Rock, as they say, has long ceased to be just rock. There’s now a huge plethora of sub genres, each defined by its own characteristic sound and ethos. Rock and roll as it was first played in the 1950s by Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and a host of early artists, transitioned into the Rock music genre by 1960. Scores of British bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones stormed the scene over the next few years, in what is sometimes known as the British Rock Invasion. From then on, new and exciting sub genres mushroomed across the continents, faster than ever before. Garage bands sprung up all over the country, producing new, simple, refreshing music that the world had never heard before.
These broad rock classifications that developed over the late 1970s came to signify the intensity, rather than the particular musical influence of the band. Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, The Scorpions, UFO, all brought in darker, gothic tones to their brand of metal. Thrash bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax shredded guitar after guitar on stage, growling and screaming through their song lyrics, gathering up head-banging fans by the million, all around the world.
The 1990s saw the emergence of a quieter, but more jagged style of rock performance. Grunge rock, popularised by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, rebelled against the over-groomed rockstars of the 1980s, choosing instead to look and sing like they didn’t give a damn. Their music fused heavy metal and punk into a single genre, the song lyrics filled with talk of apathy, social alienation and dark humour.
Today, there’s Emo Rock, a lyric-heavy, expressive take on punk rock, as performed by bands like Fugazi and Dashboard Confessional. Electronic Rock or Laptronica, popularised by bands like Stereolab and Justice, feature fantastic sound samples and new interesting beats, often joined by dance acts and elaborate stage lights and settings. Post rock and synth pop bands like Owl City and Paramore bring in interesting girl/boy-band tones to essentially rock-based musical scores.
Written By : Sriram Aravamudan