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Groove Metal

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Primary Stylistic Influences:
Secondary Stylistic Influences:

Groove metal is, naturally, a subgenre of Heavy Metal. Considered either an evolution of Thrash Metal or a return to metal's blues-rock roots, groove metal is characterised by bluesy, slow-to-mid-tempo guitar riffs and Harsh Vocals. It's a very obscure genre name, but the bands from the genre are not.

First of all, who played groove metal first? Let's not get into that. Mentioning Pantera, Exhorder and "stole from" in the same sentence is guaranteed to cause a massive Flame War, so let's not have discussions about who stole from whom. note 

Groove metal was most popular in the early nineties, after which it got replaced by Nu Metal, which itself occasinally took influences from Groove Metal (some bands more than others). Several Groove Metal bands have extensive Metalcore elements, a couple examples being Lamb of God and Shadows Fall. Groove Metal also tends to take elements from Death Metal, particularly Morbid Angel and Obituary.

Do not confuse the genre with Funk Metal, which is a sub-genre of Alternative Metal that focuses on bass playing and rhythm. The two genres, however, occasionally overlap, such as in the case of Soulfly. Due to its roots in Thrash Metal, groove metal is occasionally referred to as Post-Thrash. Also see Djent, a polyrythmic offshoot of groove metal.

Bands typically considered to be groove metal include:

The groove metal genre contains the following tropes:

  • Careful with That Axe - It is fairly common in groove metal for vocalists to suddenly scream at random parts of a song. Pantera were rather well-known for making liberal use of the style, most notably in "The Great Southern Trendkill" (only with the help of Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt, however) and "Fucking Hostile".
  • Dead Unicorn Trope - Groove metal is a rather ill-defined genre; no one's really sure if it is a spin-off of thrash metal or a more "bluesy" variant of metal, or something entirely different, and it isn't helped by how the genre seems to be moving in many different directions all at once, with some bands favoring a post-thrash sound with "machine gun" power riffs and greater emphasis on rhythmic grooves, others favoring the bluesy style with string bending and country-esque noodle leads, and the odd prog-sounding band that isn't technical enough to be prog but has the downtuned guitars and "rubber riffs" commonly heard from groove metal bands.
  • Genre-Busting/Genre Roulette - Groove metal is fairly notable for the ease of fusing it with other heavy metal styles such as Progressive Metal, Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal and Nu Metal. Consequently, it has become common practice among groove metal bands to produce material that showcase seemingly disparate heavy metal stylings, as such with the case of Meshuggah (produced Technical Death Metal alongside their usual groove songs) and Nevermore (overlaps with Power Metal and Progressive Metal).
  • Genre Shift - Several bands have either shifted towards groove metal (Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory) or turned from groove metal to something else (Machine Head to nu-metal, though they eventually went back into groove metal).
  • Harsh Vocals - Grunts, rasps, and growls are very common in groove metal.
  • Rated M for Manly - A lot of groove metal bands, primarily US-based ones, associate their music and lyrical themes with a tough, no-nonsense masculine aesthetic, and the genre as a whole is popular with white, working-class American men who adhere to fairly traditional or libertarian values.
  • Soprano and Gravel - A few one-man variants, including Fear Factory and Machine Head.
  • Trope Codifier - If you regard Exhorder as the Trope Maker, then Pantera is probably the Trope Codifier. If you regard Pantera as a Trope Maker, then the Trope Codifier is open to debate, though Machine Head and Sepultura are the most likely candidates.
  • Trope Maker - Either Exhorder or Pantera. Or both.
  • Ur-Example - Pantera's Cowboys from Hell for groove metal in general.