by Jon Wiederhorn
Godflesh, Neurosis, Earth, and True Widow.
Back in 1994, British journalist Simon Reynolds coined the term “post-rock” to describe the atmospheric, jazz-inflected experimental music of the London band Bark Psychosis. The name resonated through the indie rock community, and before long, critics were using the term to describe acts as diverse as Tortoise, Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. While most of these bands had their own sound, they shared two elements in common—a penchant for drifting melodies and the desire to expand beyond established rock boundaries.
While the post-rock community quickly grew, it remained fairly exclusive. It didn’t immediately value the stridency and aggression of metal, even at its most experimental. Yet several metal bands that shared a number of post-rock attributes had existed for years. As those inventive bands became acquainted with post-rock, the artistic tone began to shift, and a growing number of post-hardcore and experimental groups started incorporating familiar elements from the post-rock canon: ambience, offbeat experimentation, downcast melodies and psychedelia. Each evolution of the scene helped inspire the next wave.
Today’s post-metal bands dabble with a wide variety of styles, including black metal, shoegaze, prog, folk, doom, and classical. Here’s a brief guide to how the scene evolved from a bunch of musicians bored with conventional metal, to a global community of artists with a love for aggressive music, and a need to express themselves through emotionally revealing sounds from the fringes of the underground. Like any list, there are going to be some omissions. Think of this instead as a loose timeline tracing the evolution of a sound.
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music as particular art, musicmakers, music critique, albums reviews ...