Traditionally metal has been easy to classify, music consisting of long (apx 4 minute,) tracks, guitar solos, double bass and generally long hair. It's always been easy to know metal in it's old form, but times are changing. .
Today metal has taken on new attributes, moving from the traditional guitar, bass, drum, singer combo to include new instruments and new sounds. Turntables, keyboards, sample machines, kazoos, tribal instruments, and even symphonies are making appearances in today's metal. It's almost as if anything that can make a sound can be featured on some band's album. So, why is metal so flexible now? Why is it that we can now enjoy bands like Candiria and Puya using jazz to support their riffs? Why is it that we can now listen to Cryptopsy's use of an aboriginal instrument in the middle of their chaotic death metal? That's what I want to look at, why is metal today not what metal was? .
Modern metal began to form with trend-breaking bands like Fear Factory (Soul of the New Machine,'92,) and Rage Against the Machine (s/t,'92) killing the traditional staples of their genres, most notably the end of the guitar solo. These bands, along with the industrial movement (bands like Ministry, KMFDM & Skinny Puppy) began to change the face of metal music. .
At the same time the grunge movement was killing the popular Arena (Cock) Rock scene and bringing the common man into the spotlight. David Lee Roth and Bret Michaels were replaced by Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, musical everymen in flannel and torn jeans. As Dave Mustaine had recently said, all the heroes were killed when the eventual end of the original Guns & Roses line-up collapsed under the weight of Axel Rose. .
As grunge died down in the middle of the decade, and the underground movement of metal (with possibly the only exception of Pantera,) turned into a haven of Death and Black Metal (I'm not complaining or anything, but I digress) bands like The Deftones (Adrenaline,'95),and Korn (s/t,'94) began to emerge from California finding a middle ground between the heaviness of metal, Depeche Mode's & The Cure's beauty, and the grunge movement's 'Everydayness'.