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Did Chimaira Coin the Phrase “New Wave of American Heavy Metal”?

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In a new interview with the Talk Toomey Podcast Chimaira frontman Mark Hunter suggests that the Ohio band may have been the ones to come up with the phrase “New Wave of American Heavy Metal.” For the three of you don’t know, that term encompassed the entire subgenre of heavy bands that took over after nu-metal finally went away (at least for a little while). NWOAHM bands often get dubbed “metalcore,” although it’s not always an appropriate tag (and then bands that probably should be considered “metalcore” in the strictest sense, like Converge and Shai Hulud, somehow don’t). Like it seems kinda whacky now, but Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage and Avenged Sevenfold and Mastodon were somehow all put under the NWOAHM header. I actually wrote a whole book about this. You should read it.

ANYWAY, in the interview, Hunter asserts that the term’s first usage was on a piece of Chimaira merch the band sold during the promotional cycle for their first album:

“It’s one of those things, we did it during the [Pass Out of Existence] era—we had a t-shirt. Our sound guy at the time, Wedge, was a big Iron Maiden fan. And before we would play every night, we would be playing Iron Maiden over the loud speakers. So we just started making t-shirt ideas, like ‘Oh, let’s use the Iron Maiden font, what does our name look like there? And then lets just change it to New Wave of American Heavy Metal’ instead of ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal,’ and just kinda having fun and that caught on.

“I remember getting ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ albums when I was younger and it actually said it on some of those albums. They were letting you know it was like a brand almost. So when we released the CD single to the press and radio stations—and this was just kind of like the first few songs they could play before the album was released—it was called the ‘New Wave of American Heavy Metal’ sampler. And to my knowledge, I mean unless someone can prove us wrong, I don’t believe that phrase exists before that t-shirt in 2001-2002.”

I can’t actually argue with that — I don’t remember the first time I heard the phrase used, but I do remember the shirts to which Hunter is referring (photos courtesy of TShirtSlayer):

I do remember that the term kinda took off after a 2005 issue of Guitar One featuring Slipknot, Killswitch, LoG, and Shadows Fall, who were all doing a big tour together at the time.

Whether or not Chimaira invented the phrase “New Wave of American Heavy Metal,” I think we can all agree on this: Atreyu did not invent metalcore.

You can listen to the entire interview with Hunter below.

[via The PRP]

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