Heavy metal music
This article is about the genre.
For its subgenres, see heavy metal genres.
For the 2013 Newsted album, see Heavy Metal Music (album).
For other uses, see Heavy metal (disambiguation).
|Cultural origins||Late 1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Though they came to attract wide audiences, they were often derided by critics.
Several American bands modified heavy metal into more accessible forms during the 1970s: the raw, sleazy sound and shock rock of Alice Cooper and Kiss; the blues-rooted rock of Aerosmith; and the flashy guitar leads and wild party rock of Van Halen.
Underground scenes produced an array of more aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, while other extreme subgenres such as death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena.
Since the mid-1990s, popular styles have expanded the definition of the genre.
Heavy metal is traditionally characterized by loud distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, dense bass-and-drum sound, and vigorous vocals.
Heavy metal subgenres variously emphasize, alter, or omit one or more of these attributes.
The New York Times critic Jon Pareles writes, "In the taxonomy of popular music, heavy metal is a major subspecies of hard-rock—the breed with less syncopation, less blues, more showmanship and more brute force."
Keyboard instruments are sometimes used to enhance the fullness of the sound.
The electric guitar and the sonic power that it projects through amplification has historically been the key element in heavy metal.
The heavy metal guitar sound comes from a combined use of high volumes and heavy distortion.
For classic heavy metal guitar tone, guitarists maintain gain at moderate levels, without excessive preamp or pedal distortion, to retain open spaces and air in the music; the guitar amplifier is turned up loud to produce the characteristic "punch and grind".
Thrash metal guitar tone has scooped mid-frequencies and tightly compressed sound with multiple bass frequencies.
Guitar solos are "an essential element of the heavy metal code ... that underscores the significance of the guitar" to the genre.
Most heavy metal songs "feature at least one guitar solo", which is "a primary means through which the heavy metal performer expresses virtuosity".
With rhythm guitar parts, the "heavy crunch sound in heavy metal ... [is created by] palm muting" the strings with the picking hand and using distortion.
Palm muting creates a tighter, more precise sound and it emphasizes the low end.
The lead role of the guitar in heavy metal often collides with the traditional "frontman" or bandleader role of the vocalist, creating a musical tension as the two "contend for dominance" in a spirit of "affectionate rivalry".
Heavy metal "demands the subordination of the voice" to the overall sound of the band.
Reflecting metal's roots in the 1960s counterculture, an "explicit display of emotion" is required from the vocals as a sign of authenticity.
Critic Simon Frith claims that the metal singer's "tone of voice" is more important than the lyrics.
The prominent role of the bass is also key to the metal sound, and the interplay of bass and guitar is a central element.
The bass guitar provides the low-end sound crucial to making the music "heavy".
The bass plays a "more important role in heavy metal than in any other genre of rock".
Some bands feature the bass as a lead instrument, an approach popularized by Metallica's Cliff Burton with his heavy emphasis on bass guitar solos and use of chords while playing bass in the early 1980s.
The essence of heavy metal drumming is creating a loud, constant beat for the band using the "trifecta of speed, power, and precision".
Heavy metal drumming "requires an exceptional amount of endurance", and drummers have to develop "considerable speed, coordination, and dexterity ... to play the intricate patterns" used in heavy metal.
A characteristic metal drumming technique is the cymbal choke, which consists of striking a cymbal and then immediately silencing it by grabbing it with the other hand (or, in some cases, the same striking hand), producing a burst of sound.
The metal drum setup is generally much larger than those employed in other forms of rock music.
In his book Metalheads, psychologist Jeffrey Arnett refers to heavy metal concerts as "the sensory equivalent of war".
As Blue Cheer's Dick Peterson put it, "All we knew was we wanted more power."
A 1977 review of a Motörhead concert noted how "excessive volume in particular figured into the band's impact."
She argues that the loudness is designed to "sweep the listener into the sound" and to provide a "shot of youthful vitality".
Heavy metal performers tended to be almost exclusively male until at least the mid-1980s apart from exceptions such as Girlschool.
However, by the 2010s women were making more of an impact, and PopMatters' Craig Hayes argues that metal "clearly empowers women".
In the sub-genres of symphonic and power metal, there has been a sizable number of bands that have had women as the lead singers; bands such as Nightwish, Delain, and Within Temptation have featured women as lead singers with men playing instruments.
Rhythm and tempo
The rhythm in metal songs is emphatic, with deliberate stresses.
Weinstein observes that the wide array of sonic effects available to metal drummers enables the "rhythmic pattern to take on a complexity within its elemental drive and insistency".
Brief, abrupt, and detached rhythmic cells are joined into rhythmic phrases with a distinctive, often jerky texture.
The tempos in early heavy metal music tended to be "slow, even ponderous".
By the late 1970s, however, metal bands were employing a wide variety of tempos.
One of the signatures of the genre is the guitar power chord.
When power chords are played on the lower strings at high volumes and with distortion, additional low frequency sounds are created, which add to the "weight of the sound" and create an effect of "overwhelming power".
Although the perfect fifth interval is the most common basis for the power chord, power chords are also based on different intervals such as the minor third, major third, perfect fourth, diminished fifth, or minor sixth.
Most power chords are also played with a consistent finger arrangement that can be slid easily up and down the fretboard.
Typical harmonic structures
Harmonically speaking, this means the genre typically incorporates modal chord progressions such as the Aeolian progressions I-♭VI-♭VII, I-♭VII-(♭VI), or I-♭VI-IV-♭VII and Phrygian progressions implying the relation between I and ♭II (I-♭II-I, I-♭II-III, or I-♭II-VII for example).
