It’s a common misconception that the glam metal movement died when the popularity of grunge overtook the mainstream airwaves back in the 1990s, when in reality is the genre as a whole was essentially suppressed as opposed to extinguished.
Although the majority of the major rock groups that found their peak in the 80s have been somewhat discouraged from writing new material, there has been a wealth of new musicians and bands who have been finding their way onto the scene and embracing the seemingly long lost approach.
We’re running through ten of the most formidable new bands who are carrying the torch for glam metal.
These Swedish hard rockers have developed an uncanny ability to craft arena rock anthems highlighted by ferociously melodic refrains and impeccable synthesizer-laced chord progressions. H.E.A.T. are just into their second album with lead vocalist Erik Gronwall at the helm, yet have managed to tap into a chemistry not unlike the Whitesnake highlights of the 1980s.
The Treatment’s guitar-oriented approach has earned the band multiple tours as the supporting act for such veteran names as Alice Cooper, KISS and Motley Crue. Landing more towards the heavy metal-grounded attitude of Skid Row than say the more melodic H.E.A.T., this English hard rock unit pack a serious punch that stays true to the seemingly long abandoned sound of the Sunset Strip.
Following a similar line as The Treatment, the members of Santa Cruz have an attitude and character all their own, if not rooted in the high octane styles of W.A.S.P. and Guns N’ Roses. It was their 2011 EP ‘Songs For the Young ‘n’ Restless’ that brought this Finnish rock band to our attention, and Santa Cruz has continued to create their own path with their self-titled studio album this past March.
Further validating the point that Sweden seems to be the headquarters for this next wave of glam metal, Gemini Five first erupted onto the scene back in 2001 before establishing a striking sleaze rock persona that rivals even that of Faster Pussycat and Shotgun Messiah. The vocal melodies propel such tracks as “Sex Drugs Anarchy” forward, but it’s the concrete rhythm section that keeps the energy moving and makes Gemini Five a memorable force to be reckoned with.
The members of Crazy Lixx are an especially exciting band on this countdown, because it seems as though they’re in this for the long haul. The motivation is apparent, seeing as the Swedish glam metal group is already four studio albums into their career without any significant lineup changes. Crazy Lixx draws influences from the heavyweights (Def Leppard, KISS, Motley Crue), and they surface through engaging harmonies and blistering guitar work.
This band introduces more of a modernized technique to the glam metal genre, however Jettblack nonetheless makes the outcome standout. Jettblack isn’t afraid to drift closer to their heavy metal origins from time to time – which validates their collaboration with original Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider on “Raining Rock” – however the band’s melodic side shines through on such tracks as “Prison of Love” and “Black Gold.”
Hailing from (where else?!) the trenches of Stockholm, Sweden, Crashdiet was raised on the stylistic efforts of Hanoi Rocks and Skid Row and inspired by the stagemanship of controversial punk rock vocalist G.G. Allin. The end result was a glam metal tour-de-force that has become a sensation in their home country and scarcely known elsewhere. It’s through such instantly significant numbers as “Generation Wild” and “Chemical” that the members of Crashdiet are hoping to change that.
British hard rock group The Darkness first found their way to fame with the hit single “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” that channeled their admiration for the 1970s rock character of Slade and T. Rex. The band has since proved that there is more than just one side of The Darkness than what early listeners are familiar with through such songs as The Cult-esque “Open Fire” and the early Def Leppard-influenced “Barbarian.”
They may be more of a parody than anything else, but Steel Panther is perhaps the most fitting embodiment of the 1980s glam metal-era than any other band found here. Their musicianship in technical and damn near perfectionism as far as vintage Poison and Van Halen is concerned, not to mention the consistently perplexing David Lee Roth primal screams which mainman Michael Starr belts out night after night onstage. If you can stomach the incomparable cheesiness of their lyrics, you’ll find yourself holding a coach ticket on a nostalgic glam metal expressway.
Although the members of Steel Panther may have cracked the code to the “definitive” glam metal style that took control of the airwaves three decades ago, Reckless Love are taking that same chemistry and placing it a step forward. Their influences are striking similar, yet Reckless Love takes a more serious direction when it comes down to unleashing their distinctive breed of melodic hard rock. The harmonies are on key and the lyrics always manage to keep your attention, whether it’s the relaxed party vibes of “Hot” or the freeway of references on “I Love Heavy Metal.”