The Brief, Bizarre Wave of Good Synth-Metal Bands

Enter Shikari
Enter Shikari
Photo by Joe Dilworth

Earlier this year, I wrote about the wave of dubstep metal that is ruining everything. That might have led some readers to believe that I'm fundamentally against the idea of mixing synthesizers and other electronics into metal, but that is absolutely not true.

The problem with dubstep metal is that it's horribly executed, but the concept itself could be successful. Back in the day, a lot of bands actually used synthesizers to great effect in a brief wave that unfortunately ended way too soon. These five managed to get it right.

HORSE the Band These may be the craziest dudes in music. One needs only read their almost incoherently insane blog posts to understand what's at work behind their musical chaos. One thing's for sure though, they are geniuses in their own way.

They invented the genre of "Nintendo-core," mixing hardcore, metal, and 8-bit synths from classic video games, but their range is so much broader than that. They truly are gifted songwriters, and far transcended the wave of imitators that came in their wake.

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Enter Shikari I've hated on Enter Shikari's newer, dubstep-inspired work a lot here, but hate and love are two sides of the same coin. When Enter Shikari burst onto the scene back in 2006 and '07, they were doing something amazing.

Their combination of cheesy synths and '80s adult contemporary-inspired melodic sections with metalcore was a stroke of brilliance. Their first record, Take to the Skies, remains a classic filled with awesome songs. It's a shame what came after, but they've still got that one shining moment to hold onto.

Idiot Pilot Idiot Pilot was a little bit weirder than some of the other bands on this list because their influences were even more wide-ranging. They had the metalcore aspect down pat, but they were also drawing heavily from Radiohead. It made a pretty eclectic mix of sounds.

Regardless of their influences, though, it turned into something pretty awesome when put into a blender. For people who wish Radiohead would rock harder again, these guys filled a very important role. It's a shame that Idiot Pilot has since pretty much dropped off the face of the earth.

Story continues on the next page.

 

Sworn to Secrecy This band has the added Texas appeal of being from San Antonio, but would have been great no matter what part of the world they came from. Their mix had all the best parts of the Texas metalcore scene of the mid-aughts, but with the synth flares to set them apart.

Sworn to Secrecy broke up years ago, but some members now play in a band called 1919.

Nevea Tears Though they never took off, Nevea Tears were masters of this sort of thing, mixing the sounds of metalcore and synths perfectly. Their music was pretty raw, all things considered, but it showed a whole lot of songwriting talent underneath all that shoddy production.

These guys predicted a wave of similar bands that came along years after them, but unfortunately have never gotten the credit they deserved for it. Theoretically, they are still a band, but like a few of the others on this list have pretty much disappeared.

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