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A Brief History of Heavy Metal... Part 4

Just like the last decade had done, the 00's brought a whole new bunch of changes not just for the world of metal and rock, but the entire world as a whole. The new millennium, the year 2000, is considered a milestone year for our civilisation as humanity, due to how far we have come, and the true integration of technology. There was the "Y2K" scare, where everyone thought that the day it turned from 1999 to 2000, that every computer in the world would shut down and not work. This scare died out pretty quickly (obviously after nothing happened), but humanity had begun to see how technology could improve our lives. As the earth moved forward and technology rapidly increased, the new generation of kids wanted something different, and like years before when grunge reared its head, metal in the west now shifted in the 00's to a new style - one that would be called nu metal.

Nu metal is a sub genre of alternative metal, that combines the basic elements of heavy metal, with elements of other musical genres, such as rap, funk and industrial. Unlike most metal, nu metal rarely has guitar solos, instead focusing on guitar riffs and off beat rhythms, Spearheaded by bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock in the late 90s, these bands saw some of their biggest hits released as the new millennium hit in the 00s. Post 00's, bands like Papa Roach, Staind, and probably one of the biggest - Linkin Park, began to morph nu metal and present it in a new and different way. With lyrics generally angry and focusing on things such as difficult relationships, betrayal, bullying and abandonment, it spoke to a youth who were looking to find something to follow and rebel with. As the 00s moved on though, an oversaturation of bands saw the genre decline, and as metal so often does, it morphed into what is now called metalcore. Some of the original nu metal bands are still going though, and elements are still being used by bands to this day!

While talking about the 00s, we would be remiss if not to talk a little about Napster. Napster is considered the very first file sharing app, and would lead the way for online music sharing and getting music for free. Although it was simply a modern version of tape trading (an old school way of finding new songs by sharing ones you had recorded on tape), it did not sit well with some bands. One of the biggest to kick up as fuss, was Metallica, who used to be the figurehead of modern metal. Lars Ulrich took Napster to court over the "illegal" file sharing site, saying it took money away from musicians like them and it wasn't right. The courts ruled in the end in the way of Metallica, Napster was shut down, but its impact was already changing the way of the world. Not long after, Limewire started up and people could not just get music, but also movies for free! This was of course during the dial up years, so downloads would often take days. Like most new things, there is a push back initially, but soon the new thing becomes integrated. Nowadays you can use apps like Spotify or iHeartRadio to listen to any music for free, and bands themselves even give fans the ability to download their music for free - Metallica included! It wasn't just change in the Western world however, as European metal was beginning to explode.

Europe has always had a strong metal culture and love of the music style. Whether its because they have gone through so many wars and political upheavals they love metal as an outlet, or they just like the rhythm and lyrics, European metal did its own thing from the West. In the centre of Europe, you still had metal going strong with bands like the Scorpions and Rammstein, the latter who would find fame in the 90s as an industrial metal band who sung in German (and some English). The Netherlands would soon be home to Epica, Delain and Within Temptation, three bands who took the symphonic metal style (charactrerized by a female lead vocal), and soon shaped it into their own. Finland too was launching its own bands - Nightwish, like Within Temptation, were one of the first symphonic metal bands. Finland would also produce Lordi (who wear monster costumes and won Eurovision 2006), Children of Bodom (a symphonic death metal band) and a couple of amazing power metal bands (Stratovarius, one of the original Finnish metal bands, and Sonata Arctica, a band who are now as synonymous with Finland as wolves!). And Sweden would produce bands like Sabaton (a power metal band who sing about war and battles), Falconer (a power metal band who use folk instrumentation to create a medieval vibe) and Hammerfall (a perfect example of power metal as a genre). Yes, it seems metal would, and cannot die.

We are near the end of our brief history, but stay tuned for the final installment where we summarise metal as a whole and give some ideas of where we see it going!

© 2019 Merchant of Rock

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