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100 Greatest Groove Metal Bands

Groove metal also known as neo-thrash or post-thrash in is a popular heavy metal subgenre. This article showcases a list of the best groove metal bands.

What makes groove metal popular with metal fans is the intensity of aesthetically bone shattering chunky riffs blended with sonic sensibilities of thrash metal played with shifts in mid tempo and fast tempo. While groove metal came into its own in the 90s, the roots of this subgenre can be traced in the 80s. The 80s thrash metal scene helped pave the way for groove metal.


Origins of Groove Metal: The Pioneering Bands

The groove metal sound evolved from experimentation of thrash metal bands that developed a sonic experimental sound with speed metal riffing. The origins of groove metal evolved from The Bay area thrash scene. Bands such as Exodus, Testament and Death Angel are considered the pioneering acts that helped shape the groove metal sound. Pantera, Exhorder and Sepultura are regarded as the forefathers of the groove metal-thrash sound.

The 1988 King’s X album Out of the Silent Planet is often cited as a powering influence on groove metal. The even tempos and dropped tunings used on the album laid the foundation for the future of groove metal. 4 albums that define the blueprint of groove metal and are considered groundbreaking are

  • Cowboys From Hell - Pantera
  • The Law - Exhorder
  • Chaos A.D. - Sepultura
  • Slaughter in the Vatican - Exhorder

The Groove Metal Sound

Retaining the sonic elements of thrash and speed metal a new sound shaped up into what is now called groove metal. Since the 90s, the groove metal sound has kept evolving with many acts incorporating elements of death, crossover thrash, and thrash metal. A number of bands in the groove metal genre have also been categorized under alternative metal, funk metal and metalcore genres. Typically groove metal incorporates a sound that makes use of downtuned thrash riffs that are mid-tempo, even tempo or fast tempo. It’s the strong rhythmic structure in the form of irregular time signatures and complexly bone-crunching stop-start riffs that give groove metal its unique identity.

The characteristic groove metal sound is formed by the rhythm structure that acts as the foundation for time signatures. Groove metal bands are known for their tight sonic riff blocks that form the crux of the song. Typically songs in groove metal are of short duration; however, there are bands that incorporate long duration thematic songs written in parts.


Groove Metal Musical Structure

The lyrical themes in the realms of groove metal are varied have been praised by music critics. The vocals in groove metal songs are often screamed, growled, or shouted. Sometimes, vocalists use clean vocals in a song or parts of a song to build dynamics. Guitar solos in groove metal songs are often short parts in context with lyrical and musical themes. The drumming styles in groove metal bands vary, with many drummers using double bass drumming styles on fast tempos. The bass parts in songs have a chunky sound that often forms the groovy tripod sound with guitar riffs and drum parts.

While many record labels promoted metal in a big way in the 90s, Roadrunner Records in particular did a fantastic job of promoting groove metal bands. Few groove metal bands managed to find major record deals, while others released their albums independently. Over the years a number of bands with diverse influences in metal have showcased a technical metal sound rooted in groove metal. Post 2000, numerous alternative metal bands have merged groove metal/post thrash elements bringing in a new groove metal alternative sound.


Groove Metal Influences

The term ‘groove metal’ is also used to describe bands with alternative metal sensibilities and funk metal riff based bands. Pioneering groove metal bands Pantera and Sepultura have had a major influence of the development of nu metal and metalcore. A number of bands in the realms of modern heavy metal cite Pantera and Sepultura as major influences. Music purists and music critics describe the groove metal sound as ‘epic’ in the realms of metal. While groove metal may not be considered mainstream, a number of groove metal band have earned mainstream success with their brand of music.

The lines below showcase a list of the best groove metal bands. The list also includes bands that are associated with groove metal

100 Greatest Groove Metal Bands

  1. Pantera
  2. Exhorder
  3. Sepultura
  4. Lamb of God
  5. Machine Head
  6. Prong
  7. Five Finger Death Punch
  8. Fear Factory
  9. Soulfly
  10. Biohazard
  11. Pissing Razors
  12. Chimaira
  13. Anthrax
  14. Skinlab
  15. White Zombie
  16. DevilDriver
  17. Throdown
  18. Meshuggah
  19. Gojira
  20. King’s X
  21. Ektomorf
  22. Black Label Society
  23. Merauder
  24. Demolition Hammer
  25. Grip Inc.
  26. Slapdash
  27. Cavalera Conspiracy
  28. Stuck Mojo
  29. Metallica
  30. Nevermore
  31. Slayer
  32. Trivium
  33. Mastodon
  34. GZR
  35. Byzantine
  36. Death Angel
  37. Hellyeah
  38. Channel Zero
  39. Adrenaline Mob
  40. Overkill
  41. Corrosion of Conformity
  42. Testament
  43. Dagoba
  44. Crowbar
  45. Hatebreed
  46. Threat Signal
  47. Souls at Zero
  48. Damageplan
  49. Forbidden
  50. Helmet
  51. Avatar
  52. Superjoint
  53. Texas Hippie Coalition
  54. Pro-Pain
  55. Down
  56. Exodus
  57. Demon Hunter
  58. Sacred Reich
  59. Mudvayne
  60. Voivod
  61. Fight
  62. Bleed From Within
  63. Killer Be Killed
  64. Divine Hersey
  65. Suicidal Tendencies
  66. Volbeat
  67. Living Sacrifice
  68. Clutch
  69. Face Down
  70. Annihilator
  71. Primus
  72. Helmrock
  73. Entombed
  74. Slipknot
  75. Betzefer
  76. After The Burial
  77. Praxis
  78. Kreator
  79. Fireball Ministry
  80. Skid Row
  81. Destruction
  82. Nuclear Assault
  83. Powerstroke
  84. Biomechanical
  85. Tankard
  86. A Perfect Murder
  87. Powerman 5000
  88. Butcher Babies
  89. Flotsam and Jetsam
  90. Tad
  91. Such A Surge
  92. Nonpoint
  93. Life of Agony
  94. Soilent Green
  95. Hacride
  96. A Life Once Lost
  97. Gurd
  98. The Haunted
  99. 36 Crazyfists
  100. Grimaze