In addition to using modal harmonic relationships, heavy metal also uses "pentatonic and blues-derived features".
The tritone, an interval spanning three whole tones—such as C to F#—was a forbidden dissonance in medieval ecclesiastical singing, which led monks to call it diabolus in musica—"the devil in music".
Heavy metal songs often make extensive use of pedal point as a harmonic basis.
A pedal point is a sustained tone, typically in the bass range, during which at least one foreign (i.e., dissonant) harmony is sounded in the other parts.
According to Robert Walser, heavy metal harmonic relationships are "often quite complex" and the harmonic analysis done by metal players and teachers is "often very sophisticated".
In the study of heavy metal chord structures, it has been concluded that "heavy metal music has proved to be far more complicated" than other music researchers had realized.
Relationship with classical music
Robert Walser stated that, alongside blues and R&B, the "assemblage of disparate musical styles known ... as 'classical music'" has been a major influence on heavy metal since the genre's earliest days.
Also that metal's "most influential musicians have been guitar players who have also studied classical music.
Their appropriation and adaptation of classical models sparked the development of a new kind of guitar virtuosity [and] changes in the harmonic and melodic language of heavy metal."
In an article written for Grove Music Online, Walser stated that the "1980s brought on ... the widespread adaptation of chord progressions and virtuosic practices from 18th-century European models, especially Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, by influential guitarists such as Ritchie Blackmore, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Uli Jon Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen".
Kurt Bachmann of Believer has stated that "If done correctly, metal and classical fit quite well together.
Classical and metal are probably the two genres that have the most in common when it comes to feel, texture, creativity."
Although a number of metal musicians cite classical composers as inspiration, classical and metal are rooted in different cultural traditions and practices—classical in the art music tradition, metal in the popular music tradition.
As musicologists Nicolas Cook and Nicola Dibben note, "Analyses of popular music also sometimes reveal the influence of 'art traditions'.
An example is Walser's linkage of heavy metal music with the ideologies and even some of the performance practices of nineteenth-century Romanticism.
However, it would be clearly wrong to claim that traditions such as blues, rock, heavy metal, rap or dance music derive primarily from "art music'."
Main article: Heavy metal lyrics
According to David Hatch and Stephen Millward, Black Sabbath and the numerous heavy metal bands that they inspired have concentrated lyrically "on dark and depressing subject matter to an extent hitherto unprecedented in any form of pop music".
They take as an example Sabbath's second album Paranoid (1970), which "included songs dealing with personal trauma—'Paranoid' and 'Fairies Wear Boots' (which described the unsavoury side effects of drug-taking)—as well as those confronting wider issues, such as the self-explanatory 'War Pigs' and 'Hand of Doom'."
Deriving from the genre's roots in blues music, sex is another important topic—a thread running from Led Zeppelin's suggestive lyrics to the more explicit references of glam metal and nu metal bands.
The thematic content of heavy metal has long been a target of criticism.
According to Jon Pareles, "Heavy metal's main subject matter is simple and virtually universal.
With grunts, moans and subliterary lyrics, it celebrates ... a party without limits ... [T]he bulk of the music is stylized and formulaic."
Music critics have often deemed metal lyrics juvenile and banal, and others have objected to what they see as advocacy of misogyny and the occult.
During the 1980s, the Parents Music Resource Center petitioned the U.S. Congress to regulate the popular music industry due to what the group asserted were objectionable lyrics, particularly those in heavy metal songs.
Andrew Cope states that claims that heavy metal lyrics are misogynistic are "clearly misguided" as these critics have "overlook[ed] the overwhelming evidence that suggests otherwise".
Music critic Robert Christgau called metal "an expressive mode [that] it sometimes seems will be with us for as long as ordinary white boys fear girls, pity themselves, and are permitted to rage against a world they'll never beat".
Heavy metal artists have had to defend their lyrics in front of the U.S. Senate and in court.
A lawsuit against Osbourne was filed by the parents of John McCollum, a depressed teenager who committed suicide allegedly after listening to Osbourne's song.
Osbourne was not found to be responsible for the teen's death.
In 1990, Judas Priest was sued in American court by the parents of two young men who had shot themselves five years earlier, allegedly after hearing the subliminal statement "do it" in the song Better by You, Better than Me, it was featured on the album Stained Class (1978), the song was also a Spooky Tooth cover.
While the case attracted a great deal of media attention, it was ultimately dismissed.
In 1991, UK police seized death metal records from the British record label Earache Records, in an "unsuccessful attempt to prosecute the label for obscenity".
In some predominantly Muslim countries, heavy metal has been officially denounced as a threat to traditional values.
In countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and Malaysia, there have been incidents of heavy metal musicians and fans being arrested and incarcerated.
In 1997, the Egyptian police jailed many young metal fans and they were accused of "devil worship" and blasphemy, after police found metal recordings during searches of their homes.
Some people considered heavy metal music to being a leading factor for mental health disorders, and thought that heavy metal fans were more likely to suffer with a poor mental health, but study has proven that this is not true and the fans of this music have a lower or similar percentage of people suffering from poor mental health.
Image and fashion
Main article: Heavy metal fashion
For many artists and bands, visual imagery plays a large role in heavy metal.
In addition to its sound and lyrics, a heavy metal band's image is expressed in album cover art, logos, stage sets, clothing, design of instruments, and music videos.
Down-the-back long hair is the "most crucial distinguishing feature of metal fashion".
Originally adopted from the hippie subculture, by the 1980s and 1990s heavy metal hair "symbolised the hate, angst and disenchantment of a generation that seemingly never felt at home", according to journalist Nader Rahman.
