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droneriot
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:25 pm 
 

I was thinking about that the other day after reading the Death Symbolic vs Metallica AJFA thread talking about how harsh vocals generally prevent things from getting any mainstream recognition. There have however been some really strange cases of really strange and extreme music that shouldn't have made it anywhere near audiences at all yet somehow did. This is the most obvious example I can think of, a song that actually made some real waves in Europe, yet, well, isn't all too close to Backstreet Boys and the likes:

Youtube: show


To this day I can't figure out how it got as popular with "normal" people as it did.

There was some stuff "closer to home" that I had difficulty figuring out as well. Like something as simple as "Roots Bloody Roots", which yes, is nu-metal, and nu-metal was popular, but it's also about twice as loud and hard and screamy as any regular nu-metal band at the time. Maybe it was the collaborations with "artists" from nu-metal bands that were a bit friendlier on the ear?
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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:21 pm 
 

Interesting topic. The Aphex Twin is a great pick; I didn't really think of it in the sense of extremity but you're right -- really though, there's a lot of stuff in this field, and drum 'n' bass, etc, that could probably fit. Not familiar with too many of the artists but I used to go to parties where this kind of thing was played all the time. How mainstream is it really? I'm not sure -- I'm willing to bet a lot of listeners don't even know the names of the artists etc.

I never got the impression that the colaborations on the Roots album were treated by anybody as a big deal. When the album came out I remember a local radio station's "heavy music" programme (1 to 3 AM on Friday nights) playing a bunch of songs from it. I don't recall them mentioning Mike Patton or Jonathan Davis at all; I didn't find out about that until I bought the album. yes, I'm showing my age here; that was my first Sepultura album, bought a couple of months after it came out. Then I heard Beneath the Remains and Schizophrenia sometime later in 1996 and felt like I'd really missed the boat. :lol:

Not really sure about this, but King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" seems to be the one song from the band that non-fans remember and i think it got some airplay and maybe still might on the odd classic rock station. it is definitely extreme for its time, with the distorted vocals and howling instrumentation, and even today would probably be a bit much for some people, like my stepmother for instance. My dad was all excited when I came home with the album at some point in the late 90s because he remembered it from his youth. We put it on the stereo and as soon as that wailing guitar started up we heard piercing shrieking of protest from upstairs.
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true_death
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:54 pm 
 

What about pop songs that are lyrically extreme?

Third Eye Blind - "Semi-Charmed Life", on the surface a very saccharine, almost sickeningly sweet pop tune, but lyrically it covers a man's addiction to crystal meth :lol:. As much as I fucking hate the song (and band), I do think the contrast between the music and the dark nature of the lyrics is really clever and fitting for the subject matter.
Nena - "99 Luftballoons", probably the funniest example I can think of - here in the USA it was a huge hit and usually seen as a light-hearted novelty song similar to something like "Gangnam Style"...but when you read the lyrics :eek:. Basically, it's about nuclear annihilation. Even when an English version was recorded, it seemingly did nothing to convince people of what the actual message was. I'm actually not sure how this song was seen in Germany or really anywhere outside the USA.
Toadies - "Tyler", these guys are pretty (in)famous for their main hit "Possum Kingdom" which also has pretty dark lyrics for the style, but they are pretty campy in my opinion, and nothing that even approaches what they did on the same CD with "Tyler". Basically, this is a typical 90's alt-rock tune about raping a girl. Yikes. This song really fucked with me when I was a little kid, and still does to a certain degree, just because of that haunting final line.
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at the gaytes
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:43 pm 
 

I don't think this ever happens, unless you count stuff like One or Arise as mainstream hits. "Extreme" songs turning out to be hits are probably catchy melodies under heavy distortion with atypical harsh vocals

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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:53 pm 
 

As much as it differs from normal MA conversations, I think we’ve got to bring bands like Slipknot and Bring Me the Horizon or Job for a Cowboy into this discussion. These are all groups that topped album charts (certainly in Slipknot’s case) and remain recognizable names to people totally not associated with that kind of music. You still wouldn’t really hear them on regular daytime radio though. This stuff doesn’t happen often.

