Former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy made an appearance on Sobre La Dosis for an interview during which he revealed three metal bands that he thinks were able to emerge at the time of the grunge era.
Grunge, or the Seattle sound, emerged during the mid-1980s, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns as an alternative rock genre and subculture. It combines punk rock and heavy metal elements but prioritizes punk music’s speed and structure. Grunge typically featured distorted electric guitar and lyrics addressing social alienation and isolation themes.
By the early 1990s, grunge music rose in popularity, and grunge bands emerged in other parts of the United States. Due to the releases of the albums such as Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind,’ Alice In Chains’ ‘Dirt,’ or Soundgarden’s ‘Superunknown,’ grunge was commercially successful in the early and mid-1990s.
With the success of these bands, grunge became the most popular form of rock music at that time. However, during the mid-1990s, many grunge bands disbanded or became less visible in the scene. Following that, grunge gradually faded away and gave way to other forms of rock and metal music.
In a Q&A session on Sobre La Dosis, Mike Portnoy revealed that his favorite era of metal music is the ’80s, as the ’90s meant a downhill for metal music after grunge emerged. Moreover, the drummer said the only new bands that could make metal music in the ’90s were Pantera, Sepultura, and Machine Head.
Following that, Portnoy claimed that all of the other great metal bands active in the 1990s emerged in the 1980s. He then said Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Overkill, Exodus, and Megadeth were the prominent figures of the thrash metal scene in the 1980s, and credited the early ’80s music acts like Rainbow, AC/DC, Accept, Motörhead, Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden.
During the conversation, Mike Portnoy said the following:
“Well, for metal, I would have to say the ’80s, ’cause the ’90s started to go downhill once grunge came around. The ’90s… really, the only thing going for metal, for me at least, in the ’90s was Pantera, Sepultura, and Machine Head. Those were the only new bands, really, doing metal. All of the other great metal bands from the ’90s all came around in the ’80s.
So for me, in the ’80s, we got Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Overkill, Exodus, Megadeth — that was all the thrash scene. And then all the early ’80s stuff, you had Rainbow, AC/DC, Accept, Motörhead, Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden. So, I think the ’80s were definitely the stronger decade of the two.“
You can watch the conversation below.