Long hair gave members of the metal community "the power they needed to rebel against nothing in general".
The classic uniform of heavy metal fans consists of light colored, ripped, frayed or torn blue jeans, black T-shirts, boots, and black leather or denim jackets.
Deena Weinstein writes, "T-shirts are generally emblazoned with the logos or other visual representations of favorite metal bands."
In the 1980s, a range of sources, from punk and goth music to horror films, influenced metal fashion.
Many metal performers of the 1970s and 1980s used radically shaped and brightly colored instruments to enhance their stage appearance.
Fashion and personal style was especially important for glam metal bands of the era.
Performers typically wore long, dyed, hairspray-teased hair (hence the nickname, "hair metal"); makeup such as lipstick and eyeliner; gaudy clothing, including leopard-skin-printed shirts or vests and tight denim, leather, or spandex pants; and accessories such as headbands and jewelry.
Many metal musicians when performing live engage in headbanging, which involves rhythmically beating time with the head, often emphasized by long hair.
Attendees of metal concerts do not dance in the usual sense.
It has been argued that this is due to the music's largely male audience and "extreme heterosexualist ideology".
Two primary body movements used are headbanging and an arm thrust that is both a sign of appreciation and a rhythmic gesture.
The performance of air guitar is popular among metal fans both at concerts and listening to records at home.
Weinstein states that moshing participants bump and jostle each other as they move in a circle in an area called the "pit" near the stage.
Stage divers climb onto the stage with the band and then jump "back into the audience".
Main article: Heavy metal subculture
It has been argued that heavy metal has outlasted many other rock genres largely due to the emergence of an intense, exclusionary, strongly masculine subculture.
While the metal fan base is largely young, white, male, and blue-collar, the group is "tolerant of those outside its core demographic base who follow its codes of dress, appearance, and behavior".
Identification with the subculture is strengthened not only by the group experience of concert-going and shared elements of fashion, but also by contributing to metal magazines and, more recently, websites.
Attending live concerts in particular has been called the "holiest of heavy metal communions."
The metal scene has been characterized as a "subculture of alienation", with its own code of authenticity.
This code puts several demands on performers: they must appear both completely devoted to their music and loyal to the subculture that supports it; they must appear uninterested in mainstream appeal and radio hits; and they must never "sell out".
Deena Weinstein states that for the fans themselves, the code promotes "opposition to established authority, and separateness from the rest of society".
Musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie observes, "Most of the kids who come to my shows seem like really imaginative kids with a lot of creative energy they don't know what to do with" and that metal is "outsider music for outsiders.
Nobody wants to be the weird kid; you just somehow end up being the weird kid.
It's kind of like that, but with metal you have all the weird kids in one place".
Scholars of metal have noted the tendency of fans to classify and reject some performers (and some other fans) as "poseurs" "who pretended to be part of the subculture, but who were deemed to lack authenticity and sincerity".
The origin of the term "heavy metal" in a musical context is uncertain.
His 1962 novel The Soft Machine includes a character known as "Uranian Willy, the Heavy Metal Kid".
Burroughs' next novel, Nova Express (1964), develops the theme, using heavy metal as a metaphor for addictive drugs: "With their diseases and orgasm drugs and their sexless parasite life forms—Heavy Metal People of Uranus wrapped in cool blue mist of vaporized bank notes—And The Insect People of Minraud with metal music".
Inspired by Burroughs' novels, the term was used in the title of the 1967 album Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, which has been claimed to be its first use in the context of music.
The phrase was later lifted by Sandy Pearlman, who used the term to describe the Byrds for their supposed "aluminium style of context and effect", particularly on their album The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968).
Metal historian Ian Christe describes what the components of the term mean in "hippiespeak": "heavy" is roughly synonymous with "potent" or "profound," and "metal" designates a certain type of mood, grinding and weighted as with metal.
The word "heavy" in this sense was a basic element of beatnik and later countercultural hippie slang, and references to "heavy music"—typically slower, more amplified variations of standard pop fare—were already common by the mid-1960s, such as in reference to Vanilla Fudge.
The first use of "heavy metal" in a song lyric is in reference to a motorcycle in the Steppenwolf song "Born to Be Wild", also released that year: "I like smoke and lightning/Heavy metal thunder/Racin' with the wind/And the feelin' that I'm under."
An early documented use of the phrase in rock criticism appears in Sandy Pearlman's February 1967 Crawdaddy review of the Rolling Stones' Got Live If You Want It (1966), albeit as a description of the sound rather than as a genre: "On this album the Stones go metal.
Technology is in the saddle—as an ideal and as a method."
Another appears in the May 11, 1968, issue of Rolling Stone, in which Barry Gifford wrote about the album A Long Time Comin' by U.S. band Electric Flag: "Nobody who's been listening to Mike Bloomfield—either talking or playing—in the last few years could have expected this.
This is the new soul music, the synthesis of white blues and heavy metal rock."
Other early documented uses of the phrase are from reviews by critic Mike Saunders.
In the November 12, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone, he commented on an album put out the previous year by the British band Humble Pie: "Safe as Yesterday Is, their first American release, proved that Humble Pie could be boring in lots of different ways.
Here they were a noisy, unmelodic, heavy metal-leaden shit-rock band with the loud and noisy parts beyond doubt.
There were a couple of nice songs ... and one monumental pile of refuse".
He described the band's latest, self-titled release as "more of the same 27th-rate heavy metal crap".
Through the decade, heavy metal was used by certain critics as a virtually automatic putdown.
