New Wave of American Heavy Metal

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The New Wave of American Heavy Metal is a heavy metal music movement that originated in the United States during the early to mid-1990s[1][2][3] and expanded most in the early to mid 2000s. Some of the bands considered part of the movement had formed as early as the late 1980s, but did not become influential or reach popular standing until the following decade.[1][2][3] The term NWOAHM is a later reference to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the late 1970s.[1][2][3]

Although the term is used by the media with increasing frequency, the definition has not been finished completely.[3] This is due in part to the growing addition of bands that assimilate to common styles in NWOAHM (as defined below), yet have not differentiated greatly enough as to garner a new genre moniker.[4] One descriptor by longtime metal author Garry Sharpe-Young helps classify the NWOAHM as a "marriage of European-style riffing and throaty vocals".[5] Several of the bands within the NWOAHM are credited with bringing heavy metal back into the mainstream.[2][6]

The roots of the movement are attributed to the bands Pantera, Biohazard, Slipknot, and Machine Head. These initial bands emerged in the 1990s, drawing influence from New York hardcore, thrash metal, and punk rock. The rise of the movement in the early 2000s is attributed to the over-saturation of nu-metal in that period. Because of this, the nu-metal band Korn is also considered one of the bands which initiated the NWOAHM. The movement includes a wide variety of styles, including melodic death metal, progressive metal, metalcore, groove metal, alternative metal, southern metal, stoner metal, sludge metal, and industrial metal.


Machine Head

The New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement has its origins in a group of post-grunge acts from the 1990s that brought heavy metal "back to its core brutality and drawing not from the traditional blues formula but from NYHC, thrash metal and punk."[3] According to Garry Sharpe-Young, the groundbreaking bands that started the movement are Pantera, Biohazard, Slipknot, and Machine Head.[3] He wrote in his book Metal: A Definitive Guide that the NWOAHM saw a distinct uprising in the early 2000s following the over-saturation of nu-metal in the mainstream. He writes "a fresh audience was ushered in, who wanted the same degree of aggression but laced with more finesse. ... Breakdowns had been replaced by well-engineered riffs; where once there was an annoying turntable scratch, the space was filled by the long-overdue return of the guitar solo."[5]

Lamb of God in 2009

Joel McIver in his book The Next Generation of Rock & Punk claims Korn to be the first band labeled as nu-metal, starting the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.[7] Producers behind the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey write of the NWOAHM: "In essence, NWOAHM can embody the seething aggression of the 'hardcore' hormone, but play a type of acrobatic, precise, technical thrash/death metal synthesis regularly touched by the melody of traditional metal, but often just briefly. Vocally, these bands huddle around Pantera-derived roar, leaning toward a death metal bark, but often with 'clean' or 'sung' vocals as ear candy, sometimes from a member of the band who is not the front man."[8] The producers also reference Unearth, Shadows Fall, and Lamb of God as "leaders of the pack".[8]

In the book New Wave of American Heavy Metal, when listing the wave's most popular contributors, Garry Sharpe-Young "included some of the older bands that show the real roots of metalcore, like Agnostic Front and the whole NYHC, plus the groups that broke the metal scene into new territory after grunge — Pantera, Biohazard, and Machine Head. From there it gets really diverse, crossing the spectrum from melodic death metal to progressive metal and everything in between."[1] Sharpe-Young lists the broad range of styles in the movement as ranging from the Christian metalcore scene, the 70's progressive rock of Coheed and Cambria, melodic death metal, and the screamo and "sub-Gothique" emocore of Alkaline Trio and My Chemical Romance.[3] Beyond this, the movement encompasses a number of different styles including metalcore, groove metal, alternative metal, and hardcore punk.[1][6][9][10]

List of key artists[edit]

