Alternative metal  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Alternative metal is a branch of heavy metal music, characterized by some heavy metal trappings, but usually a pronounced experimental edge, including unconventional lyrics, odd tempi, unusual musical instruments or extended techniques.

As with most rock music genres, Alternative metal has proved somewhat difficult to define. Some fans and musicians have firm ideas of genre and sub-genre, while others reject such notions as useless or limiting. Influence from many other genres is common in Alternative metal.

The term is very loosely defined, but is usually used to describe artists playing a style of metal which is considered either unique or difficult to define. Faith No More are a good example of this category, with their 'unconventional' metal sound, as with former frontman Mike Patton's side projects Fantômas and Tomahawk. Some artists of this category take an extremely avant-garde approach to their music, such as The Melvins and Meshuggah, while others have a more conventional but unique style such as Tool, Rage Against The Machine and Helmet.

Heavy metal is at the core of the music, but it was very different from the thrash underground of the 1980s. The grunge movement of the early 1990s helped increase this sub-genre's audience, and Alternative Metal bands began taking different paths: Jane's Addiction and Tool had a more progressive rock sound, Corrosion of Conformity and the now defunct grunge band Soundgarden had a fondness for 70's blues rock. Faith No More, Primus and Incubus incorporate Funk into their brand of Alternative Metal, White Zombie, Nine Inch Nails and Fear Factory started the industrial wave, combining techno-like beats and heavy guitars, and Pantera used thrash-like intensity and bleak lyrics to further mold the Alternative Metal sound. Sepultura have blended the drumming of indigenous Brazilians with their music, while bands like Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Dog Fashion Disco and Vicious Hairy Mary incorporated everything from circus/carnival music, jazz, and surf rock into their music, creating what is often described as circus metal or avant garde metal.

KoRn's 1994 self-titled debut album is sometimes cited as the catalyst in popularizing a new sub-genre of alternative metal, sometimes known as nu metal. Nu metal combines simple riffs, down-tuned guitars, pop sensibilities (predictable formulas, conventional structure, catchy anthems), stop-start dynamics (heavy verse, silent chorus, or vice versa), use of samplers and/or DJs and hip hop influenced beats and vocals. Key artists of this genre include KoRn, Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Deftones and Limp Bizkit.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alternative metal" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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