In 1979, lead New York Times popular music critic John Rockwell described what he called "heavy-metal rock" as "brutally aggressive music played mostly for minds clouded by drugs", and, in a different article, as "a crude exaggeration of rock basics that appeals to white teenagers".
Later the term would be replaced by "heavy metal".
Earlier on, as "heavy metal" emerged partially from heavy psychedelic rock, also known as acid rock, "acid rock" was often used interchangeably with "heavy metal" and "hard rock".
"Acid rock" generally describes heavy, hard, or raw psychedelic rock.
Musicologist Steve Waksman stated that "the distinction between acid rock, hard rock, and heavy metal can at some point never be more than tenuous", while percussionist John Beck defined "acid rock" as synonymous with hard rock and heavy metal.
Apart from "acid rock", the terms "heavy metal" and "hard rock" have often been used interchangeably, particularly in discussing bands of the 1970s, a period when the terms were largely synonymous.
For example, the 1983 Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll includes this passage: "known for its aggressive blues-based hard-rock style, Aerosmith was the top American heavy-metal band of the mid-Seventies".
Antecedents: 1950s to late 1960s
Heavy metal's quintessential guitar style, built around distortion-heavy riffs and power chords, traces its roots to early 1950s Memphis blues guitarists such as Joe Hill Louis, Willie Johnson, and particularly Pat Hare, who captured a "grittier, nastier, more ferocious electric guitar sound" on records such as James Cotton's "" (1954); the late 1950s instrumentals of Link Wray, particularly "Rumble" (1958); the early 1960s surf rock of Dick Dale, including "Let's Go Trippin'" (1961) and "Misirlou" (1962); and The Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" (1963) which made it a garage rock standard.
However, the genre's direct lineage begins in the mid-1960s.
As they experimented with the music, the UK blues-based bands—and the U.S. acts they influenced in turn—developed what would become the hallmarks of heavy metal, in particular, the loud, distorted guitar sound.
Where the blues rock drumming style started out largely as simple shuffle beats on small kits, drummers began using a more muscular, complex, and amplified approach to match and be heard against the increasingly loud guitar.
Vocalists similarly modified their technique and increased their reliance on amplification, often becoming more stylized and dramatic.
In terms of sheer volume, especially in live performance, The Who's "bigger-louder-wall-of-Marshalls" approach was seminal to the development of the later heavy metal sound.
The variant or subgenre of psychedelic rock often known as "acid rock" was particularly influential on heavy metal; acid rock is often defined as a heavier, louder, or harder variant of psychedelic rock, or the more extreme side of the psychedelic rock genre, frequently containing a loud, improvised, and heavily distorted guitar-centered sound.
Acid rock has been described as psychedelic rock at its "rawest and most intense," emphasizing the heavier qualities associated with both the positive and negative extremes of the psychedelic experience rather than only the idyllic side of psychedelia.
American acid rock garage bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators epitomized the frenetic, heavier, darker and more psychotic sound of acid rock, a sound characterized by droning guitar riffs, amplified feedback, and guitar distortion, while the 13th Floor Elevators' sound in particular featured yelping vocals and "occasionally demented" lyrics.
Frank Hoffman notes that: "Psychedelia was sometimes referred to as 'acid rock'.
When rock began turning back to softer, roots-oriented sounds in late 1968, acid-rock bands mutated into heavy metal acts."
One of the most influential bands in forging the merger of psychedelic rock and acid rock with the blues rock genre was the British power trio Cream, who derived a massive, heavy sound from unison riffing between guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, as well as Ginger Baker's double bass drumming.
Vanilla Fudge, whose first album also came out in 1967, has been called "one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal", and the band has been cited as an early American heavy metal group.
On their self-titled debut album, Vanilla Fudge created "loud, heavy, slowed-down arrangements" of contemporary hit songs, blowing these songs up to "epic proportions" and "bathing them in a trippy, distorted haze."
During the late 1960s, many psychedelic singers, such as Arthur Brown, began to create outlandish, theatrical and often macabre performances; which in itself became incredibly influential to many metal acts.
The American psychedelic rock band Coven, who opened for early heavy metal influencers such as Vanilla Fudge and the Yardbirds, portrayed themselves as practitioners of witchcraft or black magic, using dark—Satanic or occult—imagery in their lyrics, album art, and live performances.
Live shows consisted of elaborate, theatrical "Satanic rites."
Coven's 1969 debut album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, featured imagery of skulls, black masses, inverted crosses, and Satan worship, and both the album artwork and the band's live performances marked the first appearances in rock music of the sign of the horns, which would later become an important gesture in heavy metal culture.
At the same time in England, the band Black Widow were also among the first psychedelic rock bands to use occult and Satanic imagery and lyrics, though both Black Widow and Coven's lyrical and thematic influences on heavy metal were quickly overshadowed by the darker and heavier sounds of Black Sabbath.
Origins: late 1960s and early 1970s
Critics disagree over who can be thought of as the first heavy metal band.
Most credit either Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, with American commentators tending to favour Led Zeppelin and British commentators tending to favour Black Sabbath, though many give equal credit to both.
Deep Purple, the third band in what is sometimes considered the "unholy trinity" of heavy metal, despite being slightly older than Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, fluctuated between many rock styles until late 1969 when they took a heavy metal direction.
In 1968, the sound that would become known as heavy metal began to coalesce.
That January, the San Francisco band Blue Cheer released a cover of Eddie Cochran's classic "Summertime Blues", from their debut album Vincebus Eruptum, that many consider the first true heavy metal recording.
In July, the Jeff Beck Group, whose leader had preceded Page as The Yardbirds' guitarist, released its debut record: Truth featured some of the "most molten, barbed, downright funny noises of all time," breaking ground for generations of metal ax-slingers.
