Green Eggs and Slam

TREND REPORT: yesterday’s scene bands are today’s NEW WAVE OF AMERICAN HARD ROCK

  • Sergeant D

hard rock

Way back in 2011, I predicted that nu-core would be the Next Big Thing, and I was correct (as usual). For those who have been living under a rock and missed it, the cool hype bands to cite as influences over the past couple years are KORN, SLIPKNOT and LINKIN PARK. But what you might NOT know is that we have already moved on to the next Next Big Thing, which is what I like to call the NEW WAVE OF AMERICAN HARD ROCK. The NWOAHR has taken the scene by a storm, and the bands that were playing breakdowns and screaming just a few years ago are now citing the likes of BREAKING BENJAMIN, CHEVELLE, and HOOBASTANK as their influences (while they take over the Billboard Top 10). A few examples:

IMO the torchbearers of NWOAHR are OF MICE & MEN, who just a few short years ago were still playing watered-down NORMA JEAN riffs with screaming. Fast forward to 2014 and they full-on buttrock. Hard lol @ not even letting Austin do vocals in this song because all he can do is scream and screaming won’t get you on the radio. (this album went to #4 on Billboard)

Their brothers in hard-rock arms are ASKING ALEXANDRIA (not technically american but whatever), who are drawing more on the lulzy 80s hair metal/WHITESNAKE kind of thing after pretty much completely dropping the breakdowns and screaming of their old stuff. Not really my thing personally, but this one went to #5 on Billboard so it’s hard to argue with the results. (for some lulz check out their “Home Sweet Home” style power ballad where Danny looks and sounds like a Jack Black character)

Exhibit C, the new album from CROWN THE EMPIRE, who are basically on the next tier down from the Billboard Top 10 scene kings like OM&M, ASKING, and BMTH. They’ve still got some remnants of the vintage Risecore sound, but look for them to completely drop those on their next album when they “mature as artists” and “want to reach a broader audience.” (#7 on Billboard)

But no, even unpopular bands like MY TICKET HOME are hopping on the hard rock bandwagon. 3 years ago they played by the numbers Risecore complete with good cop/bad vocals, Pod Farm guitars and the same Slate drums as everyone else. These days, they are drawing from the awful bands of yesteryear like TOADIES and nu-metal era DEFTONES.

There are so many bands biting their steez that LINKINPARK-CORE is almost it’s own sub-subgenre these days, with DANGERKIDS being probably the most emblematic example.

Another new addition to the NWOAHR family, NINE SHRINES (ft Andrew from ATTACK ATTACK). If you told me this was some local band from Indianapolis who got fooled into paying $40k to buy-in to the opening slot of a BUCKCHERRY tour, I wouldn’t question you for a second.

The verdict seems pretty clear: breakdown-style Risecore is dead, and from its ashes the NWOAHR phoenix has arisen. You can expect several years of new bands who copy OM&M copying CHEVELLE, much like during the Risecore years we had a basically endless supply of bands copying old ASKING ALEXANDRIA (who were themselves shamelessly copying ATTACK ATTACK). Only unlike Pod Farm breakdown-core, it’s actually really fucking hard to write a good rock song, so expect the next wave of bad bands to be even worse than the last one.

The larger question is, how will the history books look back on this period? My guess is somewhere between the PTSD-inducing period when all the 80s hardcore bands tried to copy AC/DC and how we all felt when we watched the hair metal bands desperately try to stay relevant by making a grunge album— vicarious embarrassment so intense that it made your butthole hurt.

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