There are a few bands out there that mix together genres, and mix them well, but just as many aim for novelty, and fire blanks. Sure, everyone’s heard of Babymetal, but what of the many others you may have missed out on?
If you weren’t 13 in 2007, you may not have noticed Albuquerque, New Mexico’s BrokeNCYDE, whose music is described as crunkcore. Mixing southern trap and crunk, with a little screamo, and a touch of emo, other bands of note include Millionaires, and 3OH!3. Due to the age of the performers, as well as their appropriations of gangsterism, critics panned the music, andl—not taken seriouslyl—BrokeNCYDE and like-minded crews hardly got any notice in the press. In 2014, the band asked their fans to publicly fund thirty grand for their new LP, All Grown Up. Having grown up, their fan base moved on, and only raised slightly over $1,000.
Another blend that sent many into psychosis was electro-swing. In the 1990s, hip-hop artists were heavily using jazz samples, from A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory LP in 1991, to the 1999 track “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5. Sometime in the new millennium, producers like Marcus Füreder, sped up the beats, and began to release it as EDM. Under the name Parov Stelar, Füreder had a few Top 10s in Australia and Greece, but the fast pace of '20s ragtime, and techno beats, didn’t catch on well in the US or UK, besides in commercials.
Speaking of electro-swing, a very close sound-alike genre, which rubbed many ears the wrong way, is chap-rap, or chap-hop. A product of the steampunk culture in the UK, acts blend ragtime and swing, with hip-hop lyricism about British Victorian life. While the most popular (if you can call it that) musician would be Professor Elemental, other rappers in this style include Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, Poplock Holmes & DJ WattsOn, and Sir Reginald Pikedevant, Esquire.
Hip-hop wasn’t to blame for that absurdity, and neither is any other genre for the chimeric bastardizations some musical alchemists devise. Hence, we can forgive heavy metal for pirate metal; a quixotic amalgam of speed metal and sea-shantie work songs. Pirate metal was best left to drown in the waters it crawled out of (some say in 1987, when Germany’s Running Wild gave labor to it on their third album, Under Jolly Roger), but it won fans in certain circles nonetheless. Like Erik Pontoppidan’s mighty Kraken, this oceanic beast took different forms wherever it was spotted, with acts such as Canada’s Verbal Deception, Alestorm from Scotland, and the US’s own Swashbuckle making waves worldwide.
Sometimes it’s not a fusion of music styles that offends the ear, but a synthesis of music and message that boggles the brain. A newer act brewing music with an out-there idea, and another in the realm of heavy metal, would be Okilly Dokilly from Phoenix, AZ. Calling themselves Nedalcore, they combine metalcore with the theme, look and lyrical lingo of The Simpsons' animated character Ned Flanders. Self-releasing their debut LP, Howdilly Doodilly, in November of 2016, it’s yet to be seen if this is something that takes off, or nosedives right into the ground.
The last band I’d like to bring up is another oddity due, not to their mixing of musical tastes, but in the ideology expressed within their chosen genre. With its clear hi-NRG and Italodisco influence, “Genetics” sounds like a Bobby O knock off one would imagine filling the dance floor of your typical gay club in the '80s, if it didn’t first appear on a racist compilation on Rock-O-Rama Records—the same label that gave the world Skrewdriver. The band, Final Sound, never released another track besides their debut on 1985’s No Surrender! (LP# RRR 052), sided next to bands like Brutal Attack, Above the Ruins, New Dawn, and Indecent Exposure.
Only time will tell what strange and unfamiliar concoctions await our ears. One can either guess what sonic unions anticipate our listening experience, or go out and make new ones themselves. Let’s see, and hear, what the future holds.