August 21, 2009

Metal: My Newest Music Endeavor -- Part 1 (The First Wave)

Heavy metal is a sub-genre that has really become a genre within its self. Heavy metal stems from "hard rock" which is defined as a genre of rock that uses heavy distorted sounds, electric guitars, pianos and drums. Hard rock branches out into two sub genres, progressive rock and heavy metal. So I have done blog posts on emo, goth, and I figured its time to conquer a genre I have always abhorred...I do have a couple of Thin Lizzy albums and a Black Sabbath record, Iron Butterfly's In a Gadda Da Vida and other random metal songs but nothing too new or radical. So first we are going to start with heavy metal's roots and work our way to the many sub-genres that are present today, including the difference between "death metal" and "black metal."

This genre is so large I have decided to split up the posts...there is just too much to cover for one blog post, so here is heavy metal part 1...

1960s and 1970s:

Metal originated as the love child between blues rock and psychedelic rock, combining the heavy rhythm and bass, with long guitar solos and a distorted sound. Early metal bands like Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple focused more on the heavy base and echoing larger than life sound. Later bands like Motorhead and Iron Maiden introduced punk rock into the mix, with speed and faster guitar and drums. Judas Priest helped make the genre more of what it is today by eliminating much of the blues rock influence.

The First Wave

Iron Butterfly
In a Gadda Da Vida was apparently supposed to be "In The Garden of Eden" but the band members were too stoned to say it coherently or write it down. This is considered one of the first heavy metal songs for its use of instrumental distortion and heavy electric guitar solos.

Deep Purple
Once considered the "World's Loudest Band" by the Guinness Book Of World Records, a title which they no longer hold, they were one the pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock.

Thin Lizzy
Formed in Dublin Ireland in the late 1960s, Thin Lizzy wrote some of the greatest hard rock songs of the 1970s (The Boys are Back In Town, Whiskey In The Jar, Bad Reputation). They also broke racial barriers, the lead singer and songwriter Phil Lynott was the son of an Irish mother and Afro-Brazilian father. Their sound is a bit more accessible to non-heavy metal listeners like myself and included a more blues rock influence.

Black Sabbath
Obviously this band was going to be in this blog post. This is probably not a surprise, and its definitely not earth shattering, but Ozzy Osbourne's band definitely made metal what it is today. I am not a super fan but War Pigs is undeniably a great protest song.

Led Zeppelin
Another predictable band, I know a lot of people love Led Zeppelin...I am not one of those people. However their influence on metal and music in general is wide and respected. They have also incorporated a lot of different musical styles, everything from Celtic and classical to reggae and funk.

Judas Priest

Called the "Metal Gods" they are considered one of the most important and influential heavy metal bands of all time.

Pioneers of the American heavy metal scene, after sobering up in the 1980s, they can probably rival The Rolling Stones for profits made on tours and record sales...not really my cup of tea, but they have a huge fan base. (I hate that song from Armageddon...its terrible...sorry guys)

One of the biggest influences for the glam metal scene and metal in general. Became one of the most commercially successful and marketable groups, spurring lots of record and concert ticket sales.

The New York Dolls
Not a metal band, but heavily influenced the glam metal movement of the 1980s. They were one of the first punk groups, but their sound and signature style would reappear in the LA metal scene a decade or so later.

Alice Cooper
Singer/ songwriter spanned four decades and incorporated folk rock as well as pop into his sound...but I'm not a fan...he kind of creeps me out.

One of the most important metal bands of the 1960s and 70s their careers were cut short when the lead singer Marc Bolan was killed in a car accident.

Bad Company
A heavy metal supergroup that was managed by Peter Grant who also guided Led Zeppelin to commercial success.

One of the greatest heavy metal groups of all time and another act I am partial to. The band name originated from alternating current/direct current that the band thought emphasized their high energy, high powered sound.

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