The rock music genre heavy metal, also known as simply metal, developed in the late 1960s. Today, it has branched out in many different directions, creating sub-genres such as black metal, trash metal, death metal, doom metal, glam metal, power metal, groove metal, nu-metal, and symphonic metal.
The typical heavy metal sound is thick, monumental and characterized by distortion and emphatic beats. Guitar solos are commonplace in heavy metal.
Examples of early pioneers within the genre are Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Blue Cheer, and Vanilla Fudge.
The typical line-up for a heavy metal band includes a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a singer. The singer may or may not fulfil one of the instrumental niches. Rhythm guitar players and keyboard players are also fairly common in heavy metal bands.
Heavy metal is associated with very loud performances, where the audience is enveloped in the sounds. Examples of early metal bands that paved the way for very loud and powerful heavy metal are The Who and Blue Cheer.
Scam warning: NFT and crypto
We are adding this warning due to the fact that several of our readers have reached out and warned us about Metal related crypto and NFT scams. One (or several) unscrupulous individuals have been selling metal band-related NFTs and claimed that the NFTs are endorsed by the band. This is not true. There are as far as we know no metal bands that are endorsing NFTs based on their own band. That NFTs that are being sold if NFT based on pirated images and do not have any value.
We recommend that you refrain from buying any NFTs at all since the NFT market is collapsing quickly. Transactions are down 90% so far in 2022. We also recommend that you refrain from investing any money you need in crypto. Crypto has the potential to offer large profits but the risk is higher than ever after the collapse of LUNA and USDT, and the run on Tether might cause a wider market collapse. Only speculate in crypto if you can afford to lose the money.
If you despite all that I have said want to invest in crypto then we recommend that you open an account with a reputable trading platform such as eToro, Coinbase or Binance. I personally think eToro is the best choice since they are a well-established brand with a longer history than the other two crypto platforms. But is always best to compare them yourself and make your own informed decision. Click the link to compare Etoro and Coinbase, Coinbase and Binance or Etoro and Binance.
I hope you all listen to this warning and refrain from investing in scam assets or at least do all that you can to minimize the risk that you lose money if the market collapsed. Automatic sell orders that trigger if the price of your crypto drops below a certain value can be a good way to reduce risk.
By the end of the 1970s, heavy metal fans had earned the nicknames “metalheads” and “headbangers”.
As mentioned above, classic heavy metal is characterized by a thick, monumental sound. Distortion and emphatic beats are common, and many songs include long guitar solos. Two other typical features of heavy metal are a dense bass-and-drum sound and vigorous vocals.
The various heavy metal genres that have evolved since the 1970s variously emphasize, alter or omit one or more of these classic components. Nu metal and grindcore metal bands do for instance have a tendency to include at least one guitar player but omit guitar solos.
The electric guitar is a key element in classic heavy metal, especially when played at a high volume and with heavy fuzz. Guitar solos are very popular, and they are often used in a way that showcases the intricate skills of guitarists.
When a rhythm guitar player is included, palm muting is typically utilized to achieve a heavy crunch sound.
Contention for dominance
An interesting aspect of heavy metal is how the performance is often structured in a way that creates a type of “contest for dominance” between the lead singer and the lead guitarists.
On heavy metal tracks, the bass guitar is often a very important ingredient, as is the interplay between the bass guitar and the lead guitar. This is a notable difference between heavy metal and many other genres of rock. Without the low-end sound of the bass, it is difficult to achieve the characteristic “heaviness” of heavy metal.
Some heavy metal tracks even use the bass guitar as the lead instrument.
Heavy metal drummers are known for their exceptional strength, skill and endurance. Heavy metal tracks typically require a loud, constant beat that is both fast and powerful, and it is also common for heavy metal tracks to include very intricate patterns for the drummer.
- The drum set-up for a heavy metal band tends to be larger than for most other genres of dust.
- In the case of black metal, death metal and some similar sub-genres, double-kicks and blast beasts are essential.
- Heavy metal drummers often do the “cymbal choke” to produce a burst of sound. The symbol is struck, but then immediately silenced by grabbing it with one hand.
Why is it called heavy metal?
We don´t know. The origin of the term is shrouded in mystery.
The periodic table organizes metals into heavy metals and light metals, but how the term heavy metal jumped into the world of rock music remains unknown.
The 1962 novel “The Soft Machine” by William S. Burroughs includes a character known as “Uranian Willy, the Heavy Metal Kid”. In his 1964 novel, “Nova Express”, Burroughs developed the theme and used the term 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”.
In 1967, the British avant-garde musical partnership Hapshash and the Coloured Coat released the album “ Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids”.
According to historian Ian Christe, the musical term heavy metal is rooted in counterculture “hippiespeak”, where heavy denotes something along the lines of potent or profound, and metal is a type of mood – grinding and weighted as with metal.