During the 1980's, one of the most popular and enduring genres was that of glam metal, also known as hair metal. Dominating the rock charts throughout the decade, it was getting stale. By the 1990's, this form of rock was giving way to new genres like thrash metal and alternative rock. One of the leading bands of the new alternative rock movement was a little known group from Seattle, Nirvana. Their breakthrough into the mainstream led the way to the overall popularity of alternative rock (especially grunge) during the decade, only for rock as a genre to fade out by 2000, leading the way to the popularity of pop (Hip-Hip), rhythm & blues and rap. The timeline will look at a world in which one of the most influential bands of the 1990's, didn't form, and rock still reigns supreme.

Major Genres

Thrash Metal

Metallica 1991

Metallica are one of the best selling Trash bands in history

Thrash metal, a sub-genre of metal, is characterized by the fast and aggressive tempo of the music, with shredding guitar styles and fast percussive beats. Formed during the mid 1980's, the lyrics often dealt with social ills, and attacking the establishment. These characteristics made it incredibly popular during the 1990's, especially among teens. With it's rise, came many bands besides the "big-four" founders of the genre (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax). These bands, such as The Called, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, took the sub-genre and made it even more serious and more popular among the youths, not just in America, but around the world. However, following the release of Pearl Jams Pesticide in 1998, Thrash took an immediate decline in popularity, before fading out of the mainstream by 2002.

Industrial Metal

Nine Inch Nails Moline 10

Nine Inch Nails performing in 2011

A major genre during the last years of the 90's and early 2000's, industrial metal draws from a number of backgrounds, including thrash, punk and heavy metal. Using distorted vocals, elongated guitar notes and synthesizers, industrial metal became popular with teens during the alternative rock era of late 90's. With transgressive themes and strange visuals, it became incredibly controversial with many adults in the era, which made it even more popular with teens. Bands like Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie and Marilyn Manson, made the sub-genre popular into the 2000's, with both Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson remaining popular to this day, and still selling big.

Alternative Rock

Pearl Jam 2010

Pearl Jam's success led the way to alternative rocks dominance

Despite appearing in the mid 80's, alternative rock only became mainstream in the late 90's, before exploding in the 2000's to become the most successful genre of rock. Led by groups such as Pearl Jam, R.E.M and Matchbox Twenty. With distorted guitars, slow to fast percussive beats and manic guitar styles, alternative split off into many other sub-genres such as grunge and britpop. These struggled to find commercial success before Pearl Jam released their multi-platinum album Pesticide in 1998, and following the slow fade out of Thrash, alternative rock expanded, before it found itself the most popular genre in America by the mid 2000's. Today, it still remains incredibly popular, however punk, country and new-progressive rock bands are beginning to fill niche's left by older bands.



Progressive rock legends Pink Floyd reformed in 2003, and led the way more many new-prog artists to find fame

New-Progressive is a sub-genre of rock that appeared around the turn of the century. Encompassing a number of individual sub-genres, new-progressive has taken over much of the lower half of many major charts, and  dominated recently in countries such as Britain, Australia and around Europe. The sound of new-progressive is very much the same as the sub-genre that existed in the 60's to 80's, but has included many aspects of alternative rock and metal that arrived shortly after progressive's decline. Experimentation is often the key to new-progressives recent dominance, with bands such as Dream Theatre, Tool, Muse, Arena and even encompassing psychedelic rock bands such as Tame Impala and The Black Angles have managed to find success in the mostly alternative rock dominated charts. 

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