In September, Page's new band, Led Zeppelin, made its live debut in Denmark (billed as The New Yardbirds).
Iron Butterfly's 1968 song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is sometimes described as an example of the transition between acid rock and heavy metal or the turning point in which acid rock became "heavy metal", and both Iron Butterfly's 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Blue Cheer's 1968 album Vincebus Eruptum have been described as laying the foundation of heavy metal and greatly influential in the transformation of acid rock into heavy metal.
In this counterculture period MC5, who began as part of the Detroit garage rock scene, developed a raw distorted style that has been seen as a major influence on the future sound of both heavy metal and later punk music.
is especially credited with paving the way for heavy metal and was one of the first heavy guitar songs to receive regular play on radio.
In September 1969, the Beatles released the album Abbey Road containing the track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" which has been credited as an early example of or influence on heavy metal or doom metal.
Led Zeppelin defined central aspects of the emerging genre, with Page's highly distorted guitar style and singer Robert Plant's dramatic, wailing vocals.
Other bands, with a more consistently heavy, "purely" metal sound, would prove equally important in codifying the genre.
Unable to play normally, Iommi had to tune his guitar down for easier fretting and rely on power chords with their relatively simple fingering.
The bleak, industrial, working class environment of Birmingham, a manufacturing city full of noisy factories and metalworking, has itself been credited with influencing Black Sabbath's heavy, chugging, metallic sound and the sound of heavy metal in general.
The influential Budgie brought the new metal sound into a power trio context, creating some of the heaviest music of the time.
The occult lyrics and imagery employed by Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep would prove particularly influential; Led Zeppelin also began foregrounding such elements with its fourth album, released in 1971.
In 1973, Deep Purple released the song "Smoke on the Water", with the iconic riff that's usually considered as the most recognizable one in "heavy rock" history, as a single of the classic live album Made in Japan.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the trend-setting group was Grand Funk Railroad, described as "the most commercially successful American heavy-metal band from 1970 until they disbanded in 1976, [they] established the Seventies success formula: continuous touring".
Other influential bands identified with metal emerged in the U.S., such as Sir Lord Baltimore (Kingdom Come, 1970), Blue Öyster Cult (Blue Öyster Cult, 1972), Aerosmith (Aerosmith, 1973) and Kiss (Kiss, 1974).
Sir Lord Baltimore's 1970 debut album and both Humble Pie's debut and self-titled third album were all among the first albums to be described in print as "heavy metal", with As Safe As Yesterday Is being referred to by the term "heavy metal" in a 1970 review in Rolling Stone magazine.
Various smaller bands from the U.S., U.K, and Continental Europe, including Bang, Josefus, Leaf Hound, Primeval, Hard Stuff, Truth and Janey, Dust, JPT Scare Band, Frijid Pink, Cactus, May Blitz, Captain Beyond, Toad, Granicus, Iron Claw, and Yesterday's Children, though lesser known outside of their respective scenes, proved to be greatly influential on the emerging metal movement.
Blackmore, who had emerged as a virtuoso soloist with Deep Purple's highly influential album Machine Head (1972), left the band in 1975 to form Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio, singer and bassist for blues rock band Elf and future vocalist for Black Sabbath and heavy metal band Dio.
These bands also built audiences via constant touring and increasingly elaborate stage shows.
As described above, there are arguments about whether these and other early bands truly qualify as "heavy metal" or simply as "hard rock".
Those closer to the music's blues roots or placing greater emphasis on melody are now commonly ascribed the latter label.
The 1983 Rolling Stone encyclopedia entry begins, "Australian heavy-metal band AC/DC".
Rock historian Clinton Walker writes, "Calling AC/DC a heavy metal band in the seventies was as inaccurate as it is today.
... [They] were a rock 'n' roll band that just happened to be heavy enough for metal".
The issue is not only one of shifting definitions, but also a persistent distinction between musical style and audience identification: Ian Christe describes how the band "became the stepping-stone that led huge numbers of hard rock fans into heavy metal perdition".
In certain cases, there is little debate.
In Christe's description,
Though Judas Priest did not have a top 40 album in the United States until 1980, for many it was the definitive post-Sabbath heavy metal band; its twin-guitar attack, featuring rapid tempos and a non-bluesy, more cleanly metallic sound, was a major influence on later acts.
While heavy metal was growing in popularity, most critics were not enamored of the music.
Objections were raised to metal's adoption of visual spectacle and other trappings of commercial artifice, but the main offense was its perceived musical and lyrical vacuity: reviewing a Black Sabbath album in the early 1970s, leading critic Robert Christgau described it as "dull and decadent ... dim-witted, amoral exploitation."
Mainstream: late 1970s and 1980s
Punk rock emerged in the mid-1970s as a reaction against contemporary social conditions as well as what was perceived as the overindulgent, overproduced rock music of the time, including heavy metal.
Sales of heavy metal records declined sharply in the late 1970s in the face of punk, disco, and more mainstream rock.
Underground metal bands began putting out cheaply recorded releases independently to small, devoted audiences.
Motörhead, founded in 1975, was the first important band to straddle the punk/metal divide.
With the explosion of punk in 1977, others followed.
Following the lead set by Judas Priest and Motörhead, they toughened up the sound, reduced its blues elements, and emphasized increasingly fast tempos.
"This seemed to be the resurgence of heavy metal," noted Ronnie James Dio, who joined Black Sabbath in 1979.
"I've never thought there was a desurgence of heavy metal – if that's a word!
