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Groove metal is, naturally, a subgenre of Heavy Metal. Considered either an evolution of Thrash Metal or a return to metal's blues-rock roots, groove metal is characterised by bluesy, slow-to-mid-tempo guitar riffs and harsh vocals. It's a very obscure genre name, but the bands from the genre are not.
First of all, who played groove metal first? Let's not get into that. Mentioning Pantera, Exhorder and "stole from" in the same sentence is guaranteed to cause Internet Backdraft, so let's not have discussions about who stole from whom. 
Groove metal was most popular in the early nineties, after which it got replaced by Nu-metal, which itself occasinally took influences from Groove Metal (some bands more than others). There are also several Metalcore bands considered to also be groove metal; these include Lamb of God and Shadows Fall.
Do not confuse the genre with Funk Metal, which is a sub-genre of Alternative Metal that focuses on bass playing and rhythm. The two genres, however, occasionally overlap, such as in the case of Soulfly.
Bands typically considered to be groove metal include:
- Cavalera Conspiracy
- Demon Hunter (also Alternative Metal and Metalcore)
- Divine Heresy
- Exhorder (Trope Maker)
- Fear Factory (mixed with Industrial Metal, Death Metal, Alternative Metal, Thrash Metal, and even a little bit of Nu-metal)
- Five Finger Death Punch
- Gojira (also Death Metal, Technical Death Metal, Progressive Metal)
- Haji's Kitchen (also Progressive Metal)
- Lamb of God
- Machine Head (mixed with Thrash Metal, and with Nu-metal on a couple of their albums)
- Pantera (Trope Codifier or Trope Maker.)
- A Perfect Murder
- Sepultura (from Chaos A.D. on)
- Shadows Fall (mixed with Thrash Metal and Metalcore)
- The Showdown (recent material; mixed with Thrash and southern metal)
- Slipknot, if you don't consider them Nu-metal
- Soulfly (mixed with Nu-metal on the early albums, and Thrash Metal / Death Metal in their later albums)
- White Zombie
Djent - a subgenre of groove metal characterized by heavy syncopated riffs, polyrythmic drumming and irregular time signatures which became popular in the early 2010s
- Animals as Leaders
- Born of Osiris
- Meshuggah (Trope Codifier and Trope Namer)
- Nevermore (Ur Example)
- Threat Signal
The groove metal genre contains the following tropes:
- Genre Shift - Several bands have either shifted towards groove metal (Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory) or turned from groove metal to something else (Machine Head to nu-metal, though they eventually went back into groove metal).
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness - usually an 8 or 9, but a step up or down on the scale isn't unheard of.
- The Scrappy - Amongst metalheads (especially on Metal-Archives), groove metal is pretty unpopular, though it doesn't get as much hate as metalcore or nu-metal. Within the genre, Hellyeah and Damageplan probably get the most hate.
- Soprano and Gravel - A few one-man variants, including Fear Factory and Machine Head.
- Trope Codifier - If you regard Exhorder as the Trope Maker, then Pantera is probably the Trope Codifier. If you regard Pantera as a Trope Maker, then the Trope Codifier is open to debate, though Machine Head and Sepultura are the most likely candidates.
- Trope Maker - Either Exhorder or Pantera.