Originally Posted by smearCampaign
When people say that Nirvana killed hair metal they mean it in the context that hair metal was the 'big thing' in rock at the time. Grunge introduced the average listener to a heavier sound than had ever been popular in the mainstream. The more heavily distorted guitar and less intelligible vocal delivery were new things to 'mainstream' or 'radio rock'. Sure, it's not like everyone who was into hair and glam metal stopped listening to it or attending concerts, but the total dominance of it as the primary form of modern rock music on MTV and radio of that era was coming to a close. So it's not so much that grunge killed off hair metal, it just began to signal a change in the style of popular rock music.
My only question would be: what new hair metal bands are finding success in the underground?
The weird thing is, if Nirvana started up now instead of back in the 90s, they would still be just as jarring. Modern rock needs another kick in the teeth like it got back in 1991.