– but it was important to me that, yet again [after Rainbow, I could be involved in something that was paving the way for those who are going to come after me."
By 1980, the NWOBHM had broken into the mainstream, as albums by Iron Maiden and Saxon, as well as Motörhead, reached the British top 10.
In 1981, Motörhead became the first of this new breed of metal bands to top the UK charts with the live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith.
The first generation of metal bands was ceding the limelight.
Deep Purple broke up soon after Blackmore's departure in 1975, and Led Zeppelin split following drummer John Bonham's death in 1980.
Eddie Van Halen established himself as one of the leading metal guitarists of the era.
Inspired by Van Halen's success, a metal scene began to develop in Southern California during the late 1970s.
were influenced by traditional heavy metal of the 1970s.
Glam metal bands were often visually distinguished by long, overworked hair styles accompanied by wardrobes which were sometimes considered cross-gender.
In the wake of the new wave of British heavy metal and Judas Priest's breakthrough British Steel (1980), heavy metal became increasingly popular in the early 1980s.
Many metal artists benefited from the exposure they received on MTV, which began airing in 1981—sales often soared if a band's videos screened on the channel.
One of the seminal events in metal's growing popularity was the 1983 US Festival in California, where the "heavy metal day" featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Scorpions, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, and others drew the largest audiences of the three-day event.
Between 1983 and 1984, heavy metal went from an 8 percent to a 20 percent share of all recordings sold in the U.S. Several major professional magazines devoted to the genre were launched, including Kerrang!
(in 1981) and Metal Hammer (in 1984), as well as a host of fan journals.
In 1985, Billboard declared, "Metal has broadened its audience base.
Metal music is no longer the exclusive domain of male teenagers.
The metal audience has become older (college-aged), younger (pre-teen), and more female".
By the mid-1980s, glam metal was a dominant presence on the U.S. charts, music television, and the arena concert circuit.
Its title track hit number 1 in 25 countries.
In 1987, MTV launched a show, Headbanger's Ball, devoted exclusively to heavy metal videos.
However, the metal audience had begun to factionalize, with those in many underground metal scenes favoring more extreme sounds and disparaging the popular style as "light metal" or "hair metal".
One band that reached diverse audiences was Guns N' Roses.
In contrast to their glam metal contemporaries in L.A., they were seen as much more raw and dangerous.
With the release of their chart-topping Appetite for Destruction (1987), they "recharged and almost single-handedly sustained the Sunset Strip sleaze system for several years".
Reviewing the album, Rolling Stone declared, "as much as any band in existence, Jane's Addiction is the true heir to Led Zeppelin".
The group was one of the first to be identified with the "alternative metal" trend that would come to the fore in the next decade.
Other heavy metal genres: 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s
Sharpe-Young's multivolume metal encyclopedia separates the underground into five major categories: thrash metal, death metal, black metal, power metal, and the related subgenres of doom and gothic metal.
In 1990, a review in Rolling Stone suggested retiring the term "heavy metal" as the genre was "ridiculously vague".
The article stated that the term only fueled "misperceptions of rock & roll bigots who still assume that five bands as different as Ratt, Extreme, Anthrax, Danzig and Mother Love Bone" sound the same.
Further information: thrash metal
The movement began in the United States, with Bay Area thrash metal being the leading scene.
The sound developed by thrash groups was faster and more aggressive than that of the original metal bands and their glam metal successors.
Low-register guitar riffs are typically overlaid with shredding leads.
Thrash has been described as a form of "urban blight music" and "a palefaced cousin of rap".
Although thrash began as an underground movement, and remained largely that for almost a decade, the leading bands of the scene began to reach a wider audience.
Metallica brought the sound into the top 40 of the Billboard album chart in 1986 with Master of Puppets, the genre's first platinum record.
Two years later, the band's ...And Justice for All hit number 6, while Megadeth and Anthrax also had top 40 records on the American charts.
Though less commercially successful than the rest of the Big Four, Slayer released one of the genre's definitive records: Reign in Blood (1986) was credited for incorporating heavier guitar timbres, and for including explicit depictions of death, suffering, violence and occult into thrash metal's lyricism.
Even though Slayer did not receive substantial media exposure, their music played a key role in the development of extreme metal.
In the early 1990s, thrash achieved breakout success, challenging and redefining the metal mainstream.
Metallica's self-titled 1991 album topped the Billboard chart, as the band established international following.
Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction (1992) debuted at number two, Anthrax and Slayer cracked the top 10, and albums by regional bands such as Testament and Sepultura entered the top 100.
Further information: death metal
Thrash soon began to evolve and split into more extreme metal genres.
"Slayer's music was directly responsible for the rise of death metal," according to MTV News.
The NWOBHM band Venom was also an important progenitor.
Both groups have been credited with inspiring the subgenre's name, the latter via its 1984 demo Death Metal and the song "Death Metal", from its 1985 debut album Seven Churches (1985).
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Swedish death metal became notable and melodic forms of death metal were created.
Death metal, like thrash metal, generally rejects the theatrics of earlier metal styles, opting instead for an everyday look of ripped jeans and plain leather jackets.
These two bands, along with Death and Obituary, were leaders of the major death metal scene that emerged in Florida in the mid-1980s.
Further information: black metal
The first wave of black metal emerged in Europe in the early and mid-1980s, led by the United Kingdom's Venom, Denmark's Mercyful Fate, Switzerland's Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, and Sweden's Bathory.
Black metal varies considerably in style and production quality, although most bands emphasize shrieked and growled vocals, highly distorted guitars frequently played with rapid tremolo picking, a dark atmosphere and intentionally lo-fi production, often with ambient noise and background hiss.
