couple albums have been good (in my opinion) but I have no idea how to explain it to others, its metal but not. Was hoping some one might be able to put a name to it.

  • You should check out sludge/doom/stoner metal bands like Down (with Phil from Pantera), Mastodon, Sleep, The Sword, Baroness, Pallbearer, Corrosion of Conformity, Neurosis, Electric Wizard and the like.

    • I know most of them. The Sword is great. Saw them live a 2 yearsa go. The singer was entirely out of it though. I was surprised he could still stand... and even sing.

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    • Haven't had enough time to be up2date. I enjoyed their first two albums the most though. Especially Winters Wolves gets me going every time. You might also enjoy the band Boris.

    • Yeah Boris is awesome. I've seen them with The Atlas Moth and subRosa 2 years ago. They're playing in Chicago tomorrow with Earth but I don't think I'm going.

      I am excited for Baroness and Pallbearer next week though.

  • Impressive takes!
    I love pantera and agree that "vulgar display of power" is their best album

    • I did not say Vulgar Display of Power is their best album though ;)

      I got my hands on The Great Southern Trendkill and that is my personal favourite of them to this day. Vulgar is second. But since Vulgar is more accessible for people and was an earlier release I linked their most known song from it of course ,)

    • I see , i listened the great southern kill only few years ago, i like vdop more because it reminds me of my youth..

  • love both genres but when some bands gets fucking ridicolous im outta here listening to jazz or whatever. you know what i mean... muppet faces and satanism, gang posturing, politics that doesn't go anywhere, slogans... even more rock posturing, machismo & extremly stupid rants on queers and the like
    you got the picture

  • Thank you man a lot of this I didn't know #Respek METAL FOR LIFE! ✊

  • You forgot about Celtic Frost, Misery loves company and Napalm Death.


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