Just about every fan of the almighty Metal knows the different genres. You have your Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax in the Trash department, Cannibal Corpse, Vader, and Napalm Death in the grinding Death Metal section, and you can't forget the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, paying homage to bands like Iron Maiden and the almighty Judas Priest. Even though there are far more branches of metal, the particularly domminant form of metal amongst the mainstream music scene is Nu-Metal.
For those of you that dont know of this style of music, I'm here to help you. Nu-Metal is a brand of music that blends melodic metal with hip-hop. This style of metal tends to follow a simple song structure of intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge - chorus - outro (sometimes there are a few variations, but usually thats what it boils down to). Some of the bands that would fall under the Nu-Metal catagory would be Linkin Park, Orgy, Papa Roach, and the disputed founders of the movement, Korn (this could be disputed, but i'm just using what many say). Nu-Metal is adored by many young music fans looking for a style of music performed by people they can look up to, presumably people that were once tormented at school but pulled their shit together and made it big. Even though im sure that lots of moms would not approve what goes on back stage at shows, most Nu-Metal musicians write their songs about feeling pain, loneliness, and fear, which most of the young fans can relate to. Nu-Metal is adored by many, but yet, it is laughed at and dismissed by the Metal community. Many belive that this music is just Hard rock, but what ever it is, it has spawned many sub-genres of it's own.
Modern Rock is one of the biggest sub-genres of Nu-Metal. Modern Rock is a mix of Metal, Alternative, and Grunge. The songs tend to be alot like Nu-Metal songs, but more melodic and serious, rather than the average "cookie cutter" Nu-Metal song. Primarily, the biggest difference amongst Modern Rock bands are thier heaviness. Some of the softer Modern Rock bands are The Goo Goo Dolls or Coldplay (yeah...not one of my favorites either). Some of the mid ranged Mordern Rock bands are Hoobastank, Puddle Of Mudd, Incubus, and The Exies. Finally, the heaviest of the Modern Rock bands are Trapt and Breaking Benjamin. Most Modern Rock tends to follow the same song sturcture, but using different styles of riffing, making it sound a bit more complex.
My main purpose for writing this article is this: Why is it that Modern Rock has to live in the shadows of Nu-Metal? Lets take a bigger look.
When people think of Trapt, they usually get the song "Headstrong" stuck in their head for a few days. But no matter how oddly catchy the song is, "Headstrong" got them a few Grammys. So why am I using this in my argument? I know for a fact that Trapt had to work super hard to get where they are today. They had to release a few of their albums independently, due to being constantly shut down by major labels. Now I know that some Nu-Metal bands like Papa Roach released four independent albums before hitting it onto the charts with "Infest", but once bands like Papa Roach hit the scene, many other Nu-Metal one hit wonders were poping up like weeds. Breaking Benjamin vocalist/rythm guitarist Ben Burnley had to sing Nirvana covers in a small coffe shop in his home town of crowds ranging from few to none (even if there were people, he said that rarely anyone listened to him) just to survive. Just about two years before they released their first album "Saturate", they were playing club shows to crowds of around 100 people. Now, the same clubs that they could barely fill are being sold out every time they play there. But rarely do Breaking Benjamin headline and sell out a venue that Linkin Park could with ease.
Linkin Park exploded onto the scene with the song "One Step Closer" (personally, that song was pretty cool) around 2000 (sorry if i'm wrong). Breaking Benjamin came onto the scene in 2002 with the song "Polyamorous". Now if I were to ask someone if they remember "One Step Closer", the guess is that they'd probably say yes. If I were to ask someone if the remember "Polyamorous", i'm almost possitive that they'd say no. I bet if I asked them who Breaking Benjamin was, they wouldnt have a clue. Now, i'll give it to Linkin Park that two years can give you some record sales, but when it comes to the complexity of the riffing, Breaking Benjamin takes the cake. I've asked people about Breaking Benjamin, and the first thing they say is "they're not heavy enough". Sure, the song rarely blasts an open c# (thats what the song is tuned to), but if you sit down and listen to some of the heavier parts, it's just a tad more than Linkin Park has ever done on guitar (Brad Delson is a good guitarist, but he doesnt do a whole in Linkin Park's riffs to prove it).
To anyone that is reading this. If you are in a band that is on the verge of going big, on the way, or just starting, dont take anything for granted. I just talked to a friend of mine the other day. This friend is in a band from where I live, who are slowly but surely developing a fan base. I asked him what his top three musical dreams were. He told me that his top three were:
01. To get signed
02. To go Gold or higher
03. To play the Forum, the Wachovia Center, of the LA Colliseum
I thought about this for a day and gave him my top three the naxt day. My top three were:
01. To get signed
02. To go Gold or higher
03. To play for whatever audience I have
The reason for number three is simply that I dont need to be play a huge venue to know that i've made it. In fact, i'd rather play to a club of 400 people, who I know have came to see my band and are such true fans that they would go to some extremely packed, hot, sweaty club, as opposed to a huge venue, where a big portion of the fans are there for the other bands, are there with their boyfriend of girlfriend, or maybe they're just a fan's friend that had nothing better to do.
So maybe Modern Rock doesnt get the attention that it deserves. But in my opinion, the musicians that make modern rock happen probably have a better outlook of things than anyone else.