Satanic themes are common in black metal, though many bands take inspiration from ancient paganism, promoting a return to supposed pre-Christian values.
Numerous black metal bands also "experiment with sounds from all possible forms of metal, folk, classical music, electronica and avant-garde".
There wasn't a generic sound."
Some bands in the Scandinavian black metal scene became associated with considerable violence in the early 1990s, with Mayhem and Burzum linked to church burnings.
Growing commercial hype around death metal generated a backlash; beginning in Norway, much of the Scandinavian metal underground shifted to support a black metal scene that resisted being co-opted by the commercial metal industry.
By 1992, black metal scenes had begun to emerge in areas outside Scandinavia, including Germany, France, and Poland.
Around 1996, when many in the scene felt the genre was stagnating, several key bands, including Burzum and Finland's Beherit, moved toward an ambient style, while symphonic black metal was explored by Sweden's Tiamat and Switzerland's Samael.
Further information: power metal
During the late 1980s, the power metal scene came together largely in reaction to the harshness of death and black metal.
Though a relatively underground style in North America, it enjoys wide popularity in Europe, Japan, and South America.
Power metal focuses on upbeat, epic melodies and themes that "appeal to the listener's sense of valor and loveliness".
The prototype for the sound was established in the mid-to-late 1980s by Germany's Helloween, which in their 1987 and 1988 Keeper of the Seven Keys albums combined the power riffs, melodic approach, and high-pitched, "clean" singing style of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with thrash's speed and energy, "crystalliz[ing] the sonic ingredients of what is now known as power metal".
Many power metal bands such as America's Kamelot, Finnish groups Nightwish, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, Italy's Rhapsody of Fire, and Russia's Catharsis feature a keyboard-based "symphonic" sound, sometimes employing orchestras and opera singers.
Further information: doom metal
Emerging in the mid-1980s with such bands as California's Saint Vitus, Maryland's The Obsessed, Chicago's Trouble, and Sweden's Candlemass, the doom metal movement rejected other metal styles' emphasis on speed, slowing its music to a crawl.
Doom metal traces its roots to the lyrical themes and musical approach of early Black Sabbath.
The Melvins have also been a significant influence on doom metal and a number of its subgenres.
Doom emphasizes melody, melancholy tempos, and a sepulchral mood relative to many other varieties of metal.
During the same period, the doom-death fusion style of British bands Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema gave rise to European gothic metal, with its signature dual-vocalist arrangements, exemplified by Norway's Theatre of Tragedy and Tristania.
New York's Type O Negative introduced an American take on the style.
The late 1990s saw new bands form such as the Los Angeles–based Goatsnake, with a classic stoner/doom sound, and Sunn O))), which crosses lines between doom, drone, and dark ambient metal—the New York Times has compared their sound to an "Indian raga in the middle of an earthquake".
1990s and early 2000s subgenres and fusions
The era of heavy metal's mainstream dominance in North America came to an end in the early 1990s with the emergence of Nirvana and other grunge bands, signaling the popular breakthrough of alternative rock.
Grunge acts were influenced by the heavy metal sound, but rejected the excesses of the more popular metal bands, such as their "flashy and virtuosic solos" and "appearance-driven" MTV orientation.
Glam metal fell out of favor due not only to the success of grunge, but also because of the growing popularity of the more aggressive sound typified by Metallica and the post-thrash groove metal of Pantera and White Zombie.
The album was certified 16× Platinum by the RIAA.
A few new, unambiguously metal bands had commercial success during the first half of the decade—Pantera's Far Beyond Driven topped the Billboard chart in 1994—but, "In the dull eyes of the mainstream, metal was dead".
Some bands tried to adapt to the new musical landscape.
While this prompted a backlash among some long-time fans, Metallica remained one of the most successful bands in the world into the new century.
Like Jane's Addiction, many of the most popular early 1990s groups with roots in heavy metal fall under the umbrella term "alternative metal".
The label was applied to a wide spectrum of other acts that fused metal with different styles: Faith No More combined their alternative rock sound with punk, funk, metal, and hip hop; Primus joined elements of funk, punk, thrash metal, and experimental music; Tool mixed metal and progressive rock; bands such as Fear Factory, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails began incorporating metal into their industrial sound, and vice versa, respectively; and Marilyn Manson went down a similar route, while also employing shock effects of the sort popularized by Alice Cooper.
Alternative metal artists, though they did not represent a cohesive scene, were united by their willingness to experiment with the metal genre and their rejection of glam metal aesthetics (with the stagecraft of Marilyn Manson and White Zombie—also identified with alt-metal—significant, if partial, exceptions).
Alternative metal's mix of styles and sounds represented "the colorful results of metal opening up to face the outside world."
In the mid- and late 1990s came a new wave of U.S. metal groups inspired by the alternative metal bands and their mix of genres.
Dubbed "nu metal", bands such as Slipknot, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, P.O.D. , Korn and Disturbed incorporated elements ranging from death metal to hip hop, often including DJs and rap-style vocals.
The mix demonstrated that "pancultural metal could pay off".
Nu metal gained mainstream success through heavy MTV rotation and Ozzy Osbourne's 1996 introduction of Ozzfest, which led the media to talk of a resurgence of heavy metal.
In 1999, Billboard noted that there were more than 500 specialty metal radio shows in the United States, nearly three times as many as ten years before.
While nu metal was widely popular, traditional metal fans did not fully embrace the style.
By early 2003, the movement's popularity was on the wane, though several nu metal acts such as Korn or Limp Bizkit retained substantial followings.
