Who are the next legacy artists? The “legacy” title for rock ‘n’ roll artists seems to be one exclusively reserved for the elite crop of pre-’90s musicians, and even regarded as an insult by music snobs to any band that aren’t withering into their old age and incapable of making music. Instead of waiting for that march to the great abyss, why not pay artists their flowers while they’re still around to be celebrated?
As we settle into the 2020s, early 2000s to 2010 nostalgia is creeping up on millennials, spiraling us into a pit of existential dread. So far we’ve established that nü metal’s revival arc is one that has been widely accepted. Bands such as Limp Bizkit and Korn, who were often laughed out of music communities, are being heralded as the “greats” of that era, alongside Slipknot, Linkin Park and Kittie. We’ve only just approached the mid-2000s nostalgia craze. As artists such as My Chemical Romance and the Used celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut albums this year, they’re also being elevated as game changers of early 2000s emo and alternative rock.
So who’s up next? Sure, it’s hard to anticipate. But here are the artists we think will be celebrated and commended for their contributions to alternative music.
When it comes to British heavy metal, it’s not easy to follow in the shadow of titans like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. When we think of bands in the British heavy scene who are well established, true to their spirit and commercially accessible but still able to sonically grow, Architects come to mind. If not for their insatiable riffs and Sam Carter’s ginormous vocal talents, the band’s core ethics and values paired with the equally awesome artists they collaborate with is what keeps fans coming back. They continue putting out straight-up heavy riffs.
Solidifying their status as British metal heavyweights with their sold-out arena tours, and finally earning their No. 1 album spot in the U.K. and reaching the Top 10 U.S. rock charts, you’ll find plenty of nods and inspiration taken from this Brighton five-piece in much U.K. metalcore coming out today.
Where were you when They’re Only Chasing Safety dropped? The early 2000s saw a pitfall for many upcoming screamo/emo bands who failed to live beyond their “nostalgic” albums and were either chastised into returning to that sound or shamed for evolving. It’s a tough line to walk, one Underoath can proudly say they are the few to master. 2022’s Voyeurist was more than a generous offering. From its social media marketing to the execution of the album and its collaborations, Underoath paved the way for 2000s screams. Speaking on their new album, guitarist Tim McTague said, “We wanted to strip Underoath back down to exclusively truth and cut out all distractions.”
Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon are long overdue their appraisal as the spearheads of alternative music’s mainstream popularity. Before the boom of #AltTikTok and massive celebrities now adopting the alternative sound or aesthetic, Bring Me The Horizon took massive career risks that ultimately changed the way heavier artists operate. Additionally, they taught fanbases the dangers of gatekeeping and introduced the mainstream to alternative prior to the rise of emo rap, dark pop and the pop-punk revival.
While their MySpace screamo days had bottles of urine thrown their way onstage, the worst was only around the corner. Sempiternal felt like the first large public outcry against Bring Me The Horizon’s change in sound. The blend of electronic music with heavy riffs that wasn’t awash with cringey crabcore was yet to be done, elevating them beyond their dingy dive bars and grubby scene kid look. Despite the hate, “Can You Feel My Heart” returned to the charts after 10 years because it still holds popularity.
Unknowingly, their greatest risk was just around the corner. That’s The Spirit was admittedly a polarizing release for the fanbase, with many calling for a return to “the old days.” Despite its hate, the album came near the end of the “MySpace boom,” with “scene” bands burnt out and relegated to their known genres by stubborn fans who didn’t want them to change. That’s The Spirit launched the band into mainstream radio plays, large-scale arena performances with high-quality production to match and unfathomable success that proved change is good.
2020’s POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR felt like the final puzzle piece snapping into place. The EP landed on the No. 1 Album Charts spot in the U.K., sported massive collaborations with Amy Lee of Evanescence, BABYMETAL and Nova Twins and saw BMTH pull off their biggest tours yet. With a wealth of releases behind them, all of varying genres and themes, Bring Me The Horizon felt like one of the first mainstream heavy bands to step outside of their assigned genre tick box. They proved that it could bring them greater success, and offer a path for artists looking to make a long-lasting, financially supportive career.
Neck Deep and State Champs
Pop-punk nostalgia, backward caps, khaki pants and pizza memes. The early 2010s predecessor from the MySpace screamo days, 2013’s pop-punk explosion is an unforgettable one (mostly because it’s been immortalized on Tumblr for the rest of time). These pop-punk icons are paired together because who else owned the early 2010s pop-punk scene like them? Becoming respected names in their home territories, heading out on huge support tours and headlining their own runs globally, there are few other bands that escaped the pop-punk nostalgia boom of the early 2010s without breaking up or fading into irrelevancy. Granted, they’ll need a few more years to build their status even further, but in another decade, it’s easy to see how they’ll be regarded as staples of that time.
Lil Peep and Juice WRLD
Legends never die. Despite their short-lived careers before their passing, there are no two artists who articulate the sound and success of emo rap like Lil Peep and Juice WRLD. Granted, they were following the way paved by Denzel Curry‘s early 2010 work but used their own talents to launch gigantic careers that would encapsulate an entire year of music.
Coming from the high of 2012’s pop-punk nostalgia, the sound and summer of 2016 can be narrowed down to Lil Peep, Juice WRLD and other rappers who’d built their careers with the rise of SoundCloud. Ultimately, the influence early 2000s hip-hop, emo and pop punk would have on artists like Lil Peep and Juice WRLD created emo rap, becoming a precursor to 2018’s dark pop.
Reading this, we’re sure you’re thinking, “Are they not a legacy band already?” Much like the bands they’re categorized with, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance are celebrated as “icons” of that time. So when will we pay Paramore their flowers? Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams are two of the most recognizable artists in pop punk from the early 2000s, mostly because they were some of the few women able to get their foot in the door and put up with rampant industry sexism.
Speaking to Vulture in 2020, Williams described the emo and pop-punk scene of the early to mid-2000s “brutally misogynistic. I did not know how toxic that world could be.”
As we enter the “emo revival,” Paramore’s tracks keep returning to the conversation (and the charts). 2007s Riot! is like an image captured from that time in music. No album of that time is as on the nose for the sound of pop punk while still maintaining its own artistic creativity.
We could list the accolades, chart success, awards and appraisals sent their way over the years, but there are far too many. There are many ways you can tell how successful a band are: Paramore have been away from their fanbase since the After Laughter days and, still, they continue to trend on social media every other week. Give Paramore their flowers — maybe rose-colored boy ones?