Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Recent trends (mid 2000s)

Several reunions have lead to a resurgence of interest in the classic metal style. Both Black Sabbath's reunion with their original vocalist in 1997 and Judas Priest's reunion with their original vocalist in 2003 have turned younger audiences onto older bands. Many bands, having reunited only for a one-off tour or gig, decide to stick together after the original tour or gig achieves commercial and critical success.

In Europe, and especially in Germany and Scandinavia, metal continues to be one of the most popular genres, with dedicated fans supporting already established acts with fervour and propelling newer ones like Edguy and Hammerfall to superstar status on a regular basis. Proof of this commitment can be seen in events like the open air festivals held all over the continent from late spring to summer, with the most notable having turned from one-day events to week-long escapades lining up dozens of bands playing in front of staggering crowds ranging in capacity from 8,000 to 50,000 people. Some of the best known festivals are the Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze Festival, Bang Your Head!!!, Metalcamp, Gods of Metal, Inferno Festival and Keep It True.

2002 to 2003 also saw the rise of metalcore as a commercial force. This sub genre is a hybrid blending elements of thrash metal, melodic death metal and hardcore punk. The origins of the genre date back nearly 20 years to the formation of "crossover" thrash in the mid 80s with bands such as Suicidal Tendencies and Nuclear Assault. Up until the mid to late 1990s metalcore had largely been an underground sub genre, but by 2004 it had risen sharply in popularity, enough for big selling groups like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall to debut albums in the top 20 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and get prominent slots at major music festivals, including Ozzfest, Reading Festival and Download Festival.