What is Heavy Metal music?
October 03, 2010 6:24PM
Heavy metal by definition can be described as music but it is much more then music. If you know anything about black metal then you have at least an idea of what this means.
Heavy metal started in the 60s with bands like Blue Cheer and such. It is the result of a progressively heavier, more electric sound. It is influenced by the blues and much of the dark classical composers, namely Wagner and Beethoven. It is also influenced by opera in its vocal style, portrayed best in bands like Iron Maiden. Death growls are also very operatic in their projection.
That is basically "heavy metal" but black metal is an entirely different ballgame.
Black metal started in Oslo, Norway. It was made with controversy and a hatred for Christianity. Their music was a direct attack on God and Christianity. Bands like Burzum and Mayhem were at the forefront of this controversy. Varg Vikernes (creator of Burzum) is still in prison today as a result of his crimes including arson of Catholic Churches and the murder of Erroneous, former guitarist of Mayhem. This is heavy metal at its most extreme and its most evil.
This music is more than just music, its a mindset, its an ideology, its a way of life. You don't say, "oh I used to be really into Emperor, but I'm done with that now" You either love it or you hate it. It is the truest music in the world.
"Play metal louder than hell" -excerpt from Manowar's song 'Die for Metal'.
Heavy metal music is the best damn music in the world. I personally think =]
Heavy Metal is a subgenre of music that whose individual elements were present in the works of early Baroque and Classical composers like J.S. Bach and Beethoven. Early musical examples include Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Mozart's Requiem, and Beethoven's string quartet opus 132 (1st movement). It was Richard Wagner whom actually invented the genre: introducing fantastical elements; exploring chromatic composition like no one before; and pioneering an crushing instrumental sound (today it would certainly be called "heaviness") that is yet to be matched in overall intensity of effect.
Though Wagner basically defined and pioneered what would be later termed as Heavy Metal, Black Sabbath is considered the first true heavy metal band. Earlier bands such as Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer played loud rock, but Black Sabbath codified the main elements and tone of the genre. It played in both a painfully slow, grinding, "heavy" style (eg. "Iron Man", "Black Sabbath", "Cornucopia", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath") and a fast, hard hitting, galloping style (ex. "Paranoid", "Megalomania", "Supernaut", "Children of the Grave"), coupled with occult-invoking lyrics that are overtly religious in tone, often misanthropic and hopeless. Members of Black Sabbath liken their sound as similar to horror movies. And the song "Black Sabbath" is the most famous use of the "flatted fifth" chord, known as "the devil's interval" because of its "evil" sound. Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne's cracked, anguished vocals and guitarist Tony Iommi's sludgy, thick sound are staples of heavy metal.
Later sub genres branched out, with some becoming more melodic and mainstream (eg. hair metal, pop metal) and others becoming darker, more dissonant and more aggressive (eg. thrash, speed, death metal, black metal).