1. Emo is a form of rock music. It originated from punk rock in the 1980s in Washington DC. The word emo comes from emotional. This music style is also called emotional hardcore.
Metal era, also referred to as heavy metal, was inspired by rock bands from the late 1960s.
2. In the 1980s, many hardcore punk bands were operating in Washington DC. One of these was called Minor Threat. When this band broke up, singer Ian MacKaye became a member of a band called Embrace. The lyrical quality of this band was emotional, leading to the label emo. A fan of Minor Threat, Guy Picciotto formed a band called Rites of Spring. The sound broke free of the restrictions of hardcore punk, and the lyrics were deeply expressive. Other bands were Grey Matter, Ignition and Dag Nasty.
Towards the end of the 1960s, bands like Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were playing music with a heavy, distorted sound. Influenced by this trend, new bands such as Aerosmith and Black Sabbath produced music characterised by highly amplified distorted guitar and screaming vocals. This new sound was called metal.
3. The overarching emotions expressed by emo music were dark and sad. The themes would touch upon depression, self-harm and suicide. The lyrics were labelled as confessional, due to their soul baring quality.
Metal era music was full of aggression and machismo. It was ideologically opposed to the peace loving, flower power trends of the 1960s.
4. Along with the music, emo started a new trend in hair styles and fashion. Emo hairstyles typically covered one eye. This fad caught the fancy of the fashion world.
Heavy metal enthusiasts wore their hair long and unkempt. Their jeans were ripped and they favoured black T-shirts, jackets and boots.
5. The bands that popularised emo did not last very long. By 1986, Rites of Spring and Embrace had disbanded. The emo scene in DC seemed to have ended.
Heavy metal, on the other hand, grew in popularity. In the 1970s, British band Black Sabbath drove crowds wild with their high-intensity live acts.
6. In the 1990s, emocore experienced a revival. New bands, which were influenced by the emo bands of the 80s, began to write songs sharing intimate feelings with their fans. The bands Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate were representative of this renewed interest in emo.
Heavy metal in Britain got a new contender from an old band. Deep Purple, a 60s band, took to the metal sound with a bang. The proficiency of its musicians gained many followers, and songs like Smoke on the Water and Highway Star became metal standards.
7. As punk and hardcore rock joined the mainstream, emo took on the characteristics of a sub-culture. Its tropes were boyish, brainy and sensitive. The sound was harder, but the impassioned vocals were retained. Bands from different parts of USA were the new face of emo. Some bands spawned by emo were called screamo.
In the middle of the 1980s, heavy metal became popular among a more widespread audience. The mass media covered metal concerts, and the new bands had a more glamorous look. This was labelled the glam metal era.
8. Later emo bands like My Chemical Romance became very popular in Britain. Fans of emo were often called Goths, but they did not like being clubbed together. Emo styles in hair and clothes are similar, but lack the Goth emphasis on heavy makeup.
Metal bands evolved with newer styles. They were termed thrash metal, extreme metal and nu-metal. Metal’s popularity started to decline towards the end of the 1990s.
9. In the early 2000s, emo bands were gaining commercial success. Notable among the bands were Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional and Newfound Glory. The popularity of emo bands continued till about 2010. Later bands like Fall Out Boy did not have much in common with the early DC bands.
Metal era started to decline when alternative rock and grunge music swept the charts in the late 90s and the early 2000s. But by the end of the decade, new bands started a metal revival in Europe. Countries like Sweden, Norway and Germany registered an increase in metal fans.
10. In the late 2000s, emo fans were targeted in hate crimes. They publicly defended their philosophy, denying charges of self- harm and suicidal tendencies. Emo today expresses a certain attitude, along with a way of dressing.
Fans of metal music have been criticised for inciting violence and crime. There is no hard evidence to back these charges, and die-hard metal lovers are to be found in all walks of life.
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