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Old 08-26-2012, 11:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Anyone explain the differences between AOR and Melodic Metal to me?

I've reviewed several albums that could qualify as either, and at the moment I'm listening to Jaded Heart, who seem too heavy to be AOR yet not quite heavy enough to be out and out metal, so are they melodic metal? And if so, what differentiates one from the other? I'd like to know, as I would certainly not describe Journey or Toto as melodic metal, but JH don't seem to be what I'd call AOR either?
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There's metal that's melodic, but is there a Melodic Metal sub-genre? There's glam metal, grunge, melodic death metal, melodic metalcore, power metal, just to same a few, but I've never heard of "melodic metal" ?

AOR is an interesting genre for me because I don't know that much about it. I'd choose the "Adult" over "Album" in the acronym, it's slightly older, prog. influenced musicians that wanted to play a more mature and popular style of rock music, instead of NWOBHM, Thrash or Hair Metal which was more youth oriented. Melodic aspects can be heard in all of these.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's why when I posted the Asia thread a while back I though they were melodic/prog, because I couldn't tell the difference.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
I've reviewed several albums that could qualify as either, and at the moment I'm listening to Jaded Heart, who seem too heavy to be AOR yet not quite heavy enough to be out and out metal, so are they melodic metal? And if so, what differentiates one from the other? I'd like to know, as I would certainly not describe Journey or Toto as melodic metal, but JH don't seem to be what I'd call AOR either?
AOR is all about polished performances, slick production, a strong eye on commercialism and never getting too heavy, but that's not to say that a lot of big AOR bands like Toto and Journey never put out some heavier stuff. In fact most of my favourite AOR acts are the ones at the heavier end of the spectrum, rather than the lighter more poppier end of the spectrum. AOR also has its roots in some of the west coast bands of the 1960s and bands like Santana, Steeley Dan and the Doobie Brothers gave it life in the 1970s.

Now melodic metal is a different kettle of fish in its origins, its rougher around the edges and lays its roots in a lot of the more melodic heavy acts of the 1970s (btw I started a UFO thread) probably the perfect exponent of this style. Melodic metal really got its sound in the 1980s and bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard helped kick this off. Judas Priest's British Steel may well have been the first really big melodic metal album around as well and fully introduced pop hooks into metal. Blue Oyster Cult were another influential band here as well.

Its also about acceptance, I often found people really embracing melodic metal over the years, whilst looking down on AOR as some kind of bland radio music. The fact of the matter is, that most melodic metal acts eventually just ended up as refined as some of their AOR counterparts.

By the 1990s it was an even thinner line. Just take Queensryche and Operation Mindcrime now that's melodic metal but just an album later with Empire the sound more like Journey and an AOR band. I think its a case of AOR as a brand just dying out and melodic metal now embracing the two.

Dream Theater are a perfect example here. I've often read how they were influenced by Toto and Journey as well as Iron Maiden. Now if you marry those bands you can only really have a melodic sound with a metal vibe.

I know I can dig out loads of 1970s band that were earlier example of melodic metal than the ones I've put.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, I knew you'd know, US! Sorts it out a little but I'm still left to wonder.
Here are Jaded Heart: how would you categorise them?
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I knew you'd know, US! Sorts it out a little but I'm still left to wonder.
Here are Jaded Heart: how would you categorise them?
Off for dinner, get back to you later on that one.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, I knew you'd know, US! Sorts it out a little but I'm still left to wonder.
Here are Jaded Heart: how would you categorise them?
Defintely melodic metal based on that song. The image of the band, the poise of the band doesn't really resonate much in the way of AOR to me. In fact there are a lot of metal bands today that still focus on the melodic side of things, look no further than power metal and quite often a lot of progressive metal is really just a mix between melodic metal and AOR without that many complex sections.

Stratovarius one of the best power metal bands around and in fact do straddle the line between metal and AOR. Some of their songs like this owe far more to AOR than it does to metal. The intro and feel of the song has been completely borrowed from Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger"


Stratovarius - Eyes Of The World - YouTube
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 08-26-2012, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cool. I've decided to categorise JH thus: "Melodic metal meets AOR and gives it a good kicking!"
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Another figure worth mentioning on this thread as a real pioneer for what's being discussed was probably Paul Rodgers. In his days with Free one of the most melodic hard rock bands to ever exist, they basically sounded like a ferocious dog that was permanently meshed up and kept on his lead, I always wished they would set that dog free but it never happened............all credit to them for their discipline! Anyway when the band folded Paul Rodgers went onto even bigger acclaim with Bad Company a supergroup of Free and Mott the Hoople members (I'm sure you already know all this guff but mentioning for those that might not) Now that band was probably one of the prime examples of what was an early incarnation of AOR or soft rock as I like to call it was, an AOR band at the heavier end of the spectrum, in fact Foreigner were probably their counterparts in the 1980s. They ticked all the right boxes for AOR, great vocalist, great musicians, ballads and big commercial appeal (with Peter Grant as manager that was no surprise) Point I'm making, is that this band would go onto be very influential on AOR and melodic metal, which as Almauro said is not really a sub-genre but a convenient grouping for metal at the softer end of the market.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Weird, as I would never really have put Free or Bad Company in as AOR. SHows what I know...

Wondered if you ever got this magazine? It's a great read and you get to learn about some fine bands in it (well, I do: you probably know them already), plus you get a free CD (although at about 11 Euro for the mag it's not really free, but heigh ho...)
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