Originally developed in the late 60s and 70s largely in England, the bands that conceived heavy metal created a large and thick sound, defined by extended guitar solos, loudness, highly amplified distortion, and emphatic beats. Bands like Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Motörhead, Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest were prominent stars of this head banging genre! Metal’s raw, passionate sound still holds strong today influencing generations of metal heads all over the world. Scores of band tees get worn and passed on through the masses every year.
Heavy metal, also referred to as just metal, is a subgenre of rock music. Metal has roots in psychedelic/acid rock and blues rock. The bands and artists that are responsible for creating heavy metal developed a massive and thick sound. This sound was characterized by extended guitar solos, highly amplified distortion, and loudness. Performance styles and heavy metal lyrics are often defined by their machismo and aggression.
The three most famous pioneers of heavy metal are Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. All three pioneers were founded in 1968. While all three bands attracted many critics, they also managed to amass a wide audience. Judas Priest caused the genre to evolve by eliminating its blues influence. Motorhead emphasized speed and introduced punk rock sensibility. Iron Maiden, Saxon, and other bands in the British heavy metal new wave followed the trends established by Motorhead and Judas Priest. By the end of the 1970s, fans of heavy metal were referred to as “headbangers” and “metalheads.”
Heavy metal, which is characterized by the distorted, aggressive sounds of the electric guitar, is considered one of the best genres of rock music in terms of commercial success. Many people attribute the term “heavy metal” to William Burroughs, the novelist. However, the term dates back to the 19th century. The term had referred to power or the cannon. The term “heavy metal” has also been used to classify various compounds and elements. The term “heavy metal poisoning” refers to poisoning by these chemicals and elements. The term “heavy metal” also appeared in the lyrics of “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf.
Besides the loud distorted guitars, other defining characteristics of heavy metal include dense bass-and-drum sound, emphatic rhythms, and vigorous vocals. Subgenres of heavy metal tend to omit, emphasize, or change at least of these attributes. Critic Jon Pareles of New York Times describe heavy metal as a subgenre of hard rock. As a subgenre, heavy metal has less blues, brute force, less syncopation, and more showmanship. Most band lineups for heavy metal include a lead guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a singer. In some cases, the singer is an instrumentalist. Keyboard instruments are frequently used to add to the sound’s fullness.
While the popularity of heavy metal decreased at the end of the 1970s, it became even more popular in the 1980s.
So, how well do you know Heavy Metal? Let’s see you rock out on this quiz!