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Heavy Metal

Influenced by the heavier-sounding blues-based rock bands such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath put a ‘doomier’ spin on this sound to reflect the working class conditions of industrial Birmingham. This resulted in their eponymous debut album that is widely regarded as the starting point of metal music from which many subgenres spawned. In Britain, this developed into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) which was a retaliation to 70’s popular music such as Elton John and the Bee Gees. It infused the influence of heavy metal with the energy of punk and incorporated a greater emphasis on musicianship and technicality. 

Later in America, Eddie Van Halen took this foundation and paved a new path with his guitar pyrotechnics that would change the future of guitar solos. Classic ‘heavy metal’ music was most prominent in the 70s and 80s and it exemplifies the characteristics that form the basis of all metal. ‘Heavy’ riffs utilising power chords are played on loud distorted guitars. Songs also feature hard and powerful drum patterns at fast tempi, extended guitar solos and a dense guitar/bass sound.

Notable artists:

Black Sabbath

Dio

Ozzy Osbourne

Iron Maiden

Judas Priest

Van Halen

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