A list of notable bands who emerged during the NWOAHM era of music:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av "'New Wave Of American Heavy Metal' Book Documents Over 600 Bands". Retrieved April 27, 2008.  "The book features over 600 bands, including: 3 Inches of Blood, A Life Once Lost, Alkaline Trio, All That Remains, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Between the Buried and Me, Biohazard, Black Label Society, Bleeding Through, Bury the Dead, Byzantine, Cannae, Candiria, Cave In, Chimaira, Cky, Coalesce, Converge, Crisis, Damageplan, Darkest Hour, Devildriver, Diecast, Down, Drowning Pool, Eighteen Visions, Every Time I Die, From a Second Story Window, Glassjaw, God Forbid, Hatebreed, High on Fire, If Hope Dies, Ion Dissonance, Killswitch Engage, Kittie, Lamb of God, Machine Head, Martyr A.D., Mastodon, Misery Signals, Most Precious Blood, Neurosis, Norma Jean, Otep, Overcast, Pantera, Poison the Well, Premonitions of War, Pro-Pain, Rise Against, Remembering Never, Shadows Fall, Slipknot, Society 1, Still Remains, Strapping Young Lad, Stuck Mojo, Superjoint Ritual, Terror, The Acacia Strain, The Blamed, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Red Chord, Throwdown, Trivium, Unearth, Winter Solstice, Zao and many, many more."
  2. ^ a b c d e f g James Edward. "The Ghosts of Glam Metal Past". Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sharpe-Young, Garry. New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
  4. ^ a b c d Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). "Metal: A Definitive Guide". New Plymouth: Jawbone. ISBN 1-906002-01-0. 
  5. ^ a b Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). "Metal: A Definitive Guide". New Plymouth: Jawbone. p. 462. ISBN 1-906002-01-0. 
  6. ^ a b c Adrien Begrand. "BLOOD AND THUNDER: Regeneration". Popmatters. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  7. ^ McIver, Joel (2002). "How Did We Get to Nu-Metal From Old Metal?". Nu-Metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk. Omnibus Press. pp. 10; 12. ISBN 0-7119-9209-6. 
  8. ^ a b Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005, Director: Sam Dunn), Disc Two: "Metal Genealogy Chart"
  9. ^ "NWOAHM - New Frontier Or Well Worn Path?". Maximum Metal. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  10. ^ a b "New Wave of American Heavy Metal". Zondabooks. Retrieved 2006-05-06. 
  11. ^ Terry, Nick. "The Fall of Ideals review". Retrieved April 27, 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b "NWOAHM bands (9)". Rockdetector. Retrieved 2008-08-02. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b SHOEGAZER ROSS. "LAMB OF GOD - Burn The Priest". Metal Express Radio. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  14. ^ Bansal, Vik. "The Impossibility Of Reason review". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c d Fong, Erik. "Rock of Lamb". Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  16. ^ Williams, Robert (February 20, 2010). "Interview with Andrew Laurenson". Metal Rules. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  17. ^ Terry, Nick (October 2010). "IV: Constitution of Treason review". 
  18. ^ Armin. "Interview with Mike Chlasciak". Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  19. ^ Terry, Nick. "As Daylight Dies review". Retrieved April 27, 2008. [dead link]
  20. ^ Bansal, Vik. "Killswitch Engage - Metal To The Core". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c Lee, Cosmo. "Sacrament review". Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  22. ^ a b "THROWDOWN Prepare To Record New Album". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  23. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Killswitch Engage [2000]". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  24. ^ " The Greatest Metal Bands of All Time: Pantera". MTV. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  25. ^ Bansal, Vik. "The War Within review". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  26. ^ Terry, Nick. "The War Within review". Retrieved April 27, 2008. [dead link]
  27. ^ Bansal, Vik. "Ascendancy review". MusicOMH. Retrieved April 27, 2008. 
  28. ^ Terry, Nick. "Ascendancy review". Retrieved April 27, 2008. [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sharpe-Young, Garry (2005). "New Wave of American Heavy Metal". New Plymouth: Zonda Books Limited. ISBN 0-9582684-0-1. 
  • Sharpe-Young, Garry (2007). "Metal: A Definitive Guide". New Plymouth: Jawbone. ISBN 1-906002-01-0.