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caspian
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:50 am 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
As much as it differs from normal MA conversations, I think we’ve got to bring bands like Slipknot and Bring Me the Horizon or Job for a Cowboy into this discussion. These are all groups that topped album charts (certainly in Slipknot’s case) and remain recognizable names to people totally not associated with that kind of music. You still wouldn’t really hear them on regular daytime radio though. This stuff doesn’t happen often.


JFaC haven't charted higher than 42 and BMTH got to 17. Neither compare to Slipknot, either way, Far Beyond Driven by Pantera is a way better example. Strength beyond Strength- opening track on a #1 album! Nothing has come close before or since.
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Thy Shrine
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:20 am 
 

i think something like Nine Inch Nails would apply here. they have a lot of real abrasive music, and a lot of more experimental tendencies, so its a little shocking how big they became. I mean, they were probably one of the biggest 90s bands, and i know Trent Reznor was in a time magazine important people list at some point.
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wraithlike
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:41 am 
 

Death Grips is probably the most obvious example. Kind of a meme band now but they took off and got big doing some really wacky stuff for the time.

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FirebathDan
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:45 am 
 

Maybe Sigur Ros?

Long, slow moving songs that lack a lot of conventional instrumentation as well as conventional structure, sung in either Icelandic or a incoherent made up language in falsetto voice. Yet these guys were huge at one point in the early/mid 00s (although I'm not terribly sure they had any "mainstream hits").
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:23 pm 
 

Thy Shrine wrote:
i think something like Nine Inch Nails would apply here. they have a lot of real abrasive music, and a lot of more experimental tendencies, so its a little shocking how big they became. I mean, they were probably one of the biggest 90s bands, and i know Trent Reznor was in a time magazine important people list at some point.

That's mostly for the hit songs of course. It's the same with Nirvana, outside their hit singles they're extremely abrasive for a popular band, but that stuf isn't what they got big for.
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Aydross
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:23 am 
 

I've always found it funny how popular BYOB by System of a Down was at the time. The chorus is the only accessible this about this and definitely the reason it was a hit in the first place with the mainstream. The rest of the song is kinda heavy for general audiences don't know how they managed to not get put off by the song.
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darkeningday
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:19 am 
 

Tyler, The Creator - Yonkers comes to mind. Also, any of the chart-topping Brostep songs as well as a lot of early nu-metal (Slipknot, Mudvayne) don't really conform to pop standards yet they made absolute bank.
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pressingtoplead13
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:35 pm 
 

I've often thought about this, some things its just a miracle they got popular. The biggest examples I always come back to are The Slim Shady Lp and Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem and Iowa by Slipknot. Eminem was very graphic and his albums although musically can be seen as commercial the content was way beyond what you would expect to go mainstream.

Iowa is another album that imo became shockingly huge. Sure Iowa isn't some brutal poor quality masterpiece like say Breeding The Spawn but for all intents and purposes it has enough metal influence and harsh enough vocals that It had no business really becoming as popular as it did. I still feel that of all the albums I listened to over the years Iowa might be the angriest. Some albums attempt to sound as fast and violent as possible (Enmity) but end up coming off as bland and sound emotionless. Iowa to me just seethes emotion, the anger, the self loathing. Lots of people have their opinion about Slipknot and in the metal community its usually pretty love or hate but I think that album imparticular really stands alone as something special. Not only did it encapsulate alot of real dark and aggressive emotions, it had enough metal leanings to be a gateway band/album and it managed to blow up. Very rare indeed.

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Methuen
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:16 am 
 

FirebathDan wrote:
Maybe Sigur Ros?

Long, slow moving songs that lack a lot of conventional instrumentation as well as conventional structure, sung in either Icelandic or a incoherent made up language in falsetto voice. Yet these guys were huge at one point in the early/mid 00s (although I'm not terribly sure they had any "mainstream hits").


