|Other names||Neo-thrash, post-thrash, power groove|
|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Texas, New York, U.S.|
|Derivative forms||Nu metal|
Groove metal, sometimes also called neo-thrash or post-thrash, is a subgenre of heavy metal music that began in the early 1990s. Heavily influenced by thrash metal, groove metal features raspy singing and screaming, down-tuned guitars, heavy guitar riffs, and syncopated rhythms. Groove metal is usually slower than thrash. Pantera are often considered the pioneers of groove metal, and the genre expanded in the 1990s with bands including White Zombie, Machine Head, and Sepultura. Successful groove metal acts of the 2000s include Lamb of God, DevilDriver, and Five Finger Death Punch.
Groove metal is heavily influenced by thrash metal, but is focused more on heaviness as opposed to speed, although fast songs are still common within the genre. The genre emphasises heavy guitar riffs, often accompanied by syncopated rhythms, and guitar solos are commonplace. Guitars are generally more down-tuned than in thrash, and vocals typically are yelling, growling, screaming, or very raspy singing.
Texas heavy metal band Pantera's 1990 album Cowboys from Hell is often considered the first groove metal album. With this release, Pantera moved away from the glam metal of their earlier work. They continued releasing influential albums through the 1990s; the 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power featured an even heavier sound than its predecessor, while its follow-up Far Beyond Driven (1994) peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 186,000 copies its first week of release.
New York band Prong's second album Beg to Differ, released four months before Cowboys from Hell, is also considered one of the first albums of the genre, with frontman Tommy Victor claiming it was the first groove metal album ever released.
In 1993, the Brazilian band Sepultura released Chaos A.D., which saw the band developing their sound from thrash to groove metal. Sepultura released their most popular album Roots in 1996, which combined groove metal and nu metal; it received criticism from fans because it was very different from older Sepultura albums like Beneath the Remains.
In 1992, thrash 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 bands also used elements of groove metal over the ensuing 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, helping to increase the band's sales. Their 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; it was certified double-platinum by the RIAA. White Zombie's song "More Human than Human" achieved mainstream success in 1995, peaking at number 53 on Billboard's Radio Songs chart, number 7 on the Alternative Songs chart, and number 10 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The song 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 was founded with former Pantera members Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott. They released one album, New Found Power, in 2004. The band broke up in December 2004, after guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot dead at a live performance. 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 genres
Groove metal bands like Pantera, White Zombie, Prong, and Sepultura were all big influences on the nu metal genre. Nu metal began in the mid-1990s and became mainstream in the late 1990s and early 2000s; its most successful acts include Korn and Slipknot.
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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