It’s easy for artists to be pigeonholed into genres by music elitists in the modern era of collaboration and blurred lines. At the end of the day, though, if the songs sound good, they should be listened to without the threat of some snarky critic explaining the difference between metal and hardcore.
Here are 10 artists who are proving that genres are fading away.
It’s only fitting to begin this list with one of the strongest up-and-comers at the moment, making it all the more impressive that YUNGBLUD is leading his very own genre revolution. Not only does Dom Harrison rep his taste for punk on his sleeve (literally), the singer has infused the grittiness and “fuck you” attitude of the underground into his meteoric rise to the top.
2. Bring Me The Horizon
Refusing to rest on past successes, Bring Me The Horizon were slightly ahead of the curve when it came to mixing the booming genres of electronica and metal with their latest record, amo. While some say it’s a far cry from their previous work, BMTH stay true through their crushing intensity while flaunting versatility with a flair of EDM.
3. Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly was repping the rock star lifestyle far before he portrayed hair-metal legend Tommy Lee in the recent Mötley Crüe biopic. Kells has always fused a flair of alternative with his early releases such as Lace Up, but his recent efforts leading up to Hotel Diablo have been dripping with punk. His list of collaborators is seemingly endless, spanning genres. He’s worked with the aforementioned YUNGBLUD, punk icon Travis Barker, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Tech N9ne, and Bebe Rexha—just to name a few. Needless to say, MGK has his chips all in on rock ’n’ roll.
4. twenty one pilots
Trying to identify a genre to label twenty one pilots would be a futile effort. Not quite rap, not quite pop and not quite anything else, the unpredictable instrumentals are truly one of a kind. Even fans who filled out the band’s Wikipedia page are at a loss for descriptors, listing them as a “musical duo.” There simply isn’t another act like them, and at this point it looks like there never will be.
5. Vic Mensa
Initially penciled in as your run-of-the-mill rap artist, Vic Mensa’s recent endeavors have given him serious cred within the scene. The rapper is hell-bent on plugging underground culture as of late with his 93PUNX project. The new initiative has Mensa rubbing elbows with Travis Barker and Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, creating a punk-inspired clothing line and working on a tried-and-true punk album under the same name. It looks like Mensa is ready to embrace the alternative.
6. FEVER 333
Another rock collaborator for Mensa, FEVER 333 are breaking down barriers all their own. Melding a hip-hop flair to their sucker-punch brand of metal, the most intriguing aspect is the heavy social messages infused into their rap-rock delivered lyrics. These political targets and a deafening vocals inflection are making Jason Aalon Butler look more and more like this generation’s version of Rage Against The Machine’s Zack de la Rocha.
Reviving the soul of ’90s rock, Afterlife are changing the definition of nü metal. The band stay true to their roots while juggling a myriad of vocal styles. Whether rapped, screamed or sang, the lyrics are anything but surface level. Covering mental health, politics and anything else that truly matters, Afterlife look to make an in-your-space statement with every word.
Setting the stage with ominous instrumentals and creepy music videos, it just wouldn’t be right to file Poppy under your everyday alt-pop. Flexing her metal roots enough to impress FEVER 333, the songstress continues to garner a large following through her melding of pop, industrial and horror movie soundtracks. All the while, we could see her helping with the new The Shining sequel tunes.
Bringing their own strange brew of metalcore from Japan, Crossfaith are mixing electronic influences into their breakdowns seamlessly. With nods to industrial, dubstep and nü metal, the former cover band have made waves with their stabbing synths and brutal composition. Is it a drop or a breakdown? We don’t care. It’s awesome.
10. RAT BOY
Another punk/rap Frankenstein hailing from across the pond, RAT BOY’s potential is already being recognized by legends. Initially basing his sound on supergroup Transplants, his first record was enough to catch the eye of Tim Armstrong, who took him under his wing for a strong sophomore showing. The influences are clear in his rough mix of screeching guitars and hard-hitting bars, bringing unmatched energy and consistent rebel attitude.