I'd agree with that - and they're still "sold-out-tour" big in the UK. Banks, carmakers, other big businesses - they've all used Sigur Ros racks / samples for their advertising on TV.
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Svarthavid
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:36 am 
 

A lot of songs have already been mentioned, but Mr. Oizo's Flat beat from 1999 comes to mind. This bass heavy, somewhat hypnotic and monotonous track are much more indicative of a fringe party than the massive airplay and popularity it actually got.
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Terri23
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:35 am 
 

The nineties had a lot of really really dark and heavy stuff regularly making top ten charts and selling fucking millions. Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Type O Negative and Metallica are probably the best known examples.
Most of the 80s American metal bands that hadn't broken up yet had their biggest successes in the 90s. Anthrax in particular had their heaviest record debut at something like 7 in America. Metallica's self titled record remains officially the highest selling album of all time according to Nielsen SoundScan.
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Liquid_Braino
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:38 pm 
 

droneriot wrote:
Thy Shrine wrote:
i think something like Nine Inch Nails would apply here. they have a lot of real abrasive music, and a lot of more experimental tendencies, so its a little shocking how big they became. I mean, they were probably one of the biggest 90s bands, and i know Trent Reznor was in a time magazine important people list at some point.

That's mostly for the hit songs of course. It's the same with Nirvana, outside their hit singles they're extremely abrasive for a popular band, but that stuf isn't what they got big for.


Been listening to a lot of early-mid 70's Alice Cooper, and if most of his songs, especially lyrically, were like the necrophilia-themed "I Love the Dead" and "Cold Ethyl", as well bizarre stuff like "Dead Babies" and "Sick Things", I don't think his albums would have made such bank back in the day.

Speaking of the early 70's Bloodrock's "DOA" is by far their most well known song and their best charter, and it's also their weirdest, craziest and most disturbing song at the same time. Can't be too many similar cases out there.

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HeavenDuff
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 4:42 am 
 

true_death wrote:
What about pop songs that are lyrically extreme?

Third Eye Blind - "Semi-Charmed Life", on the surface a very saccharine, almost sickeningly sweet pop tune, but lyrically it covers a man's addiction to crystal meth :lol:. As much as I fucking hate the song (and band), I do think the contrast between the music and the dark nature of the lyrics is really clever and fitting for the subject matter.


If we go by lyrics alone, there are quite a few examples of very dark (or heavy) tracks getting mainstream popularity. Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks immediately comes to mind with it's catchy sing-along chorus about shooting people: "All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You'd better run, better run, out run my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet."

Abominatrix wrote:
Not really sure about this, but King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" seems to be the one song from the band that non-fans remember and i think it got some airplay and maybe still might on the odd classic rock station.


King Crimson was actually pretty big. I think in Japan it actually charted higher than the Beatles album that was released at about the same time, and it charted pretty high in Occidental countries. Prog rock was starting to get big, so "weird" stuff like that was starting to be a little more common. You're right that it was kind of heavy for the time though.

Aydross wrote:
I've always found it funny how popular BYOB by System of a Down was at the time. The chorus is the only accessible this about this and definitely the reason it was a hit in the first place with the mainstream. The rest of the song is kinda heavy for general audiences don't know how they managed to not get put off by the song.


The chorus was actually made to poke fun at mass culture, manufactured pop music. Funny how it actually managed to cash in by parodying it so well.

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droneriot
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:07 am 
 

If we go by lyrics alone, an Austrian pop singer famous for Rock Me Amadeus also had a single with very graphic abduction and rape descriptions. It just went way too far and to this day there's not a German speaker in the world you can't make seriously uncomfortable with that song.

Youtube: show
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tomcat_ha
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 3:02 pm 
 

heh i remember that hit but i dont remember the lyrics

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Barenulbo
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:23 am 
 

I would say Nirvana. Lyrics were really edgy for mainstream audiences. But people in 90s liked some amount of darkness I guess.

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Required Fields
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:52 pm 
 

HeavenDuff wrote:
If we go by lyrics alone, there are quite a few examples of very dark (or heavy) tracks getting mainstream popularity. Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks immediately comes to mind with it's catchy sing-along chorus about shooting people: "All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You'd better run, better run, out run my gun. All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet."


Some other examples of that:

"Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross is about a killer trying to flee justice.

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police is about a man stalking his ex-lover. Sting once said in an interview that he is rather disturbed it has been used in some romantic movie trailers and even at weddings. He admitted that while it does sound like a sweet, tender love song, it's actually quite the opposite when you read its lyrics.

"Private Eyes" by Hall and Oates is another song with stalking as the subject matter.
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tahu157
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:34 pm 
 

Remember when Black Sabbath were Pop Giants? I guess I'm not super well versed on how extreme Sabbath were relative to pop music of the day, but that compilation always makes me laugh.

