In terms of the majority of mainstream pop music over the past decade, the rise of EDM (electronic dance music) has been one of the most widely recognised success stories. Having already gone through numerous evolutions over just the past few years, the basic formula of EDM looks set to grip the charts for the foreseeable future in some form or another.
But what is to be said for traditional musical instruments and bands? In a market where the two fields couldn’t look further apart, many artists and producers are showing an interest in going back to these concepts. There are various ways in which modern, mostly electronic pop music can be combined with traditional elements, which has always been found across various genres, but others are making a conscious effort to shun modern techniques entirely, at least on some of their work.
A fusion of different styles is usually the most commonly seen form of this renewed interest in classic musical instruments. There are many examples of recent trends involving this, such as the resurgence of the banjo in pop music that was noted a couple of years ago by Time magazine. The widely ignored string instrument suddenly found its way into EDM and pop, indicating a potential revival on the horizon for warmer, less synthetic sounds, even in dance music made for nightclubs. In the last couple of years, examples of saxophones and other woodwind riffs being used prominently in pop songs (even if they are synthesised) have also multiplied quickly.Read more: Traditional Instruments Coming Back to Pop?
Modern metal music has developed differently all over the world, with bands from various European nations currently dominating the market, but the style has evolved gradually over the decades into something quite different to the heyday of early heavy metal. Much of this transition has been put down to the divisive rise of death growls and screams in today’s metal music, which for some people is off-putting, and for others enhances their enjoyment of the genre even more.
The death growl is a name for the vocal style adopted increasingly in recent years by many hardcore metal bands, also sometimes nicknamed “Cookie Monster vocals”. These harsh, guttural tones are used when performing songs with chaotic, aggressive instrumentals to replace traditional singing. Fans of the style enjoy the way dark and disturbing lyrics are enhanced by this kind of delivery, especially in a live performance setting.
Performing death growls without proper training can be dangerous, and many high profile singers have actually developed vocal chord polyps and other problems due to the pressure the vocal style puts on the throat. There are professional techniques to help minimise this damage, although a death growl by nature involves a lot of strain on the vocal chords.Read more: Growls & Screams in Modern Metal Music
This is a hotly contested field, and it might ultimately come down to personal taste for many people, but some of the world’s best known guitarists have such impressive back catalogues and track records for live performance skills that they simply had to make our top 9 list. Here are all of our top picks, although we wouldn’t go so far as to rank them in order – we leave that to the audience.
An honourable mention to begin with, Prince was known for his incredible range of musical and artistic sensibilities, but some of his guitar performances are up there with the most special moments of his long career that sadly ended with his recent passing.
Everything about Hendrix’s performance style reinforced the fact that he knew exactly what he was doing when it came to entertaining a crowd. His natural musical talent was unstoppable and carried him through all his performances without
As part of one of the most original and iconic bands of all time, Brian May shares credit for some of the songs that defined the peak era of Queen. His guitar talents certainly enabled the band to reach the level of success they did, along with Freddie Mercury’s unique influence.Read more: Top 9 Guitarists of All Time