Recent styles: mid–late 2000s and 2010s
"New metal" redirects here.
For the genre of music with a similar name, see nu metal.
By 2004, melodic metalcore—influenced as well by melodic death metal—was popular enough that Killswitch Engage's The End of Heartache and Shadows Fall's The War Within debuted at numbers 21 and 20, respectively, on the Billboard album chart.
Mathcore's main defining quality is the use of odd time signatures, and has been described to possess rhythmic comparability to free jazz.
Heavy metal remained popular in the 2000s, particularly in continental Europe.
By the new millennium Scandinavia had emerged as one of the areas producing innovative and successful bands, while Belgium, The Netherlands and especially Germany were the most significant markets.
Metal music is more favorably embraced in Scandinavia and Northern Europe than other regions due to social and political openness in these regions; especially Finland has been often called the "Promised Land of Heavy Metal", because nowadays there are more than 50 metal Bands for every 100,000 inhabitants – more than any other nation in the world.
Established continental metal bands that placed multiple albums in the top 20 of the German charts between 2003 and 2008, including Finnish band Children of Bodom, Norwegian act Dimmu Borgir, Germany's Blind Guardian and Sweden's HammerFall.
In the 2000s, an extreme metal fusion genre known as deathcore emerged.
The Sword's Age of Winters (2006) drew heavily on the work of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, Witchcraft added elements of folk rock and psychedelic rock, and Wolfmother's self-titled 2005 debut album had "Deep Purple-ish organs" and "Jimmy Page-worthy chordal riffing".
By the early 2010s, metalcore was evolving to more frequently incorporate synthesizers and elements from genres beyond rock and metal.
The album Reckless & Relentless by British band Asking Alexandria (which sold 31,000 copies in its first week), and The Devil Wears Prada's 2011 album Dead Throne (which sold 32,400 in its first week) reached up to number 9 and 10, respectively, on the Billboard 200 chart.
The album debuted at number 3 on the UK Album Chart and at number 1 in Australia.
The album sold 27,522 copies in the US, and charted at number 11 on the US Billboard Chart, making it their highest charting release in America until their follow-up album That's the Spirit debuted at no.
2 in 2015.
Women in heavy metal
The history of women in heavy metal can be traced back as far as the 1970s when the band Genesis, the forerunner of Vixen, was formed in 1973.
In 1996, Finnish band Nightwish was founded and has featured women as vocalists.
In 1981, Hoffmann helped Don Dokken acquire his first record deal.
Hoffmann also became the manager of Accept in 1981 and wrote songs under the pseudonym of "Deaffy" for many of band's studio albums.
Vocalist Mark Tornillo stated that Hoffmann still had some influence in songwriting on their later albums.
Osbourne, the wife and manager of Ozzy Osbourne, founded the Ozzfest music festival and managed several bands, including Motörhead, Coal Chamber, The Smashing Pumpkins, Electric Light Orchestra, Lita Ford and Queen.
The popular media and academia have long charged heavy metal with sexism and misogyny.
In the 1980s, American conservative groups like the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) coopted feminist views on anti-woman violence to form attacks on metal's rhetoric and imagery.
According to Robert Christgau in 2001, metal, along with hip hop, have made "reflexive and violent sexism … current in the music".
A general consensus among media and culture scholars posits sexism's existence, to varying degrees, across different subgenres and scenes of metal.
In Gender, Metal and the Media (2016), British sociologist and music academic Rosemary Lucy Hill cites a variety of historical research and finds, in summary, "sexist attitudes and behaviours of peers at hard rock and metal events; symbolic violence, such as the violently misogynistic imagery in artwork and lyrics; women being faced with a barrage of questions to prove the authenticity of their fandom; the dominance of men in bands and prejudice faced by women musicians; and women fans being represented in the media as groupies, more interested in the musician than the music".
Other academics find that femininity is largely suppressed in metal culture, and that metal listeners are more likely to subscribe to misogynistic attitudes and stereotyping of gender roles, more so than in other music genres, with many of these findings corroborated by interviews with female participants.
In response to such claims, debates in the metal media have centered on defining and contextualizing sexism.
Hill claims that "understanding what counts as sexism is complex and requires critical work by fans when sexism is normalised."
Citing her own research, including interviews of British female fans, she finds that metal offers them an opportunity to feel liberated and genderless, albeit if assimilated into a culture that is largely neglectful of women.
In 2018, Metal Hammer editor Eleanor Goodman published an article titled "Does Metal Have a Sexism Problem?
", interviewing veteran industry people and artists about the plight of women in metal.
Some talked about a history of difficulty receiving professional respect from male counterparts.
Among those interviewed was Wendy Dio, who had worked in label, booking, and legal capacities in the music industry before her marriage to and management of metal artist Ronnie James Dio.
She said that after marrying Dio, her professional reputation became reduced to her marital role as his wife and her competency was questioned.
Gloria Cavalera, former manager of Sepultura and wife of the band's former frontman Max Cavalera, said that since 1996 she has received misogynistic hate-mail and death threats from fans accusing her of causing Max's departure from the group.
She added that, "Women take a lot of crap.
This whole #metoo thing, do they think it just started?
That has gone on since the pictures of the cavemen pulling girls by their hair.
Women have always been pushed to the back.
I personally think it's still difficult for women in the industry today, because there's not a lot of them, even in bands."
In her article, Goodman also cited disproportionate gender figures in Metal Hammer's Facebook page – 75 percent of Likes being from men, as opposed to 25 percent from women – and in bands playing the main stage at the 2018 Bloodstock Open Air festival – Nightwish was the only act of the 17 with a female member.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy metal music.