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Vadara
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:46 pm 
 

One might consider all of deathcore this, at least partially. I just checked and Suicide Silence has a video with 80 million views (one with 30M too) and that is honestly pretty fucking nuts for a band whose music, regardless of what you think of them musically (I for one always thought they were kinda overrated), is basically really dumb-as-fuck BDM/deathgrind with a shitload of breakdowns.

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twistedknife
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:50 am 
 

Marilyn Manson immediately comes to mind. Poppy (and great) music from hell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pHqjym4-as

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ambientsorrow
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:57 pm 
 

true_death wrote:
Nena - "99 Luftballoons", probably the funniest example I can think of - here in the USA it was a huge hit and usually seen as a light-hearted novelty song similar to something like "Gangnam Style"...but when you read the lyrics :eek:. Basically, it's about nuclear annihilation. Even when an English version was recorded, it seemingly did nothing to convince people of what the actual message was. I'm actually not sure how this song was seen in Germany or really anywhere outside the USA.


Kind of also reminds me of that 90's pop band Ace of Base. I can't remember how the story officially went, but the name of the band was a play on words of a Nazi submarine base during one of the World Wars. Everything was all put together when people looked into the lyrics in their songs, visuals in their videos as well as finding that the main composer of the band used to be in a white supremacist punk band or something.

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Fearoth
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:00 pm 
 

Speaking of deathcore, I always thought this had an insane amount of views for a modern slamming deathcore band
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:11 pm 
 

Rammstein's Du Hast. I can't remember if it was on the radio, but the video was on heavy rotation on MTV at the time. When I first saw it, I thought, "wow, the first new thing on MTV with anything even remotely resembling a metal riff in a long time!" And to top it off the lyrics are all in German. It had a LOT going against it being a commercial hit in America, but somehow, it became big.

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droneriot
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:34 am 
 

They had songs about child rape and necrophilia at the time.
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Diplomate
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:28 am 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Rammstein's Du Hast. I can't remember if it was on the radio, but the video was on heavy rotation on MTV at the time. When I first saw it, I thought, "wow, the first new thing on MTV with anything even remotely resembling a metal riff in a long time!" And to top it off the lyrics are all in German. It had a LOT going against it being a commercial hit in America, but somehow, it became big.

When I wasn't into metal I thought of them as a kinda "manly, heavy" band. I think this is the appeal behind them and bands like Slipknot.

Not an extreme artist, but how did Dead Can Dance make it so big? Who are all those people listening to them?

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:14 pm 
 

I remember when The Prodigy's Fat of the Land album came out that the singles from that were really harsh and abrasive sounding. I remember having my mind pretty well blown by "Breathe."
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nestee8
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:17 pm 
 

Wait and Bleed by Slipknot. They're probably among the first extreme metal bands to be mainstream.

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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:37 am 
 

nestee8 wrote:
Wait and Bleed by Slipknot. They're probably among the first extreme metal bands to be mainstream.

It was certainly popular, but I wouldn't know about extreme metal. It's like fast, aggressive grunge with down-tuned guitars and turn tables - you know, nu metal. I agree it's pretty extreme for mainstream, though.
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:41 am 
 

I think it's softer than Roots which was equally popular with vaguely rebellious but not too rebellious teens at the time.
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pale_horse
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:42 am 
 

My initial thought was Rage Against the Machine. That was some wildly aggressive stuff to play between Smashing Pumpkins and Bush videos on MTV.
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tomcat_ha
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:41 am 
 

slipknot is prob the most popular band with blast beats.

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NuclearDrumsCrushedMyBrain
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:09 am 
 

Slipknot and SOAD were both surprisingly heavy for mainstream rock. With regards to metal, Great Southern Trendkill by Pantera is the heaviest record to go platinum (Slayer never did, despite being quite popular). Job for a Cowboy and other deathcore groups were never anywhere near mainstream.

While never being particularly extreme, Tool had a surprising amount of success for a progressive rock band. King Crimson are still pretty popular; they recently had 3 shows at the Royal Albert Hall with their 3 drummer line up. The John Wetton era could be surprisingly heavy for the 1970s, especially Red.

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