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Stylistic origins: hardcore punk, indie rock
Cultural origins: mid 1980s Washington, DC
Typical instruments: Guitar - Bass - Drums - Synthesizer
Mainstream popularity: Sporadically through the 1980s and '90s, growing in the early 2000s
Emocore - Hardcore emo - Emo violence - Screamo - Emotional metalcore
Fusion genres
Regional scenes
Midwestern emo
Other topics
Timeline of alternative rock

Screamo is a musical genre which evolved from emo, more specifically hardcore emo in the early 1990s. Characteristic of the genre are hardcore screaming vocals and fast, harmonized guitars. Breakdowns in screamo songs are often slower and more melodic than in other genres, less of a "beatdown" and more an opportunity for introspection (and rest for the musicians). Other than that, it is fairly hard to classify (particularly since the rule about screaming vocals is bent fairly often). It is sometimes also mistakenly referred to as emo violence, which is closely related (although bands in both genres borrow ideas from each other). Lyrically, screamo topics are often times introspective, although it is not uncommon to see a screamo band with political lyrics. Most screamo songs use imagery and metaphors to communicate lost love or failed friendships.


In California in the early 1990s, Gravity Records from San Diego released many defining records of this style. Significant Emo bands from this time include Heroin, Angel Hair, Antioch Arrow, Universal Order of Armageddon Swing Kids, and Mohinder. In the New York/New Jersey era, bands such as Native Nod, Merel, 1.6 Band, Rye Coalition and Rorschach were feeling the same impulse. The labels Gern Blandsten Records and Troubleman Records released many of the influential records from that region and era. Many of these bands were involved with the ABC No Rio club scene in New York, itself a response to the violence and stagnation in the scene and with the bands that played at CBGBs, the only other small venue for hardcore in New York at the time.

There was an explosion of bands, some who influenced this were: Indian Summer, Evergreen, Current, Shotmaker, Portraits of Past, and Julia. These bands eventually became what is known as Emo, a style which intensified the dramatic aspects of vocal performances in order to achieve a cathartic breakthrough with the audience. Their music backgrounds differ, Julia and Evergreen both produced some of the richest Emo sounds, while Shotmaker railed off hardcore punk and found their niches in the brutal honesty of the human voice. Done well, the result was powerful emotional release that often left Emo bands and their audiences crying or screaming or very quiet at the end of performances. While effective, such open displays of emotion made many traditional hardcore fans uncomfortable, and caused much friction between the two camps.

In recent years, the internet has helped spread word of screamo through websites and through online distributions. Many fans of the genre have turned to eBay to expand their collections of rare and out-of-print records. This leads to very high prices on records that often cost a meager $10 or less when they were first released. Some members of bands who have broken up have expressed displeasure in these high prices and urge fans not to buy them, or buy a posthumously released discography instead. There are alternatives to eBay including, a website dedicated to fairly trading and selling hardcore records, and providing accurate pressing information on releases.

In recent years, the term screamo has been very commonly used to describe emo, post-punk, alternative rock, metalcore, or hardcore bands with emo influences.

Many "Screamo" bands have broken up but in the late 90s and early 2000s, another wave of Screamo bands began. But even then, many of these new bands have already broken up. These include bands such as the highly influential Saetia, Envy, Pg. 99, Orchid, and City of Caterpillar.

Despite how short-lived most recent screamo bands are, the underground screamo scene is still very large and is thriving throughout Europe and the United States.

External links

Home | Up | Emo Violence | Hardcore emo | Screamo | Tortured artist

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