Rhythm and Blues
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Early British Rock
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New Wave of British Heavy Metal
Summer Of Love
Heavy metal - or metal - is the genre for forms of rock music that are characterized
by thick, massive sound; heavy and amplified distortion; long guitar solos; simple pounding rhythms;
and loud, distorted guitars that are usually playing repetitive riffs. Borrowing traditions from blues
rock and "psychedelic" rock, metal emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s with lyrics and styles
that were widely panned by critics, and which were usually associated with masculinity and sexual
machismo. Among the most notable and important bands in the metal genre are: Led Zeppelin, [Black
Sabbath], Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica, and Megadeath.
What Makes Heavy Metal Unique?
Many say that heavy metal is the most extreme form of rock music in terms of loudness, theatricality,
and aggression. Indeed, metal records usually have a heavy reliance on loud guitar riffs and
intricate solos, combined with emphatic rhythms, a thick drum-and-bass sound, instrumental distortion,
and vigorous and aggressive vocal stylings. The backbone of metal, of course, is the electric guitar -
amplified to provide a kind of sonic power. Lead and rhythm guitarists of metal bands and metal artists
- such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden - also use techniques such as sweep-picking, tapping, and
riffs in order to emphasize virtuosic displays and intricate solos.
Lyrical themes, meanwhile, focus on topics such as sex, drugs, violence, gore, teenage angst, romantic
tragedy, philosophy, and occult - which is probably why critics always protested and targeted the metal
genre. "Led Zeppelin" records, for example, were written with sexually suggestive lyrics and, as was
the case with many metal bands that followed, performed with over-the-top theatrics. Still, despite the
criticism and the constant evolution of the metal sound, the core appeal of the genre remains intact
The Beginnings of Metal
Heavy metal came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s when bands began to take elements from
traditional rock, folk, jazz and blues to produce a heavier, more vicious, and more
aggressive sound. The rhythms became more structured while the amplification of the guitar, keyboard,
and other electric instruments became more important. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and [Black
Sabbath] are considered as the earliest and pioneering innovators of the metal genre. They soon were
followed by bands like Alice Cooper, Kiss, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and AC/DC, who all modified
metal into forms that were more accessible. Before the end of the 1970s, a number of metal bands in
Britain and America - namely, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and [Quiet
Riot] had helped spur the evolution of the genre and attract a worldwide following of fans.
The 1980s saw heavy metal enjoy its greatest presence on the charts as well as spawn several subgenres
like thrash metal, death metal, black metal, power metal and doom and gothic metal, among many others.
Bands such as Def Leppard, Metallica, Slayer, Dio, Anthrax, and Megadeath pushed the genre
into the mainstream. And thanks to the heavily made-up, long-haired onstage personas of bands like
Poison and Whitesnake, metal also became more glam.
Metal Music From the 90s to the Present
Metal in the 1990s centered on a hybrid called alternative metal, the sound of which is best
exemplified by bands like Alice in Chains, Faith No More, Marilyn Manson, Tool, Primus, and
Guns N Roses. Another subgenre, nu-metal, also came into being in the mid-1990s, touching on genres
like hip hop and electronica to further transform the sound of the heavy metal genre. Bands
that were part of this new wave include POD, Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park.
The heavy metal genre is now rich with a number of hybrids, all of which share similar qualities: an
aggressive, melodic sound, combined with loudness and experimentation with instruments. Top metal
artists today include Slipknot, Dragonforce, The Devil Wears Prada, and Drowning Pool. While
they all have numerous stylistic variations, these bands continue to help heavy metal remain a vital
force in music today.
Metal Albums, Metal Records, and Metal CDs
No matter your brand of heavy metal, you'll find it here at MusicStack. "Led Zeppelin" CDs,
"Black Sabbath" CDs, "Deep Purple" CDs, "Judas Priest" CDs, "Iron Maiden" CDs, ["Motorhead"
CDs], "Metallica" CDs, "Kiss" CDs, "Van Halen" CDs, "Def Leppard" CDs, "Alice in Chains" CDs,
"Guns N Roses" CDs, "Megadeath" CDs, "Slipknot" CDs, "Dragonforce" CDs, among other metal
albums, records, and CDs, are all available, as are metal vinyl LPs.
Popular Metal Artists